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Orthodontics

woman-smiling-holding-Invisalign-retainer

How Does Invisalign Work?

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

So you’ve had your free consultation with Dr. Patel at either our Claremore or Tulsa office and you’re ready to start the process of getting your dream smile. You’ve determined that a clear aligner system is the best choice for your teeth, lifestyle, and budget. The Brace Place offers Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® as our preferred clear aligner option.

What are Invisalign and Invisalign Teen Clear Aligners?

We, at The Brace Place, are your go-to Claremore and Tulsa, OK orthodontist for Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. Using Invisalign is a precise, no-fuss process that helps you get the smile you always wanted. The aligners are made of clear, easy to clean, BPA-free plastic that is comfortable to wear. If you were wondering, Invisalign and Invisalign Teen have slight differences, which address the needs and habits of teen Invisalign wearers:

Compliance Indicators – Small blue dots are printed on Invisalign Teen aligners. These dots fade after 2 weeks of wear to help indicate how long you’ve worn your clear aligners and when it’s time to move on to your next set.

Eruption Tabs – Teen mouths aren’t always fully developed when it’s time for orthodontic care. Invisalign Teen has special ‘eruption tabs’ at the back to accommodate growing molars.

More Replacement Aligners – Who doesn’t lose or misplace things once in a while? Invisalign Teen comes with 6 sets of extra aligners in case you lose or break your original ones.

How Does Invisalign Work?

The treatment process with Invisalign aligners is simple and easy. At this point, those familiar with orthodontic options may be asking, “How does Invisalign work vs. braces?” The Invisalign procedure involves gently straightening your teeth using a series of 18-30 sets of clear, mouthguard-style appliances you take out at home and change every 1-2 weeks. On the flip side, braces use brackets affixed to your teeth and metal wires that are not removable. Braces are adjusted throughout your treatment by Dr. Patel.

Need more info about Invisalign vs. braces? Find more answers to “How does Invisalign work?” here, and more about braces here.

A 3D Scan of Your Mouth – As your Tulsa, OK orthodontist, Dr. Patel begins your treatment with Invisalign using our iTero® digital scanner to take quick, comfortable digital scans of your teeth. The scans are sent to our computer and a 3D model of your mouth is created. Then, Dr. Patel plans out your treatment directly on this model to ensure that your clear aligners are custom fit to your teeth alone. He sends the specifications to Invisalign and a series of Invisalign clear aligners are printed for you based on his specifications.

Wearing the Aligners Every Day – Next, you’ll wear each set of custom Invisalign aligners throughout your treatment for at least 22 hours a day. You’ll change your aligners every 1-2 weeks. The aligners apply gentle pressure to gradually straighten your teeth as you make your way through the series. Most patients will receive about 18-30 sets over the entire treatment. Dr. Patel will guide you through with expert, personalized treatment until you reach your best smile!

Follow Up Visits – You’ll come into The Brace Place every 6-8 weeks for progress checks. Dr. Patel will review your progress and provide advice or changes to your wearing schedule if needed. With Invisalign aligners, follow up appointments are short and painless.

Dentist Appointments – Don’t forget to schedule dentist appointments every 6 months while you’re wearing your Invisalign aligners to keep tabs on your general oral health.

After You’re Done With Your Clear Aligners: When your aligner treatment plan is done, Dr. Patel will prescribe an Invisalign retainer to wear at night and an after-care plan to maintain your smile. 

The Many Benefits of Invisalign:

As a clear aligner option, Invisalign are a trusted and proven alternative to traditional braces because it offers many benefits:

  1. Custom fit
  2. More comfortable treatment
  3. Freedom to eat and drink what you want
  4. Continuation of your usual oral care routine
  5. More discreet wear
  6. Quick and painless follow-up visits

Benefit #1: A Custom Fit, A Custom Smile – Dr. Patel uses the state-of-the art iTero® digital intraoral 3D scanner at The Brace Place. A 3D scan is taken of your mouth and Dr. Patel maps out the Invisalign procedure specific to your mouth only. Your custom set of aligners are used to achieve amazing results unique to you. Your final smile will still look like you but better!

Benefit #2: Comfortable To Wear – Clear aligners are generally comfortable. This is because they straighten your teeth gradually and the initial adjustment to wearing them is pretty minimal. During the Invisalign process, most wearers swap out their aligners every 1-2 weeks for a slightly different shape, the last being the ones closest to your final smile. 

Benefit #3: Eat Whatever You Want – If you have friends who used traditional braces to straighten their teeth, you know that you can’t eat whatever you want with braces — hard or crunchy foods and sticky or chewy foods can damage or even break braces. 

Clear aligners like Invisalign allow you to continue your usual eating routine and choices — you simply take out your aligners when you eat, then put them back in right after you’re done. Remember to keep on choosing nutritious foods for your general oral health. Foods higher in sugar contribute to bacteria and plaque build-up. Not only is the goal of clear aligners a smile you’re proud of but also one that’s healthy!

Benefit #4: Continuing Your Usual Oral Care Routine – With Invisalign, you can continue the same brushing and flossing routine you had before. Simply take out your clear aligners to brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed. Remember to floss once a day. Continue your usual dentist check ups for assessment and cleaning.

Benefit #5: You Can Barely See Them – Clear aligners are just that — clear. Visually, you barely notice them when they’re in your mouth. If you’re feeling the slightest bit self-conscious about the process of straighter teeth, clear aligners alleviate that worry.

Benefit #6: Quick and Painless Follow-Up Visits – Unlike follow-up visits for traditional braces, follow-up appointments with clear aligners are easy. Your appointments every 6-8 weeks are painless and quick.

How To Take Care of Clear Aligners:

Your Tulsa, OK orthodontist and his team will guide you on how best to take care of your Invisalign aligners. But in short, there isn’t much to it! Here are some do’s and don’ts:

  • Clean your aligners with water and a soft toothbrush when you wake up and before you go to bed.
  • Take out your clear aligners when eating or drinking (plain water is ok).
  • Brush and floss your teeth after eating OR at least rinse your mouth well with water.
  • Rinse your clear aligners with water throughout the day to get rid of any food debris or bacteria.
  • Keep your aligners in their case when you’re not wearing them.
  • If your Invisalign aligners get damaged, take them to Dr. Patel for assessment.

A Word About Invisalign vs. Clear Aligners Online

It’s safe to say that clear aligners like Invisalign are a very convenient and proven choice for achieving your best smile. Lately, however, direct-to-consumer aligners have popped up, touted as cheaper and quicker than orthodontist-approved aligners. At The Brace Place, we strongly recommend you think twice about considering these at-home orthodontic systems. With the Invisalign process, you’re in Dr. Patel’s experienced hands every step of the way. With online clear aligners, you’re left to manage on your own, even taking crucial first steps at home without an orthodontist’s guidance. In the end, you might end up doing more harm than good. 

How Much Does Invisalign Cost? 

The Brace Place wants everyone to have a healthy, straight smile and we don’t think finances should prevent you from achieving that. The cost of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are comparable to other orthodontist-approved clear aligners. Invisalign cost is based on the complexity of your treatment and the number of aligners you’ll need.

Custom Financing Options

After your free consultation, Dr. Patel will tell you what your options are and the cost. The good news is that our flexible payment options work for your budget, include affordable monthly payments, low down payments, and 0% interest. We also accept most insurance coverage and file your claims for you.

Take The Next Step Towards A Confident Smile

As your Tulsa, OK orthodontist, we provide personalized, state-of-the-art care so you can enjoy a lifetime of confidence in your smile and the best in oral health. Now that you’re well-informed about Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, and how Invisalign work, book your next in-house or virtual appointment with Dr. Patel at the most convenient location for you — our Claremore and Tulsa teams are ready to help you take the next step today!

girl-flossing-before-brushing-her-teeth

Should You Floss or Brush First?

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

At The Brace Place, we spend a lot of time educating our Tulsa and Claremore orthodontic patients on techniques for brushing and flossing with braces. Both brushing and flossing are crucial to lifelong oral health and it’s safe to say that everyone knows you should brush and floss your teeth every day, especially when undergoing orthodontic treatment. But do you know whether you should brush or floss first? Turns out, this question has a lot of people stumped and we’re here to help you out. In this post, you’ll learn all about:

  • The importance of daily brushing and flossing
  • Whether you should floss or brush your teeth first
  • How to floss and brush effectively with braces

Why Flossing and Brushing Matters

Brushing your teeth has long been the standard practice for at-home oral hygiene. We’ve all agreed — dental professionals and the public alike — that we need to brush at least twice a day to uphold our oral health. But for some reason, flossing hasn’t reached the same widespread adoption. Hey, we get it: flossing may be a simple task, but it’s pretty inconvenient. On the other hand, so is tooth decay and gum disease.

Our mouths are full of diverse bacteria, which increase in the presence of food particles. When we eat or drink, food debris sits on our teeth and leads to build-up of plaque and bacteria. The bacteria then produces an acid that eats away at your tooth enamel, leading to cavities and gum disease. This is why brushing and flossing is so important: these little tasks clean your teeth and whisk away all that harmful gunk.

Most people are in the routine of brushing their teeth once in the morning and once before bed for two minutes at a time, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). As for how often to floss your teeth, the ADA says we should all floss at least once a day because flossing gets into those little areas between your teeth that brushing alone can’t reach.

Should You Floss or Brush First?

Now to answer your burning question: should you brush or floss your teeth first? You might not think it matters, but it turns out that the order in which you care for your teeth can make a difference in your oral health. A recent study shows that it’s best to floss your teeth before brushing. By having participants test out both sequences, the researchers proved that flossing before brushing allows for the most thorough removal of dental plaque.

That’s because flossing loosens food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Brushing afterwards and rinsing with water then further clears the debris from the mouth. If you brush before flossing, on the other hand, the plaque and bacteria continue to sit in the mouth and on the teeth, potentially leading to periodontal disease.

Of course, the most important thing is to brush and floss your teeth every day period. Whether you floss or brush first, you’re still making a necessary commitment to your overall health. But if you want to maximize your plaque-busting power, floss first and then brush to get the most out of your at-home oral health routine!

Tips for Flossing and Brushing with Braces

Whether you’re new to braces or are well into your treatment, it doesn’t take long to realize that brushing and flossing with braces is much trickier than without. The brackets and wires create more places for food and plaque to hide, so it’s more important than ever to pay extra attention to your oral hygiene. By taking extra steps to keep your teeth and gums clean, you won’t just have a straight smile after treatment — you’ll have a healthy one too!

Here are some tips for how to floss and brush your teeth with braces:

Brush in the morning, before bed and after every meal for two minutes each session. If you’re out and about and have a snack but forget your toothbrush, rinse your mouth out really well with water and brush when you get home.

Brush all of the surfaces of your teeth in between your braces and behind your back molars thoroughly and use circular motions to brush along the gum line.

Use a non-whitening, fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent cavities.

Use a proxy brush if needed to get in between your braces.

Floss at least once a day, preferably before bed. Use an orthodontic flosser or regular dental floss with a floss threader. Work the floss under the wire and in between any two teeth. Floss up and down the side of one tooth and then up and down the side of the other before moving on to the next pair.

Ask your dentist if they’d recommend a fluoride rinse. This can be helpful for patients who are prone to cavities. You can also use an over-the-counter fluoride mouthwash to zap any lingering bacteria and keep your pearly whites strong.

Be gentle with your braces. While they’re durable, they can break if you don’t take care.

Visit your Dr. Patel or your regular dentist for checkups every six months or as often as recommended.

Have more questions about why you should floss before your brush? Need to book your next appointment with Dr. Patel? Contact The Brace Place today.

girl-avoids-invisalign-dry-mouth

Avoid Invisalign Dry Mouth and Bad Breath

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

As orthodontists in Tulsa and Claremore, we know everything there is to know about Invisalign, from the amazing benefits to the not-so-pretty parts of treatment. One of the main complaints patients have? dry mouth and bad breath from unclean aligners. While these are unfortunate side effects of Invisalign that some people may experience, there are ways to avoid dry mouth and bad breath with Invisalign. It starts, as all things oral health do, with good hygiene.

Suffering from Invisalign dry mouth or bad breath? The doctors at The Brace Place are here to help. Here, you’ll learn:

  • What causes bad breath and dry mouth with Invisalign
  • How to eliminate these issues
  • How to properly care for your Invisalign aligners

What Causes Invisalign Dry Mouth?

When you started treatment with Invisalign, you probably expected all the amazing things the system has to offer: high-tech treatment, a discreet appliance and incredible results. You probably weren’t expecting to have negative symptoms like dry mouth from Invisalign. But as unpleasant as it may be, it’s a common side effect that many people experience.

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs when you do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Many things can cause dry mouth — from stress and medications to certain foods and sleeping with your mouth open — and orthodontic appliances like Invisalign trays are just another contributing factor. Persistent dry mouth can cause difficulty with chewing, swallowing and speaking, and can even put you at higher risk for tooth decay or infection.

So why do Invisalign trays cause dry mouth? Basically your mouth is treating your aligners like a foreign object, which in turn causes swelling of the gums and irritation. Your body responds by producing less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry.

Why Does Invisalign Cause Bad Breath?

Bad breath is another unwanted side effect that can sometimes come up during Invisalign treatment. Some people think bad breath from Invisalign is caused by the plastic aligners themselves or because you have to wear them for at least 20 hours a day, but those are just orthodontic myths.

In most cases, bad breath from Invisalign comes down to taking adequate care of your Invisalign aligners. If you’re Invisalign aligners smell bad, you probably need to step up your oral hygiene habits. When cared for properly, your Invisalign aligners should always be fresh and clean, keeping your teeth healthy and your breath fresh.

How to Avoid Invisalign Dry Mouth and Bad Breath

Now that you know what might be causing your bad breath or dry mouth with Invisalign, let’s look at how to prevent it. It all comes down to taking good care of your teeth, aligners and overall health.

1. Drink Plenty of Water

The best way to treat Invisalign dry mouth is water, water, water. Staying hydrated helps to maintain a steady saliva flow, so keep a bottle of water on hand at all times throughout treatment. Not only will drinking water help reduce dry mouth, but you’ll also be guaranteed to get your recommended 11-15 cups of water a day!

2. Keep Your Aligners Clean

If bad breath is your issue, the best advice we can give you is to keep your aligners clean. Never eat or drink anything but water when you have aligners in, and wash your aligners thoroughly after every meal with toothpaste and a toothbrush. Be sure to use lukewarm water since hot water can warp the plastic.

3. Floss and Brush Your Teeth (and Tongue!) After Every Meal

Food particles love to hide in the many little crevices in your mouth. If you pop your aligners back in without brushing and flossing first, you’re creating prime breeding grounds for plaque and bacteria. After every snack, meal or beverage that isn’t water, brush and floss your teeth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too, because that’s where bacteria especially like to multiply.

4. Avoid Tobacco and Caffeine

If Invisalign is causing dry mouth or bad breath, you’ll want to consider eliminating caffeine and tobacco. Tobacco, among many other negative effects, is also known to dry out your mouth. This goes for all forms of tobacco, including cigarettes, hookah, chewing tobacco and so on. Not a smoker? Caffeine could be contributing to your dry mouth or bad breath from Invisalign. Fortunately, decaffeinated coffee and tea doesn’t pose the same problem, or try energy-boosting foods like whole grains, nuts and bananas.

5. Use Mouthwash to Stay Extra Fresh

If you’re brushing and flossing after every meal, washing your aligners consistently and still suffering from bad breath with Invisalign, try using mouthwash to give your mouth an extra minty-fresh boost. There are even mouthwashes that are specifically formulated for dry mouth, so this could be a solution to all your Invisalign-related woes.If you’re following all of these tips and still experiencing Invisalign dry mouth or bad breath, there may be an underlying reason for your symptoms. When in doubt, contact your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist. We’re always here to help.

orthodontic-tips-for-them

Back-to-School Tips and Tricks for Parents With Kids in Orthodontic Treatment

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

It’s hard to believe that school is officially back in session. This year, things are looking different than ever before. Claremore schools are offering in-class, at-home and hybrid learning options, while the Tulsa school year will be strictly virtual for at least the first nine weeks. Back-to-school is a tricky process for parents and kids to navigate this year, but The Brace Place wants to help you ease into the 2020 school year as smoothly as possible by giving you a headstart with some orthodontic tips as well as general ones.

As orthodontists in Claremore and Tulsa, we treat smiles of all ages and we know that back-to-school season can be tough on families — especially if your child is starting orthodontic treatment. Your kids are already going through so many changes this year, so we’re here to help make their lives (and yours!) a little easier. Whether your kids are heading back to the classroom or are learning from home this school year, here are our top back-to-school tips for kids with braces or Invisalign.

1. Encourage your Kids to Continue Social Distancing

For kiddos going back to school in person this year, social distancing is more important than ever. It will understandably be tempting for kids to want to hug their friends or play with classmates on the playground, but they need to maintain a safe distance wherever possible. You’ve likely spent these last few months teaching your kids all about healthy practices during COVID-19. Before sending them back to the classroom, be sure to review physical distancing protocols to make sure they understand how it helps keep everyone safe. Of course, your child’s teachers will be maintaining these measures in person, but education always starts at home.

2. Create an At-Home School Schedule

For children sticking to online learning, setting a concrete school schedule will help them stay on track. Just like you may have struggled to adjust to working from home, your child may have challenges with adjusting to virtual school. There are so many different distractions at home, not to mention that their teacher can’t keep as close an eye on them to make sure they’re paying attention! This year, the onus falls on parents to keep their kids focused.

Your child’s school will already have a set schedule and curriculum for them to follow. But scheduling breaks into your child’s day can keep them motivated and engaged. For kids with braces or Invisalign, make sure to include time for brushing and flossing after snack or lunch breaks. After all, your child’s oral health is just as important as their education!

3. Make a Homework (or Home Schooling) Station

Whether your child is exclusively attending school remotely or simply has homework, creating a designated workspace can do wonders for their learning. Not only is a homework station amazing for staying organized — it also helps to guarantee your child is actually focusing on school. Choose a quiet area of the house (such as a corner of the living room or in your child’s bedroom) and set up a comfortable desk space that’s used only for school or homework. Then stock the space with everything your child needs for a successful school year: pencils, paper, calculator, laptop or computer if necessary, and so on. Having a special place to sit down and get to work will set your child up for success.

4. Meal Prep Braces-Friendly Foods

Meal-prepping isn’t for everyone, but it’s one of our favorite back-to-school hacks for busy parents. Once you get into the rhythm, it can be a huge time-saver and guarantees your child always has a braces-friendly meal on hand. This goes for kids who are learning from home or in the classroom.

For kids with braces, you’ll want to make sure to avoid any crunchy, chewy or sticky foods, as well as anything your child would have to bite into (such as whole apples or carrots). Easy-to-eat sandwiches (like peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, or tuna salad) are fantastic braces-friendly lunch ideas. Add in fresh, bite-sized fruits like berries or apple slices and you have a healthy, well-balanced meal. For extra busy parents, we recommend making a lunch schedule for each day of the week. For example, sandwiches on Monday, pasta salad on Tuesdays, and so on. With an easy-to-follow meal plan, you’ll never again have to worry about what to pack your child with braces for lunch.

5. Schedule Orthodontic Appointments in Advance

Once you’re fully immersed into the back-to-school hustle, schedules can get out of hand before you know it. Even though many extracurricular activities are off the table this year, your family’s calendar is probably already filling up and it can be easy to forget about certain appointments, like orthodontist visits. We always recommend pre-booking your child’s appointments — especially visits that fall during the school year — to make sure their treatment stays on track. We get busy at this time of year, too!

Need to get your child’s next few orthodontic visits on the books? Contact The Brace Place now to schedule them in!

kid-approves-braces-friendly-recipes

Braces-Friendly Recipes to Try in the Summer

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

Summer is one of the best times to get braces, especially this year: you’re off school or work, or you’re working from home, so you have time to adjust to your new hardware before heading back into the real world. One of the other perks of getting braces this summer? All the delicious summer foods you can eat with braces! Sure, there are a few foods to avoid with braces too, but there are plenty of tasty eats you’ll be able to enjoy all summer long.

The Brace Place team wants you to enjoy your time with braces to the fullest. As your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontists, we’re here to give you the information you need to make the best decisions throughout your treatment. In this post, you’ll learn:

  • Which foods to avoid with braces
  • What summer foods to eat with braces
  • The best summer recipes for braces

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Summer Foods to Avoid with Braces

It’s always best to save the good news for last, right? So let’s start by talking about the foods you’ll need to skip until your braces come off. Certain foods pose a risk to your hardware and could cause damage to or get stuck behind your braces. This means your treatment may take longer than you’d hoped and you’ll need to visit your Claremore or Tulsa orthodontist more often than you would otherwise.

We love to see our patients’ smiling faces, but during orthodontic treatment, the less we see you, the better. So when we tell you to avoid certain foods with braces, it’s best to listen to our advice. We really do have your best interests at heart.

So which foods should you avoid during braces treatment? Anything hard, crunchy, sticky, chewy, or anything you have to bite into. These foods can all be risky for braces. When it comes to summer foods specifically, you’ll want to skip hard or crunchy snacks like popcorn, raw veggies, nuts or chips, chewy candies or marshmallows (yep, even in s’mores!), and corn on the cob or whole apples. But don’t worry — there are still lots of foods for you to chow down on this summer!

Braces-Friendly Summer Foods

Now that you’re an expert on what not to eat with braces, you’re probably wondering what you can eat after getting braces this summer. Fortunately, you are free to enjoy many summer favorites — from fresh fruit and ice cream to potatoes and barbecued chicken and so much more.

In your first few days with braces, though, your teeth might be a little sensitive as they adjust to the brackets and wires. Cold, soft foods will be your best friend in the beginning because they’re soothing and easy to eat. Things like yogurt, frozen yogurt, pudding, watermelon and smoothies are all great options, as are steamed veggies, potato wedges and baked beans once your teeth can tolerate warmer foods.

Grilled meats are also on the table if you have braces, as long as you stick to tender or fall-off-the-bone style meats like pulled pork, boneless chicken breasts or fish. Hamburgers or veggie burgers are in the clear, too, just be sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces before eating. Avoid tougher meats like steak or beef jerky, as these tend to be too tough for sensitive teeth.

Summer Recipes for Braces

You’ve got all the info you need to make smart eating decisions during braces treatment! But it can still be difficult in the beginning to know where to start. That’s why the doctors at The Brace Place have put together a menu of braces-friendly recipes for you to enjoy this summer.

Mains:

Salads:

Sides:

There’s a lot to get used to when you first get braces, but choosing what to eat doesn’t have to be complicated. Just stick to the simple rules of thumb — no crunchy, hard, sticky or chewy foods, and no foods you have to bite into — and you’ll be good to go. After all, summer is one of the best seasons for delicious foods. You shouldn’t have to miss out on all your favorites just because you’re straightening your smile.

Still have questions about what to eat with braces this summer? Ready to start your own smile journey? Contact The Brace Place today to book a free virtual or in-person consultation.

Considering At-Home Aligners? Here’s What You Should Know

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

You’ve been wanting to straighten your teeth for a while but, for one reason or another, you haven’t started treatment. Maybe braces, Invisalign or 3M Clarity aligners are out of your budget, or maybe you don’t want to wait a year or more for your brand new smile. These obstacles may have you considering an at-home teeth straightening solution, such as a mail-order aligner system.

These systems promise fast results, they’re cheaper than traditional treatment methods and they’ll even be delivered directly to your door. Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is. At best, mail-order orthodontic systems can be ineffective. At worst, they can cause significant damage to your teeth. At The Brace Place, we believe everyone should have access to orthodontic care — but unless you see a professional, you’re not getting the treatment you deserve.

Before you start DIY orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to read this post. Here’s the truth about mail-order aligners and why professional treatment from Tulsa’s highly trained orthodontic specialist is always the best decision.

What are DIY and At-Home Orthodontics?

These days, you can order pretty much anything online. It was only a matter of time before orthodontics was the latest industry to join the on-demand movement. You’ve probably seen the ads popping up on Facebook and Instagram, promising straighter teeth in six months (or less), all from the comfort of your own home. It’s a quick (and cheaper) answer to a problem you’ve been wanting to solve for years, so it makes complete sense that you’d be tempted to try it out.

These direct-to-consumer orthodontic systems claim to function in the same way as professional orthodontic treatments like Invisalign. And here’s the bonus: the clear, plastic aligners will guide your teeth into the ideal position in a fraction of the time. The reality, though, is that there’s no “quick fix” when it comes to orthodontics. It requires expert knowledge and care from a trained professional.

Do-it-yourself aligners are billed as the latest and greatest solution for getting straighter teeth. But it’s one thing to build your own coffee table — it’s quite another to straighten your own teeth. Not only is this irresponsible, it can be downright dangerous. By taking your orthodontic treatment into your own hands, you could be doing more harm than good.

The Dangers of At-Home Orthodontic Systems

Before we dive into the cons of at-home orthodontics, we need to acknowledge that there are some positives of mail-order clear aligners. It’s true that these systems can be effective for simple cases, and they are a cheaper alternative to Invisalign. But these few benefits are flimsy and don’t compare to the potential dangers they may cause. Here are some of the downsides of DIY orthodontic treatments and why Dr. Patel cautions against them:

  • They’re not backed by science. Mail-order and high-speed orthodontic systems make unrealistic, unproven promises. The length of your orthodontic treatment is based on your unique situation and cannot be rushed.
  • You don’t get the expertise of a professional orthodontist. With DIY systems, there’s no orthodontist involved, no regulations and no guarantees for results. In fact, a dentist only has to take a weekend course to offer these systems, whereas an orthodontist has years of speciality training to provide professional orthodontic care.
  • Inaccurate treatment leads to inaccurate results. Professional orthodontic treatments use dental x-rays and digital scans to get the most precise picture of what’s going on inside your mouth. DIY treatments rely on at-home impressions that cannot provide the data required to appropriately diagnose and treat your orthodontic concerns.
  • At-home systems don’t look at the total picture. DIY and certain accelerated orthodontic systems focus solely on straightening your front teeth and fail to address overall bite concerns. An orthodontist, on the other hand, considers the whole mouth — teeth, gums, jaw and surrounding facial structures — to help create the ideal smile for your face.
  • They may cause lasting damage. Mail-order orthodontic treatments likely will not produce the results you expect or the results won’t last. More importantly, they can cause serious damage to your teeth, jaw, gums and bite. This means you may need more extensive orthodontic treatment in the long run, so you’re better off doing it right the first time.

We understand the temptation to go for an at-home, high-speed orthodontic system instead of signing up for lengthy treatment with an orthodontist. But we can’t stress this enough: there’s an immeasurable difference between professional orthodontic treatment and what you can get at home. As Tulsa and Claremore’s orthodontist, Dr. Patel has the training, knowledge and expertise to provide the highest quality of care and help you get the smile you’ve always wanted.

Still have questions about why professional orthodontic systems are better than at-home clear aligners? Want to learn more about which treatment options are right for you? Book a consultation (in-person or virtual!) with The Brace Place today.

What You Can and Cannot Eat With Braces & Invisalign

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

Starting treatment with braces or Invisalign can bring up a lot of different emotions for the patients at The Brace Place. While they’re mostly excited to see their brand new smile take shape, it can also take time to adjust to life with braces or Invisalign. One of the most important changes? Memorizing the list of foods you can’t eat with braces or Invisalign.

If you’re new to Invisalign or braces, this might sound familiar. Your Claremore or Tulsa orthodontist probably even gave you a handy print-out to help you remember exactly what foods to avoid with braces or Invisalign. But don’t worry: with a little patience and extra care, you’ll be a pro at eating safely for your new hardware. And if you ever need a quick crash course in what to eat with braces, we’ve got your back. Read on for the ultimate list of foods to eat with orthodontic treatment.

Foods to Avoid with Braces or Invisalign

Let’s get the not-so-fun part out of the way, shall we? As you already know, there are certain foods you have to avoid with braces. It’s not because we want you to be miserable during treatment — it’s because we want you to get the most from your treatment so you can enjoy your new smile as soon as possible. Unfortunately, though, some types of foods (like hard candies or crunchy popcorn) have the potential to break your brackets and wires. That means more visits to your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist and delays in your treatment time. Nobody wants that!

Now, when it comes to eating with braces, there are a few hard-and-fast rules to keep in mind: no hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy foods, or foods you have to bite into. You should also avoid sugary foods and drinks because it’s trickier to brush and floss the bad stuff away when you have braces. As long as you stay away from those items, pretty much everything else is fair game. To help you stay on track, here’s a list of common foods to avoid with braces:

  • Bagels
  • Pizza crust
  • Chips
  • Hard taco shells
  • Nuts
  • Chewing gum
  • Licorice
  • Jerky
  • Hard candies
  • Popcorn
  • Caramel
  • Anything you have to bite into, like apples, carrots or corn on the cob

Invisalign wearers, we haven’t forgotten about you. And you’re in luck! Since your aligners are removable, you can eat all of your usual favorites just like you did before you started treatment. Just be sure to brush and floss your teeth before you pop you aligners back in.

What to Eat with Braces or Invisalign

We know it seems like there are a lot of foods to avoid with braces. But the good news is that there’s so much more you can still enjoy! That said, your teeth will likely be a little extra sensitive when you first start treatment (and each time you get your brackets tightened), so soft, cold foods will be more manageable than anything dense or hot. At least, until the sensitivity dies down in a few days and you’re back to your regular self.

In the early stages of braces, or after you get your braces tightened, we recommend foods like smoothies, yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, soups, scrambled eggs and, yep, ice cream and milkshakes. Once you feel ready to eat more solid foods, try rice, steamed veggies, tofu, fish, avocados, or soft breads like pancakes or waffles. The list of foods you can eat with braces is endless! Just be smart, eat small bites, and remember to avoid anything that’s hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy.

Here’s a full rundown of foods that are safe for braces:

  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Soft cheeses
  • Milkshakes
  • Smoothies
  • Ice cream and ice cream bars (as long as they don’t contain nuts, caramel or any other hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy ingredients)
  • Gelato and sorbet
  • Pasta and noodles
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Polenta
  • Couscous
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Beans
  • Soups and stews
  • Oatmeal
  • Pancakes
  • Hummus
  • Steamed, cooked or roasted veggies
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soft fruits, like bananas or cantaloupe
  • Applesauce
  • Jell-O

Does that make you feel better about what you can eat during treatment? We hope so! As for our Invisalign patients, you can enjoy all of the above as well. Just take your aligners out and store them in their special case while you eat, and put them back in right after you’ve brushed and flossed.

Now that you’re well-versed in foods that are safe for braces (and foods that aren’t), we hope you’re feeling confident about taking care of your hardware. Any time you feel tempted to eat those crunchy pretzels or chewy candies, remember this: the better you are at following the “rules” for orthodontic treatment, the sooner you’ll be braces- or Invisalign-free. So follow your orthodontist’s recommendations, avoid the foods that could damage your braces, and brush and floss carefully after every meal. And if you ever have questions, give The Brace Place a call. We’re here to help you enjoy your treatment to the fullest.

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What are the Different Types of Retainers?

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

Getting close to the end of orthodontic treatment? Congratulations! You’re just about ready to meet the new you. After months or years of adapting to your hardware, you deserve to show off that beautiful smile. However, just because you’re officially finished with braces or clear aligners doesn’t mean you’re done with treatment altogether. To make sure your teeth stay where we want them, you need to continue to wear an orthodontic retainer.

Orthodontic retainers help to maintain your teeth’s new position so your smile stays as straight as possible for many years to come. There are many different types of retainers to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. To take the guesswork out of choosing an orthodontic retainer, The Brace Place created this guide. Here’s everything you need to know about retainers and how to pick the best one for you.

Why Do I Need a Retainer After Braces of Invisalign?

First things first, you might be wondering why you need to wear a retainer after orthodontic treatment in the first place. What’s the worst that can happen if you decide not to use one, right? Well, your teeth have worked really hard over the course of your treatment to shift into the perfect position. Now that you’re not wearing your braces or clear aligners anymore, they need a little extra support to remember where they’re supposed to be.

Think of your time with braces or aligners as the “treatment” phase. Now, you’ve entered the “maintenance” phase. A retainer keeps your teeth in place, maintaining your beautiful new smile and protecting your investment. We know it can be tempting to avoid it, but wearing a retainer is the best way to prevent your teeth from relapsing, which happens when they move back to their original place.

So how long do you need to wear a retainer? The rumors are true: you will have to wear it forever if you want to keep your smile as straight as possible. For the first few months, you’ll need to keep it in full time. Then, once your teeth have had some time to get used to their new position, you can slowly shift to only wearing it at night. Trust us: it’s worth it. You waited a long time for your new smile, so it’s important to take the right steps to keep it this way.

Types of Retainers

Retainers come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The type of retainer you choose depends on your personal preferences and orthodontic needs. Some retainers are fixed, some are removable, some are made from plastic and others are made from metal. Here, we’ll break down the main two types of orthodontic retainers we offer at The Brace Place to help you make the best decision for your post-braces care.

Essix Retainers

 If you want a retainer that’s virtually invisible but can still be removed, a plastic retainer, such as an Essix retainer, is the perfect choice. Essix retainers are made from a thin, clear plastic that’s nearly impossible to see, so you can wear your retainer while still enjoying your new smile.

Essix retainers function in a similar way as clear plastic aligners to keep your teeth in place. However, the plastic is slightly thinner than aligners so they may not be as durable if you don’t take care of them properly. Unfortunately, since clear retainers can’t be adjusted, they cannot be fixed if broken. So if you’re opting for a plastic retainer over a metal one, make sure to take extra care with your device. An added bonus with Essix retainers is that they’re removable, so you can easily eat, brush and floss as usual.

Permanent Retainers

Removable retainers are a fantastic option for those who want to be able to brush and floss their teeth without disruption. That said, it’s easy to forget to wear a removable retainer or to wear it less than you’re supposed to. A permanent retainer eliminates that problem because it’s fixed in place — in other words, you have no choice but to wear it all the time! A simple wire is bonded to the back of your teeth (typically just the lower teeth) to keep them in their new position. While it may be a little trickier to brush and floss correctly, a permanent retainer is the simplest, most indetectable option for orthodontic retainers.

With so many different kinds of orthodontic retainers on the market, we know it can be difficult to decide which option is best. Your choice comes down to how visible (or invisible) and durable you want your retainer to be. If you’re still unsure, The Brace Place is here to answer any of your questions about retainers. Call us today book a virtual consultation.

dr-patel-virtual-consultation

The Perks of a Virtual Consultation at The Brace Place

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

As you probably already know, a few weeks ago, we made the difficult decision to close our practice during the COVID-19 crisis. We’re doing our part to protect our patients and staff, and to help #flattenthecurve. But while our doors may be closed, our team is still here to serve our Claremore and Tulsa orthodontic patients. We miss seeing your smiling faces at The Brace Place, so we’ve found a way to connect with you online.

Introducing virtual appointments: a safe, socially distant way to learn more about orthodontic treatment, meet our team and discuss your treatment options. Self-isolation doesn’t have to stand in the way of getting the smile of your dreams. Virtual appointments are a quick and simple first step in the orthodontic process. Ready to find out more? Here are the benefits of a virtual consultation with The Brace Place.

1. Allows You to Practice Social Distancing

Social distancing is the one thing that each of us can do to bring us closer to ending this pandemic. Now is not the time for social gatherings, group events or physical contact. It’s also not the time for unnecessary visits outside your home, and that includes orthodontic appointments. That’s not to say orthodontic appointments are unnecessary, though — far from it! They’re crucial to helping you achieve your best smile and oral health. But scheduling virtual appointments is the best way to ensure you get the care and answers you need, all while keeping everyone safe and healthy.

2. Super Convenient, At-Home Guidance

All of our lives are turned upside down right now. Maybe you’re adjusting to working from home for the first time or you’ve got kids to entertain all day. Between all of the new changes every day, it would be tough to carve out the time to get into our office. Fortunately, now you don’t have to worry about it. With a virtual appointment, simply fill out the form on our website from wherever you’re weathering the storm and book a time that works for you. Visiting your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist has never been more convenient.

3. Getting Started is Easy as 1,2,3

Not super computer savvy? Never had a virtual appointment before? Don’t worry! We’ve made the entire process as simple as possible so you can get the most out of your virtual experience with Dr. Patel. All you have to do is fill out the form with a few details about yourself, tell us about your concerns and goals, and one of our team members will reach out via phone or email. So it doesn’t matter if it’s your first online appointment or your hundredth. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

4. Get Answers in Real Time

Once we have your information, it’s time for the magic to happen. Dr. Patel can begin to develop a treatment plan based on your unique situation and desired results. During your virtual appointment, you’ll have the opportunity to ask any and all questions you have about orthodontic treatment, how the process works and how long it will take. The best part? You’ll get answers immediately so we can get a head start on your treatment plan. Our goal is to give you the most thorough understanding of your options so you can make an informed decision for your oral health.

5. It’s Totally Free

Virtual consultations at The Brace Place are for everyone, no referrals or commitment required. If, after talking to Dr. Patel, you decide not to move forward with treatment, that’s totally up to you. But if you’re ready to take the next step towards your perfect smile, we’ll make sure to get you in as soon as we open our doors.

At The Brace Place, we believe everyone deserves to put their best smile forward. We want to thank you all for your patience and understanding during these challenging times as we do our best to keep you all safe. Until we can see you in person, virtual consultations will give you the answers you need to prepare for treatment. When life returns to normal, we’ll be here to welcome you with open arms.

Our Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

By | Community, Orthodontics | No Comments

OUR OFFICES ARE RE-OPENING THIS FRI, MAY 1ST! – COVID-19 UPDATE FOR APRIL 29, 2020

 

Dear Patients and Parents,

We are excited to announce that our Tulsa and Claremore offices will be open to patients again this Friday, May 1st!

We want to thank all of our patients for their continued support and patience through all of this.

As we prepare to transition back, we will be making a few changes to our office protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients, staff and community, as well as to prevent the spread of covid-19. Your safety and well-being are always our utmost top priority!

Here’s what’s changing:

Following strict CDC and ADA guidelines on infection control and sterilization techniques and equipment, we will be:

✅ Rescheduling patients who had appointments with us in the last 6-7 weeks. The Brace Place staff will be calling patients to confirm new appointment dates and times.

✅ The number of patients and patient family members in the offices will be limited. For a teen or adult patient, we prefer no other family present, if possible. For children, only 1 family member may be present with the patient. Please wear a mask upon entering the office.

✅ We will be limiting the number of patients we see per hour to enhance social distancing. To help accommodate everyone’s appointments, we will be opening extra operating days in the coming months.

✅ Our staff will be undergoing daily temperature checks using a no-contact thermometer. Temperature checks can be requested if you are uncertain if your child has a fever.

✅ Office amenities such as coffee and water stations will be temporarily closed due to sanitation purposes.

✅ If you are a patient who has experienced or currently has a fever, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, traveled to a hot spot, or has been outside the US, please call us to reschedule your appointment to when you’re healthy.

If you have any questions or concerns at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Dr. Patel and The Brace Place Team

____________________________

 

COVID-19 UPDATE FOR APRIL 2, 2020

 

Dear Patients and Parents,

We want to personally reach out to you and provide an update on the actions that The Brace Place is taking to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and to support the health and well-being of our patients and team. Following recommendations from the Oklahoma Dental Association, ADA and CDC, we are temporarily closing the office until April 30th.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through this time together and we will continue to provide you with the latest information via email, text message, and social media. Phones will still be answered, and messages checked routinely.

We will be contacting every patient who is on the schedule from now until then and will reappoint you once we have more information in the next few weeks.

For your convenience, in the event of a dental emergency or if you have any questions about your orthodontic treatment and would like to send us pictures to have Dr. Patel review your progress, please complete a virtual check-in with us here. Dr. Patel will be able to provide feedback which will allow for your treatment to progress and your treatment to stay on track.

Our admin support and emergency care will be available from Monday to Thursday 8am – 12pm and 1pm – 5pm at both our Tulsa and Claremore offices.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via phone or email.

  • Phone: (918) 749-8817 (Tulsa Office)
  • Phone: (918) 342-1240 (Claremore Office)
  • Email: [email protected]

We are privileged to serve you and the community and look forward to seeing your smiles again soon!

Thank you and be well,

Dr. Patel and The Brace Place Team

____________________________

 

COVID-19 UPDATE FOR MARCH 18, 2020

 

Dear Patients and Parents,

In light of the current COVID-19 crisis and in the interest of protecting our patients and orthodontic team, we are following the recommendation of the American Dental Association (ADA) to not do any elective dental procedure which includes orthodontics, and have made the hard decision to close our office (EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY) and cancel all appointments until April 3rd.

We will be contacting every patient who is on the schedule from now until then and will reappoint you once we have more information in the next three weeks.

We will remain available for emergencies and to answer any questions via phone or email.
Phone: (918) 749-8817 (Tulsa Office)
Phone: (918) 342-1240 (Claremore Office)
Email: [email protected]

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for timely updates.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBracePlaceTulsa
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebraceplacetulsa

As small business owners, healthcare providers, parents and community members we feel the need to do our part to #flattenthecurve. The health of our patients and staff is our top priority!

Thank you so much for your support and understanding during this difficult time. We feel blessed to be part of such an amazing community. We take comfort knowing we will get through this together. We will continue to update you as new information becomes available.

Invisalign Patients:
Continue wearing your aligners as instructed. If you are on your last aligner and have an appointment in this three-week time frame, continue wearing the last aligner until you are seen again. Any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Braces Patients:
Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene! Brush, floss, repeat. Continue with your treatment as directed until you are seen again.

Expander and Elastics Patients:
Continue with your treatment as directed. If your appointment falls in this next three-weeks, please call us before continuing further.

Stay safe and keep smiling!

Dr. Patel and The Brace Place Team