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The Perks of a Virtual Consultation at The Brace Place

By Orthodontics

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



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





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





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.

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


Invisalign & Braces Hacks to Make Your Orthodontic Treatment Easier

By Orthodontics

New to braces or Invisalign, or about to start orthodontic treatment? We’re excited you’ve decided to make this investment in your future smile! As you begin to adjust to your new hardware, you probably have a ton of questions about how to make your orthodontic treatment easier. As your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontists, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know.

At The Brace Place, we’re committed to helping our patients achieve the smile of their dreams — as easily and comfortably as possible. If you’re new to braces or Invisalign, here are our top tips and tricks for making your orthodontic treatment as easy as saying “cheese!”

1. Stock the Fridge with Braces-Friendly Foods

One of the best ways to prepare for Invisalign or braces is to get your home ready before you even start treatment. That way, you won’t have a thing to worry about when you get home from your appointment. Whether you’re about to start orthodontic treatment yourself or you’re preparing to support your child through the process, we recommend stocking your fridge with yummy, healthy foods that are safe for braces and Invisalign to take the guesswork out of mealtimes.

For braces, this means nothing hard, crunchy, sticky, chewy, or anything you have to bite into (like whole apples or corn on the cob). For Invisalign, you can pretty much eat as you normally would, since you can simply remove your aligners during meals. You’ll also want to be careful with foods and drinks that could stain your aligners (like beets, coffee or red wine), and always make sure to brush and floss before putting them back in!

2. Brush and Floss with Extra Care

It can take a little time to get used to living with Invisalign or braces. There’s a lot to learn and many new routines you’ll need to develop. The most important thing you can do to set yourself up for success with braces or Invisalign is to take extra care when brushing or flossing. While you probably already brush your teeth twice a day, you’ll need to brush after every meal with braces and Invisalign — no exceptions! That’s because food can get caught in your teeth or behind your braces. If you don’t brush or floss it away, it could cause harmful build-up or cavities. The sooner you get super diligent about your oral hygiene, the easier your orthodontic treatment will be.

3. Build a Braces or Invisalign To-Go Kit

All it takes to have a smooth and simple experience with braces or Invisalign is a little preparation. We know it can seem like a lot of change at first, but if you plan ahead, treatment will feel like a breeze. As you already know, you need to brush and floss extra carefully when you have braces or Invisalign, which can be easier said than done when you’re on the go. That’s why we suggest our Claremore and Tulsa orthodontic patients create a travel kit for Invisalign or braces, stocked with everything they need to take care of their hardware no matter where they are. Put a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, a small mirror and orthodontic wax into a toiletry bag that you can carry with you anywhere. You’ll never have to worry about getting caught with food in your teeth again (and your teeth will thank you!).

4. Ease Discomfort with Simple, At-Home Solutions

Most patients will experience the most discomfort during their first week with braces or Invisalign. That’s because your hardware is working hard to guide your teeth into the ideal position and create your perfect smile. For the most part, this discomfort will subside over time, but as you progress through treatment, certain times may be more uncomfortable than others. Fortunately, there are some simple at-home hacks for braces pain.

If you have braces, your teeth might be a little extra tender after you get your brackets tightened. For Invisalign wearers, each time you switch to a new set of aligners, you could experience increased sensitivity. To reduce discomfort from Invisalign or braces, try rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution (2 tablespoons per cup of warm water) or take a mild painkiller like Tylenol before your tightening appointments. If your brackets are irritating the inside of your lips, orthodontic wax will be your new best friend. Simply place a ball of wax over the poking part of your braces and we’re confident you’ll be feeling good as new in no time.

Learning to live with braces or Invisalign can be quick and easy, as long as you’re armed with these simple hacks. Still have questions about how to prepare or adjust to your orthodontic treatment? Call The Brace Place today.


Your Guide to Orthodontic Rubber Bands

By Orthodontics

Everyone knows that braces and Invisalign are proven ways to straighten your teeth. Through a combination of technologies, they work to gradually improve your smile and align your bite over time. But as effective as these orthodontic treatments are, they often need support from additional tools to help you achieve your desired results. One of the little helpers we use most often at The Brace Place is orthodontic rubber bands.

Rubber bands are a powerful add-on to your (or your child’s) orthodontic treatment. They work with both braces and Invisalign to guide your teeth into their final place. These rubber bands differ from the tiny elastics that hold the wire into the brackets. Instead, rubber bands give braces and aligners a little more leverage to perfect your bite.

Feeling a little confused? Don’t worry. Your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontists created this guide to rubber bands to help you get the most out of your treatment. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how rubber bands and braces work together.

What Are Orthodontic Rubber Bands?

As you probably already know, braces and Invisalign put pressure on your teeth and jaw to slowly move them into the desired position. However, these devices treat your top teeth and bottom teeth separately. This can become a problem when it comes to aligning your jaw. To achieve a perfect bite, we need to look at the mouth as a whole and treat the entire jaw together.

In order to align your jaw so your teeth fit together properly when you bite down, we need to create a connection between your upper and lower jaw. We also sometimes have to use extra force to bring your jaw into alignment. Rubber bands allow us to do both, helping to shorten your treatment time and give you your best smile.

Now that you know what braces rubber bands are for, it’s important to understand what they are not. They’re not the same thing as the regular rubber bands you find at home or at the office — in fact, using those types of elastics on your braces is extremely dangerous. Orthodontic rubber bands are made from a high-tech, medical grade latex that’s 100% safe to have in your mouth. (If you have a latex allergy, other options are available). So always be sure to use the braces rubber bands you get from your Claremore and Tulsa orthodontist.

How to Use Braces Rubber Bands

There are a lot of things to learn when you first get braces, so adding another appliance into the mix can feel a little overwhelming at first. Fortunately, rubber bands for braces are extremely easy to use. Actually, your braces are already designed for use with rubber bands, with little hooks to hold your elastics. They’re also used mostly during the bite-fixing part of your treatment, so by the time your orthodontist tells you to wear them, you’ll be an expert at having braces or Invisalign.

The positioning of your rubber bands will depend on the issue you’re trying to correct. For example, to fix an underbite, the rubber bands typically run from the lower front teeth to the back upper teeth. An overbite will have the opposite positioning. Your Tulsa orthodontist will give you detailed instructions for exactly how to wear your braces rubber bands, but here’s a basic guide for how to put rubber bands on your braces:

  • If you have braces, loop your rubber bands onto the little hooks on your braces to connect the upper jaw to the bottom. There may be hooks in different places so always follow your orthodontist’s instructions to make sure you’re affixing your elastics in the right place.
  • For Invisalign, there are two ways to use rubber bands. You will either loop your rubber bands around clear “buttons” that will be bonded directly to your teeth, or onto precision hooks that are cut into your plastic aligners.

Quick Tips for Braces Rubber Bands

Well, that was a lot of information on rubber bands! We know there’s a lot to take in when you’re new to braces. To make your braces or Invisalign treatment as simple as possible, here’s a list of dos and don’ts for how to wear and take care of your rubber bands for braces.

  • Wear your rubber bands for 24 hours a day. Only take them out to brush, floss and, if necessary, to eat.
  • Always follow your orthodontist’s instructions. Your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist knows best and has designed your treatment plan to treat your specific needs.
  • Replace elastics regularly. Rubber bands for braces can get stretched out pretty quickly, so you may need to swap them out throughout the day. Just be sure to only use rubber bands provided by your orthodontist!
  • Don’t take them off if your teeth hurt. Every time you take your elastics off, it slows down your treatment time. We know it can be uncomfortable at first, but with regular use, your teeth will adjust.
  • Call The Brace Place if you have any questions, concerns or if you’re running low. Dr. Anand Patel is a highly trained orthodontic specialist. If you need more elastics, or if you have any questions about how to use your rubber bands, don’t hesitate to call us.

Ready to find out how The Brace Place can give you the smile of your dreams? Call today to book a free consultation.


4 Tips for Your First Week of Braces

By Orthodontics

So you (or your child) is about to get braces. Congratulations — you’ve taken a huge first step towards a brand new smile! While it’s exciting to look ahead to the new you, the first week with braces doesn’t always feel like a cause for celebration. Adjusting to your new hardware can be a major lifestyle shift that takes time to navigate. There are new rules to follow, techniques to learn and changes you’ll need to make to your everyday routine. But it’s all part of the journey to achieving the smile of your dreams and we’re here to support you.

At The Brace Place, our patients are our number one priority. We want to make sure your orthodontic experience goes as smoothly as possible — from the day you decide to get braces to your lifelong oral health. If you (or your loved one) are about to get braces and you’re not sure what to expect or how to prepare, here’s our ultimate survival guide for your first week with braces.

1. Stock the Fridge with Braces-Friendly Foods

The best way to ensure a positive first week with braces is to plan ahead — and that starts with learning what you can and cannot eat with braces. It’s best to do some research ahead of time so you can go into your first week with braces prepared and armed with braces-friendly recipes you’ll actually enjoy.

During your first week with braces, your teeth will likely be more sensitive as they adjust to your new hardware. Some foods — like crunchy, hard or chewy foods, or anything you have to bite into — can cause further discomfort. Not only that: these foods can damage your braces, causing unnecessary delays to your treatment. And as much as we love to see our patients’ smiling faces, the less we see you during treatment means you’re on track.

We always recommend sticking to soft, easily digestible foods, not only during your first week with braces, but throughout your entire treatment. Foods like yogurt, bananas, bite-sized fruits, pasta, sandwiches, soups, steamed veggies, tofu and fish are all safe foods for braces. You could even meal prep for your first week so you’re guaranteed to have a fridge full of braces-friendly foods on hand.

2. Brush Up on Proper Brushing and Flossing Practices

If you’re like the majority of Americans, you probably brush your teeth twice a day: once in the morning and once before you go to bed. There’s nothing wrong with that when you don’t have braces — but as soon as you begin your orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to be more diligent about brushing and flossing.

With braces, it’s more difficult to brush away plaque and food particles from your teeth because the brackets and wires are in the way. Food can also easily get stuck on your braces, causing even more harmful build-up. That’s why it’s so important to brush carefully after every meal and floss at least once a day. Read up on braces hygiene practices ahead of time and then use your first week with braces to perfect your technique. We’re sure brushing and flossing with braces will become second nature in no time.

3. Plan Ahead for Braces Emergencies

With any big change or new experience, it’s totally natural to worry about what might go wrong. The good news is that braces emergencies are extremely rare and, when they do occur, they’re hardly ever serious. Most braces emergencies can also be handled at home without a visit to your orthodontist, as long as you prepare yourself ahead of time.

In your first week with braces, the most common issues you’ll experience are sensitive teeth, irritation to the gums and inside of your lips, and poking wires. While braces are designed to minimize discomfort, it can still take time for your mouth to adjust. If your brackets or wires are causing irritation, rinse with salt water to prevent infection and use orthodontic wax to create a protective barrier. As for any tooth sensitivity, a mild painkiller like Ibuprofen can help.

4. Stay Positive!

We know there’s a lot to get used to during your first week with braces. Between knowing what to eat, taking care of your new hardware and managing discomfort, it can be a little overwhelming at first. But once your teeth and mouth adjust, the discomfort will go away after a few days. And as soon you get into a routine, we know you’ll feel confident and prepared to handle every step of your braces journey.

If you’re feeling nervous or unsure about what to expect from braces treatment, call your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. And remember, the best thing you can do is be positive, stick to a routine and stay focused on the end goal: your beautiful smile.


What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

By Orthodontics

In the modern world of technology and social media, you can have anything you could possibly need delivered directly to your door. From mattresses to prescription eyeglasses to clothing and shoes, there are direct-to-consumer brands of all kinds popping up online. It was only a matter of time before someone brought this concept to orthodontics.

Yep, you can now order orthodontic treatments like braces or Invisalign-like aligners online. Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is. The companies that offer these “fast braces” or “six month smiles” make unrealistic promises. They aren’t backed by specialized orthodontists and they could be dangerous.

At The Brace Place, we’re passionate about safe, healthy and customized orthodontic treatment. We provide only the very best care to our Claremore and Tulsa orthodontic patients because we know that not all orthodontic treatments are created equally. Here’s the difference between a dentist and orthodontist, the dangers of DIY treatments, and why a highly trained orthodontic specialist is always the right choice when it comes to straightening your teeth.

Dentist vs. Orthodontist: Who Should I See?

Dentist and orthodontists do a lot of the same things: they take care of people’s teeth and they’re committed to helping patients achieve healthy smiles. But there’s an important distinction to make between dentists and orthodontists: all orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. This means that all dentists and orthodontists go through dentistry school — but then an orthodontist continues on to specialize in orthodontics. As an orthodontist, Dr. Patel has both his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and a master’s degree in orthodontics.

Think of it this way: a dentist is a generalist whereas an orthodontist is a specialist. While a dentist has the ability to treat your teeth, gums, jaw and general oral health, a trained orthodontic specialist has the knowledge and expertise to prevent, diagnose and treat dental and facial irregularities.

Just like you see your general practitioner for minor health concerns, you see your dentist for regular check-ups, routine cleanings, dental exams and non-urgent procedures like fillings, crowns or teeth whitening treatments. For bigger concerns that require corrective intervention — like size, positioning or spacing of the teeth and jaw — your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist. As a specialist, an orthodontist focuses solely on orthodontics. They’ll diagnose your issue and create a customized treatment plan to improve your smile, usually involving braces or Invisalign.

The Dangers of Direct-to Consumer and DIY Orthodontics

So you’ve been thinking about improving your smile for a while, but have been hesitant about starting treatment because it might take longer than you’d like. We hear this all the time from our Tulsa and Claremore orthodontic patients. People want their new smile — fast — and they think braces or Invisalign will feel like a lifetime.

Direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies play into this need for instant gratification. Their ads pop up all over Instagram and Facebook, promising to straighten people’s teeth in six months or less. We understand the allure of a quick, easy way to get the smile of your dreams but here’s the truth: there’s no “quick fix” when it comes to orthodontics.

These brands are basically offering DIY orthodontics — no orthodontist, no regulation and no guarantees for results. They don’t involve professional dental x-rays, instead relying on at-home impressions that cannot give an accurate picture of your orthodontic needs. DIY systems also focus solely on straightening your front teeth and fail to address overall bite concerns. At best, these types of treatment will lead to results that don’t last. At worst, they can cause damage to your teeth, jaw, gums and bite, meaning you’ll need more extensive orthodontic treatment in the long run.

What Kind of Orthodontic Treatment is Right for Me?

Unfortunately, many dentists endorse these mail-order orthodontic systems. Not at The Brace Place. Our orthodontic specialists only provide scientifically backed and clinically proven orthodontic treatments like braces and Invisalign. This is part of our commitment to take care of our patients in the safest, most effective way possible.

The type of orthodontic treatment you need depends on a number of factors. Just like there’s no quick fix, there’s also no one-size-fits-all treatment. The kind of treatment you choose will depend on:

  • The severity of your case: No two mouths are the same and some people need more intervention than others to achieve their dream smile. For significant bite issues, braces will be your best bet. For minimal crowding in only the front teeth, mail-order orthodontic treatments could work — but you should always speak to an orthodontist before starting any treatment.
  • The health of your teeth and gums: Undergoing any orthodontic treatment puts a lot of strain on your gums and teeth. In order to shift your teeth effectively, your mouth needs to be healthy first. You can do this safely under the supervision and guidance of a trained orthodontic specialist. If you insist on using an at-home system, make sure to get a clean bill of health from a dentist or orthodontist first. Otherwise, you risk damaging your teeth and gums.
  • Your lifestyle: Some people don’t mind having fixed hardware in their mouths for the duration of treatment. Others would prefer a device they can remove while eating or playing sports. The treatment you choose will depend on your personal preferences and lifestyle choices. Talk to your orthodontist and they’ll be able to put you on the right path to your dream smile.

We understand that our patients want to see their new smiles as quickly as possible. But we urge you not to choose a mail-order orthodontic system over professional treatment with a highly trained orthodontic specialist. It’s not worth it. If you’re still having doubts about the safety or concerns with at-home treatments, call The Brace Place to talk to an expert today.


Everything You Want to Know About Dental X-Rays

By Orthodontics

Every orthodontist’s goal is to provide the highest level of care to his or her patients, from routine check-ups to diagnosing issues to providing education for lifelong oral health. A critical part of any orthodontic program is the use of dental x-rays, which allows dentists to diagnose, prevent and treat oral health concerns. But even though x-rays have been used in dentistry and medicine for over 150 years, many people still worry about the long-term effects x-rays can have on our overall health.

One of the biggest concerns our Tulsa and Claremore orthodontic patients have is that the risk of radiation from x-rays outweighs the benefits. While dental x-rays do give off minor amounts of radiation, the long-term impact is minimal. In fact, dental x-rays give off so little radiation that they’re considered safe for children and adults.

At The Brace Place, we always have our patients’ best interests at heart. We would never put you through anything that would cause you undue harm. X-rays are an important part of our Claremore and Tulsa orthodontic practice because they give us a total picture of your oral health, which in turn gives us the information we need to treat you as best we can. Still not sure whether dental x-rays are safe for you and your family? Here’s everything you need to know so you can feel comfortable making decisions for your dental health.

What are X-Rays Anyway?

An x-ray (or radiograph) is an imaging tool that gives medical and dental professionals an inside look at what’s happening inside your body. During the x-ray process, electromagnetic radiation passes through you and creates an image of your bones and other structures. These images are what are commonly known as “x-rays,” but the term actually refers to the type of radiation used to create them.

In dentistry, x-rays show a high level of detail of your teeth, bone and supporting structures of your mouth. They can help orthodontists and dentists find cavities, diagnose bite issues or periodontal disease, and so much more. While we can see many things through a visual dental examination, certain issues simply aren’t visible to the naked eye. X-rays give us a deeper, more accurate look at what’s going on in your mouth, helping us create a better informed treatment plan.

Why We Use X-Rays in Orthodontics

As we’ve mentioned, the benefits of dental x-rays are vast. Not only do they give dentists and orthodontists the information they need to accurately diagnose and treat dental problems — x-rays are a tool to help prevent problems from starting in the first place. X-rays can be used during routine orthodontic visits to check for cavities, rule out disease and ensure proper tooth development, or as part of a holistic treatment plan to diagnose and treat specific orthodontic issues.

At The Brace Place, we believe that x-rays are a necessary step in the journey to your perfect smile. We also believe in making sure that your orthodontic treatment is as safe as possible. That’s why Dr. Patel uses modern, low-dose, digital x-rays that follow the ALARA principle. Coined by the International Commission on Radiologic Protection, the ALARA principle stands for “As Low as Reasonably Achievable” and ensures that:

  • all x-ray exposures are justified in relation to their health benefits
  • all x-ray exposures are kept as low as possible
  • total x-ray doses received by a patient or personnel stay below the allowable limit

The ALARA principle also reduces the time of exposure, increases the distance between your body and the radiation source, and guarantees the use of shielding, such as leaded aprons. By following these standards, we are able to provide safe, effective and reliable dental x-rays to our patients.

What are the Risks of Dental X-Rays?

At The Brace Place, our patients are our number one priority. We want you to feel comfortable, safe and informed about your dental treatment. Before undergoing any sort of test, it’s important to understand both the risks and rewards. Fortunately, the benefits of dental x-rays are far greater than any downside.

When it comes to the risks of x-rays, radiation and its effects are the most common concerns. But the public perception of radiation from dental x-rays is inaccurate. In a single day, we’re exposed to more natural radiation than during a dental x-ray. In fact, dental x-rays have one of the lowest doses of radiation out there, equivalent to about an hour-long airplane flight. For comparison, a CT scan can expose you to almost double the radiation you’d encounter in a full year from natural sources.

While certain x-rays can pose serious health risks, dental and orthodontic x-rays are a safe and necessary tool for overall health. We only use digital x-rays, which have even lower radiation levels than traditional film x-rays, and we always cover you with leaded aprons to reduce your exposure as much as possible. If you still have concerns about the safety of dental x-rays, give The Brace Place a call to talk with an expert. We’re always here to help.


School Lunch Ideas for Kids and Teens in Braces

By Orthodontics

We can’t believe that summer is over and school is back in session. For our Claremore and Tulsa orthodontic patients, that means it’s time to get back into a regular routine of early wake-ups, homework sessions and of course, healthy school lunches. At The Brace Place, we know how hectic school day mornings can be: you have to get your kids ready, pack lunches and get them to school before the bell rings. And if your child or teen got braces over the summer, packing braces-friendly lunches takes even more thought and preparation.

Preparing back-to-school lunches for kids with braces doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you know exactly what your child can (and cannot) eat, it’ll be easier than ever to create nutritious meals and snacks your kids will love. To help you start the school year off right, here are our favorite braces-friendly lunch ideas for kids and teens.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

Before we get to fun and healthy lunch ideas for braces, it’s important to be clear on what your child should avoid eating during treatment. Your child is already getting used to so many changes right now — from the smile they see in the mirror to new oral hygiene routines. It’s a parent’s job to ease the transition to life with braces as much as possible, starting with braces-friendly foods.

While your child or teen can still enjoy most of their favorite foods with braces, there are a few things they’ll have to avoid until treatment ends. This includes sticky, crunchy, hard and chewy foods, and anything you have to bite into (like whole apples and corn on the cob). These foods can get caught in braces, making it harder to clean teeth effectively, or could even damage the brackets, meaning your child will need more appointments than necessary to keep treatment on track. To avoid treatment delays, avoid these foods when preparing your braces-clad child’s school lunches:

  • Bagels
  • Nuts
  • Chewing gum (unless it’s sugar free!)
  • Licorice
  • Hard candies
  • Popcorn
  • Caramel
  • Chips
  • Foods you have to bite into (such as apples, carrots or corn on the cob)

Easy, Braces-Friendly School Lunches

Sandwiches: While you’ll want to avoid chewy breads like bagels during your child’s treatment, soft bread, like sandwich bread, is totally safe. Sandwiches are the perfect braces-friendly meal because they’re so versatile. Peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, tuna salad — no matter what your kids’ preferences, there’s an easy-to-eat sandwich they’re sure to love.

Fresh Fruit: As we said, whole apples are a no-go with braces because biting into a whole fruit can cause damage. But there are tons of fresh fruits that are easy to eat with braces. Try bite-sized fruits like berries, soft fruits like bananas, or cut-up fruits like mangoes and pineapples. Even apples can be on the menu, as long as they’re cut into small chunks or slices.

Pasta: For a super easy lunch that’s safe for braces (and a total crowd pleaser), whip up a simple pasta dish or even pasta salad. The best part is you can prep pasta ahead of time and have it ready to go, so you can spend less time worrying about school lunches for your teen or child with braces. Check out one of these braces-friendly recipes. After all, everyone loves pasta, right?

Steamed Veggies: To give your kids’ lunches a healthy boost, pack steamed veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Eating these veggies raw could cause damage to your child’s hardware, but steaming them makes them soft enough to eat without risk.

Soup: The best foods for kids with braces require minimal chewing, so soup fits the bill perfectly. Store-bought soups can be healthy — just watch out for added sugars and ingredients you can’t pronounce. Or try one of these delicious, healthy, homemade soup recipes! To make sure the soup is still warm when lunchtime comes, use one of these awesome thermoses.

Yogurt: Yogurt is one the best snacks for kids and teens with braces because it’s not only soft and easy to digest, but it’s cold, too. Your child’s teeth will likely be sensitive as the braces work their magic. Cold foods can be soothing and can help to alleviate discomfort. Just like with store-bought soups, check labels for added sugars and any harmful additives. Better yet, get plain yogurt and add your own healthy, fresh fruit!

Preparing braces-friendly lunches might take a little extra forethought, but with a little creativity and planning, it’ll be easy as pie. Do yourself the favor of planning meals ahead of time by creating a lunch schedule for each day of the week. If you have time on Sundays, you can even meal prep for the week ahead to save time on school day mornings. And if you ever have questions about what your child can eat with braces, give The Brace Place a call. We’re always here to help.


Factors that Affect Orthodontic Treatment Time

By Orthodontics

Did you or your child just get braces or Invisalign? If you’re like the rest of the patients at our Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist office, the first thing you’re probably wondering is how long your treatment will take. While there’s no simple, one-size-fits-all answer, there are a number of things that can affect the length of your orthodontic treatment.

At The Brace Place, we know adjusting to life with braces can take time — but don’t wish it away. Instead, look at your treatment time as a journey towards the smile of your dreams. That said, there are certain things you can do to keep your orthodontic treatment on track. While it won’t necessarily mean you’ll get your braces off faster, it will at least minimize delays.

The length of your orthodontic treatment comes down to a few factors. Some depend on you — like how well you care for your teeth and whether you listen to your doctor’s advice or not. Others, like how complicated your case is, are out of your control. To get a better idea of how long your braces or Invisalign treatment will take, here’s a list of common factors that contribute to treatment time.

1. Your Oral Hygiene Practices

As you already know, the health of your teeth depends on how well you take care of them. Same goes for braces or Invisalign. The more diligent you are about brushing and flossing, the fewer delays you’ll have throughout your orthodontic treatment. So in many ways, practicing good oral hygiene will actually help you get your braces off faster!

If you have braces, you should brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, but ideally after every meal so you don’t have pesky food particles hiding behind your brackets and wires all day. The same rules apply if you have Invisalign. Brushing your teeth after you eat will help keep your aligners (and teeth!) stain-free.

2. How Well You Adhere to Your Doctor’s Instructions

Believe it or not, there’s a method to your orthodontist’s madness. When Dr. Patel tells you not to eat crunchy foods or play sports without a mouthguard, it’s not because he doesn’t want you to have any fun — it’s because he wants your braces treatment to go as smoothly as possible. Listening to your doctor and following his or her instructions will mean less time in the orthodontist chair and more time enjoying your life. So do what your orthodontist says and your treatment will be over before you know it.

3. Avoiding Damage to Your Braces

Speaking of crunchy foods and mouthguards, any damage to your braces can cause setbacks in your orthodontic treatment. For people with braces, that means avoiding crunchy, sticky or chewy foods, and any foods you have to bite into (like apples or raw carrots), and wearing a mouthguard for any contact sports. For those with Invisalign, this means taking care of your aligners and only washing them in lukewarm water, since hot water can warp the plastic.

4. Losing Your Invisalign Aligners

Invisalign wearers, this one’s for you. We get it: things happen and at some point during your Invisalign treatment, you might end up misplacing your aligners. Our first word of advice is not to panic. Just call your orthodontist and he’ll be able to suggest the best course of action. This may mean going back to your previous set of aligners or skipping ahead to your next set, depending on your unique situation. Disrupting your Invisalign plan can definitely slow down your progress, though, so be careful and always put your aligners safely in their case when you’re not wearing them!

5. Your Current Smile

This is easily the biggest contributing factor to how long your braces or Invisalign treatment will take. Your treatment plan is based on your original smile and is 100% tailored to your specific needs. Some people are working to correct an over- or underbite, while others are treating issues like crooked or crowded teeth. Determining the length of your treatment comes down to how far your teeth need to move to reach their optimal position. Severely misaligned bites typically take longer to correct than minor issues, like a few crooked teeth. It all depends on your current smile — basically, the less complicated your condition, the shorter your treatment will be.

We know you’re excited to see your new smile without your braces or Invisalign in the way. To keep your treatment moving forward without delay, make sure to practice proper oral hygiene, listen to your orthodontist’s instructions and, most importantly, be patient. That way, when the day comes to remove your braces or put away your aligners for good, you’ll be able to think back on your treatment experience with a smile.


Answers to the Questions We Hear Most Often from Our Claremore & Tulsa Invisalign Patients

By Orthodontics

The decision to get braces isn’t always easy. Even though braces are incredibly common, they can still make wearers feel self-conscious about their appearance and interrupt their lives. It’s important to us at The Brace Place to provide our patients with options so they can make the best decision for their teeth and lifestyle. Fortunately, there’s an effective alternative to traditional braces, free from uncomfortable metal and wires.

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment used to achieve the same results as braces — but instead of using fixed brackets and elastics, Invisalign uses removable plastic aligners to gradually straighten your teeth. As a provider of affordable braces in Tulsa and Claremore, Dr. Anand Patel at The Brace Place is also an expert in Invisalign. Curious if Invisalign is right for you? Here’s everything you need to know to make the choice between braces and Invisalign. Read More