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Dr. Tabakman

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What are the Different Types of Braces and How do I Choose the Right Kind?

By | Blog | No Comments

Your smile is as unique as you are. In fact, just like fingerprints, no two people have the same set of teeth. That’s why you won’t find a one-size-fits-all approach at Houston Orthodontic Specialists. We create personalized treatment plans and offer a wide variety of options for braces and Invisalign in Houston and Bellaire. We want you to be able to choose the treatment that will bring about the best results while also fitting your lifestyle, so you feel confident and comfortable during the process. So, what are the different types of braces and how do you pick the best one for you? Here’s what’s on the menu at our practice and some key things to consider about each type to help you decide:

  • Conventional Metal Braces – When you think of braces, you probably immediately think of the conventional metal ones. They’ve been around the longest of all of the types of braces and they’re still the most widely used worldwide. Today’s metal braces are nothing like the bulky ones of the past and are a lot more low profile. Made of stainless steel, this type of braces relies on brackets and archwires to move the teeth. Small elastics are also used to secure the wires to the brackets.  

Conventional metal braces might be right for you if you like the idea of showing off your braces and you want to wear colorful elastics to match your personality, the holidays, your school colors or even your mood. Of the different types of metal braces, these are often the most popular with our younger patients.

  • Conventional Clear Braces – Just like metal braces, conventional clear braces rely on brackets and wires to shift the teeth and elastics to hold the wires in place. The key difference is that the brackets are clear and they blend in with your smile, making them less noticeable than their metal counterparts. Years ago, they were considered one of the types of braces for adults because they required more care since they stained and were susceptible to breakage. That’s not the case anymore. The modern clear braces we use at Houston Orthodontic Specialists, resist staining and are very durable, allowing us to treat patients of all ages with them.

Conventional clear braces could be your perfect choice for orthodontic treatment if you want the straightening power of braces but would prefer a less visible treatment option. Some adults and teens feel self-conscious about having stainless steel brackets, which is where opting for clear braces can be beneficial. If you’re interested in an aesthetic option but don’t want to have to keep track of aligners, clear braces may be the ideal alternative. The brackets are bonded to your teeth and stay put throughout your treatment.

  • Self-Ligating Braces – For self-ligating braces we offer metal and clear Damon™ braces and metal and clear Carriere® SLX™ braces. Both the SLX bracket system and the Damon braces system have streamlined brackets with little doors that hold the thin, shape-memory archwires in place. They don’t require tiny elastics or ties, technically known as ligatures, to secure the wires. The teeth are able to move more freely and naturally into place, which can translate to faster results. Since Carriere SLX and Damon braces are tie-less, they don’t need to be tightened and they’re easier to clean because you have one less component that can trap plaque and food debris. Additionally, self-ligating braces create less pressure and friction and the brackets have smoother edges, making treatment more comfortable.

Self-ligating braces, such as Carriere and Damon braces, might be the best teeth-straightening solution for you if you want braces but you’re interested in getting results more quickly and comfortably. The brackets are small and smooth, so many patients are fine with the metal version but for discreet treatment, you may prefer clear self-ligating braces.

  • Lingual Braces – Lingual braces are another of the different types of braces that use brackets and wires to give you your dream smile. However, lingual braces are placed behind your teeth on the tongue side (lingual side), so they’re completely hidden from view. You can’t see them at all when you smile and they’re even less visible than Invisalign. The braces components are customized to your mouth and the braces are smaller than the ones that are bonded to the front of the teeth. Orthodontists have to undergo specialized training in order to offer lingual braces, which is why you can’t find them at every practice. Our Bellaire and Houston orthodontists are trained in lingual braces and we can use them to effectively shift your teeth into place without anyone knowing you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Lingual braces could be your ideal treatment option if you’re image conscious. They are one of the best types of braces for adults or teens who want to keep their treatment under wraps. When considering Invisalign vs. braces, if you lose things easily or think you’d forget to wear aligners for the prescribed amount of time, then add a point in favor of braces. They’re adhered to your teeth and will stay there until we take them off.  

  • Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen – Okay, so technically Invisalign and Invisalign Teen aren’t types of braces at all since they’re hardware-free ways to straighten the teeth. With Invisalign, your orthodontist designs a series of custom, clear, plastic aligners that slip over the teeth. You change the aligners according to our schedule and as you make your way through the series, your teeth move bit by bit into the desired position. Since the aligners are removable and you’ll take them out to eat and brush and floss, there are no food restrictions and oral hygiene is a breeze. Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are comfortable, convenient and, best of all, virtually invisible. As Diamond Invisalign Providers, we’re among the top practices in the country for Invisalign experience and we’re able to treat even complex cases with clear aligners.

You should consider Invisalign if you want an aesthetic treatment option that most people won’t notice you’re wearing. If you worry about giving up certain foods or you don’t love the idea of cleaning around brackets and wires, you could be well suited to clear aligners. Many of our patients who play sports or an instrument choose Invisalign or Invisalign Teen because there’s no hardware to get in the way.

If you’re interested in braces or Invisalign in Houston or Bellaire, book a free consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today! We’ll take complimentary diagnostic records, perform an exam and chat with you about your goals and lifestyle. Then, we’ll let you know which orthodontic treatment option will bring out the best in your smile.

 

I just got my braces off…what happens now?

By | Orthodontics

retainer-blog

Many patients look forward to the end of their treatment with braces and are curious as to the next steps. When it comes to getting your braces off, next comes the retention part of the treatment and getting your retainers.

As a patient, you just spent a lot of time and money on getting the beautiful smile of your dreams. Your orthodontist will most likely recommend you wear your retainers for 24 hours each day for the first several months. This means just about all the time, except when eating or brushing your teeth (don’t forget to brush your retainer if it’s removable). It’s important to wear your retainers as Dr. Tabakman, Dr. Wadler and Bellaire Family Orthodontics recommends, since your teeth are more prone to moving, especially right when you get your braces off. The last thing you want to do is not wear your retainers and lose all the hard work you just went through.

As time goes on, you will be asked to periodically visit your orthodontist for retainer check-up appointments to ensure that everything is staying in place. Once the doctor deems that you’ve been wearing your retainer properly and often, eventually you will probably be instructed to wear your retainer at night.

It’s important to remember that each person’s treatment is different and some patients may be required to wear their retainer more than others. Listen to your doctor’s instructions and you will maintain your beautiful smile for life!

retainer-blog

What type of retainers are available after my Orthodontic treatment in Houston?

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

Congrats! You just finished a long process to get the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of! Now you may be wondering, what happens next?

You and your Houston orthodontist will discuss your recommended retainer options that will best suit you. Everyone typically has to wear a retainer, but what may work best is different from person to person. There may be several options to choose from, including:

Vivera retainers
These are thick, Invisalign clear retainers, made straight from Invisalign. You probably will not be able to see them, but they will hold your teeth in place. Your Houston Invisalign orthodontist will digitally scan your teeth to have these made.

Essex retainers
These are also clear plastic, removeable retainers. Your Houston orthodontist will have an impression made. They will hold your teeth in place and allow for great oral hygiene!

Permanent retainer
This type of retainer is typically a permanent metal bar that is glued to the back of your teeth. This is a favorite of many because you don’t have to worry about losing the retainer since it is more or less “permanent” in your mouth. Just be sure to use floss threaders when flossing.

Hawley Retainers
These retainers are made of both acrylic and metal and may be the typical retainer you think of that has a metal bar going across your teeth. Your orthodontist may recommend you wear this on both your upper and lower teeth.

Whichever retainer is best for you, be rest assured these will hold your beautiful new smile in place!

Holiday recipes that are braces friendly!

By | Blog

We know that when you have braces, eating food can sometimes be a pain. Stuff gets caught in your teeth and you usually end up picking it out. And let’s hope you have your braces care kit ready when that happens! This holiday season we want to give you some braces friendly recipe for you to make to ensure you don’t break any brackets with hard foods. We hope you have a good holiday season and enjoy our delicious recipes!
Brown Sugar Roasted Carrots
Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of baby carrots
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:
Place carrots in a small pan, season with salt and pepper, and add brown sugar to pot. Cook on medium heat until carrots are soft and caramelized. Enjoy!

Delicious Melted Maple Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg

Directions:
Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and bring to a boil in a large pot with a lid. Boil the sweet potatoes until they are tender and you can pierce them with a fork. Drain and return to the pot. Mash them until they are mostly smooth and to your desired texture.
Next, cut the butter into equal-sized pieces and put skillet or pot. Stirring constantly, melt over medium-low heat or until it begins to foam. When the butter starts to brown and smell nutty, immediately pour the butter into a separate bowl.
Stir the maple syrup into the butter. Then, pour the mixture into the mashed sweet potatoes. Also, add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the mashed potatoes, then stir to combine. Taste the sweet potatoes and adjust the syrup, spices, or salt if needed. Enjoy!

Mother and Daughters Laughing on a White Background

Braces friendly recipes to keep you smiling through the holidays!

By | Blog | No Comments

We know that eating with braces can sometimes be a pain. You may have to pick things out of your teeth or be conscious of getting food caught. We obviously don’t want you to break off any brackets by eating food too hard. Stick to soft food this holiday to have a happy and healthy smile! Below are a few recipes that are great for patients with braces. Don’t worry – these recipes are delicious!

People with braces often complain about not being able to eat carrots, since they are so hard to bit off. Try these soft and sweet carrots this holiday.

Balsamic Honey Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of baby carrots
  • 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread carrots over a baking try, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook for about 20 minutes. Take the carrots out of the oven and drizzled with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of honey, and about 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Cook for another 5 minutes and serve. Enjoy!

Delicious Melted Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, warmed (milk will also do)

Directions:

In a pot, cover potatoes with 2 inches of salted water. Bring water to a boil. Reduce water to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender or you can pierce them with a fork (about 10-15 minutes). Drain water and keep potatoes in the pot. Over low heat, add butter and stir until melted. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until potatoes are stiff. Gradually add in the heavy cream (or milk), stirring constantly to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy your melted mashed potatoes.