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

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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.

 

Holiday recipes that are braces friendly!

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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!

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Braces friendly recipes to keep you smiling through the holidays!

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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.

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Bellaire Family Orthodontics Toy Drive

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There are thousands of children every year who don’t open a gift around the holidays. Bellaire Family Orthodontics would like to give back to the Houston community for a Toy Drive this holiday season.

We will be holding a Toy Drive from now through December 14th at our office. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to a good cause. If you or someone you know would like to donate a toy, please call us at 713-667-6000 or email us at [email protected].

Can’t stop by our office to drop a toy off? Not a problem! Call us to make arrangements for the toy pickup.

We thank you in advance for helping a child smile this holiday season!

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Houston Orthodontic Specialists Toy Drive

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Every year, thousands of children around Houston don’t open a gift during the holiday season. Houston Orthodontic Specialists is partnering with Toys for Tots to bring toys to children in need for the holidays.

Our office is an official Toy Drop Off Location for the Toys for Tots charity from now through December 14th. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to a child in need. If you or someone you know would like to donate a toy, please call us at 281-752-4222. You can also email us at [email protected] to find out more information about the Toy Drive. We are also able to pick up toys from a location if needed.

We thank you so much for your generosity in helping a child smile this holiday season!

Have a fun and safe Memorial Day!

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Memorial Day is this upcoming weekend and it’s a great time to honor our country’s veterans, barbeque and mark the start of the summer season! It’s also a time that many people take weekend vacations. If you have travel plans for Memorial Day weekend and also have braces, don’t forget to pack a braces traveling kit. Below are a few items that our doctors from Bellaire Family Orthodontics in the Houston, TX area recommend that you pack! 

  • A toothbrush – can’t forget to brush your teeth!
  • Non-whitening mild toothpaste
  • Any rubber bands or appliances you may be using
  • A durable folding cup, water bottle or some other container for water
  • Dental floss and floss threaders for your braces
  • A small interproximal dental brush
  • Interdental picks
  • Mouth Wash
  • Dental wax
  • Chap Stick or Lip Balm
  • Advil or Tylenol
  • A small mirror
  • Hand Sanitizer

Please note that if an orthodontic emergency occurs during your travels (i.e. poking wires causing pain), you can also always call our office and let us know. If you are not near Houston, the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) can provide you with referrals to great orthodontists. As a precautionary measure before you go, schedule an appointment for an exam with Bellaire Family Orthodontics at 713-667-6000 with any questions you may have during your travels. Be safe!

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Happy Memorial Day from Houston Orthodontic Specialists!

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Memorial Day is this weekend and it’s a great time to honor our country’s veterans and reflect on their services to our country. It’s also a time that many people barbeque, spend time with family and kick off the start of the summer season! It’s also a popular weekend that many people take vacations! If you have braces and also have travel plans for Memorial Day weekend, then you shouldn’t forget to bring your braces traveling kit along for the ride. Below are a few items that Dr. Tabakman and his team from Houston Orthodontic Specialists in the west Houston area recommend that you pack! 

  • A regular toothbrush or travel toothbrush to ensure those teeth stay clean!
  • Toothpaste
  • Any appliance you may be required to wear
  • Rubber bands (if you have them)
  • Dental floss and floss threaders for your braces
  • An interproximal dental brush
  • Mouth Wash
  • Dental wax
  • Chap Stick or Lip Balm
  • Advil or Tylenol in case you have discomfort
  • A small mirror
  • Hand Sanitizer

 Please note that if an orthodontic emergency occurs during your travels (i.e. poking wires causing discomfort), and you are not near Houston, you can call our office and let our team know. They will provide you with instructions and care. Before you leave, please schedule an appointment with Houston Orthodontic Specialists at 281-752-4222 with any questions you may have for your travels. Be safe and have a fun Memorial Day!

Let’s Get Social!

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Bellaire Family Orthodontics likes to get social and engage in conversations with our patients on social media! We have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Yelp accounts. Check out the below social media links to follow/like/connect with us and be sure to check us out regularly to stay up to date about the fun we are having in our office, upcoming events, and our monthly contests. We encourage you to write on our wall, share our posts, comment, like and ask any questions you may have. We love it when patients, friends and social media followers take part in our conversations and contests. Please let us know what’s going on in your life. See you there!

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Follow Us on Social Media!

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Houston Orthodontic Specialists loves to engage in conversations with our patients and their families on social media! We have multiple social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Yelp. Check out our social media links below to follow and like us to stay current on our awesome contests, upcoming events, and our everyday fun activities. Please feel free to write on our wall, share our posts, comment and ask any questions you may have. We also love it when friends, patients and their families take part in our conversations and contests. We want to know what’s going on in your life so we can share in the excitement with you. Let’s get social together!

Check us out on social media:

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Braces Friendly Foods for the Big Game

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The big game is this coming up this Sunday- which team will you be cheering for? Here at Houston Orthodontic Specialists, we know that no Superbowl party is complete without food, friends, and of course, FOOTBALL!

For patients in braces, don’t forget to stay away from those hard, crunchy, sticky, or gummy foods at your Superbowl party. These foods can get caught between braces, or worse, damage to your orthodontic appliances and delay treatment. So when selecting braces-friendly foods, a good rule of thumb is to stick to soft foods that can easily be cut into pieces.

For example:

-Pigs in a blanket cut into bite sided pieces.
-Chili – a fan favorite!
-Boneless chicken wings / buffalo wings
-Potato Salad

What foods are you planning for your party? Let us know if you have any questions about braces friendly foods by leaving a comment here, or giving us a call!