How to Shine Bright with a Permanent Orthodontic Retainer

If you are the proud owner of a permanent orthodontic retainer, congratulations! You have taken the leap and now have the beautiful, straight teeth you’ve always wanted. But now that your retainer is in place, how do you keep it clean and looking great? Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are some tips for keeping your permanent retainer sparkling.

Brush Regularly

It may seem obvious but brushing your teeth regularly is essential for long-term oral health. It’s even more important when wearing a permanent retainer because food particles can easily get stuck in the wires and brackets. Start by brushing gently around each bracket with a toothbrush designed for braces or dentures and then brush normally with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Make sure to brush at least twice daily—once in the morning and once before bedtime—for optimal results.

Floss Daily

Flossing is also an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene when wearing a permanent retainer. Flossing helps remove bacteria and plaque buildup from between your teeth as well as around your brackets and wires. Use waxed dental floss to make it easier to get into tight spaces between your teeth and around your brackets. Alternatively, use a floss threader if necessary to help get into those hard-to-reach spots around your wires and brackets. Make sure to floss at least once daily for the best results!

Rinse with Mouthwash

Using mouthwash after brushing and flossing can help keep bad breath at bay while also killing off any remaining bacteria that may be lurking about in hard-to-reach places around your braces or retainers. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash that has been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) for best results. Rinse twice daily—once after breakfast, lunch, or dinner; and once before bedtime—for optimal cleaning power!

Cleaning your teeth with a permanent orthodontic retainer doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming; all it takes is a little extra effort every day! With regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, you can keep your smile looking great while keeping cavities away! So don’t forget to take care of those pearly whites—it will pay off in the long run!

The Importance of Regular Braces Adjustments

Many orthodontic patients wonder what could happen if they don’t get their braces adjusted regularly. It is important to keep up with your regular adjustment appointments in order to avoid any issues and ensure your teeth are moving as expected. In this post, we will discuss why it is so important to keep up with regular braces adjustments and the potential consequences of not doing so.

Why You Need to Keep Up With Your Appointments

Regularly scheduled appointments are an essential part of the process when it comes to wearing braces. During these visits, your Pittsburgh area orthodontist will make adjustments, tighten wires, and check that everything is fitting properly. These appointments also provide you with the opportunity to ask any questions or raise concerns about the progress of your treatment. Making sure you attend all of these appointments not only helps you stay involved in the process but also allows your orthodontist to monitor how your teeth are moving and ensure that everything is progressing as planned.

Potential Consequences of Not Attending Adjustment Visits

Unfortunately, there can be some serious consequences if you do not attend regular adjustment visits while wearing braces. First, without regular tightening and adjustments, it can take much longer for your teeth to move into the correct position. This can mean that you end up wearing braces for a much longer period than necessary or even having to go through further treatments after you finish wearing them in order for your teeth to stay in place. Additionally, skipping out on too many adjustment visits can put a strain on the brackets and wires and cause them to break more easily which will require more frequent repairs during treatment. Finally, without regular monitoring from an orthodontist, certain issues such as overcrowding or misalignments can go unnoticed until they become severe which could lead to more complex treatments later on down the road.

It’s clear that keeping up with regular braces adjustments is essential when undergoing orthodontic treatment in Pittsburgh. These appointments allow us to monitor your progress while ensuring our brackets and wires remain intact throughout treatment and help us avoid any undesirable outcomes down the line due to neglecting our oral health care needs. Orthodontic patients should always make sure they schedule their next appointment before leaving each one in order to stay on track with their treatment plan and achieve their desired results efficiently!

How to Keep Your Gums Healthy and Avoid Gum Disease

As we all know, taking care of our teeth is important. But did you know that taking care of our gums is just as important? That’s right, folks! In order to have healthy teeth, we need to have healthy gums. Here are some tips on how to keep your gums healthy and avoid gum disease.

Brush twice a day

We all know that we should be brushing our teeth at least twice a day, but did you know that this also applies to our gums? Brushing our gums helps remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to gum disease. So make sure you’re brushing your teeth AND your gums twice a day!

Use mouthwash

Mouthwash is a great way to keep our mouths clean and our breath smelling good. But did you know that mouthwash can also help prevent gum disease? That’s right! Mouthwash helps remove plaque and bacteria from our mouths, which helps keep our gums healthy. So make sure you’re using mouthwash daily!

Floss daily

Flossing is another important way to keep our teeth and gums healthy. Flossing helps remove plaque and bacteria from between our teeth, which helps reduce the risk of gum disease. So make sure you’re flossing daily!

Visit your Pittsburgh Area Orthodontist regularly

Seeing your orthodontist regularly is important for two reasons: 1) they can spot any problems with your teeth or gums early on and 2) they can give you professional cleanings that will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. So make sure you’re seeing your orthodontist every six months!

These are just a few tips on how to keep your gums healthy and avoid gum disease. Remember, taking care of your teeth and gums is important for overall oral health! If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact us today.

Common Causes of Crooked Teeth

There are many reasons why teeth can become crooked. Some are due to habits like thumb sucking, while others are due to the way the teeth come in. Here are some of the most common causes of crooked teeth.


One of the most common causes of crooked teeth is habits. This includes things like thumb sucking, which can put pressure on the teeth and cause them to become crooked. Other habits that can cause crooked teeth include using a pacifier for too long, tongue thrusting, and mouth breathing. If you have any of these habits, it’s important to try to break them as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your teeth.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is another common cause of crooked teeth. This habit usually occurs at night and can be caused by stress or anxiety. Teeth grinding can damage the teeth and make them more likely to become crooked. If you think you may be grinding your teeth at night, talk to your Pittsburgh Area orthodontist about getting a mouth guard to protect your teeth.

Incorrect Jaw Position

The position of your jaw can also affect the alignment of your teeth. If your lower jaw is positioned too far forward or your upper jaw is positioned too far back, it can cause your teeth to become crooked. This is usually something that you’re born with and cannot be changed, but there are treatments available to help improve the alignment of your teeth.

Crooked teeth can be caused by a variety of things, from habits like thumb sucking to the position of your jaw. If you have crooked teeth, there are treatments available that can help improve their appearance. Ask us today about the best treatment option for you.

Tips For Taking Care of Your Braces as an Adult

As an adult, you know how important it is to take care of your teeth. You also know how important it is to keep up with the trends. So, when you find out you need to get braces, it can be a bit of a shock. But don’t worry! Here are a few tips on how to take care of your braces as an adult.

Be sure to brush and floss regularly.

This is one of the most important things you can do to take care of your braces. Be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. If you can brush and floss after every meal, that’s even better!

Be careful with what you eat.

There are certain foods that can be hard on your braces, so it’s important to be careful with what you eat. Avoid sticky or hard foods, and be sure to cut your food into small pieces so that it’s easy to chew.

Keep up with your appointments.

It’s important to see your Pittsburgh Area orthodontist on a regular basis so that they can check on the progress of your braces. Be sure to schedule your appointments in advance so that you don’t forget!

Wear your rubber bands as prescribed.

If your Pittsburgh orthodontist gives you rubber bands to wear, be sure to wear them as prescribed! Rubber bands help move your teeth into the correct position, so it’s important to follow the instructions from your orthodontist.

Taking care of braces as an adult may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! By following these simple tips, you’ll be on your way to healthy teeth in no time!

How can I get my braces off quicker?

It’s a fact that your braces are going to give you that straighter, more beautiful smile that you have always wanted. While everyone keeps telling you that the final result will be worth the wait, you are getting impatient. Luckily, there is hope! If you are growing impatient with the process and just want to get those braces off, there are some ways you can speed up the process and get your braces off quicker. A big part of it is to always follow your Pittsburgh area orthodontist’s instructions.

Wear the Elastic Bands

If your Pittsburgh orthodontist gave you elastic bands to help speed up the straightening process, then make sure you wear them when you are instructed to! While they take some getting used to, your orthodontist gave them to you for a good reason. Make sure you wear them at all times except when eating. Avoid playing with them and taking them in and out. It is also very easy to forget to put them back in at night when you are ready for bed so try to make it a part of your routine. If you don’t wear them every day, they are not going to be able to do their job, which is to transform your smile as quickly as possible!

Hygiene is Important!

Brushing and flossing your teeth can be a little more difficult with a mouth full of braces and wires so you need to put in extra effort to clean your teeth. Food particles and bacteria can get stuck between the braces and your teeth and can cause tooth decay and gum disease. An electric toothbrush might be a wise investment at this time. The healthier your mouth, the faster your teeth will realign. If you want to get your braces off quicker, it is crucial that you pay extra attention to your oral hygiene every day!

Don’t miss appointments with your Pittsburgh Orthodontist

Finding time for your regular dentist appointments can be such a bear that adding in the more frequent orthodontist appointments may seem like an impossibility. It is important that you make these appointments a priority in your schedule and that you don’t miss any of them. When you miss an appointment, you are setting back your treatment by weeks or months. Of course, sometimes an emergency happens and you have no choice but to reschedule. In those incidences, make your new appointment as soon as possible to keep any delay to a minimum.

In conclusion, always keep in mind we are here to answer any of your questions! Please contact us to make an appointment at one of our 3 Pittsburgh Area Orthodontist Offices today!

How long does Invisalign Treatment take?

To the question, “How long does Invisalign take?” isn’t as easy as just quoting a timeline. There is no general set timeframe for Invisalign because every smile is unique in its own way!

Some treatment plans can be as short as 6 months. The average treatment plan takes 12 to 18 months. However, there are some treatment plans that can take as long as 36 months.

Understanding Why Invisalign Treatment in Pittsburgh Plans Vary

Earlier we mentioned that every smile is different. When you see an orthodontist for the first time, they will evaluate the current alignment of your teeth. After checking x-rays, digital images, and performing an oral examination, they will have a complete picture of what corrective measures are necessary for you.

For every patient, our Pittsburgh area orthodontist will create a custom treatment plan. This plan will add detail for many things:

– Type of treatment (braces, Invisalign, or other types)

– Duration of the treatment plan

– Details about the type of treatment such as oral care

– Cost, insurance, and payment options

If you begin with minor alignment issues, your treatment plan may only be 6 to 9 months. However, if you have more complicated alignment problems, your treatment plan will be longer.

The only way to know how long your treatment will take is to schedule an examination. Then the orthodontist will create your custom treatment plan.

How come my child’s permanent teeth aren’t coming in yet?

Our orthodontists in Pittsburgh receive plenty of questions every day from our patients about their dental and orthodontic concerns, and their child’s concerns as well.

We are always here to help our patients better understand their own – and their children’s – orthodontic situations. A common question we often get is in regards to a child losing his or her baby teeth, yet not having the permanent teeth erupt in time to replace them. There are actually a few common reasons for why your child’s permanent teeth aren’t erupting.

Teeth Require Sufficient Space for Permanent Teeth to Erupt

The most common reason as to why a permanent tooth doesn’t erupt is because there isn’t enough space for it. Permanent teeth at the front of the mouth are wider than the primary teeth that they’ll replace so if there’s not enough space, the permanent tooth won’t have room to come in. Because of this, there should typically be spaces between all of the front primary teeth in order to accommodate these permanent teeth. If the space is insufficient for the permanent teeth, your child might need braces to help the permanent teeth erupt.

The Permanent Tooth Is Going in the Wrong Direction

Another problem that may keep permanent teeth from coming in is that occasionally, they may be heading in the wrong direction. This occurs when the permanent tooth doesn’t follow its primary tooth into the proper eruption spot. This happens more often with upper canines and the lower second bicuspids since they can tend to veer away from the intended course. To help treat this problem, we may need to remove a primary tooth. If the permanent tooth doesn’t drift into its proper positioning, we will likely need to utilize braces to get the tooth in the right place.

Other Reasons Why Your Child’s Permanent Teeth Aren’t Erupting

Two reasons mentioned above are by far the most common reasons for a child’s permanent teeth not to come in. However, there still are other reasons for a child’s permanent teeth not to come in:

A primary tooth was lost on its own and there’s no permanent tooth to take its place immediately.

The permanent tooth is suffering from a primary failure of eruption, where the tooth isn’t able to come out on its own.

The patient is suffering from a condition known as ankylosis, where the teeth are fused to the bone and won’t erupt.

Concerned About Your Child’s Permanent Teeth Not Erupting?

We are always here to help with your questions regarding orthodontics in the Pittsburgh Area!

Top 4 Reasons to Invest in Your Smile!

Did you know that a person’s smile is consistently ranked as one of the number one things people notice when meeting someone for the first time?!

That means that there’s a lot of good reasons to invest in orthodontic treatment in Pittsburgh! With your smile being one of the first characteristics noticed about you, making sure you leave a good impression can be very important. Having a beautiful smile of clean, straight teeth can work wonders for your confidence – but it can also impact the health of your teeth and gums.

Straight teeth are easier to clean

It makes sense that having straight teeth can make it much easier for you to keep your teeth and gums clean. When your teeth are aligned, you have much more ability to brush away plaque and food remnants that can go on to cause things like tooth decay, gum problems, and bad breath if left in place. Teeth straightening ensures that there no hard-to-reach spots that can trap food and plaque.

Investing in braces or Invisalign goes a long way in helping your smile stay fresh and clean!

Your smile improves when your bite improves

Orthodontic treatment allows not only for straight teeth but also the correction of malocclusions, or improper bites. When the top and bottom teeth meet each other properly then there will be less issues over time such as undesirable tooth wear or even tooth fracture. A proper bite also allows for improved ability to bite and chew food. In addition, when your teeth meet properly your smile will naturally be more attractive.

With your smile being one of the first characteristics noticed about you, making sure you leave a good impression can be very important.

Straight teeth leave great first impressions

Even if you’re not aware of it, a person’s smile is one of the first things you notice about someone. A straight, beautiful smile is something that can’t be ignored.

Investing in orthodontic treatment helps to ensure that your first impression isn’t tarnished by a less than desirable smile. When it comes to job opportunities, perceptions are everything. Having aligned teeth in your smile can not only help make your impression the right one during job opportunities, but it can also boost your confidence so that you can become more memorable and successful!

Having straight teeth can lead to more confidence in your appearance.

As mentioned, alignment of your teeth can help boost your self-confidence that will shine through in every aspect of your life. When people aren’t confident in their appearance, it tends to show – which can end up preventing people from living their best life. Having straighter, brighter smile is something to be proud of, and one more reason to be confident in your appearance.

Are Adult Braces in Pittsburgh, PA Worth It?

It’s never too late to achieve a better smile through straightening your teeth! Getting adult braces in Pittsburgh are a great way to do exactly that!

Many adults are hesitant about the idea of getting braces, fearing they may be judged by others and it is simply too late for them. However, this is not the case and many have found success with adult braces.

Adult braces allow individuals who did not have the luxury of gaining straight teeth as a child or teenager do so in a relatively short amount of time. Although there are many other teeth straightening options now available, the fact remains that adult braces are still one of the most effective methods for gaining a better smile!

Who is a good candidate for adult braces?

Any adult who is not happy with the alignment of their teeth can benefit from adult braces. Whether it is a small misalignment or the teeth are severely crooked, adult braces are able to fix almost any case of imperfect teeth, whereas many other forms of teeth straightening may be limited to patients who only need a small adjustment.

Additionally, anyone who suffers from a malocclusion — which is a misalignment of the jaw — can benefit from adult braces. Malocclusion can be in the form of an overbite, underbite or crossbite, and the alignment of the jaw can be fixed with adult braces.

Benefits of adult braces

Many of the benefits of adult braces are obvious, including straighter teeth that lead to a more attractive smile. However, there are other benefits of adult braces that are less discussed.

Along with achieving a more attractive smile, adult braces can be a great way to promote good overall oral health. When the teeth are misaligned, it can become difficult to reach certain areas of the teeth while brushing, leading to an increased risk of cavities and other oral health concerns. Adult braces work to straighten the teeth and make it easy to take good care of teeth long-term.

Are adult braces worth it?

Most adults who choose adult braces are satisfied with the end result and incredibly glad that they chose to straighten their teeth and fix their malocclusion.

The fact of the matter is, the appearance of your smile plays a role in the way we are perceived, particularly with first impressions. Many who have chosen adult braces have seen drastic improvements in their confidence level, resulting in better relationships, more success in their career and an overall happier lifestyle.

Whether or not adult braces are worth it is entirely up to the individual. There are certainly people who have misaligned teeth that do not pose an oral health concern and do not desire a more perfect smile. However, many others either need adult braces for oral health reasons or desire to have a straighter smile for aesthetic purposes.

Orthodontic Evaluation by Age 7

You may think that your child is too young to benefit from orthodontic treatment. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by the age of 7.

Source: American Association of Orthodontists

It’s at this time, baby teeth are being replaced by permanent teeth and it’s a perfect time to catch any early orthodontic issues. Dental problems related to jaw growth get worse, not better with time. Because children are growing rapidly at this age, young children can benefit tremendously from appliances which can balance the relationship between the upper and lower jaws and develop room for erupting teeth. This allows for easier treatment down the road with less need for extractions or surgery.

How can you tell if your child could benefit from Early Treatment? There are some signs you can look for but ultimately, you should leave it to the professionals. Orthodontists know exactly what to look for. Even if your child seems to have straight teeth, there could be underlying issues that you won’t notice.

Signs to Look for:

Protruding Incisors
Severe Crowding
Bite Problems
Deep bites
Jaw Disharmony
Under bites
Open bites
Cross bites

In most cases, Early Treatment is divided into 2 phases, with each phase beginning at the absolute best time to correct the specific problems.

Phase One occurs between the ages of 7-10 years and consists of active treatment that typically lasts 12-18 months. This phase is directed more at your child’s muscles and jaws than the teeth.

There is a resting period for 12-24 months followed by Phase Two which lasts 12-18 months. During this final phase of treatment, all baby teeth have been replaced by permanent teeth. Our focus is on correcting the positions of the teeth, closing spaces, etc.

By seeing an orthodontist early, your child will spend more time with a big, beautiful smile and less time in braces later on.

The Health Benefits of Having Straight Teeth

We all know that having straight teeth is important for having an attractive smile, but what other health benefits can come from having straight teeth in Pittsburgh! Today we take a look at some of those health benefits…

Clean Your Teeth More Easily

This may be one of the biggest benefits of having straight teeth.
When your teeth are poorly aligned, there are lots of gaps for food to get stuck and cause decay. It’s much more difficult to effectively clean crooked teeth, because you often can’t reach all those crevices with your toothbrush or floss.
When your teeth are aligned properly, there’s no longer any room for food debris to sit between your teeth and gums. This makes them easier to clean, which helps to prevent plaque build up and bacteria from accumulating in your mouth and causing cavities.

Speak More Clearly

One of the often overlooked health benefits of having straight teeth is that well-aligned teeth can help you speak more clearly.
Having crooked teeth increases the chance that you’ll develop a speech problem such as a lisp. This is because when your teeth are misaligned, the position and shape of your teeth can affect the way your mouth works when you speak. Some people also develop speech problems as a result of trying to hide imperfect teeth while speaking.
But when your teeth are aligned properly, your mouth and jaw work synchronously to effectively form and articulate words. It also improves your confidence, helping you to speak clearly.

Improve Your Digestion

Having straight teeth is known to improve your digestion.
Thoroughly chewing your food is a vital first step to a healthy gut. Well-chewed food is easier to break down by the bacteria in your stomach, which helps prevent digestive issues and indigestion.
When your teeth are properly aligned, the muscles and tissues in your mouth are better able to work together to effectively chew and break down the food you eat. This helps the bacteria in your stomach work better, which ultimately, improves your digestion.

How to ease soreness after your braces are tightened

While braces are not painful at all, it is also not uncommon to feel a little discomfort right after your braces have been tightened. Everyone is different, but most of the time the discomfort one will feel (if any) is a mild soreness that will go away in a day or two. However, no need to be concerned if you are experiencing any soreness, as fortunately there are many options to help ease discomfort while in braces.

Wax Up

Your orthodontist’s office gives you wax for a reason! You can use this wax to cover a bracket or hook that’s rubbing or causing any discomfort. Don’t be stingy with it! And, never hesitate to ask your orthodontist for more wax if you run out.

Stick to Soft Foods

Soft foods like mashed potatoes and applesauce are great options when you are experiencing any mouth discomfort. When you initially get your braces, soft foods are a great option for the first couple of days. Then, on each day that you go in for a tightening, it is smart to stick to a soft food diet.

Over the Counter Relief

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil, Aleve, and Ibuprofen may be taken to help alleviate any pain or discomfort. Please consult the directions on the back of the bottle or your general practitioner for safe dosage amounts and instructions. If these pain relievers are not proving to be effective, contact us, your Pittsburgh orthodontist, to see what other suggestions we may have.

What Ingredients Are In Toothpaste?

For the vast majority of the time, the only toothpaste ingredient that really gets talked about is fluoride. It is the active ingredient that helps remineralize tooth enamel and protects teeth from decay. The American Dental Association calls fluoride “nature’s cavity fighter,” and toothpaste must contain it in order to receive the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance. But what about the other ingredients in toothpaste?


Abrasives, such as calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, and hydrated aluminum oxides, are toothpaste ingredients that help remove food debris and surface stains.

They are there to scrub and polish the surface of our teeth, but be careful not to scrub too hard, because we can cause a lot of damage to our teeth and gums by over-brushing.


Humectants like sorbitol, glycol, or glycerol keep our toothpaste from becoming dry and crumbly. They trap water in it and give it a nice, smooth texture that can squeeze out of a tube.


Detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate make toothpaste foamy, ensuring that the other ingredients effectively coat our teeth.


Flavors, including sugar-free sweetening agents like saccharin or sorbitol, make our toothpaste taste good. The ADA will not give its Seal of Acceptance to any toothpaste that contains sugar.

Bleaching Agents and Braces?

One ingredient orthodontic patients should avoid during their treatment is a bleaching agent. Using whitening toothpaste while the braces are on can lead to different colored patches where the brackets were after Braces Off Day!

Data source: Palmer

Bad Habits to Break (with or without braces!)

There are several bad habits many people have that should be stopped whether you have braces or not! Lets take a look at some common bad oral habits…

Using your teeth as a tool

We’ve seen it all too often, teeth used to rip open bags of chips, tear tags off clothing, even uncap a bottle—just about anything you can think of! It’s easy to do things like this without thinking about it, but using your teeth as tools can be hard on them. It only takes one wrong move for a tooth to be traumatized, chipped, or even fractured.

Chewing on ice and other objects

Common habits like eating ice or chewing on your nails may seem harmless, but they actually have the potential to cause quite a bit of damage. The freezing temps and tough texture of ice can cause microscopic cracks in the surface of the enamel. Over time, this can lead to several other dental issues, up to and including fractured teeth! Similar problems can also come from biting down on things like popcorn kernels and fruit or berry pits. It’s best to think before you eat so you can avoid putting any unnecessary stress on your teeth.

Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is defined as any involuntary grinding of the teeth outside of normal chewing, swallowing, or speaking movements. This is a common habit that’s often involuntary and has several possible causes.

Even if you’re not aware of it, bruxism can cause you problems. Several patients find that teeth grinding interrupts their sleep, gives them chronic headaches, or results in lingering jaw pain. Bruxism can also wear down the enamel of your teeth over time, eventually exposing the much softer dentin inside and increasing tooth sensitivity.

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment in Pittsburgh

Orthodontic treatment can be done for people of all ages, young or adult, but it is recommended that it be done earlier on in life. There are good reasons why orthodontists tend to advise their patients on this, but it also doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to do as an adolescent or adult.

Today, we outline some of the main benefits of having orthodontic treatment done early in life…

The ease

One of the main benefits of having treatment done early is that it’s easier! Orthodontic treatment in Pittsburgh requires the teeth to shift, which can be a hard adjustment on the mouth. When a person is younger, their mouths are still developing. The teeth will have an easier time moving with braces or aligners if the person’s body is still developing.


Having orthodontic treatment done at an earlier age will provide much more convenience. Wearing braces and having to go in for monthly appointments as an adult may get in the way of day to day life, such as work or children. It’s much more convenient to have orthodontic treatment done as a child when they don’t have too many commitments.

Teeth eruption

When a person has their teeth straightened in Pittsburgh during orthodontic treatment, there will be more room available later on, for other teeth to erupt. If teeth are crowded due to crookedness, the mouth is much more likely to be cramped.

Facial symmetry

Orthodontic treatment helps to correct facial symmetry. It is beneficial to have treatment done at an earlier age so by the time the patient is an adult their facial symmetry will be corrected and improved. The braces or aligners will straighten the teeth out which will also help to correct the position of the jaw. Long term, this will allow for a pleasant appearance!

Less risk

When someone has crooked teeth that are uneven or protrude, they are at a higher risk of tooth injury. An accidental fall or hit to the face could result in a chipped or knocked-out tooth. However, having the teeth corrected early on through orthodontic treatment will help to reduce that high risk.

As always, contact us today to make an appointment at one of our 3 Pittsburgh Area offices!

What Should You Expect When Getting Your Braces Off?

So exciting!! It has been a long time coming, but you’ve finally made it to the point where you are getting your braces taken off. What should you expect? We have put together some information to help you prepare for getting your braces off…

The Braces Removal Procedure

During your removal appointment right here in Pittsburgh, PA, we will gently squeeze the base of the brackets with pliers. This causes the adhesive to break so that the brackets can come off. This is a very gentle process and shouldn’t hurt at all.

After this, we will carefully grind off the bonding cement. This is a lot like getting your teeth polished at the dentist. In fact, as a slight bonus, this process will also whiten your enamel a little.

After Removal of The Braces

Once your braces are completely off, your Pittsburgh orthodontist Dr. Loyacona will take an impression of your teeth and palate. This will be used to create a retainer. When you have your retainer, you should wear it continuously except when you eat. We will provide instructions on when you can cut back on using the retainer.

In total, your appointment should take about an hour. However, this may vary depending on how busy the practice is that day.

Care After Braces

Your Pittsburgh orthodontist Dr. Loyacona, will provide instructions on continued care and will want to have a follow-up appointment later. You should continue to take good care of your teeth, brushing at least twice per day and flossing. Additionally, you should schedule regular dental checkups. Don’t forget to keep wearing your retainer as instructed.

Are Braces Or Invisalign More Affordable?

When one is considering orthodontic work to straighten your smile, the question of which option is most affordable has probably crossed your mind. The good news is that both are extremely affordable these days, although Invisalign is slightly more expensive.

U.S. National Averages for Braces and Invisalign

When we look at the national averages for Invisalign® pricing, they range from $3,000 to $5,000. Pricing is based on the degree of correction necessary, so no two treatment plans will be identical. If you have minor alignment issues, your costs could be lower. With more complex corrections, prices can be as high as $8,000.

In contrast, average pricing for traditional metal braces normally falls between $2,000 and $6,000. Because prices are based on the needs of each individual, these also may vary greatly from minor to complex alignment problems.

As shown above, the cost of both treatments is very comparable. There are options that may reduce the price, such as dental insurance. Some plans may offer coverage for metal braces but not Invisalign®, or vice versa.

As always, we are here to help answer and questions you may have! Contact us today!

The Benefits of Braces Are More Than Just Straight Teeth!

Orthodontists focus on the tangible aspects of patients’ smiles. Our specialty concerns straightening misaligned teeth and correcting malocclusions a.k.a. incorrect bites. We look at the physical aspects of these problems and the physical solutions to them. At the same time, we are aware of the psychological impact of what we do for our patients. Even though orthodontics improves oral health, it also improves mental health and well-being in a number of ways. Lets take a look…

Boosts Self-confidence

Some patients with crooked teeth are clearly shy about how they look. It’s so wonderful when they’re done with treatment to see how their attitude has improved. But these benefits are not just anecdotal. According to studies, young people after orthodontic treatment have shown higher emotional and social well-being than their peers who never had treatment.

Social acceptance

Orthodontics make people’s smiles more attractive, and it’s human nature to respond positively to attractiveness. Beyond that, braces can help in other ways. For example, crooked teeth can trap food in hard-to-reach places and result in bad breath, so straight teeth can eliminate other issues that may impact someone’s ease in social settings.

Less frustration

If you have or once had a misaligned bite, you know that malocclusions can make the everyday functioning of your mouth annoying. When your teeth don’t meet up as they should, it can be hard to bite into food, and you might have to compensate by biting with other parts of your mouth. Or your misaligned teeth may cause a speech impediment. It’s also harder and more time consuming to clean crooked teeth as opposed to straight ones.

As always, contact us today to make an appointment at one of our 3 Pittsburgh Area offices!

Frequent Questions About Teeth Retainers in Pittsburgh, PA Answered

Orthodontic treatment is never complete without a successful retention phase! Teeth retainers are a necessary step in maintaining the positioning of the teeth. Lets answer the 3 most asked questions below…

What is a Retainer?

A retainer is a dental piece that holds your teeth in the new position. Very often, the teeth are likely to fall back to the original position when the orthodontic treatment is completed.

When you are wearing the braces, the gums and the teeth ligaments are loosened, and they don’t tighten fast enough to hold the teeth in position. Hence, without a retainer, it is easy for the teeth to move back to the original space. Wearing a teeth retention dental piece full-time will give the gums time to settle.

How long do I have to wear a retainer?

The length of the retention phase will depend on the type of retainer braces you use. For fixed retainers, it can take 4 to 6 months, while the removable ones take around 12 months. You will need to wear the retainers all the time, as advised by the orthodontic. After the initial time, you may wear them at night for an indefinite time or until the dentist advises otherwise.

What should I expect when wearing a retainer?

Wearing a retainer is similar to the braces, but there won’t be soreness since the teeth are not moving to a new position. Additionally, unlike the braces, retainers are easy on the cheeks.

As always, every patient is different and it is important to contact us regarding your specific treatment and expectations.

The Best Foods To Eat in The Summer While Wearing Braces

You may have often wondered what foods are best to eat at that Summer 2021 cookout if you’re wearing braces. We would like to share with you today some of the best foods to eat with braces…

Lets talk main course!

Soft foods will be your go-to while wearing braces! We recommend potatoes to our Pittsburgh, PA area orthodontic patients because they’re soft enough not to irritate your teeth and one of the most versatile foods out there. Summer favorites like baked potatoes, sweet potato wedges or potato salad are all great choices for any braces-friendly diet. Same goes for other soft foods like yogurt, pudding, steamed veggies, milkshakes, ice cream and smoothies. Cold foods in particular are great for braces because they can soothe sensitive gums.

What about the side dishes?

Veggie skewers, salads, baked beans or even chilli are all great. As long as there isn’t anything hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy, you’re pretty much in the clear to eat all the summer foods you know and love.

Data source: Dr. Bud

Why Now Is The Best Time To Get Invisalign

Several Americans may have crooked, misaligned, or spaced out teeth that take away from their appearance! Have you been putting off getting orthodontics because of the hassle and look of traditional braces? Thankfully, Invisalign’s clear braces allow you to straighten your teeth without worrying about metal brackets and wires! The best part is that Invisalign is more affordable than you might think.

How Much Does Invisalign Cost?

The only way to get a precise estimate is to make an appointment with us for a consultation. We will carefully examine your smile before developing a personalized treatment plan that includes cost. Typically, treating your misalignment sooner rather than later saves money. Unlike other medical conditions that can get better with time, dental problems like crooked teeth will only grow worse, leading to more expensive and extensive treatment. Plus, misalignment can increase risks of problems like decay and infection, which will incur an extra cost for treatment.

Does My Dental Insurance Cover Invisalign?

If you have dental insurance, your provider may cover at least part of your treatment. If your policy covers Invisalign like it does traditional braces, there is probably a set percentage that your provider is willing to pay for. In many cases, insurance providers have an allowance for orthodontics, however there is a cap they won’t go over, meaning you’ll be paying out of pocket once this number is met.

So Why Should I Begin Treatment Now?

Each year, Americans waste billions of dollars in dental insurance benefits. That’s because most insurance providers have what’s called a yearly maximum, which is the most they’re willing to pay for your dentistry annually. What they don’t tell you is that these benefits reset when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, wasting any unused dental dollars. That’s why it’s in your best interest to get Invisalign now—you can take advantage of the benefits you’re already paying for before they’re gone with the calendar year!

So what are you waiting for?! Call us now and make your appointment today!

If My Teen Has Braces, Can Their Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

The question of whether wisdom teeth can be removed if a teenager has braces on is a very common one. To answer that question, lets take a look at some of the facts…

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last molars to develop. They are located on each side of the jaw in the very back behind your already-present molars. Between ages 16-19 years old, you should be able to see them. If you can’t, they may be impacted, meaning they haven’t broken through the gums yet, or they may be completely absent. These impacted wisdom teeth will sometimes need to be removed by an oral surgeon.

When Do Wisdom Teeth Need Removal?

Removal is required if they are going to displace or shift any teeth that have already been straightened by braces or are in the process of being corrected. Impacted wisdom teeth are also best removed before they have the ability to cause any complications with your orthodontic braces treatment. If treatment has not yet begun, you should consider first having wisdom teeth extracted, especially if the teeth are already coming out at an angle.

How Do Wisdom Teeth Affect Braces?

Because of the way wisdom teeth are situated at the back of the gums, they do not exert enough pressure to cause teeth at the front of the mouth to shift. Wisdom teeth can be extracted during orthodontic treatment, though it is less common.

Determining whether to proceed with braces prior to wisdom teeth extraction or after, depends on the age of the patient and the professional opinions of an orthodontist. The additional set of molars do not typically erupt until the later teens and early twenties, leaving orthodontic treatment rarely affected. For those patients looking to straighten their smile later on in life, who have not had wisdom teeth extracted, an orthodontist may recommend extraction before undergoing treatment as a precaution.

When Should I Contact an Orthodontist?

Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have regarding wisdom teeth and braces. Give us a call today!

Tips to Make Wearing Braces in Pittsburgh More Comfortable

Wearing braces is the start of your journey to a perfect smile in Pittsburgh, PA! Today we highlight some tips to make wearing braces as comfortable as possible for you…

Tip 1:

Maintain Great Oral Hygiene

Braces create small traps where food particles and bacteria love to hide. This means it’s important to keep up with your oral hygiene to prevent painful cavities and other dental issues. Make sure to brush and floss twice a day to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Rinsing with antimicrobial mouthwash can also help remove stubborn food particles and kill bad breath germs. Nobody likes walking around all day with food stuck in their teeth or braces!!

Tip 2:

Stick to Braces-friendly Food

A balanced diet that is easy on your braces can save you from a lot of problems. Hard food like nuts, popcorn, corn, and some raw fruits and veggies can easily break a wire or cause a bracket to fall off your tooth. Sticky food like caramel, taffy, syrup, and honey are notorious for getting stuck between brackets and wires and can be a hassle to remove. And having too much sugar not only rots your teeth, but it can also break down the cement holding your braces to your teeth. Avoiding these types of food can prevent you from damaging your braces and needing emergency appointments.

Tip 3:

Cold Drinks Can Help with Soreness

A quick remedy for soreness or discomfort caused by your braces is to drink something cold. Cold drinks can have a slight numbing effect that takes the edge off any soreness you may be feeling. This can be especially helpful right after orthodontist appointments when you may feel some discomfort after getting your braces adjusted.

Why Facial Protection is Important in Sports

Facial protection is always important in sports but especially when wearing braces.

Athletes have a 33-56% chance of receiving an orofacial injury to the mouth or face. The proper personal protective gear should be used depending on what activity you are doing. According to an article by Johns Hopkins, more than 3.5 million kids under the age of 15 are hurt every year participating in sports or recreational activities.

Wearing a helmet can protect your head and save your life in a variety of situations from playing football to riding a bike. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Even if a helmet law doesn’t exist where you live it is important to abide by the cautious standards and wear a helmet. When playing football most of the time there is a mouth guard attached to the helmet which will protect your teeth if you were to come in contact with someone.

Mouth guards are designed to guard and protect the teeth and mouth. A mouth guard can prevent teeth from being chipped, broken or knocked out. Properly fitted mouth guards can even protect the bone and tissues around the teeth and jaw, and lower the chance of concussions. Mouth guards are especially important if you have braces on to be able to protect your mouth and lips from injury in contact sports.

If you have questions regarding proper protection please contact us today!

Keep A Healthy Smile In 2021

Happy New Year! Keep your oral hygiene top-notch in 2021 by following these quick tips…


Flossing after every single meal will help keep your teeth and braces clean! To floss with braces, use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss to thread the floss behind each wire. Floss the sides of each tooth beneath the gum line to remove plaque and food particles.


Brush your teeth for two minutes after every meal with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brush the outside and inside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle, circular motions while positioning the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line.

Limit Your Sugary Foods

Try to limit sugar intake, including sugary sports drinks and especially soda pop! Sugar contributes to more bacteria and tooth decay. Instead, try to stay hydrated with water. Water can help produce saliva, which naturally washes out the mouth and helps prevent tooth decay.

What Can I Drink While Wearing Invisalign?

Many people of all ages in Pittsburgh, PA have turned to Invisalign® to straighten crooked teeth. The Invisalign® technology is an amazing system where convenience is a top advantage. One of the questions we often receive is what you may drink while wearing Invisalign®. Today we take a dive into that topic…

How Invisalign Works

To start off, let’s talk about some basics with Invisalign.

During Invisalign treatment, the aligner trays stay in place at all times save for when eating, drinking, and cleaning your teeth. This allows each tray to gradually shift your teeth into a better position. Each aligner tray is worn for two weeks, at which point a new tray is swapped in.

Drinking Cool, Clean Water is OK

You don’t always have to take out your Invisalign aligner when you drink. If you’re having clean water that’s cool or cold, you can leave your trays in. This allows you to quench your thirst without always having to take out your aligner trays.

Take Off Invisalign Aligners When Drinking Anything Else

While cool and cold water are fine to drink with Invisalign trays in place, we remind our patients that their Invisalign trays have to be taken out for all other beverages. That includes hot drinks, sodas, coffee, tea and so on.

We recommend brushing or at least rinsing your teeth with water after drinking any of these beverages before putting your aligner trays back on.

Data source: Doc Shop

Eating Halloween Candy While Wearing Braces in 2020

Last year we published a guide for what candy is safest to eat during Halloween so we thought it would be good to re-visit that topic this year!

Halloween is a fun time for kids and adults alike but if you wear braces you should practice caution when enjoying all of those treats!

What to avoid…

Certain sweets can cause some serious damage to your teeth and braces, which can delay precious treatment time. Hard candies, chewy candies, caramels, taffy, nutty goodies, jelly beans, licorice, bubble gum, suckers, Tootsie Rolls, and sour candies are some of the foods that can cause havoc for trick or treaters who are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Skittles and M&M’s may seem innocent, but those tiny pieces of candy love to slip inside wires and pop off brackets. Better stay away. Furthermore, sour and fruity candies like Starbursts and Skittles are the worst because they are highly acidic, which can wear down the enamel that protects your teeth, paving the way for tooth decay and cavities.

What is better to eat…

Candy such as dark chocolate, sugar-free gum, or anything that contains the sugar substitute xylitol is not as harmful for your teeth as hard, chewy, or sticky sweets. Experts at the American Association of Orthodontists recommend softer treats or melt-in-your-mouth foods. These include:
Soft chocolate (Hershey’s Kisses are in the clear!)

Peanut butter cups (Go for those Reese’s Cups!)
Gelatin treats
Ice cream
Root beer floats
Apple cider
Cookies and crackers (Just be careful about hardness.)
Apples (Great in bite-size pieces! Don’t bite into a candied/caramel apple, but feel free to dip it in sauce.)
Kit Kat Bars
Three Musketeers
Malt Balls
Sweet Tarts
Peppermint Patties
Cookies and Cream
Snow Caps

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us and we will be glad to answer them!

Source: Google

Should I Get A WaterPik?

Keeping up with proper hygiene while wearing braces is extremely important! This does not just include while at an orthodontist appointment as home care is also vital.

The best method for good oral health has always been regular brushing and flossing. Flossing can become even more difficult with braces on and is something that many of us do not do nearly as often as we should.

Due to the time consuming act of having to floss very often, orthodontic patients look to the WaterPik for a solution. The WaterPik is sometimes considered simpler and faster to use than dental floss, but the question is does it work as well to keep teeth clean rather than regular flossing?

It is no doubt that using the WaterPik is much easier than traditional dental floss, unfortunately it doesn’t do the job as well. The water has a difficult time penetrating between teeth that tightly fit together or are crowded. This prevents proper removal of food and plaque which can cause gum disease and decay.

The question remains: Is a Waterpik as effective in removing food and particles from between teeth and around the gum line as good as dental flossing? No!

That being said, it is a great way to dislodge and loosen up pieces of food from between the teeth, especially while wearing braces; so can be a great tool for home care while wearing braces but will not take the place of your traditional floss.


If you want to use a Waterpik, that’s great, just don’t use it as a substitute for flossing.

How To Always Remember Your Retainers

It can be a very happy occasion to get your braces removed although it is important to keep in mind that there is still more to complete in your orthodontic journey. The retention phase is equally important to your overall treatment and retainers are a major part of this phase. If you want your beautiful smile to last, you need to make sure you continue to wear your retainers.

Here are some tips on remembering your retainers….

Wear Your Retainers Regularly

You may not want to wear your retainers after getting rid of your braces. This is a common feeling among many patients. However, it is vital to your orthodontic treatment process to wear your retainers as instructed by your orthodontist. The best way to not forget your retainers is to make sure you’re wearing them!

Utilize Alarms & Notifications

Today is the age of modern technology! That means we have smartphones that can help us in everyday life! One of the greatest capabilities of our phones is the ability to set digital alarms and notifications to remind us to do things. This is a great way to remind yourself to wear your retainers. Keeping a daily alarm or reminder based on your eating and sleeping habits can be utilized to remind you to remove or put on your retainers. If your phone doesn’t have alarms, no need to worry, traditional alarm clocks or computer notifications can work just as well!

Remember Your Retainer Case

When you receive your retainers, you’ll also be provided with a sturdy, reliable case to place your retainers in while you’re not wearing them. Making a regular habit of putting your retainers in the case instead of on a table or in a napkin can save you much hassle.

Back to School Braces Kit

Be ready for school with a DIY braces kit!

It can be very common to have minor issues pop up with your braces from time to time! Whether it’s food getting stuck in your brackets or a stray wire popping out of place, it is always better to be ready for anything! Prepare for this ahead of time by packing a braces kit to keep in your purse, backpack, or locker! Some helpful items you may want to think about including are:

– a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for brushing after lunch

– floss or ortho picks to use after lunch if you have the time to do so

– orthodontic wax, which can be used to cover any part of your braces causing irritation

– extra rubber bands (which you should already be changing frequently)

– lip balm for dry lips

– a small cup for rinsing your mouth out after eating

– an unsharpened pencil for the eraser end, which can be used to push any stray wires back into place

Creating a simple kit like this to have close to hand can save you quite a bit of time and discomfort should any issues occur during the school day!

The Effects of Not Brushing While Wearing Braces

Wearing braces is only part of the job in getting that perfect smile! Taking care of your oral hygiene is also crucial during the process of wearing braces. This includes brushing your teeth the correct way and taking time to clean all the food particles or plaque that will accumulate around the brackets.

Without proper hygiene habits there may be negative effects…

Effects Of Not Brushing Teeth While Wearing Braces

Proper oral hygiene is always important with or without braces. Wearing braces just means you have to take extra care of your teeth, so you reduce any chances of developing other dental problems. Due to their design, braces are traps for plaque and food. Bacteria, food particles, and plaque will accumulate around the brackets that are glued onto to your teeth surfaces. If these are not removed, they may damage the enamel around the bracket and form cavities among other issues.

How To Keep Teeth Clean and Healthy While Wearing Braces

Wearing braces will straighten your teeth, fix any misalignment, and provide you with a beautiful smile. However, it also makes your teeth more difficult to clean, and you need to take extra care in order to avoid any unnecessary dental issues. Tooth decay is more likely to happen when you wear braces, as the metal or clear brackets need to be adequately maintained and cleansed from all bacteria and food particles.

Remember to rinse your mouth with fresh water before you even start brushing your teeth. This will help you remove any loose food particles and will make the brushing a lot easier. When you start brushing, make sure you do not apply too much pressure. Patients with braces usually brush teeth with more force than needed, thinking it cleans the brackets more efficiently. This is not the case and may actually damage your teeth and braces in the long run.

Instead, brush the teeth at about a 45-degree angle. Gently brush the top of the brackets, followed by the bottom of the brackets and the wire. Having special, interdental brushes, will help you reach the tooth’s surface more efficiently and help you navigate around the brackets and wires in order to clean every tooth thoroughly. Try brushing your teeth after every meal and always rinse your mouth after every snack to avoid any possibilities of food sticking to the braces and teeth.

Flossing remains an essential component of proper oral hygiene when wearing braces. Most people are unsure of how to floss with braces because of the wires going across the teeth. Using a floss threader will make this task a lot easier. It will take some practice to thread the floss under the main wire before passing it between two teeth. It can feel like a chore, but it is a necessity in order to keep your mouth healthy, your teeth clean, and your braces in place. Try flossing at least once a day.

Lastly, try avoiding certain foods that may damage your teeth and braces. You will want to avoid sticky foods, like caramel, that may get stuck between your teeth and braces and is difficult to clean. Also, foods and drinks with higher acidic content are not friendly to your teeth, braces or mouth in general.

Source: Damon

Common Causes of Gum Recession

Your gums. They play a vital role in dental function and your oral health. Not only do they help anchor teeth in the jaw, the gums also protect tooth roots from disease.

But you can lose that protective covering if your gums recede or shrink back from the teeth. An exposed tooth is more susceptible to decay, and more sensitive to temperature and pressure.

Lets take a look at some gum recession causes…


Your parents genes effect the thickness of your gums. Babies born with thinner gums tend to be more susceptible to recession through toothbrush abrasion, wear, and/or injury. For those who have thinner gum tissue, you should take extra precautions.

Gum disease

The most common cause for gum recession is a bacterial infection called periodontal (gum) disease that most often arises from plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles accumulating on teeth. Gum disease in turn weakens the gums causes them to recede.

Solution: Reduce your risk for a gum infection through daily brushing and flossing to remove disease-causing plaque.

Aggressive hygiene

Too much force applied while brushing can eventually result in gum damage that leads to recession and tooth wear. Let the gentle, mechanical action of the toothbrush bristles and toothpaste abrasives do the work of plaque removal. Do not apply too much pressure!

The best action to battle gum recession is prevention!

Causes Of Crooked Teeth In Children

Nothing can be of more importance to you than your child’s health. We all know how important healthy teeth are and we all have a base understanding of how crooked teeth can negatively impact someone.

Learning about common causes of crooked teeth in children may help you find resources you need to correct the issues or help you decide when to see an orthodontist.

When it comes to what can cause crooked teeth or malocclusions in children there are a variety of factors that come into play.

These Include:

– Hereditary

– Thumb sucking

– Myofunctional disorders a.k.a. tongue thrust

Lets get into more detail…

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a common behavior in toddlers. Usually, this self soothing method is fine but thumb sucking beyond a certain age can lead to more serious issues with your child’s teeth and jaw.

If your child is still sucking their fingers or thumb past age 5, this can cause the need for extensive orthodontic intervention later on in life.

Some of the issues that can arise:

– Protruding Upper Front Teeth

– Open bite

– Crossbite

How to remedy thumb sucking

Some of the ways to remedy thumb sucking is to try positive reinforcement, talking with your child is always the go-to option. This will allow you to have an open conversation with your child to help them want to quit thumb sucking. Another method is identifying the triggers and interrupting them with other activities or providing alternatives.

Myofunctional Disorders or Tongue Thrust

Myofunctional disorders are centered around the tongue and facial muscles, specific to swallowing and chewing. Correct swallowing depends heavily on the relationship between the face, mouth and throat. Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD) or as it’s commonly known as tongue thrust is when the tongue is pressed against or between the front or side teeth as a child swallows.

Usually by age 6, most children will adapt to a normal and more efficient swallowing pattern that involves pushing the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth. If this doesn’t happen, abnormal pressure is then applied to the teeth and jaws which can lead to malocclusions, bad bites or abnormal jaw development.

Treating Tongue Thrust

Myofunctional therapy is used to help correct tongue thrust. The practice is dependent on the individual case but will involve training the tongue into its proper position and coordinating the muscles in the mouth to work together properly.

Early prevention is of most importance when it comes to treating and correcting tongue thrust. Regular check-ups are imperative to ensure good development and can allow enough time to intervene if necessary.

Hygiene Tips While Wearing Braces During Coronavirus

During these tough times, wearers of braces must still work hard to maintain good oral health. Braces can all trap pieces of food that can lead to a build-up of plaque and cause cavities and gum disease. This is why it’s essential that you brush and floss regularly and ideally following every meal.

Today we want to share with you some tips to stay healthy!


It is important to floss at least once daily. Pull your floss under the arch-wire and pull your floss through the floss threader. Pull the floss between your teeth and gently move it up and down the side of both of your teeth, remembering to move it up under the gums.

Mouth Rinsing

After flossing, remember to rinse your mouth out with water or an antiseptic mouth rinse.

Retainer Care

Brush your retainer each time you brush your teeth because it’s exposed to the same foods and bacteria as the rest of your oral cavity. You should soak your retainer in room-temperature water with a dissolved denture-cleaning tablet. Avoid using hot water on your retainer.

Foods to avoid

Hard foods, such as ice or crust, and sticky foods, such as taffy or caramel, should be avoided during treatment.

How to Avoid White Marks on Your Teeth

Upon completion of orthodontic treatment, you are excited to show off your new, perfect smile! However, one thing patients often worry about is having white marks on their teeth following treatment. If you take good care of your teeth during treatment, white marks can easily be avoided.

With a combination of simple in-office and at-home steps, white spots can easily be prevented during your orthodontic treatment.

Lets take a look at some of the steps we can take to prevent white marks…

Good Brushing Habits

A person in orthodontic treatment should brush 2 to 3 times a day, for 2 minutes each time. You should also be flossing daily which prevents buildup between the teeth and brackets, where most plaque starts to form. Each time you brush, be sure you are brushing for 2 minutes. Be sure to continue with your regular dental cleaning visits!

Use Fluoride

Make sure you are using a fluoride rinse after brushing your teeth to keep your teeth strong and healthy.

Use an Electric Toothbrush

If you can, using an electric toothbrush is a great decision for your oral health! An electric toothbrush provides extra vibration which helps loosen plaque. This makes it easier to get your teeth clean.

As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding white marks, please contact us today!

Do Braces Increase the Risk of Forming Cavities?

Straightening teeth can have a profoundly positive impact on your oral health. Unfortunately, while highly effective, wearing orthodontic braces also affects your daily routines, like eating and brushing your teeth. By making dental hygiene slightly more difficult, braces can increase a patient’s risk of developing dental issues that result from excessive dental plaque, including tooth decay (the disease that causes cavities). Luckily, however, cavities are still highly preventable even with metal brackets and wires attached to your teeth! So no need to worry. Lets take a look at the facts…

The Birth of a Cavity

With or without braces, good dental hygiene focuses on controlling the buildup of dental plaque, which contains over 600 different kinds of oral bacteria. As the microbes accumulate on your teeth, some of them release acid. This acid is metabolized from sugar and other carbohydrates that can destroy tooth enamel, making the tooth vulnerable to infectious bacteria.

Brushing and flossing your teeth every single day is key! During orthodontic treatment, sticky plaque and food debris can cling to hard-to-reach places, like between your braces and teeth, and diligent care is required to ensure that your teeth remain clean and healthy.

Good Hygiene with Braces

An interdental cleaner is recommended and will help you clean away plaque and food debris from behind and around your braces. Also, refraining from certain foods like candy and jerky will help keep maintenance simple. If possible, brush after every meal to minimize the amount of acid that oral bacteria produce. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, at least rinse your mouth with water, swishing it around for at least 30 seconds to dislodge food particles and neutralize acid.

Can Invisalign Fix My Overbite?

At Loyacona Orthodontics we offer Invisalign to our patients in the Pittsburgh, PA area. In today’s blog we look to answer a couple questions you may have regarding Invisalign and how it works with overbites…

What Are Invisalign Clear Aligners?

Invisalign clear thermoplastic aligners gradually straighten your teeth by utilizing a gentle pressure and guiding teeth into place. New clear aligners are provided by your orthodontist every two weeks. Small plastic components that can be added to teeth for more flexibility when tackling complex issues. Invisalign aligners are a translucent, simple way to perfect your teeth. The FDA approves these clear aligners. They contain absolutely no nasty chemicals. Chemicals such as BPS, BPA or latex can be a real problem. Invisalign aligners are comfortable, effective, and affordable.

Does Invisalign Work for Overbites and Underbites?

Most patients see Invisalign take about 12-18 months for the best results. When you ask, “Can Invisalign fix my overbite?” The only thing Invisalign can’t do is pick up the phone and call an orthodontist for you! Invisalign is not for just anyone, especially not for people who want to see results quickly and free from hassle!

Keeping Your Invisalign Aligners Clean

Invisalign is an amazing product but just like anything, it will be most successful when provided the proper maintenance.

Lets take a look at some tips on keeping your Invisalign aligners clean…


Many patients choose to use two different toothbrushes for their teeth and for their aligners. This is because your aligners require a soft bristled brush that will not be too abrasive or damaging, while your teeth my require stiffer, tougher bristles to scrub and remove food particles. Another benefit to using two separate toothbrushes is that you will minimize the risk of staining your aligners with food particles left on your toothbrush from brushing your teeth.


While you can still use whitening toothpaste on your teeth, you should not use it on your aligners or the brush you use to clean them. Whitening toothpastes can leave a film on your clear aligners, or make them appear cloudy and dull, defeating the purpose of their invisibility!


You’ll want to step up your flossing game if you have Invisalign! Because you need to put your aligners back in very soon after eating, you don’t want to risk leaving any food behind between your teeth.


It is a good idea to purchase a clear aligner soaking solution to use daily or every few days to thoroughly clean your aligners. Many patients choose to soak their clear aligners while they are eating dinner at home to maximize their time!


If you frequently eat at school, work, or out at events or restaurants, you’ll definitely want to invest in a travel case for your aligners. This will keep them safe while you’re out and about, and help prevent against loss and damage.

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions!

What can my child eat while wearing braces for Thanksgiving 2019?

Thanksgiving 2019! This is a holiday to be thankful for! Almost all of your traditional favorites are perfect for family members with braces.

For Appetizers

Offer soft food options such as silky cheeses and deviled eggs instead of crunchy vegetables, chips, and nuts.

For Dinner

Turkey is a required dish on many tables, and no need to miss out! Just make sure pieces are bite-size and off the bone. Creamy mashed potatoes and gravy and jellied cranberry sauce are also braces-friendly traditions. Any cooked vegetable should be fine, but do cut the corn from the cob first. Dressing is a great side dish if your child avoids any crunchy tops and edges, as are soft, nut-free rolls and muffins.

For Dessert

Pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and apple pie with ice cream are all safe (and delicious) choices. Leave the pecan pie, caramel sauce, and anything nutty or chewy off your child’s menu. And remember to brush and floss carefully after the feast!
As always, please contact us if you have any questions regarding wearing braces!

Candy to Avoid While Wearing Braces this Halloween 2019

Halloween is a fun time for kids and adults alike but if you wear braces you should practice caution when enjoying all of those treats!

What to avoid…

Certain sweets can cause some serious damage to your teeth and braces, which can delay precious treatment time. Hard candies, chewy candies, caramels, taffy, nutty goodies, jelly beans, licorice, bubble gum, suckers, Tootsie Rolls, and sour candies are some of the foods that can cause havoc for trick or treaters who are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Skittles and M&M’s may seem innocent, but those tiny pieces of candy love to slip inside wires and pop off brackets. Better stay away. Furthermore, sour and fruity candies like Starbursts and Skittles are the worst because they are highly acidic, which can wear down the enamel that protects your teeth, paving the way for tooth decay and cavities.

What is better to eat…

Candy such as dark chocolate, sugar-free gum, or anything that contains the sugar substitute xylitol is not as harmful for your teeth as hard, chewy, or sticky sweets. Experts at the American Association of Orthodontists recommend softer treats or melt-in-your-mouth foods. These include:

Soft chocolate (Hershey’s Kisses are in the clear!)

Peanut butter cups (Go for those Reese’s Cups!)

Gelatin treats

Ice cream


Root beer floats

Apple cider

Cookies and crackers (Just be careful about hardness.)

Apples (Great in bite-size pieces! Don’t bite into a candied/caramel apple, but feel free to dip it in sauce.)

Kit Kat Bars

Three Musketeers

Malt Balls

Sweet Tarts

Peppermint Patties

Cookies and Cream

Snow Caps

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us and we will be glad to answer them!

Source: Google

Braces Care Guide: Fall 2019

For children and teens, monitoring oral health can be more difficult especially when wearing braces. We do our best to remind our patients to keep up with their oral hygiene and remind you to keep up with the steps at home too.

Keeping Up With Oral Hygiene

When school starts it can become difficult to keep up with your oral health properly. Classes, sports and homework can all get in the way. However, failing to follow a regular oral hygiene routine can lead to tooth decay and may hamper orthodontic treatments.

Whether at school or at home, remember to floss and brush as recommended for best results.

Carry a Braces Care Kit

Pack a braces care kit and carry it with you.

Items should include:

– Small mirror

– Floss and threaders

– Toothpaste

– Toothbrush

Be Careful About What You Eat

Hard food, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar should be avoided while wearing braces. This could delay the treatment process, and be uncomfortable before it’s fixed by your orthodontist.

Why Should You Wear Retainers?

Patients with crooked and misaligned teeth who want a straighter and more balanced smile can benefit from retainers. Retainers help to straighten teeth or keep them straight long after treatment. The benefits of orthodontic treatment with retainers are the same for patients of all ages, and they offer many benefits.

Benefits of wearing retainers

Whether you’re young or old, you can benefit from treatment with retainers for a straighter smile.


Keep teeth from shifting

Are custom-fit to teeth

Provide comfortable treatment

Are long-lasting

Orthodontic treatment can prevent difficulties that arise with crooked and misaligned teeth. Teeth that overcrowd in the mouth are at a high risk for infection. Because it is difficult to clean between crooked teeth, plaque and bacteria can build up in the mouth. This can result in tooth decay and problems with the root canal and missing teeth. Combat problems caused by crooked teeth through the use of retainers. The first month of retainer use is especially the most critical because it keeps teeth that are prone to moving around straight and in line.

If you have any questions regarding retainers, please feel free to contact us today!

Getting Your Braces Tightened in Pittsburgh

Why do braces need to be tightened?

Braces need to be routinely adjusted in order to ensure that they are applying the right type of pressure to slowly move the teeth into their ideal positions. At these appointments, we won’t just fine-tune the braces, but we will examine them as well, making sure that nothing needs to be replaced (such as a bracket).

How does tightening braces actually work?

We start by removing all of the rubber bands from the brackets that are holding the wire in place. They’ll then remove the wire itself. We will look at the position of the teeth, check how they have moved, and determine whether or not a new wire is needed. Lastly, either the original or a new wire will be put back onto the brackets, and then a new set of rubber bands will be used to hold it in place.

Does tightening braces hurt?

The big question! Because we place new rubber bands onto the brackets, this can cause a patient to feel some extra pressure on their teeth and experience a little oral tenderness. This is normal, and it just means that the braces are working! This slight discomfort should go away after a few days, and a patient can take an OTC medicine to help manage any pain. As a patient receives multiple adjustments over the course of their treatment, they’ll actually feel less and less after each one.

How long does it take to have braces tightened?

Not very long at all—about 20 minutes for most patients!

How often do braces need to be tightened?

This answer will differ depending on each patient’s unique needs, but for most, we recommend having their braces adjusted about once every 4 weeks.

As always, here at Loyacona Orthodontics in Pittsburgh/Penn Hills, Uniontown, and Murrysville, we are available to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us today!

Top Orthodontic Myths Busted

“Braces set off metal detectors.”

“Treatment takes several years.”

You’ve probably heard of these orthodontic myths, which are simply not true. Today we will highlight a few of these myths and explain the truth behind them…

“I’m too old to consider orthodontic treatment.”

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, nearly 1.5 million adults in the U.S. have braces and about a quarter of all orthodontics patients are of adult age! With the advances being made in technology, no one is too old to have braces or Invisalign.

“I can’t eat my favorite foods.”

While it is true that we recommend those with traditional braces do not eat sticky or chewy foods, most foods can actually be cut into smaller pieces to consume. If you wear Invisalign aligners, you may remove them when you eat or drink anything other than water, so there is no limits on what you can eat.

“Orthodontics will keep me from playing sports.”

If you play sports, you may simply wear an orthodontic mouthguard when participating. There is no reason that braces or Invisalign would stop you from participating in your favorite activities.

Tips for Invisalign Braces in Pittsburgh, PA

Invisalign is an amazing way to straighten your teeth with a ton of benefits! We’d like to share some tips so you can have the best experience while wearing Invisalign.

Make Sure to Brush After You Eat A Meal

This is the most important thing to remember during your orthodontic treatment. You should always clean your teeth after a meal because if you don’t, the food that you eat can get trapped against your teeth and gums when you put your aligners back in. This can only accelerate dental problems, such as tooth decay.

When You’re Not Using Them, Keep Your Aligners in a Case

Because you’ll be taking your aligners out occasionally – as you only need to wear them for about 22 hours in a day – there will be periods where the aligners aren’t in your mouth. When this is the case, put them in an actual case! This will cut down on the chance that you accidentally harm, misplace, or even lose your aligners. We’ve had many patients who’ve even thrown their aligners away by mistake when they’ve left their aligners lying around. Make sure that you don’t do the same and always keep them in a case to protect them.

Take Out Your Aligners Before Exercising

Because your aligners will only need to be in for approximately 22 hours per day, you’ll be able to pick and choose when to take them out. Obviously, you’ll want to take them out for eating and cleaning your teeth. Another time you may want to take them out is when you exercise – especially if you’re working out strenuously. When your aligners are in while you’re working out, your mouth can become even drier and cause added discomfort for you.

Delay Changing Your Aligners Until After Important Events

When your aligner change falls on the day of or before an important event, whether it’s a presentation, a date, or anything else where you need to speak clearly, we suggest that you delay your aligner change. It will typically take a day or so to get acclimated to new aligners and until then, you may find yourself with a small lisp and you might also have trouble speaking normally. Wait until after your important event is over before changing aligners so that you don’t have any speech problems during your big day.

When Should My Child First Visit the Orthodontist?

A question many parents ask is: “When should my child see an orthodontist for an initial evaluation?”

We will address some of the more common questions we face with the hope of providing some clarity on the subject for you and your family.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have an initial evaluation with an orthodontist at the age of 7. This is not so we can put braces on your child even earlier. In fact, we recommend some form of orthodontic treatment in only a fraction of the young kids we see. However, this appointment is valuable to identify developing orthodontic issues or orthodontic issues that may already be present.

Why 7 Years Old?

Around this age, some of the adult, permanent front teeth have come in as well as the first set of adult molars, appropriately nicknamed the “six-year-molars.” When these key dental “landmarks” are in, an orthodontist can identify how a child’s bite is likely to develop over the following years. With the help of one panoramic x-ray, we can also identify if your child is naturally missing any adult teeth (5% of the population is), as well as identify deviations from normal tooth eruption, which may lead to complications down the road.

As always, please contact our office with any questions regarding an orthodontist visit.


Wearing Sports Mouthguards with Braces

When your child has braces or Invisalign and needs to wear a mouthguard while playing sports some questions may come into play. On today’s blog we look at the advantages of wearing these mouthguards as well as some of the types of mouthguards on the market to help you decide on the best options.

Advantages of Wearing Mouthguards

– Provide protection for any forceful contact to the face, lips, or jaws to prevent injury.

– Prevent teeth from being chipped, broken, or injured when heavy contact is sustained.

– Evenly distribute force when contact is sustained to the mouth, lips, or teeth.


Types of Mouthguards

Boil and Bite Mouthguards: Provides do-it-yourself custiomization but can be bulky at times.

Custom Fit Mouthguards: Provides the best overall fit.

Orthodontic Mouthguards: Designed to fit around braces, expanders, and orthodontic appliances and to give teeth room to move while still providing great protection.

Keeping a Healthy Smile in the New Year

“New year, new me.” is always the saying but at Loyacona Orthodontics, we say “New year, new smile, better hygiene.”

Today we compiled some of our best tips for keeping that perfect smile in the New Year…

Tooth Brushing

Tooth Brushing

When wearing braces, remember to brush gently. Using a toothbrush with soft bristles is recommended. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months for proper upkeep.

Snack Healthier

Snacks that are high in fiber are great for cleaning your teeth? Try snacking on foods like apples, carrots, yogurt, or almonds to naturally fight bacteria in your mouth.

Buy the correct toothpaste

When grocery shopping, choose a toothpaste that is made of fluoride, abrasives, humectants, flavors, and detergents. These key ingredients strengthen tooth enamel, scrub the tooth’s surface, trap water for a smooth substance, create a foaming effect, and even have a great taste.

Visit Us!

As always, staying consistent on your visits to us will allow for the best possible treatment! Book your appointment today!

What is a palatal expander?

You may have heard of or even received a recommendation for the use of a palatal expander. Many people are unfamiliar with this device. Today we take some time to outline a brief summary on what this device does.

palatal expander

The expander is a device that increases the size of the upper dental arch. While your child’s bones are growing, the space between the two bones of the upper palate is filled with cartilage. The tissue in this area is flexible when children are younger, but gradually becomes solid by the time they are finished growing. This time usually occurs within adolescence. If the arch can be widened to accommodate the emerging permanent teeth then it may help lessen the need for future procedures.

There are several types of expanders on the market. They are custom-made appliances, commonly attached between the upper teeth on each side of the jaw. The two halves of the device are connected with a screw-type mechanism that can be adjusted to widen the upper palate and dental arch with gentle pressure. This is a slower, gradual process, with small adjustments usually made once or twice a day to slowly move the bones further apart. As weeks go by, you will notice a successful change in the spacing of the teeth. Your child might even develop a gap in the front teeth, which is normal and will generally close on its own.

As always, feel free to contact us today with any questions.

Thanksgiving with Braces

Thanksgiving is actually a perfect meal to eat while wearing braces! We encourage our patients with braces to eat soft foods. Turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing is just the recipe for those tender teeth.


Lets take a look at some of the foods individually…

Salads: Leafy salads are great without crunchy nuts or croutons. Waldorf salad or other fruit salads with crunchy apples or nuts in them should probably wait until next Thanksgiving when you are braces free.

Stuffing: Stuffing is generally soft, which makes it fine for braces. Just steer clear of the outside edges that may have become crunchy in the oven or any pecans or walnuts that might be hiding inside.

Turkey or ham: Either of these main attractions are fine to eat with braces as long as they are cut in small pieces and not eaten off the bone. Stay away from the Turkey Legs!

Vegetables: This may or may not be a good thing for you, but you can eat as many cooked vegetables as you’d like. This includes sweet potato casserole without nuts and mashed potatoes and gravy.

The Top 3 Benefits of Invisalign

Invisalign continues to grow in popularity compared to more traditional methods. Lets take a look at the most popular reasons why patients may choose Invisalign!

#1 Appearance

The most popular of all the reasons, Invisalign lets you smile with confidence! In adults especially, metal braces may be off putting compared to a solution that is virtually invisible like Invisalign.

The Top 3 Benefits

#2 Convenience

Using clear aligners such as Invisalign instead of the brackets and wires associated with traditional braces means you’ll experience less interruption to your daily routine. With metal braces there are food restrictions that can mean a big change in your diet. The ease and cleanliness of the Invisalign’s design makes it a convenient choice.

#3 Timely Results

With traditional braces, results are typically achieved in two years, while Invisalign treatment takes significantly less time. This may vary from case to case but we strive to make your perfect smile show as fast as possible!

The Importance of Helmets and Mouthguards

The Importance of Facial Protection

The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to spread the word about the importance of mouthguards, they aim to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.

Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Drs. Ray Rafetto and Mark Fiss and our team at Alpine and Rafetto Orthodontics want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.

Preventing Dental Injuries

A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey.


How to Eat Properly With Braces

We know getting that perfect smile takes time with braces. There are some adjustments that need to be made to your everyday habits. One of the biggest changes comes in what kind of foods you eat and how you prepare them.

When you first get your braces put on or have them adjusted the best foods to eat are soft or liquid foods like soup, mashed potatoes, meal replacement shakes and yogurt. Once you get comfortable with your braces you can start introducing more soft foods like tortillas, soft meats, soft steamed vegetables and seafood.

How to Eat

Some other points to keep in mind…

Stick to soft foods

Avoid crunchy or sticky that can damage brackets

Cut food into pieces

Take smaller bites

Eat slowly and chew carefully

Don’t bite into things like burritos, apples, or corn on the cob

Chew with your back teeth

As always, please contact us and we will be glad to answer any questions that you may have.

Common Issues That Can Be Corrected at The Orthodontist

There are several reasons to visit the orthodontist. Today we look at how your health can benefit for a visit to our office.

Crowding of the Teeth

Crowding is the result of teeth not having enough room, causing teeth to overlap. The majority of people who get braces do so to correct over-crowding. Crowding can ruin your smile and result in periodontal problems. Tooth Decay could also be an issue in Crowding.

Common Issues


A cross-bite happens when the lower and upper teeth don’t meet correctly. This causes the upper teeth to sit inside the lower teeth. People with a cross-bite need to move their jaw to the side or forward to close their mouth. A cross-bite may also cause a person to develop facial asymmetry and prohibit the proper use of their jaw.


Similar to a cross-bite, an overbite occurs when the teeth overlap the front lower teeth. An overbite can cause the lower teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth.

Gaps and Spacing

Last but not least is gaps and spacing issues between the teeth. This is a very common reason to visit our office and let us correct that perfect smile!

Caring for Your Retainer After Orthodontic Treatment

Finally, your braces are off! Congratulations! This is a huge step but it is important to keep in mind that orthodontic treatment does not end after braces. A retainer has an equally essential part in creating and maintaining that beautiful new smile of yours. Lets take a look at the following video to learn more…

2018 Springtime Treats that are easy on your Teeth

Spring has finally sprung here in the Pittsburgh area! After the long and cold winter months we are excited to focus on some of the delicious treats to keep you cool in the months ahead without ruining your smile!

Berry Watermelon Salad

Berry Watermelon Salad


4 cups watermelon, cubed

1 pint strawberries, sliced

1 pint blueberries

1 pint raspberries

1 pint cherries, pitted and halved

1/2 pint blackberries

a squeeze of fresh lime juice

Cut all the fruit into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large mixing bowl, and gently toss. Top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Chill before serving.

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie


1½ cups frozen strawberries

1½ cups good quality lemonade

½ cup vanilla or strawberry yogurt

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides of the blender as necessary. Serve immediately or refrigerate or freeze for later.

Watermelon Fruit Bowl


4 cups watermelon, cubed

1 pint strawberries, sliced

1 pint blueberries

1 pint raspberries

1 pint cherries, pitted and halved

1/2 pint blackberries

a squeeze of fresh lime juice

Cut all the fruit into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large mixing bowl, and gently toss. Top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Chill before serving.

When Should My Child First Visit the Orthodontist?

In the case of children, a child should visit the orthodontist early in life so they can be screened for any potential orthodontic problems. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive their first orthodontic screening by the age of 7.

Problems are Easier to Treat if Caught Early

Children generally begin treatment between the ages of 9 and 14. There are many conditions that are easier to treat if they’re spotted at an earlier age.

Some of the conditions that can be treated easily while a child is still young include:

Cross-bite – When the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth

Crowding –When the jaws are too small to accommodate all the permanent teeth

Preventing Bad Oral Habits

Thumb or finger sucking, tongue thrusting and breathing too much from the mouth are just a few of the several bad habits that can develop in a young child. These problems may not be as easy to recognize as you think and are best caught early in the child’s life. If these problems are left to persist over the child’s life, they can cause severe damage.

Book Your First Appointment

As always, contact us today with any questions you may have regarding booking your first appointment. We are here to help!


Why Gaps in Teeth May Be Concerning

Closing a gap in your teeth is a great idea for more than just the aesthetic reasons. In fact, many people actually find gaps in teeth to be a charming look. And although tooth gaps in children are a normal occurrence, today we take a look at some of the other facts regarding teeth gaps.

Are Gaps Bad?

It is important to note that not all gaps are for serious concern. Although, large gaps in adults can lead to poor tooth alignment since the teeth bordering the gap have nothing to control movement. When this happens it can affect your bite or even cause pain. The best way to tell if your gap is in need of treatment is to book and appointment.

Are Gaps Bad

Closing Gaps

Treatment for gaps depends on the severity and the goals of the patient.

Braces, retainers, oral surgery and cosmetic dentistry also might be recommended.

Wearing Braces as an Athlete

Sports are popular amongst all ages young and old. While you are wearing braces there are some things to keep in mind to keep you healthy throughout the physical activity that your favorite sports may require.

Wearing Braces

-Wear a mouthguard: A strong and resilient appliance, a mouthguard covers your teeth and braces and protects them when an object forcefully hits your mouth. This mouthguard can help you avoid orthodontic emergencies such as knocked-out teeth, broken teeth, and damaged braces.

-Avoid sports drinks: Since sports drinks contain extreme amounts of sugar, you increase your chances of developing tooth decay. It is best to avoid drinking sports drinks and drink water instead.

-Attend your adjustment appointments: Your adjustment appointments are very important when staying on track toward your perfect smile. They are also helpful when your braces have been damaged or when they have suffered wear and tear. These appointments can help us fix your appliance if it’s needed.

Tips on Caring for your Plastic Retainer

If you have a plastic retainer and you’re not quite sure how to care for it, then we have some great tips for you!

Tips on Caring for your Plastic Retainer

– Rinse your retainer with warm water each time you take it out of your mouth, like when you eat each meal. This can be helpful because it can wash away bacteria and plaque that form on the appliance throughout the day.

– Clean the retainer each time you brush your teeth. You can do so by scrubbing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive or antimicrobial toothpaste. This can clean the retainer without scratching it. When you’re done scrubbing, rinse it with cool water. Never rinse the appliance with hot water because it can melt the plastic.

– Keep your retainer in a safe place where it won’t be lost or damaged, like in the case provided or in your pocket, purse, or backpack.

As always, feel free to contact us regarding any questions you may have regarding your retainer and we will be glad to help!

Should I Get Invisalign Instead of Traditional Braces?

Invisalign uses a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners to straighten your teeth without the use of traditional wires and brackets. The Invisalign system is a candidate for both teens and adults. Today we explore the benefits of this revolutionary product to help you decide if it’s right for you!

Should I Get Invisalign Instead of Traditional Braces

Invisalign Benefits:

– They are less abrasive to your cheeks and tongue

– Adults love Invisalign since it is clear and not as noticeable

– Brushing and flossing is easier than with traditional braces

– There are no extra visits to fix loose wires or brackets

Please contact us to schedule your consultation today!

How to Use a Waterpik® Water Flosser in 8 Simple Steps

The Waterpik is one of our recommended products for oral hygiene. Today we look at some simple steps for proper usage of the Waterpik tool!

How to Use a Waterpik® Water Flosser in 8 Simple Steps

1. Fill the reservoir with lukewarm water and place it on the base, pressing down firmly to ensure full seating.

2. Select the tip and press firmly into the handle.

3. If this is the first use, set the pressure control dial to high. Point the tip into the sink and turn on until water flows. Turn unit off.

4. Adjust the pressure control (start at low pressure).

5. Lean over the sink and place tip in mouth.

6. Turn unit on. Close lips to prevent splashing, while allowing water to flow from mouth into sink.

7. Start with the back teeth and pause briefly between teeth, aiming the tip just above the gumline at a 90 degree angle.

8. When finished, turn unit off and use the tip eject button to remove the tip.


Holiday Treats You Can Eat With Braces!

The holidays are fast approaching and no one wants to miss out on some of the delicious treats that come along with them! We all know that with braces you must be cautious about what you eat but luckily there are treats out there that can be delicious and safe to eat when wearing braces.

1. Custard and/or Creme Pie

Pies are a holiday staple! Try a pumpkin pie, cheesecake with fresh fruit, or buttermilk pie.

Holiday Treats You Can Eat With Braces!

2. Fruit

Refrain from eating the hard Caramel Apples and instead reach for fresh apple slices! Feel free to sprinkle them with Cinnamon Sugar for added flavor.

3. Chocolate

We all know to stay away from Caramel but you don’t need to worry about chocolate itself. Dark chocolate is best for overall and mouth health, in addition to being delicious. It melts away from teeth and is easy to clean from brackets and wires.

4. Marshmallow

This fluffy treat is ok to enjoy in moderation!

5. Yogurt

Yes yogurt may not be the first food you think of when observing the holidays but flavored yogurts can be a cool, delicious alternative!

Traveling with Invisalign

Invisalign is a great alternative to traditional braces. They provide an “invisible” and non-invasive way to correct your smile. So how should you prepare for a trip while wearing Invisalign?

1. It is best practice to take your previous set, current set and a new set of aligners with you. Based on how long you have been wearing the current set will determine whether you will go back to the previous set or move forward to the next set. If the current aligners are tight, go back.

Traveling with Invisalign

2. Bring an extra case. This way, if you leave one behind, you have a spare.

3. If you are unable to brush at a particular moment then make sure you rinse out your mouth and aligners before reinserting them into your mouth.


4. When flying, always keep your aligners in your carry-on. This way of your checked baggage gets misplaced you will still have the aligners on you.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding these tips.

Bite Misalignment Explained

Many orthodontic issues that are common in today’s world originate from a misaligned bite. It is important to recognize that issues beyond just the quality of your smile are effected by this condition.

Bite Misalignment Explained

Common Issues Associated with Misaligned Bites:

1. Abnormal Chewing

Bite misalignments make it difficult to chew normally. This inflicts strain on your teeth and jaw, which puts them at risk for damage.

2. Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

Keeping your teeth clean with brushing and flossing is difficult to do properly with a misaligned bite. You are at greater risk for developing tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis.

3. Jaw Pain

Misalignment can lead to jaw pain. The intensity of this pain can progress into headaches, earaches, and dizziness.

4. Speaking Issues

Misaligned bites can cause speech impediments, which can negatively impact self-esteem and social acceptance.

So what can I do?

Click here to read more about our information on Orthodontics and contact us for an office visit.

The Importance of Wearing Your Elastic Bands

An important part of your Orthodontic treatment is wearing your elastic bands. In today’s blog we look at a few major reasons you need to wear your bands.

What is the purpose of rubber bands?

Rubber bands are used when people have an over or under bite that needs correcting. This helps the bite to eventually fit together well. Not wearing the bands may extend the time it takes for treatment.

The Importance of Wearing Your Elastic Bands

How often do the bands need to be worn?

Unless otherwise told, you should wear your bands 24/7. The only reasons you should be taking the rubber bands out is to eat (if you are unable to eat with them on), brushing and flossing your teeth and putting a new set on.

The Importance of Wearing Your Elastic Bands

Do rubber bands hurt?

Your teeth and jaw may take a short amount of time to get used to the bands but pain is minimal. It is important to note that the more you wear them the more you will get use to them!

We are always here to answer any questions regarding Elastic Bands! Please feel free to contact us today.

Summer Snacking for Healthy Teeth

Snacking. The word at first does not exactly bring any healthy thoughts to mind but when done properly snacking can be a fun-filled, healthy activity! Especially in these Summer months when we’re sitting around our outdoor cookouts with an appetite it can be too easy to reach for an un-healthy snack. Try and stick to these beneficial alternatives…

1. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews

Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews

Delicious and nutritious! These nuts contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium to promote healthy gums and teeth. Place a bowl out for you next backyard picnic. Just don’t eat the whole bowl!

2. Dark Chocolate

Yes, you read that correctly. Dark Chocolate is the least processed of chocolate products so it contains less artificial sugars. Dental benefits come from the tannins, polyphenols, and flavonoids present in the cacao bean.

3. Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and Veggies

Rich in vitamins and minerals which your body and mouth need, fruits and vegetables are also known as detergent foods because of the cleaning effect they have on the teeth and gums. Try bananas with peanut butter for a quick yet filling snack on the go.

Explaining Common Misconceptions Regarding Orthodontics

At Loyacona Orthodontics we prioritize educating our patients as much as possible regarding our practice. Many people still have questions when it comes to what we do so we want to take this moment to clear up come common mistakes people make regarding orthodontics.

1. Mistake: Orthodontists Only Treat Young Children

TRUTH: The truth is that at any age you may wind up paying us a visit. There are many causes that can lead an adult as well as a child to the Orthodontics office. A majority of patients may be children and teenagers but crooked teeth can happen at any age!

An Orthodontist is Just Like my Family Dentist

2. Mistake: An Orthodontist is Just Like my Family Dentist

TRUTH: It is true that both orthodontists and dentists help patients achieve lifelong oral health but we go about these goals in completely different ways. An Orthodontist will help patients achieve oral health by fixing problems with the alignment of your teeth. By correcting these issues, we are able to help patients with a variety of oral health issues including but not limited to: crowded teeth, bite problems and even speech impediments.

It Is a Long Process

3. Mistake: It Is a Long Process

TRUTH: Most patients have braces for an average of 2 years. While this may seem long, this is small compared to a lifetime of perfect smiles!

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