January 9th, 2019
You might be surprised to learn that Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend an orthodontic appointment even before your child has had that last visit from the Tooth Fairy. In fact, orthodontic assessments at our Denver, NC office can be beneficial at many stages of your child’s life. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.
The Right Spaces
There’s a reason why we recommend that every child see an orthodontist by the age of seven. If there’s room enough in your child’s mouth to accommodate all the permanent teeth that will be arriving soon, you’re good to go. But if it looks like there won’t be enough space for those adult teeth, there are solutions we can offer to make the transition from baby teeth to adult teeth a smoother one.
- If your child’s mouth is small, the permanent teeth might have too little room to fit in when they arrive. We may recommend gently enlarging the upper dental arch with the use of a palatal expander. This device will provide room for the adult teeth, and could potentially shorten second phase treatment time.
- Too much space can also be a problem. If a child loses a baby tooth too soon, too much space between the remaining teeth can cause them to shift out of position, leaving the wrong spot open for the adult tooth to come in. We might recommend a space maintainer so that there is no shifting of the teeth, and there is room for the adult tooth to erupt in its proper spot.
- If there is a bite problem, early treatment can prevent more serious problems down the road.
If no treatment is necessary immediately, we can monitor the development of your child’s teeth and bite during periodic visits.
(Stay in) The Right Places
Once your child has achieved that perfect smile, it’s time to maintain it. Teeth actually move and shift throughout our lives, whether we have had orthodontic treatment or not. But with orthodontic treatment, the bone tissue and ligaments around the teeth remodel over time to hold the teeth in their new and improved positions. That’s why it’s often important to wear a retainer constantly for several months after the braces come off, as bone and ligament become a firm, strong anchor for the newly aligned teeth and bite.
But there’s no one expiration date on retainers! Worn nightly as needed, they help teeth stay securely in their new positions for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.
Healthy Smiles Mean Happy Faces
If you think your child is ready for any phase of orthodontic work, give us a call. We will be happy to make sure there is ample room for permanent teeth to erupt in their proper spots even during the baby teeth years. If braces are indicated at a later date, we will analyze any potential alignment and bite problems and present all of your treatment options. Finally, after the orthodontic work is completed, we want to make sure your child knows the best way to maintain that beautiful smile with conscientious retainer wear.
If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth or bite, even before the permanent teeth arrive, give our Denver, NC office a call. Early treatment can often prevent future problems and might even lead to faster orthodontic results. At each stage of your child’s growth, we are here to provide your best options for healthy, happy smiles.
January 2nd, 2019
You know the school day’s over when you hear these seven little words: “I’m home! Is there anything to eat?”
And before your child got braces, you had the answer: simple, tasty snacks that provided not only an energy boost, but nutritional elements to help build strong teeth and strong bodies. But now whole carrot sticks and unsliced apples are out. Nuts and crunchy peanut butter? Not in your pantry. Hard cheeses and crunchy whole grain crackers? Also off the shopping list.
Because any foods that are crunchy, chewy, or hard to bite into can damage brackets and wires, it’s time to freshen up your go-to snack list. Luckily, Dr. Todd Hamilton can recommend many healthy and braces-friendly choices when children need something to tide them over until dinner.
- Fruits and Vegetables for Vitamins and Minerals
Soft fruits like berries, melon, and bananas provide essential vitamins and minerals while going easy on your child’s braces. Make it a blended smoothie for a cool treat—you can even add a healthy handful of spinach or kale without interfering with that fruity taste. If your child still loves apples and carrots best, keep them on hand—but remember that thin slices are the only way to go.
- Dairy Delivers Calcium
Cottage cheese, string cheese, and other soft cheeses provide essential calcium and vitamin D. Yogurt in all its many flavors is another great option.
- Meats Provides Protein
Lean meats such as thinly sliced ham, chicken, or turkey provide flavor and protein, and don’t require the chewing that bologna, roast beef, and salami do. And nothing packs a protein punch like eggs—hard boiled, deviled, or diced up in egg salad.
- Grains, Legumes, and Vegetables for Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates—the “good” carbs—are important sources of energy for our bodies. Snacks such as hummus with soft whole grain pita wedges or blended black bean dip and soft crackers are a delicious, energizing option.
You are constantly looking for ways to make your children’s lives better. Mix and match any of these foods for a snack that’s not only good for their braces, but good for their teeth and bodies! Let us know your child’s favorite snack the next time you visit our Denver, NC office!
December 26th, 2018
Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for many reasons. Children need to refuel after a long night’s sleep, and studies suggest that school kids who eat a good breakfast have more energy, better attendance and behavior, and even higher test scores than kids who don’t.
But sometimes, especially with new braces or braces that have just been adjusted, the last thing on your child’s mind is breakfast. Fortunately, Dr. Todd Hamilton can recommend many early morning options that will be both gentle on braces and healthy for growing bodies!
Soft, creamy, and filled with calcium and vitamin D, yogurt is an easy and nutritious choice. Try different fruit flavors or Greek yogurt for variety.
Packed with protein, scrambled eggs are delicious on their own, or with the addition of cheese or soft veggies. If you’d like to add a bit of flair to the table, a cheese omelet is another great choice. Any egg option is a good one—just remember to skip the crunchy toast on the side.
Not only a great way to start your day, but a great way to get vitamins and minerals in one delicious meal. And with a flavor base of banana, mango, berries, or apple, no one will notice if some spinach or kale make their way into the blender!
Unfortunately for the cereal lover, crunchy cereals and even granola are potentially damaging to wires and brackets. But oatmeal is a healthy alternative that can be made even tastier with the addition of soft fruits such as mangos, berries, and bananas.
- Breads and Pastries
Crunchy and chewy breads and pastries can lead to broken brackets and wires. Soft breads, pancakes, non-crunchy French toast, and soft pastries are much kinder to braces. Because so many of these options are rich in sugar (especially with syrup!), it’s best to go lighter on foods like this and be sure to brush carefully afterward.
Bananas, peaches, nectarines, berries—if it’s soft, it’s good to go! Cut larger fruits into bite-sized pieces. Dried fruits like raisins, dates, and cranberries can be chewy, sticky, and sugary, so best to take them off the shopping list for the time being.
It’s described as the most important meal of the day for many good reasons. With some of these easy-to-prepare breakfasts, you can add delicious, healthy, and braces-friendly to that description! If you stumble on a delicious recipe, don’t forget to share it the next time you visit our Denver, NC office!
December 26th, 2018
We’ve been celebrating the new year for a really, really long time. It goes way back, but it started formally in 1582, when Pope George XIII made January 1st the official holiday for ushering in the new year. The idea was to yell, cheer, and blow horns to scare away all the evil spirits of the previous year with the hope that the new one would be filled with happiness and opportunity.
While scaring away evil spirits isn’t what’s on our mind these days, we still ring in the New Year by cheering and hollering with friends and family. It’s a time to set new goals, refocus on old ones, and look forward to all the surprises the coming year will bring.
Whether you’re saying hello to the New Year snuggled up at home on your couch in the Denver, NC area or by gathering your friends for a social celebration, here are some tips to help ensure you welcome this new chapter with a smile.
Tips for a great New Year’s Eve celebration from Hamilton Orthodontics
- Stay safe. This one’s vital, because nothing puts a damper on your party like an emergency trip to the hospital. Stay responsible and try to plan ahead, whether that means taking a taxi, staying with a friend, or recruiting a designated driver. Do what you have to do to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.
- Spend time with the people you love most. The way we see it, the whole point of the holiday season is to cherish your family and friends. Regardless of what you’re doing, make sure there’s something for everyone. It’s essential to do something the whole group will enjoy!
- Smile! Whether you get all dressed to go out or have a quiet gathering with family and friends, make sure you accessorize with a smile. There’s always something to smile about!
We can all agree that change can be scary sometimes, but ringing in the New Year is an observance we all welcome with open arms. We hope you’ll enjoy this transitional holiday in a fun, healthy, and safe way. You have endless possibilities ahead of you!
From Dr. Todd Hamilton, have a fantastic New Year!
December 19th, 2018
Congratulations! You have made the decision to get orthodontic treatment at our Denver, NC office. Now it’s time to choose among your various appliance options. Traditional metal brackets and wires, lingual braces, a series of aligners—they all have positives to recommend them. And for some people, ceramic braces are the clear favorite.
Ceramic braces work like regular metal braces. Brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth, and rubber bands surrounding the brackets hold the arch wire that gradually moves the teeth into alignment.
Ceramic braces, however, use brackets made of clear or tooth-colored ceramic or porcelain which blend beautifully with the color of your tooth. The elastic ligatures, or rubber bands, can be chosen to match the brackets or your enamel. There are self-ligating ceramic brackets which don’t use bands at all. Technology is even working on ways to make the arch wire less visible! The end result is braces that are almost undetectable.
If you want a less obvious appliance for professional or personal reasons, talk to us about ceramic braces. As always, there are other factors to consider before you decide, which we will be happy to discuss with you.
- Ceramic brackets are very strong, but they are still more brittle than the metal model. If you play a contact sport, these might not be for you. (But whatever braces you choose, please wear a mouthguard when playing sports.)
- Ceramic braces might not be ideal depending on the amount of alignment and bite correction that is needed. They might also take a bit more time to bring your teeth into alignment. We will be able to tell you if ceramic braces will work for you and if they might require a longer period to move your teeth to their perfect position.
- Brackets can sometimes be somewhat larger (though this isn’t always the case), and, because they can be abrasive, are often recommended for upper teeth only. This way, the lower teeth will not impact, or be impacted by, contact with the upper teeth.
- Oral hygiene can trickier with ceramic braces. Although today’s brackets aren’t as prone to staining, you still need to be careful to brush away the plaque that can accumulate around the brackets. And the bands are susceptible to staining by the usual suspects—coffee, tea, colas, blueberries, or any strongly colored food or beverage.
- Costs will differ depending on the treatment method you choose. Talk to us about cost comparisons with other orthodontic treatments.
Ceramic braces, because they are so much less visible, are a popular orthodontic option, especially for older teenagers and adults. If you are interested, talk to Dr. Todd Hamilton about this effective way to straighten your teeth—discreetly. Ceramic might be the clear solution for creating your lasting, beautiful smile.
December 12th, 2018
In the long run, wearing braces is so worth it. Whether you’re working toward straight teeth, an improved bite, or both, you’ll end up with a beautiful smile! But sometimes, in the short run, they can be really annoying. Braces can irritate your lips, tongue, and cheeks while you are getting used to them or after an adjustment. Or a problem wire can poke the inside of your mouth and you can’t see us immediately for a repair. At times like these, Dr. Todd Hamilton will recommend orthodontic wax to make your life more comfortable.
- What is Orthodontic Wax?
Orthodontic wax is made from non-toxic products like beeswax, carnauba wax, and paraffin wax. Some products might contain extras like vitamin E, aloe, or flavorings. The soft wax covers the bracket or wire that is bothering you with a smooth surface that won’t irritate sensitive mouth tissue and will give sore areas a chance to heal.
- What if I Swallow a Piece?
All dental wax is made of non-toxic ingredients. If you accidentally swallow a bit, no need to worry.
- Is It Hard to Apply?
It’s not hard, but it takes a bit of practice. First, locate the wire or bracket that is causing the problem. You might know where it is right away, or be able to discover it by discovering which sharp bracket or wire is across from the sore spot in your mouth.
Always wash your hands first. Brush and floss, so you will have a clean surface to apply the wax. The drier the surface, the better the wax will stick, so let the area air dry or use something clean such as sterile gauze to dry around the bracket.
The wax is actually quite easy to work with. Break off a small piece of wax (no bigger than the size of a popcorn kernel or a pea), roll it in your fingers to soften it, and press the wax firmly but carefully over the problem bracket or wire until it sticks. Rub until the wax is smooth. Don’t worry, we will be happy to show you just how it’s done.
- Can I Eat with Wax in Place?
If you find that you can eat without much irritation, it’s better to eat without wax over your braces. Remove the wax before eating and brush carefully to remove any food particles from your braces before applying new wax. If you do snack while using wax, be sure to change it after you eat. Wax, after all, sticks easily to your braces—and food particles stick to wax! Not a good look, and not good for your teeth.
- Brushing and Flossing
Take off any wax before you brush and floss. Your toothbrush will thank you!
You probably have lots of other questions. Can you sleep with wax on your braces? Will it help you be more comfortable at trumpet practice? That’s why we’re here! If you have any questions at all about orthodontic wax and how to use it, call our Denver, NC office. We want to make sure that the months you spend wearing braces are as comfortable as possible on your way to a lifetime of beautiful smiles. It’s so worth it!
December 5th, 2018
If your pre-teen or teenager is home for the summer, it’s easy to provide braces-friendly lunch options. The school lunchroom, though, presents another challenge altogether. What menu selections are most compatible with braces? And what can you put in that lunch box or brown bag to provide a tempting, healthy lunch during school hours? Let’s look at some options!
From the Cafeteria
Encourage your student to stick with soft foods that don’t require biting into. Some good choices include:
- Soup, either creamy or with soft vegetables
- Salads without crunchy vegetables or croutons
- Soft, shredded chicken or beef
- Egg or tuna salad
- Macaroni and cheese
- Soft casseroles
- Steamed vegetables
- Mashed potatoes
- Soft breads or tortillas
Bringing a Lunch?
There are many great options for packing a lunch bag! Just remember to keep foods at the proper temperature, with insulated containers for hot foods and two cold sources, such as two frozen gel packs, for cold foods.
- Sandwiches with soft filling (no chunky peanut butter!) on soft bread. Thinly sliced, easy to chew cold cuts will work, but cold cuts like salami are too chewy. Cut the crusts off if necessary. Cutting sandwich wedges into smaller portions will also make them easier to eat.
- Hard boiled eggs
- Hummus and soft pita wedges
- String cheese and soft crackers
- Soft fruits such as berries or bananas
- Jell-O or other gelatin dessert cups
- Pudding cups
When to Say “No, Thank You”
If you have to bite into it, if it’s chewy, or if it’s crunchy, it’s best to choose something else! Here are some common culprits when it comes to broken brackets and wires:
- Hard candy
- Whole carrots
- Whole apples
- Hard rolls
- Corn on the cob
And remember to send your child to school with a brush and floss to clean teeth and braces after lunch. Dental hygiene is very important now, because brackets and wires can both trap food particles and make brushing them away more difficult. This can lead to increased plaque, cavities, and staining around the area of the braces. If it’s impossible to brush, be sure to remind your student to rinse thoroughly with water after eating.
Lunch hour should be a time to relax, get together with friends, and recharge for the rest of the school day. Talk to us about the most (and least) braces-friendly foods and recipes. By learning what foods to avoid and adjusting some old favorites, your school-age child can continue to enjoy healthy, tasty lunches. Most important, visiting Dr. Todd Hamilton at our Denver, NC office for an emergency repair will not be on anyone’s list of afterschool activities!
November 28th, 2018
When you replace your old toothbrush every three or four months with a new model, you accomplish three things:
- You keep your teeth cleaner (frayed brushes don’t clean as well)
- You protect your gums (you won’t be scrubbing harder to get your teeth clean)
- You add another toothbrush to your growing collection of used brushes
If creative recycling is one of your talents, you might have already discovered how handy repurposed brushes are for cleaning delicate or hard-to-reach spaces around the house. But those old brushes don’t have to spend their entire existence cleaning! Here are some ideas from Dr. Todd Hamilton to give a new, artistic life to your old, uninspired toothbrush.
- Splatter Painting
As your bathroom mirror can confirm, toothbrushes are great for splattering. Why not put those bristles to creative use by adding color bursts to canvas, wooden picture frames or boxes, fabric, cards, gift wrap and more? Just dip the tips of the bristles into the paint, point them toward your surface, and brush your finger over the head. For more formal effects, splatter paint over your favorite stencils on paper or fabric. Or work your magic by splattering around a stencil for a dramatic silhouette.
- Children’s Painting
Your child might find it great fun to use an old toothbrush to create new works of art. The easy-to-grip handle and wide bristles are perfect for painting those first masterpieces. Splatter painting is also a wonderful art activity for children—but be prepared for some clean-up!
Texturizing Clay Pieces
Whether you work in potter’s clay, polymer clay, or Play-Doh, an old toothbrush can provide any number of interesting textures to your piece. Press the bristles into the clay for a sophisticated stippled background, or brush long gentle strokes for a striated effect.
Wood glue creates strong bonds when you are joining edges, mitering corners, or fitting mortise and tenon joints. It also creates a sticky mess when you use your fingers, a wood or plastic spreader, or one of your good paint brushes. For any gluing jobs or joinery, try a toothbrush for greater control and easy application.
- Jewelry Making
If you work with jewelry pieces, you know that sometimes there are nooks and crannies that are almost impossible to clean or polish. Try a gentle brush with an old toothbrush and the recommended polish for your piece—but do keep brushes away from the delicate surface of pearls. And for the boldly creative, why not use your toothbrush itself as jewelry? There are online instructions out there for transforming that old brush into a colorful bangle bracelet.
In turns out that there’s a second career waiting for your toothbrush after all! Make sure to clean your toothbrushes thoroughly before using them in another role. After that, let your creativity run wild—including your creative recycling! It’s just another way you are crafting a more beautiful environment for all of us.
November 21st, 2018
You’re in the band and you’re getting braces. Now what? If you are a member of the string or percussion sections, you can go back to rehearsal. You’re good to go. When your talents have seated you in the reed or brass sections, though, a little adjustment might be necessary to keep your instrument and your braces working in harmony.
If you play a wind instrument, you know the term embouchure—the way you position and use your lips, tongue, facial muscles, and teeth to produce the sound you want. Depending on the instrument you play, you might be completely unaffected when you get your braces, or you might need to develop a more comfortable embouchure to accommodate them.
Wires and Woodwinds?
If you play a wind instrument such as the flute or piccolo, you might find that your normal lip positioning or blowing angle is affected by your braces, but usually the adjustment time is fairly short. Reed instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet, oboe, and bassoon are considered some of the easiest to adjust to when you have braces, but even though the single and double reed mouthpieces don’t require as much pressure as brass instruments, there can still be an adjustment period. One thing you should look out for is more condensation in your mouthpiece or instrument—be sure to keep your instrument clean to keep your sound pure.
Brackets and Brass?
Brass instruments require mouthpiece pressure. This leaves your lips pressed between the mouthpiece and your braces. For this reason, many brass players have a more challenging adjustment when wearing braces. Smaller mouthpieces (trumpet, French horn) usually require more pressure than larger ones (tuba, trombone). It’s important to learn how to use technique to avoid cuts, irritation, and other injuries caused by the pressure of your braces against your lips. Learning to play with less pressure on the lips and more air control and breath support will help you to recover your tone and range of notes while protecting your lips and mouth.
How Can We Help?
Let Dr. Todd Hamilton know if you play, or plan to play, a wind instrument. We might be able to offer some suggestions. For regular metal and ceramic braces, some musicians find extra wax is helpful in preventing lip and cheek injuries. There are brace guards available that can be applied over the braces to protect your lips and mouth if wax doesn’t do the trick.
There are also alternatives to regular bracket-and-wire braces, depending on your orthodontic needs, cost factors, and length of treatment. Invisalign® devices fit smoothly over your teeth and can even be removed when it is time to practice or play, as long as you get the necessary hours of wear in per day. In some cases, lingual braces, where the brackets and wires are placed behind the teeth, might be the best choice for you.
Finally, don’t forget to talk to your music instructor. Don’t be dismayed if you find the quality of your playing has been affected. Your teacher might have valuable suggestions for adjusting your embouchure, playing with less pressure on the lips, and developing better air and breath support. You might need to shorten your practice time at first, and there might be another period of adjustment after your braces come off.
Above all, take care of yourself! If something is poking your lip or cheek, call our Denver, NC office immediately before it causes injury. It might be difficult at first, but finding an embouchure that works for your comfort and technique is worth it. And remember, these temporary fine-tunings will lead to a wonderful coda: skilled musicianship and a beautiful, healthy smile. Bravo!
November 14th, 2018
Perhaps you are already planning for the years when your teenager will need orthodontic work. But hearing that your seven-year-old would benefit from orthodontic treatment? That might come as a complete surprise! It’s a recommendation with real benefits, though—early intervention can save children from tooth and bite problems now, and even simplify their future orthodontic care.
Treating young children for orthodontic problems is called “interceptive orthodontics.” When the permanent teeth start arriving, there might be problems with spacing, bite or protruding teeth. Often, treatment while the bones are still growing is the best way to prevent more serious problems later.
We recommend that your child have an orthodontic consultation with Dr. Todd Hamilton around the age of seven. This exam is especially important for children who may have been thumb suckers or used a pacifier after the age of three, or if you notice obvious teeth, speech or bite issues.
- Crowding and Spacing Issues
Teeth are arranged in two crescent shapes called arches. When the arch of your child’s mouth is small, the permanent teeth can become very crowded as they erupt. Formerly, teeth were removed to make more room. Now, early use of a palatal expander can enlarge the upper dental arch in order to help the permanent teeth come in without crowding. The need for future tooth extraction is reduced, and there is a better chance for correct spacing and alignment with early treatment.
On the other hand, when a child loses a tooth too soon, too much space left between baby teeth can also be a problem. The remaining teeth can shift, leaving the wrong place open for the adult tooth to come in. We might recommend a space maintainer so that there is no shifting of the teeth and there is room for the proper adult tooth to erupt in its proper spot.
- Malocclusions (Bite Problems)
Some malocclusions, like a crossbite, can be caused by problems with jaw and facial structure. Again, we might recommend a palatal expander to help the upper arch of the teeth to fit properly with the lower jaw. Problems with overbite, open bite and other bite issues can also be addressed at this age if necessary. Early care can discourage TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, reduce speech problems, and improve facial symmetry.
- Protruding Front Teeth
Teeth that protrude are much more likely to be damaged when playing or after a fall. Methods such as braces or appliances can reposition them and protect them from breaking or fracturing.
Many children will not need early intervention, and many can wait until they are older for orthodontic work. But if your young child has orthodontic problems that should be addressed, early intervention can do more than set the stage for successful orthodontics in the teen years. Talk to our Denver, NC team about what we can do for your child. Interceptive orthodontics can protect teeth, guide jaw and speech development, modify harmful oral habits and help to adjust bite problems before they become serious—when it comes to your child’s dental health, the best solutions are early ones!
November 7th, 2018
We all want to live our healthiest lives. We know that part of keeping ourselves healthy is regular visits to our Denver, NC office for checkups and necessary dental work. And that dental work might require an X-ray. Should the amount of radiation in an X-ray concern us?
First, it is helpful to know that the radiation you are exposed to from a dental X-ray is very small. A set of most bitewing X-rays, for example, produces an amount of exposure about equal to the amount of background radiation we get from our normal surroundings in a typical day. We also take care to minimize your exposure even further by using specially designed equipment and protective shielding, and taking only necessary X-rays. If your child is very young, if you are pregnant, or if you have other health concerns, talk to us about the advisability of X-rays and whether they are essential to treatment.
Second, much of our careful general examination will be done visually. Dr. Todd Hamilton can check for cavities and other problems and assess tooth and gum health. But sometimes, there are conditions which can’t be detected without an X-ray.
- Decay that isn’t visible in an oral exam—if a small cavity develops between teeth, or is hidden underneath a filling, an X-ray will catch it before more damage can take place.
- Infection—An X-ray will reveal infections such as abscesses that can damage both bone and tooth, and gum disease that has harmed bone and connective tissue.
- Orthodontic and periodontal issues—We might need an X-ray to determine the spacing and development of your child’s incoming teeth and maturing jaw structure, to properly create braces for adults or children, or to place an implant within the jawbone.
- If you are a new patient, it is helpful to have complete X-rays taken as a baseline of your current dental health and previous dental work. This baseline allows us to track tooth and jaw development, if necessary, and to evaluate any future changes that might be a concern. (If you have had X-rays taken in another office, we can help you have them transferred so we have a background of your dental history.)
Even though the radiation from a dental X-ray is minimal, be assured that we will never request any unnecessary procedure. When we recommend an X-ray, we do so to make sure there is no decay or infection threatening the health of your gums and teeth, and that we have the essential knowledge we need to treat any dental, periodontal, or orthodontic condition. Because we all want to live our healthiest lives—and part of that healthy life is both active and proactive dental care.
October 31st, 2018
Having teeth encased in braces can be discouraging during Halloween. If you or your child has braces, there are certain candies to avoid this holiday season—and in general—while you have braces. Candy can be tempting, especially for children.
But don’t worry; other sweet treat options can readily take their place. Take a look at the American Association of Orthodontists’ tips on how to keep your braces safe.
Treats to avoid because they can cause damage to your braces include:
- Hard candies
- Chewy candies
- Jelly beans
- Hard pretzels
These goodies should be avoided because they have the potential to bend or break your braces. Broken brackets and loose wires can waste time and money.
Switch out hard, chewy, and sticky candies for these options in the mean time:
- Soft chocolate
- Peanut butter cups
- Gelatin treats
- Ice cream
- Root beer floats
- Apple cider
Encouraging your child to stay with alternative, braces-friendly treats may prevent her from trying to eat candies that could break or damage braces. Halloween can still be fun, especially if your youngster (or you) don’t have to visit our Denver, NC office get braces fixed.
Make sure to remind your child to avoid harmful candies, and encourage him to exchange treats with friends to make it more fun. Only passing out candies that children can eat safely, such as soft chocolates, can make them feel included.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team hope you enjoy your Halloween season, regardless of whether you are wearing braces.
October 24th, 2018
Orthodontists like Dr. Todd Hamilton recommend a first orthodontic visit and evaluation for your child around the age of seven. We will evaluate your child’s jaw and facial development and make sure that there is enough room in the mouth for the permanent teeth when they arrive. One of the recommendations we might make for early treatment is the use of a palatal expander. If you are unfamiliar with this device, let’s take a closer look at why it’s necessary and what exactly it does.
Why do we recommend the palatal expander?
There are two dental arches, composed of the upper and the lower teeth, in your child’s mouth. This arch-shaped design is meant to accommodate all the permanent teeth. Further, when the upper and lower teeth meet, they should result in a healthy occlusion, or bite.
Sometimes, the upper dental arch is simply too small to accommodate all of your child’s permanent teeth, leading to crowding, extractions, and impacted teeth. Also, a too-narrow arch can result in a crossbite, where some of the upper teeth bite inside the lower ones. An improper bite can lead to problems such as TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, improper wear and stress on teeth, certain speech difficulties, and other potential complications. The palatal expander was designed to prevent these problems from occurring.
What is a palatal expander and how does it work?
The expander itself is a device that increases the size of the upper dental arch. Before your child’s bones are finished growing, the space between the two bones of the upper palate is filled with cartilage. This tissue is flexible when children are young, but gradually fuses solidly into place by the time they are finished growing (usually in the early to mid-teens). If the arch can be widened to accommodate the emerging permanent teeth, or to reduce malocclusions, this improvement can also affect the need for, and length of, future dental work.
There are several types of expanders available at our Denver, NC office. These 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 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.
If you would like more detailed information, talk to Dr. Todd Hamilton about the palate expander. We can tell you what to expect from this treatment if we think it is best for your child’s unique needs, and how to make it as easy as possible for your child. Our goal is to provide your child with the healthiest teeth and bite possible, always making use of treatments that are both gentle and effective.
October 17th, 2018
Birthdays. Valentine’s Day. Halloween. A trip to the movies. There are just some occasions where a sweet treat is on the menu. Now that you are getting braces, does that mean you have to give up desserts completely? Not at all! The trick to finding the right treat is to know which foods are safe for your braces and which should wait until your treatment is complete.
There are some foods which should always be avoided. They fall into three main categories:
- Hard and Crunchy
Hard candies, peanut brittle, popcorn balls, nutty candy bars—anything that is hard to bite into is hard on your braces, and can damage brackets or even break them.
Caramels, taffy, chewy squares and rolls, licorice and other super-chewy candies can break brackets and bend wires. Not to mention, they are really difficult to clean from the surface of teeth and braces.
Soft foods are generally fine, but soft and sticky candies are another thing entirely. Gumdrops, jelly beans, most gum and other sticky treats stick to your braces, making it hard to clean all that sugar from around your brackets. And even soft sticky candies can bend wires or damage your brackets.
As you have probably noticed, almost all candy falls into one of these categories. Of course, while sugary treats shouldn’t be a major part of anyone’s diet, and careful brushing and flossing are always on the menu if you do indulge, wearing braces does not mean giving up on treats entirely. A better alternative when you are craving something sweet is to choose something that avoids crunchy, chewy and sticky hazards, such as soft puddings, cupcakes or cookies. There are even some candy brands that are safe for your braces.
Talk to Dr. Todd Hamilton the next time you visit our Denver, NC office about the dos and don’ts of desserts—we have tasty suggestions that will make those special occasions both sweet for you and safe for your orthodontic work!
October 10th, 2018
Convertible or sedan? Downtown or suburbs? Electric or manual toothbrush? As life decisions go, it’s certainly not choosing your next car, or deciding where you want to live. But, even when you are selecting a toothbrush, it helps to make a list of the pros and cons of the contenders before you make that final selection.
The most important factor in choosing a toothbrush is finding out which model works best to eliminate bacteria and plaque. And studies have shown that, used properly, both electric and manual toothbrushes do a great job of removing plaque. Some electric models can reach the backs of teeth and the gumline more easily, some manual head designs work better for your individual mouth and teeth, so your particular needs should dictate which style of toothbrush you use. Talk to us about the best methods to brush with your preferred toothbrush, and we’ll let you know if one type of toothbrush or the other might work better for you.
- Health Considerations
Brushing too energetically can actually harm teeth and gums, causing sensitivity and damage to the enamel and gum tissue. An electric toothbrush should provide a continuous brushing motion without needing any pressure from the brusher. This might be the model for you if you have a too-vigorous approach to brushing, or sensitive teeth and gums.
An electric toothbrush can also be more efficient for older and younger brushers, those with limited mobility, and those with health conditions or injuries that make brushing with a regular toothbrush more difficult.
An electric toothbrush is not a one-time investment. You should change the removable head as often as you change your manual toothbrush (every three to four months, please). But this cost is offset if an electric toothbrush is more efficient in removing your plaque, easier to use, or even if you just prefer it to manual brushing. If you find that you brush better and more often with an electric toothbrush, the added expense is well worth it.
Whichever brush you decide on, the most important part of the brush is the person holding it! A regular appointment with your toothbrush for two minutes of thorough brushing in the morning and two in the evening, daily flossing, and regular visits to our office for checkups and cleanings will keep your teeth healthy and strong no matter which toothbrush you choose.
Questions about your toothbrush choices? Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Todd Hamilton at our Denver, NC office.
October 3rd, 2018
If this is your child’s first holiday season with braces, here are some tips on how to help children get the most enjoyment from these celebrations without compromising their braces or leaving them feeling left out of the festivities.
When you think dental health, “Halloween” is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. Halloween can be tricky, but with some planning and intervention, you can make sure your child doesn’t miss out on the treats that make the holiday a favorite.
Braces present other challenges besides dealing with the scary amount of sugar in every trick-or-treat bag. Certain treats can be a challenge to clean from braces, and can even cause broken brackets and wires. How to avoid these frightful results?
- Go through your child’s treat bag when you get home after neighborhood trick-or-treating. Anything which can damage braces, such as regular gum, candy with nuts or caramel, or hard or chewy candies should be discarded. Perhaps you and your child can choose a selection of soft candy such as plain chocolate and peanut butter cups to trade for those tricky treats. Your child’s favorite soft fruits, cupcakes, and cookies could also be safe substitutes.
- Party time? Candy apples, bowls of candy corn, and popcorn balls are favorite treats at Halloween parties, but very bad for braces. Help your child recognize what should be avoided before attending, and suggest safe options like soft cupcakes.
- Finally, even safe treats will leave more sugar than normal in your child’s mouth and therefore more potential for plaque build-up. Brush and floss more often, if needed, and rinse regularly with water.
Talk candy guidelines over in advance with your child. If you’d like, Dr. Todd Hamilton can recommend safe alternatives. With your help, Halloween won’t be a fearsome experience for you or your trick-or-treater.
Now, this is a holiday to be thankful for! Almost all of your traditional favorites are perfect for family members with braces.
- Appetizers: Offer soft food options such as silky cheeses and deviled eggs instead of crunchy vegetables, chips, and nuts.
- 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.
- 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!
If you are concerned that following the usual food guidelines might be a little more difficult during this time of year, talk to us. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team are happy to suggest ways to make your child’s first holidays with braces memorable for all the right reasons. The last thing you’ll want is an emergency visit to our Denver, NC office!
September 26th, 2018
You might be surprised to see one of your second grader’s friends with a dental appliance. Isn’t orthodontic work just for teenagers? And, if not, should your seven-year-old be sporting braces right now? The answer to both of those questions is “Not necessarily.” Two-phase treatment is a process designed to correct issues that arise during different times in your child’s life.
First Phase Treatment
We recommend that every child have an orthodontic evaluation around the age of seven to determine if there is a problem that would benefit from early treatment. First phase orthodontics is not the same as orthodontics for older patients. The focus here is on the developing bone and muscle structures which form your child’s bite and provide space for the permanent teeth when they arrive.
There are some clear-cut orthodontic goals that are much easier to attain when children’s bones are still growing.
- Reducing Crowding
If your child’s mouth is small, the permanent teeth will have little room to fit in when they arrive. We may recommend gently enlarging the upper dental arch with the use of a palatal expander. This device will provide room for the adult teeth, and could potentially shorten second phase treatment time. Sometimes the extractions necessary to create more room for permanent teeth in later years can be avoided, as well as the possibility of an impacted tooth—one which doesn’t erupt because it is blocked by other teeth.
- Dealing with Jaw and Bite Concerns
Bones and muscles do not always develop properly, leading to problems with jaw and facial structure. Your younger child still has growing bones, so this is a great time to gently re-form the jaw into a healthy shape. Problems caused by crossbites, underbites, open bites, and other malocclusions can be reduced with early treatment.
- Protecting Teeth
If your child has protruding front teeth, these teeth are more likely to be damaged in falls, at play, or while participating in sports. We can gently reposition them.
Second Phase Treatment
Second phase treatment is designed for your older child. After a resting period, when the permanent teeth finish erupting, we should see your child to evaluate any further orthodontic needs. This is the time to finish the process of straightening the teeth and making sure that each tooth fits together properly for a comfortable and healthy bite. This phase usually makes use of braces or aligners, and can take approximately 12-24 months.
Two-phase treatment is not necessary for every child. But there are some unique reasons that early orthodontics might be recommended for your child, even if it’s clear that more orthodontic work will be needed later. Make an appointment with Dr. Todd Hamilton at our Denver, NC office, and let’s evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs, whether now or in the future, for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.
September 19th, 2018
We know that being a teen is hard, and we know that adding braces to the mix can often elicit a less-than-enthusiastic response. Luckily, teens can now have straighter teeth without the hassle, discomfort, and embarrassment of metal braces!
Dr. Todd Hamilton proudly offer Invisalign Teen clear aligners to our adolescent patients.
One of the main benefits of Invisalign Teen aligners is that they are virtually invisible. They are also removable, which means teen patients are free to eat anything they choose. The aligners are also easily replaceable, should they ever get lost! The best part? They make it easy to keep up with a healthy brushing and flossing routine.
The aligners are made from a lightweight, plastic material that fits precisely on the teeth. Invisalign Teen treatment has become a popular treatment here at Denver, NC because it helps our younger patients achieve a straight, beautiful smile without undergoing the dreaded metal-mouth.
For more information on Invisalign Teen clear aligners, please feel free to give us a call at our Dr. Todd Hamilton office today!
September 12th, 2018
The team at Hamilton Orthodontics loves to help adults achieve straighter teeth and a beautiful smile. If you are considering getting braces, here are some things you’ll need to know.
Can braces work for adults?
The good news is that braces work for just about anyone. There are several different types of braces, howver, and not all of them may work for you. The different kinds of orthodontic treatments include:
- Ceramic braces
- Metal braces
- Self-ligating brackets
- Lingual brackets (braces behind the teeth)
- Invisible braces
- Rubber bands for bite correction
- Headgear and other appliances
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Todd Hamilton, and we can help you determine the best option for your needs.
How do I get started?
We understand that braces can be a daunting prospect for many individuals. They may appear expensive and time-consuming; however, the process can be relatively pain-free! Here are the first steps you need to take on the road to straight teeth.
You will probably have a lot of questions and concerns before starting. Here are a few questions you should ask:
- What kind of braces do you recommend for my teeth?
- How long will the treatment take?
- How often will I need to come in for adjustments?
- What is the total cost of the treatment? Do you accept insurance? Will you require the full amount up front, or do you have payment plans?
During your first meeting with Dr. Todd Hamilton, we’ll take some X-rays and molds of your teeth to help you determine your best treatment plan. To ensure your treatment is as effective as possible, we may include preliminary dental work before your braces are placed.
After you’ve chosen a treatment plan and undergone any necessary prerequisite dental work, you’ll be on your way to a better smile! Call our Denver, NC location so you can get started today!
September 5th, 2018
Going back to school is already an exciting (and sometimes nerve-racking) time so we don't want your braces adding to that. Our Denver, NC team has compiled some helpful tips to make the process as easy and fun as possible.
1. Make sure you pack or purchase braces-friendly lunches
Try to avoid overly crunchy foods (think carrots, celery, hard crackers) especially if your teeth are sore from having your braces tightened. But you shouldn't stop eating healthful foods that fall in this category. For instance apples can be sliced into wedges or carrots can be cut into coins.
You should also avoid sticky foods like candy or gum that can and will stick in your braces like glue! Softer foods are easier on your teeth and braces, so aim to make a good portion of your lunch on the softer side.
2. Have a braces kit in your backpack or locker
Having some useful items on hand at school when you need them is one of the most helpful things you can do. Pack some wax for sores or tenderness, floss and/or flossing tools made for braces, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a small cup for rinsing, a small mirror to check for trapped food, and some lip balm if your lips tend to chap. With these tools on hand, you'll avoid most if not all braces-related nuisances!
3. Know that you're not alone
If you're feeling self-conscious about your braces, don't. Be proud of them! There are many other people your age who have braces, and if they don't have them now, they probably will in the future. Relax and know that you're on the path to a straighter and healthier smile.
If you have any questions about making your transition into "braceshood," just ask Dr. Todd Hamilton or any member of our Denver, NC team! We're here to help make your braces experience (and your smile) the best it can be.
August 29th, 2018
We probably all remember sitting through history lessons during our schooling years. Revolutionary war heroes, English royals, and pop-culture icons filled the pages of our textbooks. Although you may recall a detail or two about their historical significance, how much do you know about their teeth?
Picture England in the mid 1500s. People wore frilly clothes as they hustled along the street, and talked about the latest import from the Indies: sugar. Wealthy Brits did not hesitate to indulge their sweet tooth, and it was no different for the monarch, Queen Elizabeth I.
The queen was especially fond of sweets, but not so fond of the dentist. Her teeth rotted; they turned black and gave off a foul odor. Eventually, Elizabeth lost so many teeth that people found it difficult to understand her when she spoke.
Flash forward to the Revolutionary-era colonies in the 1770s and we encounter the famous dentures of George Washington. They were not made of wood, but rather a combination of ivory and human teeth, some of which were his own pulled teeth and some he purchased from slaves.
Washington did not practice proper dental hygiene throughout his life. He began to suffer dental problems as early as age 24, when he had his first tooth pulled. By the time he was inaugurated in as the first president in 1789, he had only one tooth remaining in his mouth, which was pulled in 1796.
Washington’s dentures were made too wide and never quite fit his mouth properly. He complained that they were painful to wear and caused his jaw to protrude visibly outward.
If you’ve heard of Doc Holliday, you know him as the gun-toting, mustached criminal that ran the Wild West in the late 1800s. You might be surprised to learn that John Henry “Doc” Holliday actually had a career as a dentist.
He graduated from dental school in 1872 and began to practice in Griffin, Georgia. Holliday was later diagnosed with tuberculosis and his violent coughing fits during exams drove patients away. Jobless, he packed his bags for Texas and spent the rest of his days running from town to town as a criminal.
The Beatles brought pop music and British culture to their fans, as well as … teeth? In the mid-1960s, John Lennon had a molar removed that he presented as a gift to his housekeeper, Dorothy. Dorothy’s daughter was a huge fan of the Beatles and he thought she might like to a keepsake. Her family held onto the tooth until 2011, when they auctioned it off to a Canadian dentist for $31,000.
These historical figures had very different experiences with their teeth, but it’s safe to say a bit of extra brushing and flossing could’ve saved them a lot of trouble. Whether you’re queen, president, or an average citizen, it’s up to you to practice good dental hygiene!
Ask a member of our team at our Denver, NC office if you have any questions about how to keep your teeth in top shape!
August 22nd, 2018
You found the perfect toothbrush! The bristles are soft, to avoid irritating your delicate gum tissue. The angle of the bristles is perfect for removing plaque. The handle is durable and comfortable when you spend at least two minutes brushing in the morning and two at night. Why, you love this toothbrush and you’ll never let it go… for the next three or four months.
The life of a toothbrush is naturally a short one. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend replacement every three to four months because the bristles become frayed and worn with daily use. They cannot clean as effectively when the bristles begin to break down, and, depending on your brushing style, may wear out even more rapidly. (Children will probably need to replace toothbrushes at least every three months.) But even in the short time you have your toothbrush, there are ways to keep it ready for healthy brushing.
- Don’t share. While sharing is normally a virtue, sharing toothbrushes can lead to an increased risk of infections, especially for those with compromised immune systems or existing infectious diseases. Similarly, keep different brushes separate when drying to avoid cross-contamination.
- Rinse thoroughly after brushing. Make sure to remove any toothpaste or debris left after you brush.
- Store the brush upright. Air-drying is the preferred way to dry your brush, as covering the brush or keeping it in a closed container can promote the growth of bacteria more easily.
There are several products on the market that promise to sanitize your brush. The verdict is still out on its success, but if you or someone in your home has a compromised immune system, call our Denver, NC office to see if it might be worth your while to check them out.
Even though your toothbrush won’t be with you long, make its stay as effective and hygienic as possible. And if you find a brush you love—stock up!
August 15th, 2018
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment for children should start at around age seven. Dr. Todd Hamilton can evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs early on to see if orthodontic treatment is recommended for your son or daughter.
Below, we answer common questions parents may have about the benefits of early childhood orthodontics.
What does early orthodontic treatment mean?
Early orthodontic treatment usually begins when a child is eight or nine years old. Typically known as Phase One, the goal here is to correct bite problems such as an underbite, as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. This phase also helps make room in the mouth for teeth to grow properly, with the aim of preventing teeth crowding and extractions later on.
Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?
The characteristics and behavior below can help determine whether your little one needs early treatment.
- Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
- Late loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
- The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
- The child is a mouth breather
- Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
- Protruding teeth, typically in the front
- Biting or chewing difficulties
- A speech impediment
- The jaw shifts when the child opens or closes the mouth
- The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb
What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?
Jaw bones do not harden until children reach their late teens. Because children’s bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces are easier and often faster than they would be for adults.
Early treatment at our Denver, NC office can enable your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, and surgery in adulthood. Talk with Dr. Todd Hamilton today to see if your child should receive early orthodontic treatment.
August 8th, 2018
It may come as a surprise to learn that dogs, like humans, have both baby and adult teeth. Most dogs, unlike humans, have all of their adult teeth by the time they are seven months old, so it’s time to start looking after their dental health when they are still puppies.
While dogs generally don’t develop cavities, periodontal disease is the one of the most common diseases affecting dogs. Periodontal disease starts when the bacteria in your pet’s mouth form plaque. The plaque can harden into tartar, and, if plaque and tartar spread under the gum line, can be responsible for a number of serious problems. Veterinarians warn that tooth loss, tissue damage, bone loss and infection can be the result of periodontal disease. Professional dental treatment is important if your dog is suffering from periodontal disease, and your vet can describe the options available to you. But the time to act is before disease develops. Let’s bone up on some preventative care!
There are brushes and toothpastes designed especially for your dog. Train your puppy from an early age to open his mouth to allow you to examine his teeth and gums. (This will also come in handy if you ever need to give him medicine.) Most dogs will accept brushing, and toothpastes come in dog-friendly flavors. Human toothpaste should never be used because it contains cleaners and abrasives that should not be swallowed by your pet. There are also dental wipes available that can be used once and thrown away. Your vet can advise you how to ease your pet into a brushing routine.
Gels and Rinses
Whether you rub an antiseptic gel on your dog’s teeth or squirt an antiseptic rinse into his mouth, these formulas can reduce the build-up of plaque. Not all dogs take to the taste of these solutions, but in general they are safe and effective. Ask your vet for recommendations if you would like to try this method.
Several dietary products offer anti-plaque ingredients or a kibble shape designed to reduce the formation of plaque. Talk to your vet for the best possible diet and nutrition suggestions for your unique pet.
Chewing can help reduce plaque build-up if done consistently, and chew toys should be chosen for tooth and digestive safety. Some animal-based products and hard plastic toys are so rigid that they can cause damage to teeth or gums, so be sure to look for safe toys. Dogs shouldn’t be left alone with toys due to choking or swallowing hazards—if the chew toy becomes small enough to cause choking, or your dog is swallowing large chunks that might not be digestible, time to replace it.
Your veterinarian is the best resource for maintaining your dog’s health and developing a dental routine both you and your pet can live with. When your four-legged friend goes for his next check-up, ask your vet what you can do to keep him and his smile fetching for a long, long time.
August 1st, 2018
Many teens want straighter teeth but dread a mouth full of metal. Because of that, Invisalign Teen treatment has become a popular choice among teens. It produces great results without the hassle of traditional braces.
If you’re like most teens at our Denver, NC office, you love hanging out with your friends, and you don’t want to look different or have to watch what you eat. If you’re unsure about the benefits of Invisalign Teen clear aligners, we’re here to explain some of the perks.
You can eat what your friends eat
Invisalign Teen aligners can be removed easily for meals and snacks, so you can eat just like you normally would. You don’t need to worry about food getting stuck in your braces or a bracket popping off. Unlike with braces, you can enjoy the following foods with your friends during Invisalign Teen straightening treatment:
- Popcorn at the movies
- Trail mix with dried fruit ribs and chicken wings
- A peanut butter sandwich, apples, and carrot sticks
You can take care of your teeth more easily
Since Invisalign Teen aligners are removable, you won’t have to worry about finding tooth decay once your braces are removed. You can brush and floss your teeth as you normally would, just by taking the trays out of your mouth.
People won’t know you’re wearing them
We’ve saved the best for last: Invisalign Teen aligners are nearly invisible. Chances are, the only people who will know you’re getting your teeth straightened are the people you tell yourself!
Getting straighter teeth can be a massive confidence-booster in the long run. With Invisalign Teen clear aligners, the treatment isn’t that bad! Learn more at our Denver, NC office.
July 25th, 2018
Did you know your toothbrush could be covered with almost ten million germs? We know … it’s gross! That’s why you should know how to store your toothbrush properly, and when it’s time to replace it.
If you need to brush up on your toothbrush care knowledge, we’ve got you covered so brushing will always leave you feeling squeaky clean.
Keeping a Clean Toothbrush
Your mouth is home to hundreds of types of microorganisms, so it’s normal for some of them to hang onto your toothbrush after you’ve used it. Rinsing your brush thoroughly with water after each use can get rid of leftover toothpaste and food particles that cling to the bristles. Some dentists suggest soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash every now and then can help reduce the amount of bacteria further.
Store your toothbrush in a cool, open environment away from the toilet or trash bin to avoid airborne germs. Closed containers should be avoided because they provide a warm, wet habitat that bacteria love to grow in.
If you have multiple people sharing one sink, an upright holder with different sections will keep everyone’s brushes separated and avoid cross contamination. In addition, we would hope this is a no-brainer, but please don’t share toothbrushes!
Microwaves and dishwashers are not suitable tools for cleaning a toothbrush, because brushes aren’t built to last through this kind of treatment. If you want a really clean toothbrush, your best option is simply to buy a new one.
Replacing Your Toothbrush
The American Dental Association recommends you replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner depending on individual circumstances. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team agree. If you have braces, tend to brush too strongly, or the bristles become frayed, it’s time for a new brush.
Children will also need replacement brushes more frequently than adults. If you or your child has been sick, you should replace the toothbrush immediately to avoid re-exposing yourself to illness.
Worn-out brushes are not only unsanitary, they don’t do a good job cleaning teeth. Bristles that are worn out and dull won’t scrape away plaque and bacteria as well as a fresh toothbrush can.
Though the idea of ten million germs can be worrisome, if you take a few small precautions, you may ensure your toothbrush stays in good shape. And the cleaner the toothbrush, the cleaner the smile!
July 18th, 2018
For centuries, many have believed in messages written in the stars and constellations. Some people look to their astrological sign to understand their personalities and preferences better, and even to foresee their destiny.
Whether you’re a firm believer in astrology or just read your horoscope for fun now and then, your perfect band color according to the zodiac awaits below.
Aries – Red
You’re passionate, enthusiastic, and full of energy the world needs. You have an ability to light an inspirational flame in yourself and others.
Taurus – Green
You value growth and are filled with earth energy. Close relationships with family and friends are the foundation of your life.
Gemini – Orange
Orange is the color of diversity and inspiration. You have a knack for readily socializing with other people and value a close-knit community.
Cancer – Violet
Cancers have the ability to look deep within themselves for guidance and inspiration. Your thoughts dwell in the realm of dreams and emotion, and fill you with a deep understanding of those around you.
Leo – Yellow
Your humor, intelligence, and courage light up your surroundings like the sun. Use your charisma and positivity to help you achieve great things.
Virgo – Blue
Blue reflects your calm and peaceful personality. People come to you when they need guidance and your caring instinct for others runs strong.
Libra – Green
Your personality is both enchanting and delightful. Your ability to find a solution and heal is uplifting to those around you.
Scorpio – Red
You are full of passion and knowledge. You know your true value, and feeling accepted is important to keep your flame ignited.
Sagittarius – Violet
Violet reflects your electric enthusiasm for life. With your wisdom and passion for truth, you are always striving to reach your next goal.
Capricorn – Blue
Your perception is unmatched, and you’re able to see through the confusion to identify what truly matters. Your confidence and clarity will help you accomplish what you need to do.
Aquarius – Violet
Aquarians are sensitive, creative, and love to share their understanding with the world. You find joy in art, music, and writing to show others your special view of things.
Pisces – Indigo
You have powerful perception and your instincts are often correct. Your ability to understand emotions helps those around you to stay connected and present in the moment.
Next time you visit our Denver, NC office, ask Dr. Todd Hamilton for the band color that goes with your sign!
July 11th, 2018
Orthodontic treatment should begin earlier than most parents are apt to assume. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment should start at around seven years of age.
Dr. Todd Hamilton can evaluate your child’s existing and incoming teeth early on to determine whether treatment might be necessary or not.
What is early orthodontic treatment?
Early orthodontic treatment usually begins when a child is eight or nine years old. In stage one, bite problems such as underbites and the jaw’s growth pattern are corrected. It can also help to make room in the mouth for the permanent teeth to take their proper places as they come in, which reduces the chance that the patient will require extractions later, due to overcrowding.
Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?
If you notice any of the following characteristics in your son or daughter, you may want to have a chat with Dr. Todd Hamilton.
- Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
- Late loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
- Your child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
- Your child is a mouth breather
- Front teeth are crowded (you probably wouldn’t see this until your child is about seven or eight)
- Protruding teeth, typically in the front
- Biting or chewing difficulties
- A speech impediment
- Your child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
- Your child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb
What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?
There are many benefits to early orthodontic treatment. One of the biggest is that, because a child’s jaw and bones are soft and pliable, corrective procedures such as braces can work much faster than they do for adults.
Treatment at our Denver, NC office can enable your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, or surgery in adulthood. Early orthodontic care will give your son or daughter a healthy, stable smile.
July 4th, 2018
We’ve heard all the reasons why folks put off scheduling an orthodontic consultation: not quite ready to begin treatment, vacations, busy schedules, financial concerns, etc.
Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t delay another day to make an appointment for yourself or your child with Dr. Todd Hamilton.
1. Growth – there is a window of opportunity during growth when an orthopedic appliance can change the direction of jaw growth and dramatically improve your child’s case. Once this time has passed, the correction becomes harder and may involve extraction of teeth or even worse, a surgical procedure to properly align the jaws.
2. Scheduling – Summertime is the perfect time to begin orthodontic treatment, because your child doesn’t have to miss school, especially for those longer appointments needed at the start of treatment.
3. Early Diagnosis – Many times, early interceptive treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics can dramatically improve the alignment of your child’s teeth and jaws. If baby teeth need to be extracted in order to allow the permanent teeth to erupt, timing is everything. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic consultation as early as age seven.
4. Financial Concerns – We offer several flexible payment plans which can be extended over your or your child’s treatment time.
5. A Lifetime of Smiles – Why wait when you can enjoy the many benefits of a beautiful and functional smile now. The sooner you get started the sooner you will be showing everyone your world-class smile.
Give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office to book your initial consulation with Dr. Todd Hamilton.
June 27th, 2018
When you leave on a trip, you probably double-check that evrything’s ready: your clothes are packed, your ticket is handy, and your passport waits patiently on top of your bag or in a special pocket.
The same level of preparedness should apply with regard to caring for your oral health when you’re about to leave home for a while. Whether you’re jumping in the car for a weekend camping trip or flying halfway across the globe for a longer stint, the tips below will help you keep your teeth healthy whil you’re away.
Prepare Ahead of Time
The key to maintaining good oral hygiene during travel is preparation. Schedule a regular dental appointment so your teeth are freshly cleaned and ready before you leave. This can identify potential issues that might cause problems while you’re away.
If you have any items on a dental “to-do” list, such as wisdom tooth removal, replacement of a filling, or orthodontic adjustment, it’s a good idea to get those procedures completed before your trip.
If you’re stuck on a long flight or trekking far into the woods, you might find yourself where there’s no sink or even a toothbrush at hand. We speak for everyone when we say that nothing is worse than a mouth that feels, shall we say, less than fresh.
A lemon wedge or Granny Smith apple slice can help freshen up your breath when you’re in need of a quick fix. Rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water can help to wash away bacteria that causes cavities and reduce that gritty sensation. If you’ve got toothpaste, put a dot on your finger or a damp washcloth to serve as a makeshift toothbrush.
Nowadays, travel-sized dental products are available at most grocery stores and pharmacies. You can find travel toothbrushes, mini mouthwashes, and pocket-sized floss to slip into your travel bag.
Colgate makes disposable mini-toothbrushes called Wisps that can help you freshen up when you may not have access to a regular toothbrush. Packing a few extra dental supplies may also be a good idea in case one gets damaged or lost.
At Your Destination
Traveling abroad can expose you to unfamiliar conditions. Some countries have compromised water sources that will make you extremely ill if ingested, even from the tiny amount of water with which you wet your toothbrush.
Minimize that risk and keep bottles of water on hand instead for rinsing your mouth and toothbrush. If your toothbrush comes in contact with contaminated water, swapping it out for a new one is the safest option.
Storing your toothbrush properly is necessary to prevent bacteria from growing on it. Place your brush in a Ziploc bag when you’re on the go and allow it to breathe once you get to a temporary destination.
Traveling near or far should be an enjoyable experience. Dental issues shouldn’t be a source of worry on your vacation. As long as you’re prepared and take precautions, your teeth can stay healthy even when they’re out of the country!
Of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our Denver, NC office.
June 20th, 2018
These days, fewer and fewer braces show up in school yearbook photos. Invisalign clear aligners have become a popular choice for our adolescent patients because it enables them to display metal-free smiles while straightening their teeth!
Dr. Todd Hamilton can help you determine whether Invisalign treatment is right for you, but below are a few reasons why so many teens are choosing it today.
More Free Time
Invisalign Teen aligners require fewer appointments, which is pretty important to teens who value their free time. Invisalign treatment gives you straight teeth without having to miss activities or skip hanging out with your friends. It’s a win-win!
Eat, Brush, and Floss Easily
Traditional braces can make eating, brushing, and flossing both difficult and tedious. Invisalign aligners are easily removable for all these important activities, and give you freedom to live your life as usual.
Possibly the best perk of Invisalign aligners is that you can’t see them! The Invisalign system uses a clear plastic device that fits directly over the teeth. This means no metal parts to mar the appearance of your smile, so your Invisalign aligners will straighten while allowing your pearly whites to shine through. People don’t even have to know you’re straightening your teeth with Invisalign aligners.
To learn more about Invisalign Teen treatment, feel free to reach out to our Denver, NC office!
June 13th, 2018
Our pets are a valued part of the family, but dogs and cats are not regularly known for their minty-fresh breath. Did you know that bad breath can be a sign of a more serious dental problem for your furry companion?
If you live with a pet or two, you’ll want to brush up on your animal dental knowledge and make sure everyone’s teeth stay healthy.
Proper dental care is essential to a pet’s overall well-being. About 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats suffer from periodontal disease after the age of three.
Not only is this unhealthy for their mouth, it can lead to more serious health problems, including organ damage and heart failure. Toxins from periodontal disease seep into your pet’s bloodstream and have the potential to cause fatal organ damage.
Your veterinarian will check your pet’s teeth at an annual or six-month examination, but here are a few signs of periodontal disease you should watch for at home:
- Yellow/brown tartar
- Foul breath
- Red, inflamed, or bleeding gums
- Excessive drooling
- Pawing at the mouth or rubbing one’s jaw against objects
- Difficulty chewing
Aside from regular checkups at the vet, the best thing you can do for your pet is brush its teeth daily. Bacteria can recolonize onto the surface of teeth within 24 to 36 hours, so it’s essential to remove plaque before it turns into tartar. Ask your vet for a recommended toothbrush and pet toothpaste.
Dental hygiene chews can also help to reduce the effects of gingivitis, but some chews can actually make your pet’s oral health worse. Treats such as cow hooves, pig’s ears, and animal bones can damage teeth and cause other problems if ingested. Your vet can help you choose items that are healthiest for your pet.
Your dog’s favorite toys may also pose a threat to their oral health. Abrasive toys such as the popular green tennis balls can create wear and tear on the surface of pets’ teeth.
As with your own teeth, your dog or cat’s oral health plays a large role in its overall health. Remember to schedule regular checkups and ask your veterinarian for more tips on how to care for your pet’s teeth most effectively.
June 6th, 2018
The dog days of summer are upon us, and with the temperatures soaring, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics wants you to be extra careful about sun safety when you’re out and about. Check out this incredibly helpful article on the Ten Summer Safety Tips for Kids, courtesy of Discovery.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team also encourage you to always have a bottle of water handy when heading out into the sun.
We hope you’re having a great summer! Let us know what you're up to below or on our Facebook page!
May 30th, 2018
Parents want the best for their teens and often ask us about the perks of Invisalign Teen clear aligners compared to traditional braces. Invisalign treatment is a style of braces that skips the usual metal and wires, and uses a clear, thermoplastic material to create removable aligners instead.
Aligners are custom-made for each patient and replaced every two weeks to attain gradually straighter teeth.
Is Invisalign treatment as effective?
As long as your child wears the aligners as directed, the answer is yes: they are just as effective as traditional braces. A small blue spot on the back of each aligner will fade after two weeks of proper wear. This enables Dr. Todd Hamilton to tell whether the child is wearing the aligners.
Can Invisalign aligners be removed?
The recommended amount of time to wear Invisalign aligners is at least 20 hours a day. They can be removed for up to four hours per day to eat, brush teeth, play sports, or play musical instruments. This makes brushing and flossing easier and helps maintain good oral hygiene!
How long does treatment take and what is the cost?
Each patient is different. Dr. Todd Hamilton can determine how many months your child may expect to wear the series of aligners after a consultation.
Typically, your teen will wear Invisalign clear aligners about as long as traditional braces The cost is also similar to that of other traditional braces; however, there is no set fee. The cost will depend on your child’s unique orthodontic needs.
Invisalign Teen treatment has had remarkable success, and patients love having straighter teeth without the embarrassment of metal braces. As your son or daughter becomes more confident, the patient will actually be more likely to keep up with the treatment and complete it sooner.
Speak with Dr. Todd Hamilton today to learn more about the benefits of Invisalign Teen treatment. Give our Denver, NC office a call!
May 23rd, 2018
Nowadays, many adults are taking advantage of getting straighter teeth with braces. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team love to help patients create the dazzling, confident smile they’ve always wanted.
Our adult patients usually fall into two categories: some had braces in the past but didn’t wear their retainers, while others are brand-new to wearing braces. Either way, both groups want the same thing: straighter teeth and a beautiful smile!
You will have several options for getting braces, depending on your financial situation and how quickly you would like your treatment to finish. Traditional metal braces are a less-expensive option and can help people who have severely crooked teeth. But many adults may not prefer this option because they dislike the appearance of metal brackets.
If you’re concerned about how you’ll look, we offer clear ceramic braces that aren’t as visible. These are more expensive than metal braces, and patients need to be careful with colored drinks that can stain them, such as coffee or red wine.
Another popular option is a clear aligner treatment called Invisalign®. This type is practically invisible; it uses a series of aligners that are customized to fit your teeth. The process of straightening your teeth can last anywhere from three to 18 months. For people who have extreme bite problems or crowded teeth, a different method may work better.
Don’t hesitate to call our Denver, NC office today to set up a consultation. Dr. Todd Hamilton will help you choose the best option so you can be on your way to a straighter, more confident smile!
May 16th, 2018
Well, of course, they already are working for you—as an essential part of the alignment process. Rubber bands, also known as elastic ligatures, are used to secure the wires inside your brackets. But bands can be more than functional. Since the ligatures around each bracket are replaced when you visit our office, why not use that opportunity to choose a new color scheme as well?
- Make a Statement
Bands offer a chance to coordinate your braces to an interest, team, or event. Are you a swimmer? Maybe cool blues and turquoises appeal to you. Batman forever? Black and yellow. (That will work for beekeepers, too.) Have a favorite sports team? Choosing team colors will support your team with every smile. Love your school? Show your spirit by wearing bands in your school colors. Favorite time of year? Celebrate by selecting festive bands in holiday colors.
- Suit Your Mood
Fiery reds and oranges, tranquil blues and greens, millennial purples and pinks, or exuberant neon—you know that there are just some colors that suit your personality. Showcase that personality with your choice of band color. And if your mood changes, choose shades that express a completely different side of you.
- Coordinate Your Colors
Match your bands to your eye color, your makeup, or the clothing colors you choose most often. If there’s a color profile that works for you, make your bands a part of it. If you don’t want everything matching, complement your coloring or clothing with a different but coordinating shade for a cohesive effect.
- Keep a Low Profile
Most adults will stick with a monochromatic set of bands, and this might be a look that appeals to you as well. Grey and silver bands will blend nicely with silver braces. If you have clear or white brackets, you might want to test out which bands will be least noticeable. Clear bands can become discolored, and white bands can make teeth look darker. If there’s a band which mimics your own tooth color, this will be the choice for you.
- Make Color Theory Work for You
Certain colors and tints bring out the best in your tooth color and work with your skin tones. White and yellow bands might make teeth appear duller, and any shade combination that resembles food particles (greens, browns, and black) is probably not a look you’re going for. Have fun with a color wheel and decide which colors you find most flattering.
Make your bands more than a tool—make them an accessory. There are so many colorful options available that you are bound to happen on a color scheme that just suits you. And if you change your mind? Change it up during your next visit to our Denver, NC office!
May 9th, 2018
Whether you’re heading out for a day with friends or running from classroom to volleyball practice, you don’t always have the luxury of taking care of your braces or aligners in the comfort of your home. But don’t stress! Here are some suggestions for handy items you can take with you to handle most of the dental situations that might come up.
Basic Care Kit
- Travel Toothbrush—the perfect size for quick cleanings after a meal on the go. You might want to bring a travel size tube of toothpaste as well.
- Dental Floss, Threader, and Dental Picks—you don’t want something stuck in your teeth or braces through three hours of play rehearsal.
- Water Bottle—if you don’t have time to brush, a good rinse will help keep teeth and appliances clean.
- Small Mirror—to make sure your smile is picture perfect after eating.
- Our office phone number—just in case. If something happens to your braces or aligners, or if you suffer a dental emergency, call our Denver, NC office immediately.
- Orthodontic Wax—if one of your brackets is irritating your mouth, you’ll be ready.
- Braces-Friendly Snacks—soft, healthy foods that will help keep your energy up while keeping your braces intact.
For Aligners or a Retainer
- Your case! If you need to take your aligners or retainer out, use your case to protect them and keep them from getting lost. You have better things to do after lunch than sifting through a garbage can full of used napkins. Much better things.
All of these items can fit easily in a case or bag in your glove compartment, locker, or backpack. Want more tips? Talk to Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team on your next visit, and let’s work together to make caring for your orthodontic appliances a quick and convenient addition to your busy schedule!
May 2nd, 2018
Now that you are working hard to improve your dental health and appearance with your braces, it might seem like a logical time to whiten your teeth as well. But should you go ahead with home kits or a professional whitening? The answer might be yes, but not quite yet!
The easiest way to whiten teeth is regular use of a whitening toothpaste. But these do not make a major difference in tooth color and may also contain abrasives which can damage ceramic brackets and make them more likely to stain. And, whether you have metal or ceramic braces, the brackets used are bonded to your teeth. Any part of your tooth covered by a bracket will not be affected by the whitening paste. Ask our office if you are thinking of using one of these products. We will be happy to recommend the best toothpastes to use while your braces are in place.
Whitening Strips and Trays
Whiteners can be applied at home with strips or tray kits. Strips are coated with a whitening gel and then pressed around your teeth. Tray kits provide a mouthguard-like appliance, which is filled with whitening gel. But neither strips nor tray solutions will whiten any area covered by brackets. When your braces come off, there might be noticeable differences in color on each tooth. Strips are difficult to apply with braces, and trays need to be custom-designed to fit your braces and make sure they don’t disturb your orthodontic work. One size most definitely does not fit all! Finally, these whitening agents can cause tooth and gum sensitivity, especially around the time of adjustments. Many manufacturers do not recommend using their products while you have braces. Please talk to us if you are thinking of using them.
A dental professional can whiten your teeth in office for the best possible results. The most effective treatments for your unique teeth are combined with protective care of your gums and mouth. Whether this treatment is appropriate while you have braces is something we are happy to discuss.
The best way to keep your teeth bright is to keep up your regular dental routine! Brushing and flossing are more important than ever now, because plaque builds up around brackets. Avoid foods that stain teeth and rinse or brush after every meal and snack. Dr. Todd Hamilton will show you the best way to take care of your teeth while your braces are on—and that includes the best way to keep them white and bright. Talk to us about the perfect time to whiten your beautiful smile during your next visit to our Denver, NC office. And if you have to wait a few extra days for the smile you’ve been working toward, truly, the wait will be worth it!
April 25th, 2018
In a perfect world, we would all jump out of bed ready to greet the day with a big smile and a toothbrush close at hand to clean our teeth immediately. But if you can’t even find your toothbrush before you’ve had your first cup of coffee, does it really make a difference if you brush and floss after breakfast? Perhaps! Let’s talk biology.
Normal saliva production during the day benefits our teeth and mouths in surprising ways. Saliva washes away food particles to keep our teeth cleaner. It contains cells which combat bacteria and infection. It even provides proteins and minerals to help protect our teeth from decay. But saliva production slows dramatically as we sleep, and the amount of bacteria in our mouths increases. While one of the nasty—and obvious—side effects of bacterial growth is morning breath, there is an invisible effect, which is more harmful. Bacteria in plaque convert sugar and carbohydrates into acids which attack our gums and enamel and can lead to both gingivitis and cavities.
- If You Brush Before Breakfast
Brushing and flossing first thing in the morning removes the plaque that has built up during the night and takes care of many of the bacteria who are ready to enjoy the sugar and carbs in that breakfast with you. If you brush before eating breakfast, rinse your mouth with water after your meal, floss if needed, and you are good to go.
- If You Choose to Brush After Breakfast
But if you decide that doughnut simply can’t wait, you should ideally postpone brushing for 20-30 minutes after your meal. Of course, these are minutes in which bacteria can make use of those new sugars and carbohydrates. So why shouldn’t you brush immediately after eating? Many foods and beverages, especially acidic ones such as grapefruit and orange juice, can weaken the surface of your teeth. If you rinse with water after eating and wait at least 20-30 minutes before brushing, your enamel will be “remineralized” (another benefit of saliva) and ready for cleaning.
No matter if you take a “seize the day” approach and brush first thing in the morning, or a “seize the doughnut” approach and brush soon after eating, the important word here is “brushing.” Dr. Todd Hamilton and our Denver, NC team are happy to make suggestions as to the best morning routine for you. One thing is certain: if you give your teeth and gums two minutes of careful brushing and flossing in the morning, you can’t help but start your day off right!
April 18th, 2018
Contrary to popular belief, orthodontic treatment is not just for older children and teens who have alignment and spacing issues. At our Denver, NC office, orthodontic treatment offers many benefits for children at a young age.
Dr. Todd Hamilton can identify your child’s alignment issues early, and provide treatment as the teeth begin to develop. It’s crucial to start dental care early, not only for proper dental health and cosmetic benefits, but to improve your child’s overall health.
The Benefits of Straighter Teeth
Aside from cosmetic benefits, starting orthodontic treatment at a young age offers many other advantages. A pediatric dentist can help guide the teeth into their proper position to prevent teeth extractions or bite problems, and even reduce the extent of orthodontic treatment later on.
Your youngster will enjoy the confidence of having straight teeth that, as an added bonus, will be easier to clean. Parents will be happy to hear the earlier your child gets treatment, the less your orthodontic expenses could be; plus, it is often covered by dental insurance.
Stages of Orthodontic Treatment
Multiple stages are included in early orthodontic treatment, but there are three main stages.
Stage 1: Treatment starts around age two or three until the child is around six. This stage includes preventive measures to avoid habits that lead to crooked teeth, and monitoring how the teeth grow in.
Stage 2: The first permanent teeth appear around age six to 12 years old and the dentist looks at possible early treatment for misalignment or bite issues.
Stage 3: Any further problems with permanent teeth are corrected during adolescence.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff are able to see early on whether your child will need to have braces in adolescence. Early treatment means fewer procedures, cleaner teeth, and less expense for parents. It’s a win-win for everyone!
April 4th, 2018
It’s true that orthodontic braces can give you a beautiful smile. But did you know there are other benefits of having braces than just getting perfectly straight teeth? Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team want you to understand the other positives that can come out of having braces and relate to your oral health.
When teeth are crooked or crowded, it’s hard to brush and floss effectively. When there isn’t enough space in your mouth, bacteria and plaque can build up between these teeth. This can lead to serious issues like tooth decay and gum disease. When braces correct the spacing between teeth, and get rid of the tight spaces, patients are able to brush and floss more effectively and not miss essential areas of the mouth.
Surprisingly, braces can also address speech problems. They can shift problem teeth that may be causing embarrassing speech impediments. When an overbite or underbite gets adjusted, patients can pronounce certain words more clearly.
Spaces between teeth may also cause whistling, which braces can fix by closing off the gaps. Word slurring can also be improved with the help of braces by realignment of the jaw or teeth, which opens room for your tongue to move with greater ease.
Braces can also be helpful in supporting the bones and tissues in your mouth. Braces move periodontal ligaments by stretching the connective tissues and nerves. The bones naturally rebuild once they’re settled in their new spot.
Without support from poorly aligned teeth, gum tissue can erode. Braces help prevent erosion of the gums, and will alleviate pressure from the jawbone by fixing a bad bite over time.
If teeth are misplaced, they may not break down food effectively before it enters your stomach. Teeth aid with digestion when you can thoroughly chew your food. If your teeth are badly placed, braces can straighten them for optimal alignment. Once you can chew properly with the help of braces, your food will be more easily and fully digested.
If you have questions regarding braces and how they can help you, contact our Denver, NC office and set up a consultation appointment. Braces can help with many oral health problems, and may save you a lot of money and time in the future.
If you’re not sure whether braces would be worth your time or money, consider the benefits above, and how they add to the value of this treatment. You’ll be getting more than just a beautiful smile!
March 28th, 2018
If you’ve visited Hamilton Orthodontics, then there’s a good chance you’re looking to perfect your smile by straightening your teeth with braces. At some point during your treatment, you may need to use elastics, otherwise known as rubber bands, for a certain period. These are used to apply additional pressure that will move your teeth in the right direction.
Placement of the elastics is specific to each patient’s teeth. These small rubber bands stretch over the tiny loops on both the top and bottom brackets. At first, Dr. Todd Hamilton may recommend you wear the elastics both day and night for an extended time.
You may be told to switch only to nighttime wear once the teeth are set in the correct position. By consistently wearing the elastics, you can shorten the overall time your braces will have to be on.
The elastics are made from medical-grade latex. If you have an allergy to latex, make sure to let Dr. Todd Hamilton know, so you can be given an alternate material. We will show you how to take elastics on and off when they’re given to you at your appointment.
You should remove them when you eat so they don’t become overstretched or break. It’s important not to overstretch the bands, and always to replace them if they break. Eventually it will become a familiar habit to carry the bands around with you for times when this might happen.
The Do’s and the Don’ts
- DO … always wash your hands before removing or replacing the rubber bands.
- DO … call us if you run out of elastics.
- DO … get in the habit of carrying around extra rubber bands as replacements.
- DON’T … double up on elastics because this can exert too much pressure on your teeth and could actually harm the roots.
- DON’T … overstretch the rubber bands or they will lose strength and become ineffective.
If you were recently given elastics as well as your braces, feel free to ask any questions during your appointment, or call our Denver, NC office any time. Using elastics correctly is one more step in your journey to a perfect smile!
March 21st, 2018
It’s useful to know some of the common problems that can arise when you get braces. Even if you take great care of your braces and teeth, you might not be able to avoid certain issues or side effects that accompany braces. But don’t worry: These are all common problems that can be taken care of by following some simple advice.
If you just had your braces put on, you may notice some general soreness in your mouth. Your teeth are starting to adjust to having to shift, so they may ache, and your jaw might feel tender at first. This will subside once your mouth becomes used to the new appliance in residence.
You may experience soreness on your tongue or mouth, which may be a sign of a canker sore. Canker sores are common when braces rub against your mouth. You can use ointments to relieve pain and numb the area that’s been irritated. Canker sores are commonly caused by broken wires or loose bands on your braces.
- Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket. You might also apply a little between the braces and the soft tissue of your mouth.
- Loose bands: These must be secured in place by Dr. Todd Hamilton. Try to save the band for repair.
- Protruding or broken wires: Use the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If you are unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax to the tip. If a mouth sore develops, clean your mouth with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.
- Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned by Dr. Todd Hamilton and possibly replaced.
You should avoid certain foods that could cause major damage to your braces. No matter what you eat, make the effort to cut your food into small pieces that can be chewed easily. This will prevent chunks of it from getting lodged between brackets.
Avoiding hard and chewy foods is also wise. Some foods can break your hardware: for example, popcorn, nuts, apples, gum, taffy, and hard candies. Avoiding any foods that easily got stuck in your teeth when you didn’t have braces is a good rule to follow.
The appliances in your mouth are bound to attract food particles and make it easier for plaque to build up. By making sure you brush and floss carefully every day, you can prevent stains and cavities from developing over time. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend brushing and making sure that food isn’t lodged between your braces after every meal.
Having braces can be very exciting, but it can also be challenging at first. Watching for these common issues during your first few weeks can prevent problems down the road. If you experience a lot of pain from your braces, contact our Denver, NC office and we can try to resolve any issues.
Braces can sometimes be a pain, but they’re well worth it once your new smile gets revealed!
March 14th, 2018
When you start wearing braces, it can become a challenge to clean certain areas of your mouth. If these areas are neglected for long periods of time, though, decay and stains can form on your teeth.
Your mouth will require extra attention while you have your braces on. This can include using a special toothbrush to reach those spots, flossing every day, getting fluoride treatments, avoiding certain foods, and making sure to visit your dentist. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to prevent decay during treatment.
When you get your braces on, Dr. Todd Hamilton will give you an interdental toothbrush that can be used to get to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. The brush has bristles that can easily remove food residue stuck between the wires in your mouth. We may also suggest using a WaterPik, which pulses a pressurized stream of water to remove excess food particles.
Brushing and flossing every day should always be a part of your oral health regimen, but this becomes especially crucial when you have braces. If food gets stuck between braces and sits on your teeth, decay and staining will start to occur. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend flossing at least once a day, and brushing and using mouthwash after every meal as long as you have braces.
If you don’t have the time, make sure at least to swish your mouth really well with water after you eat. It’s especially important to follow these steps after consuming sugary foods or beverages. It’s best to avoid sweets altogether when you have braces.
Making sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year for a routine cleaning can also help to prevent any decay from damaging your teeth while your teeth are encased in braces. Your dentist will remove any plaque or tartar that’s built up since your last cleaning.
Prevention is key when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy during orthodontic care with braces. Follow these tips and you’ll keep your teeth beautiful and healthy for the day your new smile is finally revealed!
March 7th, 2018
Sometimes food that’s good for your body isn’t necessarily the best for your teeth. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team want you to know which healthy foods can harm your teeth and gums, and what steps you can take to continue enjoying these foods, even when you’re dieting.
When you begin to substitute empty calories with whole foods, make sure you also remember to focus on your dental health. The majority of people tend to switch out sugary foods in favor of fruits and vegetables when they diet.
It’s worth knowing that most fruits are highly acidic and composed of natural sugars. Some of the highly acidic fruits to watch out for include apples, grapes, strawberries, pineapples, blueberries, oranges, and grapefruit. Moderation is key here, as with all other things. Fruits can be a great source of energy to help you through your day, but try not to overdo them.
Often, people also incorporate more leafy greens into their diets, which mean plenty of salads. Salad dressing is another item you’ll want to watch out for. Many dressings are filled with vinegars and sweeteners that include harmful acids, which change the pH of your mouth. When your mouth shifts from alkaline to acidic, your smile also turns to a higher risk for erosion and decay.
Rather than get rid of these foods altogether, simply change what you do after you eat them. Rinse your mouth out with water, brush your teeth, or eat alkalizing foods after consuming these acidic foods. Healthy alkalizing foods include dairy products such as eggs and yogurt, or any type of vegetable.
If you have questions regarding your current diet and its effect on your oral health, please contact our Denver, NC office and speak with a member of our staff. If you’ve begun to make changes in your diet toward a healthier lifestyle, we hope these tips can help your make positive changes to your oral health. Our team at Hamilton Orthodontics wants a healthy lifestyle to be a top priority in your life.
February 28th, 2018
X-rays have been a function of dental healthcare for a long time. That in and of itself should be good news, because it means we've had plenty of time to improve them. While there is always some risk in exposure to radiation, dental X-ray exposure has decreased significantly due to all the advances in technology. So there’s risk, but X-rays are quite safe.
Think of X-rays as you would about a car. Automobiles these days have all kinds of technology to make them as safe as possible. There's still a chance that you’ll suffer an accident. Would you stop using a car because of that risk? When it comes to dental X-rays, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team believe the positives clearly outweigh the negatives.
X-rays can be done digitally or with film. For film, X-rays require different exposures at different speeds to produce the image. Digital X-rays have software that automatically adjusts the exposure and produces the X-ray in a digital file. Since they substantially reduce your exposure to radiation, digital X-rays are the current standard in dental offices.
In addition to digital X-rays, lead aprons are an essential piece of X-ray safety. They help protect internal organs from X-rays by acting as a shield. They usually come with a thyroid collar as well, since that is one of the most vulnerable areas to X-rays in the body. Lead aprons can absorb up to 95% of any scatter rays that result from an X-ray. Not bad, right?
Although dental X-rays involve some radiation exposure (not all of it can be eliminated), so does everyday life. Getting too much sun, for example, can be dangerous. The truth is, we accumulate radiation in our bodies over a lifetime, so it’s worthwhile to be aware and avoid as much unnecessary exposure as possible. When it comes to your dental health, though, getting an X-ray — especially when your doctor says you need it — offers more benefits than risks.
Ask us about the type of dental X-rays we use during your next visit to our Denver, NC office!
February 21st, 2018
Did you know that the most common oral health diseases are tooth decay and gum disease? Not so coincidentally, they are also the easiest to prevent. As much as we would like for the brushing and flossing to do all the work for us, in reality, we really are what we eat — and a healthy diet is just as important for dental health as it is for the rest of the body.
Eating well boosts your immune system, and makes you less susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay. When you maintain a balanced diet, you provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to succeed. So what does a healthy, balanced diet entail? It’s really quite simple. Here are some tips:
- Focus on lean meats, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats.
- Limit your intake of sugary drinks like energy drinks and soda.
- Keep your sweet tooth in check.
- Beware of acidic meals and snacks that are high in salt and sodium.
- Drink lots of water.
Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all,” magic diet that will automatically improve your oral health, but following the five guidelines above as best you can is a great way to start. Food and drinks that are high in sugar or acidity weaken your enamel, stain your teeth, and make you more likely to develop a cavity or gum disease.
At Hamilton Orthodontics, we like to encourage our patients to drink a lot of water during the day. Doing so not only keeps you hydrated, but also helps rinse out the sugar and acid from various things you’ve consumed during the day.
If you think your diet might be affecting your smile, come pay Dr. Todd Hamilton a visit or give our Denver, NC office a call! We’re always happy to answer your questions.
February 14th, 2018
Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day, has been said to originate with a Catholic priest named Valentine several thousand year ago. Valentine defied the emperor at the time by secretly marrying men and their brides after the emperor had made it illegal to marry. Emperor Claudius II did this because he wanted as many single young men to fight in his war as he could get.
Valentine disobeyed the emperor’s edict by continuing to marry couples until he was sentenced to death. Before his execution, he sent a letter to a secret love and signed it “From your Valentine.” Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team have come up with some suggestions on how you can celebrate this Valentine’s Day, whether you have a valentine of your own or not.
Valentine's Day Ideas
- Enjoy a tasty treat. There are plenty of options when it comes to cooking and/or baking on Valentine’s Day. Make your significant other his or her favorite meal or sweet treat, or make your own favorite dish to enjoy on this day. Oh, and be sure to make enough for leftovers!
- Make a personalized card. Instead of buying a card from the grocery store, take the time to make your own for a loved one. People love handwritten notes, especially when it’s from someone special. If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, make a card for fellow single friend to brighten the day and remind the person that he or she is also loved.
- Watch a movie. We all know there are plenty of romance movies out there. Put on your favorite romantic comedy, or pick up your significant other’s favorite movie to watch together. Even better, if you’re single, pick up your own favorite movies to watch to pass the time this Valentine’s Day.
- Do nothing! We all know Valentine’s Day can sometimes get a lot of hype. If you’re worried about not making a reservation in time, don’t feel like planning an extravagant night out, or simply not in the holiday mood this year, spend your day sitting back and relaxing.
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and spend quality hours with the people you care about the most. Whether you’re in a relationship or single, take some time today to appreciate those you love in your life.
We wish you a happy Valentine’s Day celebration and look forward to seeing you at our Denver, NC office during your next appointment.
February 7th, 2018
It’s vital to understand the difference between an orthodontic emergency and minor orthodontic issues. Minor issues can be handled the next day, or at your next scheduled appointment. When a real orthodontic emergency occurs, however, you will need to see a doctor immediately.
Emergencies can include injuries to your teeth, jaw, mouth, or face. Whether you have braces or oral appliances in your mouth at the time or not, it’s crucial to fix the problem before it gets worse. If you have an injury that affects an orthodontic appliance, that may need to be replaced or adjusted, depending on the extent of the injury.
You can watch for and address some common minor issues on your own, or wait to have them fixed at your next appointment with Dr. Todd Hamilton:
- Poking wire
- Loose bracket
- Loose elastic band
- Loose wire
- Loose appliance
- Headgear does not fit
- Lost or broken elastic band
- General soreness
These minor issues may arise if you eat hard or sticky foods that damage your braces or other orthodontic appliances. Make sure to be extra careful, and avoid brushing your teeth too aggressively to avoid causing damage.
These problems should not be treated as emergencies unless they begin to cause prolonged pain and discomfort. If you notice this happening, contact our Denver, NC office and we can provide a solution.
Some at-home remedies you can try can include covering loose brackets or wires with wax. Wax can prevent canker sores from forming by covering sharp metal pieces that poke into your gums. If you have wires that have poked out into your gums, you can use tweezers to push the wires gently away from the direction of the sore area. Always make sure you use alcohol to sterilize anything you intend to put into your mouth.
When you get braces initially, you may notice some soreness of the jaw or small abrasions from your mouth getting accustomed to foreign materials. You should not worry too much about this temporary pain.
A warm salt-water solution can be used to alleviate any swelling or discomfort you’re experiencing. Many drug stores have ointment for canker sores that will numb the area if they continue to bother you. If you notice that your pain or swelling doesn’t get better, schedule an appointment with a medical professional as soon as you can.
When in doubt, contact our Denver, NC office if you are unsure or still have questions about an orthodontic problem you’re facing. If the situation becomes an emergency, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with our team, so we can help provide you with a solution.
Orthodontic emergencies should be taken care of promptly whenever they arise.
January 31st, 2018
If you’ve never been to an orthodontist before, you might be wary of what to expect during your first visit. Your dentist may have recommended an orthodontic appliance if it could improve the state of your oral health. More often, you may suspect that you or your child should have orthodontic work done if the time is right financially.
Understanding the various options your orthodontist can perform will be helpful to know before your appointment.
Your initial appointment usually lasts at least an hour. It’s common that diagnostic work will need to be done. This might include getting X-rays so Dr. Todd Hamilton can better understand the overall structure of your mouth. A quick mold of the mouth may also be taken if braces are a possibility.
Your first appointment is intended to find out how we can efficiently give you a great smile! Here’s a list of common questions you might ask during your first visit:
- Is now the right time for treatment, or should it wait?
- What is the estimated length of time for the treatment?
- How much should I expect to pay? What are the payment options?
- What can I do to prevent or minimize pain?
- Is it likely that I will wear extra appliances in addition to braces to correct my overbite, underbite, or other problems?
- Are there specific foods I will need to avoid?
- Will braces prevent me from playing my favorite sport or musical instrument?
- How can I keep my teeth clean with braces?
- How often will I be expected to come in for checkups and other appointments?
Don’t be afraid to ask these and other questions before you or your child commits to getting braces. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team are happy to answer any of them before or after your visit.
Once you’ve had your initial consultation, our team will be here throughout the entire process if any problems arise. We look forward to seeing you at your first appointment in our Denver, NC office!
January 24th, 2018
It’s not unusual for a patient to be unaware of the range of services that orthodontists can provide for their patients. Knowing which services Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team perform can help you better understand your options and why we might select a particular method of treatment.
Both orthodontists and dentists care about good oral health, but they approach treatment in differing ways. You know that dentists clean teeth and treat gum disease, tooth decay, toothaches, and other oral health problems.
But what does your orthodontist do besides help straighten teeth with the help of braces? Orthodontists are commonly known to help fix or realign crooked teeth. Many of the patients at Hamilton Orthodontics come in for appointments that relate to their braces.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend that children be seen around the age of seven to evaluate their potential orthodontic needs. Common problems may include overcrowding of teeth, large gaps or spaces, and overbites or underbites, among other things.
In order to address these common problems, we offer several methods of treatment besides standard braces and retainers:
- Space maintainers can be used to fill the spaces left by missing baby teeth so other teeth don’t shift and occupy the adult tooth’s location.
- Jaw repositioning appliances, sometimes known as splints, are used to reposition the upper and lower jaw bones correctly.
- Lip and cheek bumpers can also be used to avoid having to pull teeth. These bumpers are placed in the mouth so the patient’s lips or cheeks don’t put pressure on specific teeth.
- A more common appliance that orthodontists use is expanders. If your mouth is crowded, expanders will be placed on the curve of the upper and/or lower jaw(s) in order to make room for teeth to be properly aligned.
- As a last resort, an orthodontist may turn to headgear. This is normally provided to slow down the growth of the jaw. It must be worn a number of hours each day.
When you visit our Denver, NC office, we will go over these options with you and pick the best course of treatment, depending on the current state of your oral health.
No matter which oral appliances you end up with, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team will go over all the available options with you to give you a beautiful smile. If you have questions regarding your treatment method, don’t hesitate to call our office and we can provide you with some insight.
Understanding the different options your orthodontist can provide should make matters less confusing if you should need to select a method of treatment.
January 17th, 2018
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend always wearing a protective mouthguard to participate in most physical sports. We especially encourage this if you have braces that can potentially cut your mouth or cause damage to your teeth. You have various choices to consider when you’re looking for a protective mouthguard.
One option is a full facial guard, which is often used for contact sports, such as football or hockey. This type offers full protection of the face from external impact. You should also consider an additional mouthguard to protect yourself from cuts inside your mouth, and avoid possible damage to your braces.
Boil-and-bites are another version of mouthguard that can be used for more physical sports. This type is used just the way its name implies: You warm the mouthguard in water to soften the material, then bite down gently once it’s at the correct temperature to form it into the shape of your mouth. These are fine to use temporarily, but they don’t always provide the best protection if they don’t fit properly.
Another option is to have Dr. Todd Hamilton make a custom mouthguard for you. The mouthguard will be designed with built-in layers to protect both your teeth and braces when it’s worn. Having Dr. Todd Hamilton create a custom-fitted mouthguard will ensure optimal protection and a comfortable fit whenever you participate in physical activities.
Protecting your teeth and braces is essential when you compete in sports. Accidents happen, and having a preventive mouthguard can potentially save you from oral pain and damaged braces. Our Denver, NC office is happy to assist you in creating a custom-made mouthguard for any sports activities you want to pursue.
If you’ve experienced a mouth injury that has caused damage to your braces, please contact us immediately so we can fix the problem right away. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to your oral health!
January 10th, 2018
Having braces can be frustrating when you have to be cautious about eating certain foods or having to avoid them altogether. Making sure your braces don’t bend or break is vital when you’re trying to straighten your teeth quickly and properly. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team have come up with a list of foods to avoid, and which foods you can enjoy while you have braces.
No matter how careful you are, excessive chewing of hard-to-eat foods will eventually cause problems for you and your braces. Knowing what you can and cannot eat at a meal may be helpful when you first get your braces on.
Some foods are too hard for braces, because they can break wires or create damage that will have to be fixed by Dr. Todd Hamilton. Avoiding the following snacks will prevent this from occurring:
- Hard candies
- Some hard raw vegetables or fruits (carrots, apples)
There are plenty of safe options for breakfast. They include eggs, yogurt, pancakes, oatmeal, soft toast, bananas, and even bacon.
For lunch, avoid hard or abrasive foods, undercooked vegetables, or apples. Safer options include a delicious stew, soft-breaded deli sandwich, or a mixed salad. Always be careful when biting into foods, and try to cut solid meal items into small chewable portions whenever possible.
A healthy braces-friendly dinner can come in many forms. Soft, steamed vegetables paired with a lean protein make a great option. The addition of rice or quinoa can complete the meal. Just remember to brush and floss after, because these small grains are likely to get stuck between braces and teeth.
During your treatment, Dr. Todd Hamilton will tighten your braces at each checkup. Braces tightening can sometimes leave your teeth feeling sore afterward. During this time, we recommend picking soft food options until the pain goes away, such as:
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese
It’s also essential to pay close attention to your oral health routine. When food is stuck between braces, you’re more likely to experience plaque and decay buildup. If you want to keep your teeth from appearing discolored when your braces come off, keep up with brushing and flossing after every meal!
If you notice your braces are damaged after you’ve eaten a meal, contact our Denver, NC office to schedule an appointment right away. Our team is here to help with any issues that come up while you are in braces, and to answer any questions you may have about which foods you can and cannot eat.
January 5th, 2018
Once you get your braces off, you want to make sure your smile remains straight! This is where retainers come in.
Once your braces come off, you’ll be fitted for a retainer provided by Dr. Todd Hamilton to keep those teeth in place. A retainer is a custom-fit device that sits in the mouth and reinforces the new position of your teeth. Wearing it may be annoying at first, but it’s an essential part of the process of keeping your teeth in place over the long term.
For the first few months after your braces are gone, Dr. Todd Hamilton will tell you to wear your custom retainers all the time, except when you’re eating, drinking, or brushing. You have the option of having a clear plastic retainer made if you’re concerned about your appearance.
Eventually, we will recommend that you only have to wear the retainer during each night for a full year. After that, you may take a couple nights off from wearing them each week. In order to preserve the position of your teeth for as long as possible, we don’t recommend that you ever fully stop wearing your retainers.
If you’re concerned about forgetting to wear your retainer, and worried that your teeth may shift, a lingual retainer could be a good option for you. This gets placed on the back of your teeth and is not readily visible.
These retainers are permanent, but they could cause issues for you down the road if you don’t maintain good oral hygiene. Plaque and tartar can build up around these lingual bars, which is why we don’t usually recommend this as a primary choice.
Wearing your retainer is extremely vital after your braces come off. Without your retainer to keep them in place, the teeth you’ve taken so long to fix may begin to shift again. Getting braces is quite an investment, which is why you should keep wearing your retainer long after the braces have come off.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your retainers, contact our Denver, NC office and we can address any problems you may have.
December 27th, 2017
It’s no secret that New Year’s Eve is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team love it too. It’s a fresh start, another year of surviving the crazy world we live in, a time to refocus on the things we want for ourselves, a celebration with those we love … the list goes on.
Dozens of countries welcome the New Year with over-the-top parties and celebrations. Because it’s a public holiday, many offices, businesses, and schools close for the day. As you think about your plans for this holiday, here are some fun facts about New Year’s that might surprise you!
Can you guess what the most common New Year’s resolutions are? You may already have one or two of these on your own personal list. The top five New Year’s resolutions are: to quit smoking, get a new job, lose weight, increase personal savings, and return to school. Just remember that coming up with a concrete plan to reach your goals is the surest way to achieve your resolutions!
About one million people brave the cold to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City’s Times Square in person. Yes, that’s one million! This event is one of the most iconic celebrations in the world. People travel from all over just to experience it, but you can watch from the warmth and comfort of your living room.
If you’re not a fan of cabbage, collard greens, black-eyed peas, or ham hocks, you might want to revise your tastes. All these foods are all regarded as lucky fare on New Year’s Day. Unless you’re allergic, of course!
For many people in Mexico and Latin America, eating 12 grapes at midnight is a tradition that brings good luck in the 12 coming months. Most people even make a wish per grape!
Whether you’re celebrating in Denver, NC or traveling elsewhere to observe the holiday, New Year’s Eve is a time to enjoy the company of your friends and family. Don’t forget to send warm wishes to your loved ones, and snag a midnight kiss with that special someone if you can!
June 21st, 2017
The electronic toothbrush has undergone several technological advances since the 1960s. Everything from design and bristle motions to rotation, oscillation, and sonic vibration has led to dramatic changes in this necessary tool over time.
Rotation oscillation happens when the head of the toothbrush rotates from one direction to the other. The benefit of powered toothbrushes is that they can produce 50,000 strokes per minute, compared to 300 strokes with a manual toothbrush.
When you’re thinking about brush head size, smaller brush heads are best for hard-to-reach areas and small mouths. Brush heads should be replaced every three to six months as needed. A good way to save money is to designate a brush head for each family member which can be taken on and off a shared base motor.
Having a base motor or rechargeable toothbrush can deliver enough power on a full charge for a week of brushing, which makes it convenient for travel or when life gets busy. Some toothbrushes include audible signals that let you know when to switch the area of your mouth you’re brushing or when a full two minutes has gone by.
Do you have sensitive teeth? Studies have indicated that people tend to apply more pressure on their teeth when they use a manual toothbrush. This makes an electric toothbrush a preferable option if you’re having issues with sensitive teeth or gums.
There are even electric models with pressure sensors that will stop the brush from spinning when you press too hard against your teeth!
Everyone can benefit from having an electric toothbrush. A large handle size can be taken into consideration if a member of the household is young, or has a physical disability or arthritis. They’re even recommended for children in order to maintain good oral hygiene from a young age.
Biofilm is a term used for plaque or debris that builds up in your mouth. If not properly addressed, this can cause serious bacterial infections to your gums and teeth. If you want to remove biofilm in the most efficient way, an automatic toothbrush is the way to go.
When you're ready to make your decision, make sure to consult with Dr. Todd Hamilton at our Denver, NC office to decide which electric toothbrush is right for you!
June 14th, 2017
It’s possible to develop tooth decay even when you take great care of your teeth. Brushing and flossing may not be enough to keep your teeth healthy, depending on your diet. Cavities, discoloration, and decay are still possible when certain foods feature in your daily intake. Keep an eye out for foods that will damage your enamel and cause the very issues you’ve been trying to avoid.
What causes enamel damage?
Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth that is made of various minerals. Tooth decay results when the acids in your food react with the minerals in your enamel. Strongly pigmented foods may also cause unsightly discoloration on the surface of your teeth. Avoid wreaking havoc on your beautiful smile by identifying the foods that can harm your enamel.
Acidic food is your teeth’s worst nightmare! This is the greatest cause of enamel damage, even if you brush and floss regularly. To avoid damaging your teeth, make sure you can determine whether a food is acidic or not.
The pH levels are a way to determine acidity on a one-to-seven scale. This defines the relative acidity or alkalinity of a food or substance. Foods with high pH levels are not as likely to harm your enamel.
It’s wise to avoid or minimize foods that are high in acids. Highly acidic food can include fruits such as lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, and apples. Moderately acid foods may surprise you; they include tomatoes, maple syrup, pickles, and honey.
Not surprisingly, eggs and dairy products such as milk and cheese contain the least amount of acid. Red wine and coffee can also discolor your enamel if they’re drunk in excessive amounts.
What can I do to prevent enamel damage?
There are plenty of ways to avoid discoloration and decay of your enamel. The best thing to do is limit the amount of high-acid foods, including sugary juices and soda, in your diet.
Another way is to brush and floss regularly, an hour after each meal. If you can’t make time to brush, an easy solution is to swish your mouth with water or mouthwash to rinse away any leftover acidic particles.
Damaged tooth enamel may be common, but is avoidable when you know which foods to stay away from and the steps to take after you do eat highly acidic foods. Take our advice and you’ll be sure to slow down any future discoloration and decay that happens in your mouth.
For more advice on protecting your enamel, give our Denver, NC a call to learn more!
June 7th, 2017
If you are wearing braces and are planning a vacation, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics would suggest that you be prepared. We put together a list of items that will be handy to have with you at all times while you are out of town. They include:
- Toothpick, flosspick, or other interdental cleaners
- Travel toothbrush
- A water bottle or a mini bottle of mouth rinse
- Orthodontic wax to help with discomfort from protruding wires
- A small mirror for examining any possible issues in your mouth
Putting these items together in a “braces/oral hygiene kit” may be wise. You may even buy pre-made braces kits. Please ask us for more information.
If you happen to be on vacation and experience problems reaching our office, we suggest going online and searching for orthodontic practices in your area. Most orthodontists will lend a helping hand to another orthodontic patient and get him or her out of pain or discomfort.
We also suggest avoiding the following foods to prevent broken brackets and/or wire distortion while you are on vacation:
- Chewy, sticky, or gummy food
- Apples, pears, and other whole fruits (cut fruit into wedges before consuming)
- Bagels and hard rolls
- Corn on the cob
- Hard candies
- Hard cookies or pretzels
- All varieties of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, and cashews
Finally, if you are wearing clear aligners and happen to lose your tray, don’t worry! Simply put in either the previous tray or the next tray and contact us as soon as you get home!
Follow these tips and you can have a worry-free vacation! Please give us a call if you have any questions!
May 31st, 2017
You can learn just about anything on the Internet these days. You can also order just about anything on the Internet these days.
But would you order your braces on the Internet? There’s a new trend involving websites that claim to offer a solution for straightening teeth, without your ever seeing a dentist or orthodontist in person.
These companies usually have patients take an impression of their teeth using putty and a tray. Then you mail the impressions back to the company where a dentist reportedly examines them and suggests a course of treatment using 3D modeling software.
A series of clear aligners are made, to be worn by the patient in order to attain the desired result. Although this form of orthodontic treatment may cost less than seeing an orthodontist in person, there are several reasons why you should avoid it:
- Potential health hazards are missed: If your oral health is not up to par (e.g., you have cavities, gingivitis, chipped teeth, etc.), an orthodontist would not suggest orthodontic treatment. Only after these issues are addressed would treatment be considered as an option. Whether this is the case with a person can’t be known when all the doctor sees is a set of impressions.
- Lack of information about the patient: Before you receive any orthodontic treatment, an orthodontist will have X-rays taken to make sure you are a good candidate. If the bones or teeth do not look like they would align properly with treatment, another course of care may be suggested, even necessary. None of this background is available to over-the-net orthodontic providers.
- No regular checkups: The purpose of regular checkups with Dr. Todd Hamilton is to ensure that everything is moving properly, on schedule, and most important, safely. This lack of hands-on care with Internet orthodontics could be a hazard for you as a patient and has the potential to do more harm than good.
It’s not worth the risk of getting orthodontic treatment over the net just to save some money. Our Denver, NC office is committed to working with you, whatever your financial situation may be.
Let’s work together to give you the smile you deserve!
May 24th, 2017
Your feedback is very important to us at Hamilton Orthodontics. We always want to make sure that our practice is meeting its full potential, so whether you’ve visited Dr. Todd Hamilton once or been a loyal patient throughout the years, we encourage you to share your thoughts about your experience with us!
You can do this easily by giving us a review on our Facebook page or writing down your comments below. If you feel more comfortable, you’re always welcome to give our Denver, NC office a call, too! We feel fortunate to have you all as patients and look forward to reading all your feedback!
May 17th, 2017
Here is some surprising yet worthwhile advice you might be hearing for the first time: Brushing after a meal can be incredibly bad for your teeth if you do it after eating certain foods.
Enamel is an extremely hard mineral on the exterior of each of your teeth. It’s actually the hardest substance in the human body: It’s even stronger than your bones! Its only weakness is that acids in the food we eat can easily destroy enamel.
Healthy teeth thrive in an environment that has the proper pH balance. That ensures your mouth doesn’t start the process of demineralization. That’s what happens when alkaline turns into acid, which attacks and softens the enamel on the surface of your teeth. Pores and fissures form, and that’s when the harmful bacteria go to work.
Our mouth’s pH level fluctuates depending on what we eat throughout the day. Examples of the most common highly acidic foods include citrus fruits, soda, and sugary foods. Highly acidic foods tip the balance of pH in your mouth from a healthy alkaline to a dangerous acid.
Can brushing your teeth immediately after a meal lead to even more damage? The answer is yes!
Eating highly acidic foods causes your teeth to be more susceptible. If you brush your teeth when they have been weakened by acids, even more destruction can happen to your enamel. Your toothbrush’s bristles will actually wear away some of your enamel. So it’s healthier to wait at least an hour after eating or snacking to brush.
Good preventive measures to take instead of brushing after you eat include:
- Rinsing or drinking water
- Chewing sugarless gum
- Consuming dairy or non-acidic foods to conclude your meal
These practices help produce saliva, which in turn restores a healthy pH level in your mouth and coats the teeth with minerals they need.
Once you’ve allowed time for your mouth to be restored to a healthy pH level, you may brush your teeth as you normally would. Keep in mind that acidic foods can weaken the enamel on your teeth and take the right measures to prevent spiking pH levels.
Most important, don’t forget to wait to brush at least one hour after you eat!
Still have questions? Call our Denver, NC office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Todd Hamilton.
May 10th, 2017
Patients have so many choices for straightening their teeth nowadays — clear aligners, ceramic braces, lingual braces, self-ligating braces — but who is best suited to guide them through orthodontic treatment? Well, an orthodontist like Dr. Todd Hamilton in Denver, NC of course!
This may seem obvious, but there’s misinformation circulating with regard to the roles dentists and orthodontists play in treating patients’ oral health.
Dentists are trained to clean teeth, fill cavities, perform certain dental surgeries, and examine overall oral health. Many dentists now offer braces to their patients, but according to the American Association of Orthodontists, it’s better to consult an orthodontist if you need to straighten teeth or fix a bite.
Why an orthodontist? Because they are...
- Specialists in straightening teeth and aligning jaws, even advanced cases
- Required to study an additional two to three years after dental school
- Trained to choose the correct treatment option because they have worked with all the available options
- Trained to recognize the potential pitfalls with certain treatments and cases, which means there’s less chance of problems after treatment has started or been completed
- Familiar with emerging treatments and technologies so they can make the best choice for a patient’s case
Some dentists claim to have taken enough continuing education or additional training to offer braces to their patients. But this can't compare to the advanced training an orthodontist receives during his or her education.
Ideally, dentists and orthodontists work hand in hand to make sure oral health and the alignment of teeth and jaws are the best they can be. Think of a dentist as the one who is there for a lifetime, to make sure teeth and gums are healthy.
In contrast, an orthodontist is the highly skilled teammate who helps the dentist by straightening teeth and aligning the jaws over the course of a few years. Instead of one replacing the other, they work together for the health and benefit of their patients.
May 3rd, 2017
Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) refers to a diverse range of disorders that relate to muscular function in the jaw and face — the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). That could mean difficulty opening your mouth, pain in the jaw or face, or any sort of problem with the jaw joint.
TMD can be difficult to diagnose because of the varied causes. Whatever the case, an accurate diagnosis from Dr. Todd Hamilton helps make treatment as successful as possible.
Most often, jaw problems will resolve themselves within several weeks or months. Surgeries like arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery should be a last resort. More conservative and reversible treatments should come first and are in fact the most critical step in the treatment of TMD.
Less invasive treatments like acupuncture and splints can be helpful, but that will depend on your particular case. It’s worth your while to speak with Dr. Todd Hamilton at our Denver, NC office to learn about solutions that could work for you.
A combination of treatments will most often produce the greatest relief for TMJ patients. It’s a good idea to avoid activities that overuse the jaws, such as chewing gum or clenching your jaws.
You can be proactive in finding relief for TMD by trying the following remedies at home:
- Eat soft food: When you eat soft and/or blended food, your jaw gets an opportunity to rest. Avoid chewy and crunchy food, and food that requires you to open your mouth wide, like apples or corn on the cob.
- Apply moist heat: A hot water bottle wrapped in a moist towel can help reduce symptoms.
- Apply ice: Applying an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or towel for no longer than 15 minutes may also reduce pain and promote healing.
- Do jaw exercises: A physical therapist can help identify the exercises that will work for you. Jaw exercises have been shown to be an effective treatment method that can be performed at home.
- Relaxation: Actively try to relax the muscles of the face and lips, and let your teeth come apart. Many find meditation, yoga, and slow, deep breathing to be helpful for reducing stress and tension.
- Avoid wide yawns: Keep your fist under your jaw when you feel a yawn coming on, to keep your jaw from opening too widely.
April 26th, 2017
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Proper oral hygiene techniques are always worthwhile, but they are especially crucial when you’re wearing orthodontic appliances such as braces. When you don’t maintain an effective oral hygiene routine, you can be more susceptible to gum disease as well as tooth decay, cavities, decalcification, discoloration, and/or staining of the teeth.
Braces themselves don’t cause these issues, but since they create spaces that are difficult to clean, they provide extra sources of food (dental plaque and food debris) for the bacteria that do. Bacteria create a biofilm on the surface of a tooth that can spread if not addressed. That bacteria food can only be removed by a mechanical action: brushing and flossing your teeth!
Here’s a list of smart hygiene steps to follow for the duration of your braces treatment:
Proper tooth brushing technique: Make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly (for a total of about two minutes), but not too hard. Point the head of the toothbrush at the gum line and brush just hard enough so that you feel slight pressure against the gums. Use a soft, small-headed toothbrush or an electric toothbrush if you’d like. Try your best always to clean on and around every tooth, bracket, and wire in your mouth!
Flossing: Braces can make flossing a chore, but it’s an essential adjunct to proper tooth brushing. Make sure to floss between all your teeth and brackets. Dr. Todd Hamilton can provide you with braces floss threaders and interproximal toothbrushes (small brushes used to clean areas under wires and between brackets) to make the task easier. You might also consider purchasing an oral irrigator that uses a stream of water to blast food particles and debris from between teeth and gums.
Rinse with water: This may sound slight, but it’s a good idea, especially if you aren’t able to brush. Rinsing your mouth with water throughout the day helps to dislodge the decay-causing food particles that become lodged in braces.
Hygiene away from home: It’s a good idea to have a kit with a toothbrush, floss, floss threaders, mirror, and small water cup on hand at school or work. That way, you’ll be sure to have all the tools you need to keep your mouth clean.
Regular professional cleanings: As always, it’s best to visit your dentist regularly to verify everything in your mouth is in order and your oral hygiene routine is effective. Twice a year is sufficient, unless the dentist recommends more frequent visits.
It's vital to keep your teeth and gums clean during your braces treatment, and that requires your care and attention. If feel like you need help with any of the techniques above, a member of our Denver, NC team can demonstrate them for you!
April 19th, 2017
Crooked or crowded teeth aren’t always just a cosmetic issue; they also are more difficult to clean, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Likewise, if your teeth don’t align properly when you bite (known as malocclusion), this can cause chewing, swallowing, and speaking problems.
You can put these risks to rest and look amazing, however, with well-thought-out orthodontic treatment from Dr. Todd Hamilton. More and more adults are opting for orthodontic treatment and changing their lives in the process.
Childhood is of course the ideal time to get treatment, since the mouth and jaws are still growing, but many adults still can get beautiful and lasting results which can be achieved discreetly and effectively with modern orthodontic appliances and technologies.
Traditional braces used to be the only thing going, and many adults understandably don’t like the way they look. There are so many other options for braces these days that it’s possible for almost any patient to be treated effectively and efficiently — usually in one to two years.
Here are some of the technologies being implemented in our modern Denver, NC orthodontic office:
- Clear aligners: Practically invisible clear plastic aligners are great for less severe cases.
- Lingual braces: These are placed on the back of your teeth instead of the front, and can handle anything that traditional braces can.
- Ceramic braces: Translucent ceramic brackets make for effective and more discreet treatment.
- Self-ligating braces: These require less manipulation by the orthodontist, which means fewer appointments and quicker results.
It should also be noted that the goal of orthodontic treatment (especially in adults) isn’t always limited to straightening teeth and/or correcting a bite. Teeth provide support for the lips and cheeks and help define your face.
The relationship between the jaws, teeth, face, soft tissues, and underlying skeleton of the face are important, and an orthodontist takes this into account when designing a smile.
In short, getting orthodontic treatment won’t just give you a good-looking and healthy smile; it can help define and enhance the entire appearance of your face. Knowing just how crucial your teeth are in determining how you look and live will help you age positively and confidently.
April 12th, 2017
Some people choose bottled water over tap because they think it’s cleaner. Some do it out of convenience: It’s easy to grab a bottle of water to take with you for the day as you run out the door or hop in your car.
Whatever the reason, bottled water has been coming in ahead of tap water for the last couple of years. What many people may not know is that choosing bottled water over tap can actually be detrimental to your dental health.
Most brands of bottled water fail to include a vital ingredient: fluoride. Fluoride plays an important role in helping maintain good oral health because it helps strengthen our teeth. Stronger teeth mean a lower chance of tooth decay, and who doesn’t want that?
When we choose bottled water over tap water, we deprive our pearly whites of something they might very well need.
The good news is that the American Dental Association has endorsed both community water fluoridation and products that contain fluoride as a safe way to prevent tooth decay. If bottled water happens to be the preference for you or your family, you don’t necessarily have to force everyone to start drinking tap water.
Just check the label and make sure the brand you purchase contains fluoride.
It’s essential to remember that switching up the water you drink isn’t going to put you on the fast track to perfect teeth, though. Flossing and brushing three times a day is vital!
If you have any questions about fluoride or your dental health, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Todd Hamilton at our Denver, NC office!
April 5th, 2017
Although using mouthwash is certainly not the equal of brushing and flossing, it does have benefits for your dental hygiene. If you use mouthwash regularly, you should find out which type is best suited for your needs. Here are some things to think about the next time you’re at the store.
The first item to weigh is why you want to use mouthwash. If the reason involves a high risk for cavities, you should focus on a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Make sure to double-check the label, because some mouthwashes do not necessarily include fluoride.
If you’re looking for a mouthwash to fight gingivitis, select an oral rinse with antibacterial properties. Make sure to read labels and avoid picking one that contains alcohol. Antibacterial mouthwash would also be best for a patient who has periodontal disease.
Another option is prescription mouthwash. These should be discussed with Dr. Todd Hamilton and/or your pharmacist in order to avoid negative side effects. Pay close attention to the directions regarding how much to use and for how long. Keep in mind that some brands may lose their effectiveness if you use them on an ongoing basis.
For children, you can find a mouthwash that changes the color of plaque on their teeth. This is a fun way to help them understand how well they are brushing, and what areas they need to focus on. It can even be a tool for adults who have trouble reaching certain areas of their mouth.
While mouthwash is generally considered as a safe means to improve your oral health, you need to keep certain things in mind. Avoid using any mouthwash that has alcohol in it. If you are using a strong one, it can reduce your sense of taste over time. Be wary of a mouthwash that claims it can loosen plaque; this is not accurate and can mislead consumers.
We hope these simple suggestions will help you the next time you’re at the store. Make sure you pick the right mouthwash to keep that healthy smile! Feel free to contact Dr. Todd Hamilton at our Denver, NC with any questions you may have.
March 29th, 2017
If you participate in sports or other physical activities, it’s wise to consider getting a mouthguard. Also known as mouth protectors, mouthguards are a device worn over the teeth to lessen the impact of a blow to the face.
This reduces the chance that you might lose teeth or sustain other serious oral injuries. We recommend that all patients involved in a contact sport such as wrestling, football, or hockey wear a mouthguard because of the high risk of such injuries.
However, anyone involved in a physically demanding sport or activity should wear a mouthguard as well.
Can you imagine what it would be like to lose a few of your front teeth? The way you talk, eat, and smile would all change. Potential injuries when you don’t wear a mouthguard include chipped and broken teeth, fractured jaws, root damage, damage to crowns and bridgework, concussions, and/or injury to the lips, cheeks, or gums.
Types of Mouthguards
There are three different types of mouthguards — typically made of a soft plastic material or laminate. You can decide which works best for you in terms of budget, fit, and comfort.
- Stock mouthguards are prefabricated to a standard size. They offer adequate protection, but you need to make sure you find one that fits properly and comfortably. Stock mouthguards are readily available at department stores, sporting goods stores, and online.
- Boil-and-bite mouthguards are placed in boiling water to soften them, then into the mouth so they can conform to the shape of the teeth. Boil-and-bite mouthguards are more expensive, but offer a more customized fit than stock ones. You can find these in department stores, pharmacies, sporting goods stores, and online.
- Custom-made mouthguards are created just for you by Dr. Todd Hamilton. These offer the best fit and comfort of all the options, but they are also the most expensive. Ask a member of our Denver, NC team for more information.
The American Dental Association says a good mouthguard should be easy to clean, fit properly, be comfortable, and resist tearing or damage. It shouldn’t restrict speech or breathing.
Still not sure if you need a mouthguard or which kind is right for you? Ask Dr. Todd Hamilton or one of our staff members for more information.
March 22nd, 2017
As we all know, or should by now, the key to maintaining great oral health is keeping up with a daily plan of flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash. These three practices in combination will help you avoid tooth decay and keep bacterial infections at bay.
At Hamilton Orthodontics, we’ve noticed that it’s usually not the toothbrush or floss that people have trouble picking, but the mouthwash.
Depending on the ingredients, different mouthwashes will have different effects on your oral health. Here are some ideas to take under consideration when you’re trying to decide which type of mouthwash will best fit your needs.
- If gum health is your concern, antiseptic mouthwashes are designed to reduce bacteria near the gum line.
- If you drink a lot of bottled water, you may want to consider a fluoride rinse to make sure your teeth develop the level of strength they need.
- Generally, any mouthwash will combat bad breath, but some are especially designed to do so.
- Opt for products that are ADA approved, to ensure you aren’t exposing your teeth to harmful chemicals.
- If you experience an uncomfortable, burning sensation when you use a wash, stop it and try another!
Still have questions about mouthwash? Feel free to ask Dr. Todd Hamilton during your next visit to our Denver, NC office! We’re always happy to answer your questions. Happy rinsing!
March 15th, 2017
A vital step in your oral health routine is flossing. We hope our patients at Hamilton Orthodontics maintain good oral hygiene, including daily flossing between each visit to our Denver, NC office. A toothbrush is not always enough to get to the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. When food remains between your teeth, bacteria starts to grow and will break down your enamel. This is where flossing comes in!
Should you floss before or after brushing?
Whatever your personal preference, you may floss before or after you brush your teeth. When you floss first, you can brush away any leftover dislodged food debris from your teeth. On the other hand, when you brush first, you will loosen the plaque between your teeth, which makes flossing more effective.
The essential aspect is that you floss thoroughly by using a fresh strand of floss and make sure to get between every tooth. Even if your teeth look and feel clean, don’t skip flossing or plaque will begin to build up on your teeth.
When is the best time to floss?
Although you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend flossing your teeth thoroughly once a day. Many people prefer to floss before bed, so that plaque doesn’t sit between their teeth all night.
What kind of floss should I use?
You may choose between interdental cleaning picks or flexible floss strands to perform your daily flossing routine. If you have permanent oral appliances or restorations, be sure to follow the flossing instructions provided to you.
Do you need help flossing?
If you’re having trouble flossing or have questions about which floss is best for your teeth, contact our Denver, NC office and we can provide you with support. Be sure to keep up with your daily flossing routine, and we will see you at your next appointment!
March 8th, 2017
A solid oral health routine begins with daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Without a consistent oral health regimen, you may begin to experience tooth decay and bacterial infections. Few patients ask Dr. Todd Hamilton about different mouthwash options, so we’ve put together a list of the conditions that mouthwashes can treat. This should help you decide which oral rinse would be best for you.
Antiseptic mouthwashes reduce large amounts of bacteria on and near the gum line and generally help to decrease your chances of developing gingivitis. The key ingredients of antiseptic mouthwashes are antibacterial and antimicrobial items. Antiseptic mouthwash is a preferable option if you are concerned about the general gum health of your mouth.
Fluoride is a great tool for preventive tooth decay treatment. It prevents tooth decay and is great for oral health in general because it kills germs that can live in your mouth. Fluoride also builds stronger teeth. If you’re a bottled water drinker, Dr. Todd Hamilton may recommend that you purchase a simple fluoride rinse to use after brushing.
Fluoride mouthwash can be used to fight any bad breath issues you may be facing. It’s designed to combat any bacteria that might be building up in your mouth. Most mouthwashes will help eliminate bad breath, but some are specifically designed to address this difficult problem. If you feel as though this might be turning into a chronic problem, please contact Dr. Todd Hamilton to discuss other options that would be effective for treating your symptoms.
American Dental Association (ADA Approval)
The ADA reviews all mouth rinses for safety measures and to prove effectiveness. Any mouthwash approved by the ADA has met strict guidelines according to whether the manufacturer’s claims are supported with scientific evidence. If you’re looking for a quality mouthwash, look for one that has the ADA seal of approval to ensure you have a great rinse for your mouth.
When you’re trying to decide which mouthwash to pick, contact our Denver, NC or ask Dr. Todd Hamilton during your next appointment. If you experience a burning sensation in the soft tissues of your mouth, be sure to discontinue use immediately. Avoid letting children under age six use a mouth rinse, and be sure to keep all mouthwashes out of the reach of children, because they contain alcohol and other substances that could be harmful.
March 1st, 2017
Your opinions matter to Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team! Our blog is meant to be an educational channel, but we always want to know what things you’re interested in learning more about. After all, our blog is here for you to enjoy!
We’d like to encourage you to send us any ideas about what you want to see more of. No idea is too small! Whether it involves a specific treatment or advice on what kind of toothpaste you should use, we’d love to hear from you about it.
To share your thoughts with us, simply leave your comments below or on our Facebook page! You can also fill out a comment card the next time you visit our Denver, NC office!
February 22nd, 2017
All over the Internet you'll find videos and articles showing how you can close the gap between teeth or space them out. There is a plethora of DIY orthodontic techniques out there — you can even mail order your own impressions to get clear aligners, without even seeing a dentist or orthodontist. Following the instructions laid out in these videos and articles (by people who have zero training in orthodontics) is about the worst decision you can make for your overall oral health.
Performing DIY or at-home orthodontia can lead to or cause:
- Loss of teeth
- Cavities or infections that are missed or undiagnosed
- Gum damage
Dr. Christina Carter, president of the Northeastern Society of Orthodontists, says that DIY orthodontics can have terrible consequences. She spoke to TODAY about closing gaps between teeth using rubber bands or elastics:
"The teeth are connected to the gums and the blood supply and there is a risk of infection, of tearing the gums which might not heal properly, and a risk of damaging the attachment between the tooth and gums so the tooth no longer gets the support it needs." She also noted, "A simple rubber band can actually slide up the tooth and cut all the attachments to it and you can actually lose a tooth."
One of the worst parts about DIY orthodontics is that you never consult with a trained orthodontist, so you're really operating on a dangerous lack of information. It's best not to risk damage to your teeth or infection. Let Dr. Todd Hamilton know what you want to accomplish with your teeth and we will help you find the safest and most cost-effective way to achieve it.
Dr. Todd Hamilton want you to be informed and practical about your oral health. Should you have any questions about orthodontic treatment options, please do not hesitate to give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office.
February 15th, 2017
Many patients underestimate the importance of wearing their retainers after their braces come off, but it is one of the most critical post care practices to keep your teeth in alignment. Why spend all that time, energy, and money to straighten your teeth when you don't plan to keep them straightened after treatment?
What is a retainer?
As the name implies, a retainer keeps teeth from moving back to the positions in which they started before treatment was administered; they "retain" your smile and bite. There are many different types of retainers—some are removable and some are permanent. Some retainers are made of plastic and metal (known as Hawley retainers) and others are all plastic or all metal. Some retainers can even be bonded to the back of your teeth!
How long do I need to wear it?
If you've been given a removable retainer by Dr. Todd Hamilton, you may be wondering how long you need to wear it. It takes time for the tissues and bones around your teeth to reorganize and set into place after braces treatment.
The amount of time you’ll need to wear your retainer depends on your unique situation, but typically, retainers should be worn at least as long as the time you spent in braces. You might need to wear them full-time for a while, and then transition to wearing them only at night. Dr. Todd Hamilton will have a treatment plan especially for you, and if you stick to it, you'll always have a straight smile.
Nothing is forever (at least without retainers!)
Research has shown that there is no “permanent” position for your teeth to remain in. In fact, some studies say upward of 70% of patients will see a change to their bite and tooth alignment as they get older. This applies to people who have had orthodontic treatment and those who have not. Of course, some people's teeth never seem to shift—you can consider them the lucky ones, as most people's teeth do.
And this is precisely where retainers come in. The only way to ensure your teeth stay in alignment long-term is by wearing your retainers. If you have any questions about retainers or your treatment plan, please ask any member of our Denver, NC staff.
February 8th, 2017
Many smokers believe that chewing tobacco is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. This simply isn't the case! In fact, smokeless tobacco can cause serious health concerns.
Smokeless tobacco comes in many forms and goes by many names: dip, snuff, snus, or simply chewing tobacco. Use of these products usually involves sucking or chewing on shredded or loose tobacco leaves, sometimes flavored, for a prolonged period. There are even products that emulate a dissolvable candy-like consistency which are made of compressed tobacco powder.
What are risks and smokeless tobacco?
Whichever form a tobacco product takes, the dangers of using or consuming them is very real. According to a 2007 study by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, there are upwards of 28 cancer-causing chemicals in smokeless tobacco that are known to cause cancer. And these products are habit-forming just like any other tobacco product that contains nicotine. Using them will increase your risk for many serious diseases including but not limited to: cancer (especially oral and esophageal), gum and heart disease, cavities, and pre-cancerous mouth lesions.
At the end of the day, long-term use of smokeless tobacco can cause serious health issues. These products really take a toll on both your oral and overall health. They put a strain on your immune system and make it less capable of warding off infection and disease.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team strongly advise you to stop using smokeless tobacco—or any kind of tobacco product—and not to pick up the habit if you aren't. There is no safe level of tobacco use, smokeless or otherwise.
Need to quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco products?
You can and should always talk to your doctor, healthcare practitioner, or Dr. Todd Hamilton for help quitting. But there are many other resources available today for those who'd like to quit. The National Cancer Institute offers information, support (local and online), and tools to help smokers and smokeless tobacco users quit. They offer live online chat with cessation counselors Monday through Friday and even have a smartphone application available to help people who are serious about quitting.
You can take a look at their website at smokefree.gov or call them toll-free at 1–877–44U–QUIT (1-877-448-7848). There is also help available from your state's quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Make the best choice for your health and well-being; avoid the bad habit of tobacco products. If you have any questions about how tobacco related products affect your oral health and hygiene, please don't hesitate to ask one of our Denver, NC staff members.
February 1st, 2017
Have you ever thought about how you're cleaning and storing your toothbrush when you're not using it? Did you know that the way you store your toothbrush could have an affect on your oral health? In this post, we'll look at some steps you can take to maximize toothbrush cleanliness and minimize bacteria.
Below are some tips from Dr. Todd Hamilton for toothbrush use and storage:
- Don't share your toothbrush – This may seem obvious, but sharing a toothbrush exposes both users to bacteria and microorganisms from the other user, which can increase chances of infection. You should also avoid storing your toothbrush in the same container as other people’s toothbrushes.
- Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each use – Rinsing your toothbrush well under running water will help remove food particles, toothpaste, and other debris from the bristles of your brush.
- Store your toothbrush in an open-air container not a sealed one – Putting a wet toothbrush in a sealed container creates a favorable environment for microorganisms and bacteria.
- Soak your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash after use – There is some evidence to suggest that soaking your toothbrush in an antibacterial solution may reduce the amount of bacteria present on the toothbrush.
- Change your toothbrush every three months – The bristles of your toothbrush become less effective and frayed after repeated use so it's a good idea to replace it on a regular basis. It's also wise to replace it after you've been sick.
There are many simple things you can do to make your oral-care regimen as clean as possible. Use common sense when storing your toothbrush—don't put it in a dirty place like the edge of your sink or in the shower (please, not by the toilet!), and keep it upright in a cool dry place—and you're usually good to go. If your toothbrush is looking a little worse for wear, drop by our Denver, NC office and we'll be glad to provide you with a new one!
January 25th, 2017
Do you ever find yourself gnawing at your nails? Nail-biting is a very common and difficult to break habit which usually has its beginnings in childhood. It can leave your fingers and nail beds red and swollen. But if you think that your nails are the only ones getting roughed up by nail-biting you'd be mistaken—so are your teeth!
According to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry, those who bite their nails, clench their teeth, or chew on pencils are at much higher risk to develop bruxism (unintentional grinding of the teeth). Bruxism can lead to tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, receding gums, headaches, and general facial pain.
Those are some nasty sounding side effects from chewing on your nails. Most nail-biting is a sign of stress or anxiety and its something you should deal with. So what steps can you take if you have a nail-biting habit?
There are several things you can do to ease up on nail-biting:
- Trim your nails shorter and/or get regular manicures – Trimming your nails shorter is an effective remedy. In so doing, they'll be less tempting and more difficult to bite on. If you also get regular manicures, you’ll be less likely to ruin the investment you’ve made in your hands and fingernails!
- Find a different kind of stress reduction – Try meditation, deep breathing, practicing qigong or yoga, or doing something that will keep your hands occupied like squeezing a stress ball or playing with a yo-yo.
- Wear a bitter-tasting nail polish – When your nails taste awful, you won't bite them! Clear or colored, it doesn't matter. This is also a helpful technique for helping children get over the habit.
- Figure out what triggers your nail-biting – Sometimes it's triggered by stress or anxiety and other times it can be a physical stressor, like having hang nails. Knowing what situations cause you to bite your nails will help you to avoid them and break the habit.
- Wear gloves or bandages on your fingers – If you've tried the steps above and they aren't working, this technique can prove effective since your fingernails won't be accessible to bite.
If you're still having trouble with nail-biting after trying these self-help steps, it's best to consult your doctor, dermatologist, or Dr. Todd Hamilton. For some, it may also be the sign of a deeper psychological or emotional problem.
Whatever the cause, nail-biting is a habit you need to break for your physical and emotional well-being. If you have any questions about the effects it can have on your oral health, please don't hesitate to ask Dr. Todd Hamilton during your next visit to our Denver, NC office.
January 18th, 2017
There's something special about customizing the elastics on your braces to fit your unique personality. Once you embrace your braces (no pun intended) you'll realize how many color options and combinations there are to choose from. Although you'll have a fantastic smile afterward, you won't have this level of customizability once your braces come off, that's for sure!
Adding flair to your braces isn't what all patients are looking to do (like those opting for clear aligners or ceramic braces), but it's part of the fun of traditional metal braces! Many of our patients ask Dr. Todd Hamilton to have their elastics match the colors of their favorite sports teams or their school, but how about changing your elastics to match holiday colors?
Here are some options to consider:
- Valentine’s Day – Red and pink
- Easter – Pink, blue, and violet
- Halloween – Orange and black
- Christmas – Red, green, and white
- Saint Patrick’s Day – Green and white
There are a few colors that some people choose to avoid. But if you’re trying to make your teeth stand out in a crowd, the following suggestions need not apply!
- Brown or Green – can be mistaken for food being stuck in your teeth
- Black – might look like a rotten tooth if someone isn't looking hard enough
- White – Some patients think it will make their teeth look whiter, but in fact it can make your teeth appear yellower than they actually are. White elastics can also stain easily.
- Yellow – accentuates the yellowness of your enamel
Since changing the color of your elastics has no effect on the actual orthodontic treatment process, the idea is to have fun and add a personal touch. So, next time you get your elastics changed at our Denver, NC office, why not wear your braces boldly and opt for something festive?
January 11th, 2017
It's a habit many people have and not only can it be annoying to the people around you, it can be detrimental to your dental health. Chewing ice is so common that it even has its own name, pagophagia. We're not talking about a slushy or shaved ice (although those artificially sugary treats should be avoided too!) but more like the hunks of ice rattling around in the bottom of your glass.
Ice chewing can be a sign of emotional problems like stress or obsessive-compulsive disorder, but it can also be a marker for iron deficiency anemia and other physical problems. Then again, some people just like to have something to chew on. For whatever reason you find yourself chewing on it, it's a habit you need to break.
Chewing on ice can cause:
- Chipped and cracked teeth
- Damaged enamel
- Sore jaw muscles
- Damage to dental work such as crowns, fillings, or other appliances
If chewing on ice is becoming a problem in your life, don’t hesitate to speak with Dr. Todd Hamilton about it. But if you find yourself still wanting to chew on something, here are a few alternatives to ice:
- Baby carrots
- Celery sticks
- Sugar-free (xylitol) gum
We know you need to chill sometimes, but chomping down your entire glass of ice is not the way to do it. If you have any other questions on the topic, feel free to talk with a member of our Denver, NC team. It may be beneficial in solving the issue and helping to remediate any damage to your teeth.
January 4th, 2017
Clear aligners like Invisalign® have become increasingly popular over the past several years and rightly so. They’re removable, easier to clean than braces, and hardly anyone knows you're wearing them. They are great in treating many cases, but they aren't for everyone.
Below, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team cover some of the instances where clear aligners just aren't the answer:
- If drastic tooth movement is required – Fixed appliances deliver much more significant tooth movement. So if your case is a drastic one, clear aligners may not be the best choice.
- If you need to move molars – Molars have much stronger roots than your other teeth and would require significantly longer to move with clear aligners. A fixed appliance is the best choice in this instance, especially if you have a substantial overbite or underbite that needs to be dealt with.
- If you're the type who often forgets or loses things –If you would forget to wear your aligners for the prescribed amount of time (usually at least 22 hours per day), clear aligners are probably not the best choice for you. Forgetting to wear them can delay treatment and even make it so you need to regress to the previous set of aligners to be able to move forward with treatment. And let's face it, if you're not careful, removable aligners are easy to lose. Losing aligners delays treatment and is expensive since you need to buy replacements to stay on course. Replacing a lost set of aligners usually takes between seven and ten days—a definite setback in treatment.
- If you're looking for the fastest treatment possible – Clear aligners usually can't move teeth as quickly as fixed appliances. So if you're looking for the fastest way to achieve your desired result, clear aligners may not be the best bet.
Feel free to talk with Dr. Todd Hamilton about your options regarding braces and clear aligners. We know there are pros and cons to both, so let’s find the option that works best in your life and for your specific needs in terms of treatment. Schedule an appointment at our Denver, NC office today!
December 28th, 2016
Most people think braces are all about their teeth. While it is true orthodontics is meant to move your teeth into proper position, there's more to it than that. To safely move your teeth with braces, you're going to need healthy and stable gums (or periodontium—the tissues that support your teeth).
For this reason it's critical to have your periodontal health evaluated prior to getting braces. This applies particularly to adults, since a 2013 study by the Center For Disease Control found that an estimated 47.2% of adults 30 years of age and older had periodontitis (gum disease). If you do have periodontitis, moving your teeth with braces will only make things worse.
Conversely, there is also risk for periodontal disease if you don't get orthodontic treatment. Malocclusion, as well as crooked and spaced teeth, can all contribute to periodontal disease. In these situations your teeth and gums are more difficult to clean and become breeding grounds for disease causing bacteria. Bad oral hygiene combined with these traits can greatly contribute to the development of periodontitis.
So, periodontics and braces have a tricky relationship. On one hand, you shouldn't get braces if you show signs of developing or have periodontitis, while on the other hand, braces can help prevent the possibility of developing periodontitis by correcting the bite and straightening the teeth.
If you are 30 years of age or older and are considering getting braces, it would be wise to first:
- Let Dr. Todd Hamilton know about your desire to get braces
- Get an exam to make sure you're in good periodontal health and a good candidate for braces
- If you are a good candidate, keep an eye on your teeth and gums and get regular dental checkups throughout your entire course of treatment.
If you are in any doubt about the status of your teeth and gums, it's always best to get them checked before embarking with braces treatment. For more information or to have your periodontal health assessed for braces treatment, please contact our Denver, NC office.
December 21st, 2016
It's almost game day and you're wondering what to put on the menu for your guests. Most snacks are typically highly processed and unhealthy. Why not mix it up this year and opt for some snacks that promote good oral health? Here are some of Dr. Todd Hamilton favorites!
- Apples, carrots, celery, and cucumbers: These foods and other crispy, fibrous, fruits and vegetables are an excellent choice for the big game. Not only are they rich in vitamins and minerals which your body and mouth need, they are also known as detergent foods because of the cleaning effect they have on the teeth and gums. Try apples wedges spread with peanut butter and sprinkled with cinnamon.
- Beans: Beans are filling because they are packed with fiber and that keeps you from opting for sugary or fatty snacks. Along with fruits and vegetables, beans should be one of the stars of your game-day snack lineup. How about some hearty chickpea hummus with cucumber chips?
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews: Nuts abound in the minerals that help keep your teeth and gums strong like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Put out a bowl of raw or roasted nuts for your guests as a crunchy, satisfying alternative to chips or crackers. Recent research even shows that the polyunsaturated fatty acids in nuts may help prevent gum disease. But remember not to eat the whole bowl! Nuts are very high in calories and a little goes a long way. Enjoy and handful or two along with your other healthy snacks.
- Dark chocolate: This one may be hard to believe at first, but research shows chocolate can be great for your teeth and help prevent decay! Now don't run off and start stocking your pantry with a bunch of that super sweet stuff, because these benefits come mainly from the tannins, polyphenols, and flavonoids present in the cacao bean. Dark chocolate is the least processed variety of chocolate and the closest to the cacao bean, so make sure you purchase a variety that is listed as 70% cocoa or more for these benefits. Like with nuts, chocolate is easy to overdo — aim to eat two or three squares.
December 14th, 2016
Some foods are just terrible for your teeth — think cookies and candy bars — but there are certain foods that are beneficial to your oral health. Below, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team have covered five of the top foods to keep your teeth and gums healthy!
1. Crispy, low-acid fruits and vegetables: Fruits like apples and vegetables such as carrots and celery act like “natural toothbrushes,” helping to clear plaque from your teeth and freshen your breath.
2. Kiwis: These little green superstars are packed with vitamin C which is essential for gum health. The collagen in your gums is strengthened when you consume foods that are high in vitamin C, like kiwis, thus helping to prevent periodontal problems.
3. Raw onions: Onions have long been studied for their antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. Proliferation of bacteria is what leads to tooth decay and cavities. By including raw onions in your diet, you'll be doing your part to wipe out those little microbes before they can multiply!
4. Shiitake Mushrooms: A specific compound in shiitake mushrooms, lentinan, has been shown to have antibacterial properties that target the microbes that cause cavities while leaving other beneficial bacteria alone. It may also help prevent gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums.
5. Green Tea: Often lauded for its high antioxidant content and many health benefits, it turns out green tea also benefits your oral health! A Japanese study found men who drank green tea on a regular basis had a lower occurrence of periodontal disease compared to men who drank green tea infrequently. It's believed this is due to the catechins in green tea, a type of flavonoid that may help protect you from free radical damage, but more research needs to be done. Either way, drink up for your overall health, as well as your teeth!
If you have any questions about your oral health, or are looking for even more oral health tips, contact our Denver, NC office!
December 7th, 2016
Our green office offers many benefits to patients. And just because we’ve gone green doesn't mean that we won't be able to provide the same services as a traditional office. In fact, our goal is to provide the same (or better) services as a regular office, but services that act in harmony with the body and world around us. Less waste, fewer chemicals and heavy metals, and reduced energy consumption; these are traits that define a truly green office.
Some of the benefits you'll experience as a patient at our green Denver, NC office include:
- Better air quality – There's a focus on using renewable and natural building materials, paint that is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), biodegradable cleaning supplies, and formaldehyde free materials for cabinetry. This leads to cleaner air in the office for patients and their families.
- Less radiation – Digital X-rays replace old film based X-rays and expose patients to 90 percent less radiation. Digital X-rays are also convenient for patients since their images can be viewed right on the computer screen instead of on a physical printout.
- No need for paper – Many offices have gone "paperless." You'll get any pertinent paperwork via email, reducing paper waste and saving you time. Patient records are also stored digitally, doing away with the wall of patient folders and making for easier and quicker record retrieval.
- Fewer chemicals – Green offices take advantage of chemical-free sterilization by steam and clean their tools using energy-efficient washers and dryers. Biodegradable cleaning solutions instead of toxic chemical cleaners are used around the office, too.
- Reduced heavy metal exposure – Biocompatible, non-allergenic, non-metal materials like porcelain and ceramic are preferred in a green office over the heavy metals (nickel, titanium) used in traditional offices. This is particularly important in the case of appliances that are used over long periods of time, like dental implants or veneers.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team hope you realize the positive effect a green office can have on your health, as well as that of the environment. Our office is dedicated to bringing you the cleanest, safest, and greenest technologies the industry has to offer, and we're happy to share how our processes differ from other offices!
November 30th, 2016
When most patients ask Dr. Todd Hamilton this question, they're thinking strictly about sugar content — cut out the bacteria-feeding sugar that's present in regular soda by opting for a diet soda and it will be better for your teeth. That seems logical, right? Well, there's a bit more to it than that. Let's take a closer look at how any kind of soda can affect your dental health.
Diet Soda – Why it can also lead to tooth decay
The main culprit in these drinks that leads to decay is the acid content. Diet sodas and other sugar-free drinks are usually highly acidic, which weakens the enamel on your teeth and makes them more susceptible to cavities and dental erosion. The level of phosphoric acid, citric acid, and/or tartaric acid is usually high in sugar-free drinks so it's best to avoid them.
Some patients also enjoy drinking orange juice or other citrus juices. These drinks are high in citric acid and have the same effect on the enamel of your teeth.
So what about regular soda?
We know the acidity of diet sodas and sugar-free drinks contributes to tooth decay, so what about regular soda? Like we alluded to earlier, regular soda is high in sugar — a 12 ounce can contains roughly ten teaspoons of sugar — and sugar feeds the decay-causing bacteria in the mouth. This also includes sports drinks and energy drinks, which are highly acidic and loaded with sugar too. So these drinks are a double-whammy of sugar and acidity your teeth and body simply don't need.
The problems caused by both diet and regular soda is exacerbated when you sip on them throughout the day. If you drink it all in one sitting, you won't be washing sugar and/or acids over your teeth all day long and your saliva will have a chance to neutralize the pH in your mouth.
The best beverages to drink and how to drink them
Drinking beverages that are lower in acid is a good step to take to keep your enamel strong. According to a study conducted by Matthew M. Rodgers and J. Anthony von Fraunhofer at the University of Michigan, your best bets are plain water, black tea or coffee, and if you opt for a soda, root beer. These drinks dissolved the least amount of enamel when measured 14 days after consumption of the beverage.
If you still choose to drink soda, diet soda, sugar-free drinks, or juices here are some other tips to lessen tooth decay:
- Drink your soda or acidic beverages through a straw to minimize contact with teeth
- Rinse with water immediately after consumption of the beverage
- Avoid brushing your teeth between 30 minutes to an hour after drinking the beverage as this has been shown to spread the acids before your saliva can bring your mouth back to a neutral pH
- Avoid drinks that have acids listed on the ingredients label
Still have questions about soda, sugar, and acid? Give our Denver, NC office a call and we’d be happy to help!
November 23rd, 2016
Thanksgiving marks the start to the holidays; a season filled with feasting, indulging, and spending time with family and friends are always special. Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for giving thanks, and while this may seem like such a natural celebration, the United States is only one of a handful of countries to officially celebrate with a holiday.
Unlike many holidays, Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, and it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. In Canada, it is celebrated on the second Monday of October, which is, oddly enough, much closer to a time when harvests were likely gathered. In addition to the different dates, the origins of the celebration also share different roots.
Thanksgiving in the United States
Giving thanks for a bountiful harvest are not new, but the modern day holiday in the US can be traced to a celebration at Plymouth in Massachusetts in 1621. This feast of thanksgiving was inspired by a good harvest, and the tradition was simply continued on. At first, the colony at Plymouth didn't have enough food to feed everyone present, but the Native Americans helped by providing seeds and teaching them how to fish, and they soon began to be able to hold a feast worthy of the name. The tradition spread, and by the 1660s, most of New England was hosting a Thanksgiving feast in honor of the harvest.
An explorer of early Canada named Martin Frobisher is accredited for the first Canadian Thanksgiving. He survived the arduous journey from England through harsh weather conditions and rough terrain, and after his last voyage from Europe to present-day Nunavut, he held a formal ceremony to give thanks for his survival and good fortune. As time passed and more settlers arrived, a feast was added to what quickly became a yearly tradition. Another explorer, Samuel de Champlain, is linked to the first actual Thanksgiving celebration in honor of a successful harvest; settlers who arrived with him in New France celebrated the harvest with a bountiful feast.
A Modern Thanksgiving
Today, Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with the best of Americana. From feasts and football games to getting ready for the start of the Christmas shopping season, Thanksgiving means roasted turkey, pumpkin pie, and green bean casserole. No matter how you celebrate this momentous day, pause for a moment to give thanks for your friends, family, and all the bounties you’ve received. Happy Thanksgiving from Hamilton Orthodontics!
November 16th, 2016
As a patient at Hamilton Orthodontics, your opinion matters! Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team love hearing what our patients think about our practice and the services we provide, and now we want to know, what do you think we should blog about?
Perhaps there’s a treatment you’ve always wanted to know about, or you’d like to learn about a specific way to improve your health and smile. Whatever your idea, we’d love to hear about it! You can let us know by posting here or on our Facebook page!
November 9th, 2016
While mouthwash goes a long way in improving your oral care, it is not a substitute for flossing. Mouthwashes and flossing provide different benefits that you should understand.
Mouthwash comes in two categories. Some are considered cosmetic. This type of rinse provides temporary relief from bad breath and has a pleasant taste. These do not actually kill any bacteria.
Therapeutic mouthwashes provide the healthier benefits. These may contain different ingredients including fluoride or antimicrobial agents. This type is used to remove plaque buildup and reduce the potential for calculus formation. Therapeutic rinses can also help prevent cavities, bad breath, and gingivitis. In addition, Dr. Todd Hamilton can prescribe special rinses to assist patients after periodontal surgery or other procedures.
Flossing is what removes the plaque formation before it can harden and become calculus. While a rinse reduces buildup, only flossing will fully remove plaque, especially between teeth. The bristles on a toothbrush do not get between teeth completely. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar or calculus. When this builds below the gum line, gum disease can start.
Types of Floss
Floss is available in a thin string form or a tape. It can be waxed or unwaxed. If you find flossing difficult, you might want to try a different type of floss. You can buy bulk floss in containers or purchase the disposable type with a plastic handle attached. This style can be easier for many individuals to use. Interdental picks are available for bridgework or other situations where regular floss cannot be used.
If you have questions regarding the best mouthwash or floss, or need tips for easier flossing, please ask our Denver, NC team for advice. We will be glad to give you solutions to help keep your mouth clean and healthy.
November 2nd, 2016
If you have been thinking about getting a piercing, or if you already have one or more, there are some health risks our team at Hamilton Orthodontics wants you to know about. It's important to know the risks involved with oral piercing, including infection, chipped teeth, gum damage, nerve damage, loss of taste, or tooth loss that could occur as a result.
Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Many people who have piercings tend to regularly touch them, paving the way for bacteria to enter piercing sites. Also, food particles that collect around piercing sites can lead to infection.
Besides hindering your ability to talk and eat, oral piercing also leads people to develop a habit of biting or playing with their piercings, which can lead to cracked or fractured teeth. While the fracture can be confined to the enamel of the tooth and require a simple filling, you also run the risk of the fracture going deep into the tooth, which may require a root canal, tooth extraction, and additional dental treatment.
If you still decide to get an oral piercing, you should realize that it will take some time to heal (anywhere between four to six weeks) and it may be very uncomfortable. Also please keep in mind that it will be an added responsibility to your life, as it will require regular upkeep. We want you to make sure that you’re committed to the task of taking care of it for the full healing period and beyond.
We encourage you to clean the piercing with antiseptic mouthwash after eating, and brush the jewelry each time you brush your teeth. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call!
October 26th, 2016
All Hallows' Eve, more commonly known as Halloween, is a yearly event celebrated on October 31, and one that is anticipated by the young and young at heart all over the world. Some scholars claim that Halloween originated from Celtic festivals that honored the dead or that celebrated the harvest, while others doubt that there's any connection at all to Samhain (a Gaelic harvest festival.) Regardless of its origin, our team at the orthodontic office of Dr. Todd Hamilton hopes that Halloween is fun and enjoyed by all of our awesome patients!
Trick or treat?
In North America, Halloween is predominantly celebrated by children who dress up in costumes, which range from scary to cute, who then go around the neighborhood knocking on doors asking "trick or treat", and they are given candy in return. Trick-or-treating is a time honored tradition, and though many parents groan at the pounds and pounds of candy collected by youngsters and fear for the health of their teeth, there are a few things you can do to help their teeth stay in great shape until the candy is gone:
- Limit the amount of candy they can consume each day
- Have them brush their teeth after eating candy
- Avoid hard, chewy candies as they can stick in hard to brush places
- Keep candy out of sight to reduce temptation
- Don't buy candy too far in advance to limit pre-Halloween consumption
- Help or encourage your children to floss
Halloween isn't just about gorging on candy; there are other events associated with this festive day including carving jack-o'-lanterns, painting pumpkins, decorating sugar cookies, bobbing for apples, going to haunted houses, or just curling up on the couch with a bowl full of popcorn and watching some classic, scary movies.
Halloween Around the World
Some countries, like Australia, frown upon Halloween, claiming it is an American event and not based in Australian culture, while others like Italy have embraced the fun and celebrate much as Canadians and Americans do. Mexicans have been celebrating this fun day since around 1960, and it marks the beginning of the Day of the Dead festival. Some countries in Europe have come late to the party, but since the 1990s, countries like Sweden, Norway, and Germany have started celebrating Halloween as well, and finding children in costumes or having ghosts hanging in windows has become commonplace.
Halloween is about fun; stepping outside our normal lives and donning a costume or gathering with friends to knock on doors and ask for candy is as much a part of our culture as hot dogs and barbecue on Labor Day. Have a safe and happy Halloween from the team at Hamilton Orthodontics!
October 19th, 2016
Sports are great for children for a variety of reasons. Children can develop their motor skills, learn how to solve conflicts and work together, and develop their work ethics. As a parent, you may recognize the benefits of sports, but also naturally worry about your child’s health and safety. Your job goes beyond providing a water bottle and making sure your child follows the rules of the game.
Although you may not think of your child’s teeth first when you think about sports, accidents can happen that affect your children’s teeth. A stray hockey stick, an errant basketball, or a misguided dive after a volleyball are examples of ways a child could lose a tooth. In fact, studies show that young athletes lose more than three million teeth each year.
Becoming a Better Athlete to Protect Teeth
Becoming a better athlete involves refining skills, learning the rules of the game, and being a good sport. These components are not just about winning. They are also about safety. Young athletes who are better ball-handlers and who are careful to avoid fouls and penalties are less likely to have harmful contact with the ball, teammates, or opponents. Children who are better roller-bladers are less likely to take a face plant into the blacktop, and more likely to save their teeth. Being a good sport and avoiding unnecessary contact is one way to protect teeth.
Proper Protective Equipment for Teeth
If your child is in a sport that poses a high threat to teeth, it is essential for your child to wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards fit your child’s mouth and consist of soft plastic. Dr. Todd Hamilton can custom fit a mouthguard if generic ones are uncomfortable. While children may resist wearing a mouthguard initially, your persistence in insisting that they wear it should be enough to convince them. A helmet or face mask provides additional protection.
While prevention is best, rapid treatment can improve the situation if your child does happen to lose a tooth during sports. Rapid implantation can work in about ten percent of cases. To learn about ways to save a lost tooth, contact our Denver, NC office.
October 12th, 2016
Taking care of your oral health involves a daily regimen of brushing, flossing, and rinsing to prevent tooth decay and bacterial infections. Though you may have asked us which toothbrush to use, few patients at Hamilton Orthodontics ask about mouthwash.
However, different mouthwashes you might choose will have varying effects on your oral health. So which type is best for you?
Antiseptic mouthwashes are designed to reduce the majority of bacteria on and near the gum line. Using an antiseptic mouthwash can help decrease your chances of developing gingivitis. If possible, look for a mouthwash with antibacterial or antimicrobial ingredients.
Fluoride is beneficial for oral health and can help prevent tooth decay. If you drink a lot of bottled water without fluoride, we may recommend that you purchase a rinse with fluoride in it.
Although mouthwash is designed to prevent bacterial build-up within the mouth, many people use it to combat bad breath. Most mouthwashes will help eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath, and some are specifically designed to do so.
However, if bad breath is a chronic problem that requires daily treatment with a mouth rinse, contact Hamilton Orthodontics to discuss your symptoms.
American Dental Association Approval
The ADA reviews mouth rinses for safety and effectiveness. A mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Approval will meet strict criteria, and will have scientific evidence or clinical studies that support the claims of the manufacturer. If possible, select a mouthwash that bears the ADA Seal of Approval to ensure you are using a quality rinse.
If you are unsure as to which mouthwash is right for you, contact our Denver, NC office or ask Dr. Todd Hamilton during your next visit. Also, be sure to keep mouthwash out of the reach of children, as it contains alcohol and other substances that could be harmful to them. Avoid letting children under age six use a mouth rinse, and discontinue use if you experience a burning sensation in the soft tissues of your mouth.
October 5th, 2016
What does the month of October mean to you? For people in the northern hemisphere, October is when the weather starts to get a little chilly: heavy jackets might come out of storage and the summer clothing gets packed away. You might start making plans for the upcoming holidays or looking at the beautiful and changing autumn scenery. October means something a little different to our team at Hamilton Orthodontics because this is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic clinics all over the country work together to promote their services and inform the community about the important work we do.
National Orthodontic Health Month is an awareness campaign created cooperatively by orthodontists and other dental health professionals. During this month, we make a special effort to promote dental health and orthodontic health in particular. This is a great time to get your questions answered by dental professionals in your community and to learn more about exactly what an orthodontist can do for you and your family. Events held in connection with National Orthodontic Health Month are also an opportunity for us orthodontists to come out and meet community members. If you have never been to an orthodontist before, you might not know what to expect. Meeting one of us in person before your checkup is a great way to find out what kind of person you’ll be seeing during your appointment.
Meeting Dr. Todd Hamilton in a relaxed “meet and greet” atmosphere can be especially helpful for any young orthodontic patients in your family. Kids of all ages–and their parents!–can feel anxiety about going to the dentist. Getting to know the person you have an appointment with can make the experience a lot less stressful for everyone. We don't want anyone to avoid seeing a dental professional for regular checkups just because they don't know who we are. Just meeting and talking with the orthodontist you'll be seeing may be enough to make you feel more comfortable about your upcoming appointment.
Dental health is something that affects everyone; healthy teeth and gums contribute to a healthy smile and a lifetime of comfort and well-being. Orthodontists are just one of the various dental practitioners you could visit at some point in your life, so taking a little time to learn who we are and what we do is certain to be a helpful experience. We look forward to seeing you and your family this October at our Denver, NC location!
September 28th, 2016
Most kids love candy; actually, most people in general love candy. So when it comes time for you to get braces there can often be a natural conflict between candy consumption and maintaining the integrity of your braces. For that reason, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team know that it’s good to know which types of candy are not good for your braces. To better illustrate, here are some candies that you will want to avoid.
Caramel is a sweet and often exceedingly sticky and chewy type of candy that just does not mix well with braces. Caramel can cause a mess in regular teeth, but teeth with braces are a whole other story. The sticky candy can very easily get lodged and stuck between the teeth, gums, and braces, making for a difficult task of cleaning your mouth. And if your teeth don't get cleaned properly, cavities can easily form. If you get cavities while you have braces, that could mean additional appointments at our Denver, NC office and an extended treatment time.
Salt Water Taffy
Another sticky and chewy candy to avoid with braces is salt water taffy. For many of the same reasons as caramel, it is best to avoid taffy until you get your braces removed. It may be a long wait, but when it comes to the health of your teeth, and the purpose of your braces, it really is best to avoid taffy.
Popcorn of any kind is best to avoid when you have braces. The kernels can easily do damage to the braces as you chomp on them, and they can get stuck between your teeth and the braces causing discomfort and further complications. In this sense it does not matter which flavor of candy popcorn you eat, all popcorn is bad news until you get your braces off.
Generally speaking, any candy that is chewy, crunchy, or sticky is not a good idea to eat with braces in your mouth. These types of candy will make life wearing braces much more difficult than if you were to just wait until your braces come off. With a little patience you will be back to eating all your favorite candy again, and with straightened teeth at that.
September 21st, 2016
Brushing your teeth regularly is one of the most crucial parts of maintaining good oral health, and perhaps the most fundamental, however, there are also other elements involved. Flossing, for instance, is also vital; some experts would say, and Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team would agree, that it holds just as much importance as brushing your teeth. To give you a better idea of why, here are some reasons that flossing is so vital to your oral health.
Getting in-between the Teeth
While brushing your teeth effectively cleans all of the areas of your teeth that are visible, or otherwise not touching, flossing is vital because it reaches all of the areas between your teeth that you cannot see, and subsequently cannot clean using a toothbrush. These areas are among the most sensitive and vulnerable parts of your mouth because they are most susceptible to plaque and tartar buildup.
Reducing Bad Breath
It is not uncommon for someone who brushes their teeth once or twice a day to still have bad breath. The reason being is that bad breath is often created by smelly bacteria that lives in between your teeth, as well as other areas of your mouth that are not accessible using a toothbrush. And that is why flossing is one of the best ways to reduce or eliminate bad breath. Still skeptical? Try flossing your teeth with unscented floss, then smell it after, that awful scent is the source of your bad breath. Coupled with frequent brushing of your teeth, you will find that flossing can really help that stinky breath.
Brushing your teeth twice a day is hard enough, add flossing on top and it can be difficult to establish a regular habit. However, doing so is totally worth it; just look at the aforementioned reasons why. Use these for motivation the next time you don’t feel like flossing, and let us know if it worked at your next visit to our Denver, NC office.
September 14th, 2016
Bad breath, or halitosis, is probably not a matter of life or death. But it can make you feel self-conscious and have a negative impact on your life. The majority of people suffering from bad breath are dealing with oral bacterial. However, there are other causes of this embarrassing problem. Learning more can help you fight this solvable problem.
Five Causes of Embarrassingly Bad Breath
- Dry Mouth. A decrease in saliva flow can be caused by several things. Most often, medication or mouth breathing are the culprits. As saliva helps wash away food particles from your mouth, it prevents bad breath. Dry mouth can be dealt with by stimulating salivation.
- Gum Disease and Poor Oral Hygiene. Not brushing and flossing well enough or with enough frequency can lead to gum disease, which leads to bad breath. Halitosis can be a sign that plaque is present on your teeth.
- Food-Related Bad Breath. Food particles that aren't brushed or flossed away attract bacteria that leads to bad breath. It's especially important to brush after eating strong-smelling foods, such as garlic or onions.
- Smoking and Tobacco. Tobacco is bad for your health, and that includes your oral health. Smoking or chewing tobacco can contribute toward the development of gum disease, as well as oral cancer.
- Mouth Infections and Other Medical Problems. A mouth infection, sinus infection or even the common cold can cause you to temporarily have bad breath. Even conditions such as diabetes and reflux can cause halitosis. It's always wise to see Dr. Todd Hamilton to help determine the cause.
We are Your Ally
Even if you maintain good oral hygiene, it's important to see Dr. Todd Hamilton at our Denver, NC office to deal with or avoid problems with bad breath. We can help you uncover the cause of halitosis, while also providing solutions that allow you to enjoy fresh breath without relying on mints and breath fresheners. As is the case with all things related to oral health, we are your number-one ally when it comes to eliminating the problem of bad breath.
September 7th, 2016
It's the end of summer, and fall is just around the corner. Soon the temperatures will cool down, the leaves will start to change, and Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics are sure that you’ll soon be thinking about Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving plans in no time. But wait! First, we want to know about your favorite parts of the summer! Did you go on a wonderful family trip? Did you pick up a new hobby? Did you try to spend as much time outside and in the sun as possible?
Share your favorite memories, stories, or photos with us by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.
August 31st, 2016
Many people who are careful about brushing and flossing their teeth wonder how they still end up with cavities or tooth decay. Several factors affect wear and tear on tooth enamel. Diet is a major factor, with certain foods increasing the likelihood that your enamel will become discolored or decayed. Pay close attention to the foods you eat to keep your pearly whites looking healthy and clean.
What causes enamel damage?
Tooth enamel refers to the hard, semi-translucent, whitish part of the tooth that shows above your gums. The enamel is primarily composed of minerals that are strong but susceptible to highly acidic foods. When acid reacts with the minerals in enamel, it results in tooth decay. Strongly pigmented foods can also damage enamel by discoloring the surface of the tooth.
Foods that harm enamel
Acidic foods are the greatest source of enamel damage. To determine whether a food is acidic, look up its pH. Scientists use pH, on a one-to-seven scale, to define the relative acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Foods with low pH levels, between a one and three, are high in acidity and may damage your enamel. Foods with high pH levels, such as a six or seven, are far less likely to cause enamel harm.
So which foods should you avoid? Many fruits are high in acidity, including lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, and apples. The high sugar and acid content in soda makes it another huge contributor to enamel decay. Moderately acidic foods include pineapple, oranges, tomatoes, cottage cheese, maple syrup, yogurt, raisins, pickles, and honey. The foods that are least likely to cause enamel damage include milk, most cheeses, eggs, and water.
Beverages such as red wine and coffee also damage the enamel by discoloring it. Although stains do not necessarily undermine the integrity of your teeth, they can be unsightly.
What can I do to prevent enamel damage?
Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to prevent your enamel from discoloring or decaying. The easiest way to avoid decay is to steer clear of high-acidity foods. This may not always be possible, but eliminating sugary fruit juices and soda from your diet is a good start. Brushing your teeth after each meal and flossing frequently also preserves your enamel. Another good idea is to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after eating to wash away high-acidity particles.
Although enamel damage is common, it does not have to be an inevitable occurrence. Knowing the foods that harm your teeth gives you the tools to prevent discoloration and decay. With some easy preventive measures, your teeth will stay strong and white for years to come! Give us a call at Hamilton Orthodontics to learn more!
August 24th, 2016
Dental floss is similar to a lot of products that depend mainly on the consumer’s preference. Fact is, floss comes in a wide variety of flavors, coatings, and other variations, but all types of floss essentially do the same thing. After all, that is what is most important: that the dental floss you buy is functional—cleaning the areas in between your teeth. If you want to know what the best dental floss is, the answer is the kind that enables you to successfully and regularly clean those areas. So to help you find the right type of floss for you, here are some options.
Flavored Dental Floss
Many people that floss prefer a flavored dental floss because it freshens their breath even more than unscented floss. The latter can also take on the smells associated with bacteria in your mouth. And we all know how bad that can be. So, if flavored dental floss is what you prefer, and it allows you to floss your teeth regularly, then it is automatically best for your mouth.
There are also products on the market called flossers, which usually consist of a plastic instrument with strung floss and a pick on the opposite end. This option can be both effective at cleaning the areas in between your teeth and scraping off plaque. These flossers also come flavored in mint and various other varieties.
Gentle Dental Floss
Some people find that typical dental floss is too harsh on their gums. For that reason some companies make floss with soft coatings that are less abrasive on the gums. For the most part these types of floss are just as effective as regular floss, and for those people that require a more sensitive approach to flossing, especially when just starting out, this is the best option.
Of the aforementioned options, it is difficult to name an absolute best type of floss. However, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team say that the type of floss that works best for you, giving you the greatest chance of succeeding at regular flossing, is the best. For more information on floss, contact our Denver, NC office.
August 17th, 2016
Sometimes real life is stranger and more interesting that any made-up story. These weird and interesting facts about braces will amuse you … and make you glad you didn’t have to get braces “way back when.”
Mummies with braces: Archaeologists have discovered mummies with crude bands of metal wrapped around their teeth. The metal was wrapped around each individual tooth, and it is believed that ancient dentists used catgut to guide the teeth and close the gaps.
First “official” braces: The first official braces were constructed in 1728 by Pierre Fauchard. They consisted of flat strips of metal. String was used to connect the metal to the teeth.
Early rubber bands: In 1850, Tucker began making rubber bands out of rubber tubing.
Brackets are better: Brackets were invented by Edward Angle in 1915. They were not bonded to the teeth directly, but instead were attached to bands that went around the teeth.
Wiring by NASA: As braces have become more modern, the technology has improved by leaps and bounds. You may know that some braces wire contains nickel titanium. What you may not know is that this metal was developed by NASA and has special shape memory that is activated by pressure or body heat.
Over 60 with braces: Actress Faye Dunaway got braces at the age of 61, which shows you are never too old to look more fabulous!
Oh, and one more thing that didn’t quite make our list, but is interesting all the same. Did you know that almost 25 percent of patients who get braces have to get them again because they wouldn’t wear their retainers? So suck it up, buttercup, and use that retainer!
August 10th, 2016
Not many people look forward to going to the dentist, especially if you already know that you need dental work done. A small amount of anxiety is one thing, but dental phobia, or odontophobia, is something else entirely. It is an irrational fear of going to the dentist. If you have it, you might be unable to force yourself to go to the dentist, even if you are suffering from bad tooth pain. The effects of dental phobia can be serious, but there are ways to overcome your fear of the dentist to help you achieve and maintain good oral health.
Causes of Dental Phobia
You can develop dental phobia for a variety of reasons, including the following.
- Fear of pain, which you might acquire based on others’ horror stories of their trips to the dentist.
- Fear of needles, such as those used to provide anesthesia.
- A previous bad experience, when something went wrong and pain was intolerable.
- Lack of control from not knowing what is happening or how uncomfortable a procedure might be.
Consequences of Dental Phobia
Avoiding the dentist can have long-term consequences. When caught early, tooth decay is easily stopped with a minor filling. If you let the decay go, you can end up losing your tooth and have chronic pain. A dentist can also check for early signs of gum disease, which, if left untreated, could lead to losing one or more teeth.
Even if you do not have a particular problem, going to a dentist for regular cleanings is a good idea because the hygienist can point out where you need to brush better and remove the plaque from your teeth.
Getting Over Fear of the Dentist
Most patients with dental phobia can get over their condition. These are some approaches that Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend:
- Explain each step of the process
- Let you know that you can stop the procedure at any time
- Encourage you to come with a family member or friend
- Help you with deep breathing techniques
August 3rd, 2016
If you were to put your toothbrush bristles under a high-powered microscope, what you would see might give you nightmares: millions of bacteria, busily crawling up and down your toothbrush bristles, consuming proteins that came from your mouth, and still clinging to the bristles even after you’ve rinsed them with water.
Rinsing your toothbrush after brushing removes some of those ferociously hungry bacteria, but not all. The American Dental Association says that bacterial infestations develop on toothbrushes within a month of daily use. The ADA also states that unless a toothbrush is sterilized before being packaged, it’s going to come with bacteria – free of charge!
Germs and Frayed Bristles: the Demise of a Toothbrush
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff recommend that you toss your old toothbrush in the trash and purchase a new one every three months. Children tend to bite on their toothbrushes, which makes the bristles degrade and fray faster. Chances are kids may need to have their toothbrushes changed more frequently.
Where do they hide?
Bacteria are tenacious little germs that head for those concealed areas between toothbrush bristles. They are highly adaptable and exist in every type of extreme environment. Some people actually go so far as to put their toothbrush in a microwave for a few seconds to kill germs, but this doesn't always work either. In fact, you may only end up with a toothbrush that’s as bendable as a Gumby doll – and still covered with germs.
Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever, and Get Rid of Your Toothbrush
When you have a head cold, your mouth is teeming with bacteria gleefully roaming around, and gobbling mucus and dead skin cells. If you brush your teeth while suffering a sinus condition, the brush will act like a magnet for ravenous bacteria. Use your old toothbrush while you are sick, but as soon as you feel better, throw it away and get a new one. Otherwise you could possibly re-infect yourself with the same cold germs!
July 27th, 2016
Wearing braces limits some of the snacks you can eat. However, you still have plenty of choices for fun and healthy foods that will not harm your braces. You can even enjoy a few crunchy treats as long as you choose them carefully.
Puddings provide a sweet and safe snack while you are wearing braces. You can even select flavored puddings such as caramel to satisfy the urge for items you should not eat. They can be purchased already made or whipped up at home. You can even select low-sugar varieties that still taste good. Ice cream and yogurt are also choices; just avoid products with nuts.
Fruits are excellent for a healthy snack. You just need to avoid biting into hard fruits such as whole apples. You can avoid the problem with fruit cocktails packed in water. Cocktails still have the nutritional benefits and flavor, but contain softer pieces. Avoid fruits packed in heavy syrup, though; these tend to have too much sugar.
Crunchy or Salty Snacks
Not all crunchy foods are bad; you just need to limit the crunch. Walnuts are a softer nut that can normally be eaten safely. Small cheese crackers satisfy the need for crunchy and salty. You can also allow pieces to dissolve slightly in your mouth before chewing, to reduce any risk.
Soft granola bars are also an option. Check the granola ingredients to ensure there are no large nut pieces, and brush your teeth afterwards. Otherwise pieces can become stuck in your dental work.
If you have any questions about safe snacks, do not hesitate to ask Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff.
July 20th, 2016
Nobody likes a dry mouth. It is an uncomfortable and sometimes oddly unexplainable sensation that most people like to avoid. It is not a condition that automatically sends you into a panic about your health, however, a dry mouth can be a bother and something you certainly want to change if possible. So, if you find yourself in the unpleasant position of having a dry mouth, here is what you can do.
Chew Sugar-free Gum: Chewing sugar-free gum will stimulate saliva in your mouth. The chewing motion of your jaw and teeth should take care of at least some of your dry mouth problem.
Suck on Sugar-free Candy: Similarly to chewing sugar free gum, if you suck on sugar free candy it should create more saliva in your mouth and moisturize it in the process.
Cut out the Caffeine:Caffeine can contribute to a dry mouth so by limiting, or eliminating your intake all together, you may find that your dry mouth is no more.
Stop Using Tobacco Products: Tobacco is another cause of dry mouth. Whether it is smokeless tobacco products or cigarettes, if you stop using them your dry mouth will likely improve. And not to forget, these products are exceedingly bad for your oral health to begin with, so you will be doing your mouth a favor even more so.
Drink Lots of Water: It may seem obvious, but drinking lots of water will likely improve your dry mouth. This is because dry mouth is usually a sign of dehydration, so plenty of fluids will surely help.
Dry mouth can be unpleasant, but it is often easily solved by either drinking more water, or trying one of the previously mentioned techniques. If the problem still persists you can always visit our Denver, NC office to see Dr. Todd Hamilton. More often than not, doing one of the above will leave your mouth more moisturized than it was previously, and hopefully it will be long-lasting as well.
July 13th, 2016
At Hamilton Orthodontics, we have been creating beautiful smiles for years. Whether you or your family have visited Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team for a single visit or have been loyal patients throughout the years, we would love to hear your thoughts about your experience! In fact, we encourage you to leave a few words for us below or on our Facebook page!
We look forward to reading your feedback!
July 6th, 2016
The dog days of summer are upon us, and what better time for Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team to ask our patients about their summer!
Whether you visited our nation’s capital, went on a camping trip, or just stayed in Denver, NC and relaxed, we want to know how you’re all spending your summer! Please feel free to share your summer plans and experiences with us below or on our Facebook page as summer rolls on!
June 29th, 2016
Since the introduction of the power toothbrush in the 1960s, this tool has undergone many technological advances, from design and bristle motions to rotation oscillation and sonic vibration.
What is rotation oscillation? That’s when the head of the toothbrush alternately rotates in one direction and then the other. Power toothbrushes can deliver up to 50,000 strokes per minute, which is much more effective than the average 300 strokes per minute with a manual toothbrush.
A smaller brush head is available for hard-to-reach areas, which is a good alternative for small mouths. The brush heads are replaceable and should be changed every three to six months. Each family member should have his or her own brush head while sharing the base motor. What a great deal! Check the handle size. A large handle is better for members of the household with arthritis, children, or family with other physical disabilities.
A rechargeable toothbrush is ideal. It should deliver enough power on a full charge for one week of brushing.
We recommend you brush for a minimum of two minutes. Some electric toothbrushes include a signal you can hear, such as a beep every 30 seconds, to indicate it's time to switch to a different area of the mouth. Others sound an alert after the full two minutes has elapsed.
Will an electric toothbrush harm the teeth or gums? Studies indicate that people tend to apply more damaging pressure to their teeth and gums during manual brushing than when they use an electric toothbrush. If you experience tooth sensitivity, choose a model with pressure sensors that stop the toothbrush any time you press too hard.
Who would benefit from an electric toothbrush? Everyone! Consumers with a physical disability may have specific needs that power toothbrushes can address. Children also tend to maintain better oral health hygiene when they use an automatic toothbrush. Plus, many of them find it fun to brush!
Automatic toothbrushes really do remove debris better than the old-fashioned way. You may have heard the term “biofilm.” Better known as plaque when it occurs in the mouth, biofilm is the debris and bacteria that cause infections to your teeth. It regenerates quickly, so healthy habits are the best defense for a healthier you! With a healthier mouth, you face a lower risk of gum disease and other conditions like heart disease: mouth health has been linked to heart health.
When you're ready to make your decisions, be a wise comparison shopper. Consult with Dr. Todd Hamilton at Hamilton Orthodontics to decide what is best for you!
June 22nd, 2016
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) describe a set of conditions that involve trouble with your jaw and face muscles. They result from a problem in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a hinge that connects the temporal bones, in your skull in front of each ear, to your jaw. The joint enables you to talk, yawn, and chew by letting your mouth move.
TMD can be very painful and interfere with functions such as eating and speaking. This what to watch for and how to try to prevent TMD.
Risk Factors for TMD
You are at higher risk for TMD if you are a women than if you are male. The disorder is most common among adults between the ages of 20 and 40 years. Other risk factors for TMJ disorders include the following.
- Arthritis in the area, making movement more difficult
- Excessive tooth grinding, because it increases stress on the joint
- General stress, which can lead you to clench your teeth and strain facial muscles
Symptoms of TMD
Symptoms of TMD can last for just a short while, or for several years. Seeing Dr. Todd Hamilton is important if your symptoms make it impossible for you to eat regularly or if you have unbearable pain or discomfort. The following symptoms can occur on both or one side of your face.
- Aching or very tired facial muscles
- Jaws that are fixed open or shut without you being able to unlock them
- Grating or popping sounds when you chew or close or open your mouth
- Pain in the entire area, including the mouth, jaw, neck, or shoulders, that comes on when you chew or yawn
You can try to prevent TMD by focusing on reducing risk factors. If you grind your teeth at night, ask Dr. Todd Hamilton about wearing a mouthguard. If you are overly stressed, look into ways to better manage your stress and relax your muscles. Another strategy for trying to prevent the development of TMD is to avoid chewing gum, since that puts stress on your jaw.
If you have questions about TMD, don’t hesitate to contact our Denver, NC office.
June 15th, 2016
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener found in tree bark, plants, fruits, and vegetables. The human body also produces it in small amounts. It looks and tastes like sugar, so as part of a health regimen, most people require no willpower to use it.
Xylitol is safe (approved by the World Health Organization) because only a small amount is needed for health benefits. With a glycemic index of seven, it is safe for diabetics. It has less than three calories per gram and 40% fewer calories than other carbohydrates. If eaten in extremely large amounts too quickly, it has a laxative effect in humans.
Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars you eat. When you eat food that contains ordinary sugar, it gives energy to the bacteria on your teeth, allowing them to multiply and start making acids that destroy the enamel on the teeth.
Since xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants, it does not break down like sugar, so it helps maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth because they are unable to digest it. That is how it protects the teeth from cavities.
With xylitol, the acid attack is diminished. With less bacteria and acid, your teeth stay healthier. The frequency of xylitol ingestion is important: aim for five grams a day, or one gram every three hours.
Studies of xylitol use as either a sugar substitute or a small dietary addition have demonstrated a dramatic reduction in new cavities. It has also stopped and even reversed some existing cavities. This effect is long lasting and possibly permanent. Low cavity rates persist even years after the trials have been completed.
Xylitol needs to be one of the first ingredients in a product to be effective. It is convenient and easy to use. You can find it in health food stores and specialty grocery stores. Xylitol can be delivered to your teeth in chewing gum, tablets, or even candy and mints.
It also comes in toothpaste, mouth rinse, baby oral wipes, gel and pacifiers, nasal wash, dry mouth spray, a granulated form for cooking, granulated packets to add to drinks, and commercially prepared foods. It can replace sugar on a one-to-one ratio.
Sweet rewards in xylitol are good for the body and the teeth! If you have specific questions please feel free to contact Hamilton Orthodontics. We look forward to seeing you soon!
June 8th, 2016
It's a moment many of our patients have experienced. One second you're chewing on a piece of gum, then suddenly you forget to keep chewing and swallow the entire rubbery gob whole! It's at this point you remember your mother warning you as a child that if you swallow gum it will stake a claim and take up residency in your belly for seven years. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics hate to take all the fun out of the mystery, but the truth is that chewing gum, when swallowed, will enter your stomach and move through your digestive system just like any other piece of food. So, if you ever accidentally swallow a piece of gum, there is no need to worry!
That being said, it's important to know that gum does not have any dietary benefits, so while it’s not exactly harmful to swallow, you still want to avoid swallowing it. If you are an avid gum-chewer, we encourage you to chew sugarless gum, especially if you are wearing braces, because gum with sugar can lead to cavities. Sugarless gum still has the same amount of flavor, but has fewer cavity-causing ingredients. In fact, many brands contain an additive called xylitol, a natural sweetener known to fight cavity-causing bacteria. Xylitol is also known to increase salivary flow as it rinses away plaque and acid.
The fact is, when the bacterium in your mouth breaks down sugar, what’s left behind is acid. This acid eats away at the enamel coating of your teeth, causing holes that we call cavities. Cavities can lead to other long-term mouth problems if they are not treated in time, so it is best to try and avoid overexposing your teeth to too many harmful substances!
If you have any questions about chewing gum, please contact our office. Happy (sugar-free) gum chewing!
June 1st, 2016
If you are planning on taking a vacation this summer, we ask that you let us know ahead of time so that we may schedule your summer appointments more efficiently. We also encourage patients and their parents to be proactive in determining when they make their summer appointments.
If you will be gone for an extended period (more than six weeks), we recommend you visit Hamilton Orthodontics prior to leaving and schedule another visit shortly after your return. Lastly, please remember not to indulge in hard, sticky, and chewy treats while enjoying your vacation. We look forward to seeing you soon and hearing about your adventures!
May 25th, 2016
A lot of our patients are curious about the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist. In fact, one of the most common questions we hear at Hamilton Orthodontics is, “Dentists and orthodontists are all the same, right?”
A general dentist is your primary dental care provider. Dentists diagnose, treat, and manage your overall oral healthcare needs, including gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, veneers, and bridges.
Orthodontists, such as Dr. Todd Hamilton, are more concerned with diagnosis, prevention, interception, and treatment of malocclusion, or what we call “bad bite,” of the teeth. Orthodontists focus on tooth and jaw alignment and bite problems such as overbites and underbites, and are responsible for straightening teeth via bands, wires, braces, and other fixed or removable corrective treatment options, like braces and clear aligners. Orthodontists treat children as well as adults who wish to improve the function of their bite and appearance of their smile.
Before becoming an orthodontist, doctors such as Dr. Todd Hamilton start out in dental school and earn a dental degree, just like your general dentist. After dental school, those doctors who decide they are interested in the orthodontic field, stay in school for a few more years and become experts in orthodontia, which is one of nine specialties within the dental field.
Isn’t it nice to know we have orthodontic experts here at Hamilton Orthodontics to help you through any type of treatment your teeth and jaw might need? To schedule your initial appointment at our Denver, NC office, please give us a call today!
May 18th, 2016
Braces can straighten your teeth to give you a more attractive smile for life. The process can take 18 months to two years or more, and this amount of time can seem unending when you first get your braces. Counting down your brace time can help the time pass more quickly and build the excitement for when you finally get your braces removed.
Make a Wall Calendar
Crossing out each day on a calendar is a standard way of counting down time. You can make this more personal by designing your own calendar to help you count down. Use an online customization service to upload photos or designs for each month. Each month’s picture can also display the number of months remaining until you expect your braces to come off.
When you receive regular rewards for continuing to wear your braces, they can seem less burdensome. Plan to buy yourself a reward every month that you wear your braces for the duration of the treatment. The time will pass much faster when you feel you are earning rewards for your patience.
Lengthen a Paper Chain
Use strips of paper to make the links of your chain, and add a new link each week to lengthen the chain. Before sealing each new strip of paper into a circle, write on it a reason why you are getting your teeth straightened, or an event in the future when you will appreciate your straight teeth as you smile.
Use a Wall Hanging
Purchase a large pad of blank white paper. Write a “0” on the bottom sheet and a “1” on the next, and continue until you reach the number of days remaining in your treatment. Rip off the top sheet each day to see how many days are left and remind yourself of the progress you are making.
Find a Buddy
If any of your friends get braces around the same time as you, share the experience. Make a pact to celebrate each trip to Hamilton Orthodontics when one of you receives news about your progress.
May 11th, 2016
At our office, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team do all that we can to make sure that your experience with us is the best it can possibly be. However, there’s an important role you play in this as well: leaving us reviews and feedback.
Whether there is something you’d like us to improve upon, or you’d just like to express your thanks for a job well done, your feedback is essential to our practice’s success.
We look forward to hearing from you, and are excited to hear what you thought of your most recent visit at our Denver, NC office.
May 4th, 2016
Summer is almost here, which means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories is just around the corner for our patients at Hamilton Orthodontics.
Everyone wants a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over the summer! Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks, or dark colored juices. Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile you're working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth; everyone knows that when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to rinse your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after. Your teeth, inside and out, will benefit!
And remember, whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to below or on our Facebook page! We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!
April 27th, 2016
The term malocclusion refers to misalignment of teeth. You may have been born with malocclusion, so your teeth simply grew in crooked, or the misalignment and crowding of your teeth occurred over a period of time. Either way, not only can malocclusion pose cosmetic issues, but it can have a negative effect on your speaking and eating abilities as well.
Types of Malocclusion
Malocclusion encompasses multiple types and classifications of misalignment issues, including twisting or rotation of the teeth and molars that do not meet when you bite down. In some cases, the top front teeth are pushed outward in an upper protrusion.
In other cases, a misplaced midline results when the front top teeth don’t meet with the front bottom teeth. Transposition occurs when teeth protrude through the gums in a position where another tooth is supposed to be.
Practically any type of crowding or spacing issues, rotation or twisting of the teeth, or bite problem – including overbite, underbite, open bite, or crossbite – is included under the umbrella of malocclusion.
There are three classifications of bite or misalignment problem.
- Class 1 malocclusion: While the bite may be normal, the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth slightly. This is the most common type.
- Class 2 malocclusion: Known as overbite or retrognathism, class 2 involves a severe overlap of the upper teeth and jaw over the bottom teeth and jaw.
- Class 3 malocclusion: Known as underbite or prognathism, class 3 occurs when the lower teeth and jaw overlap the upper teeth and jaw. Thus, the lower jaw juts forward.
Causes of Malocclusion
The most common cause of malocclusion is genetics. However, there may be other causes, including the development of abnormally-shaped teeth, lost teeth, or impacted teeth; thumb sucking or overuse of a pacifier as a small child; having fillings or crowns that do not fit correctly; a serious injury that causes misalignment of the jaw; or developing a tumor of the mouth or jaw.
Orthodontic care at Hamilton Orthodontics with Dr. Todd Hamilton is the main treatment available for malocclusion, which includes getting braces, Invisalign, or other corrective treatments. Treatment is ideal not just to have your smile improved, but because it makes the teeth easier to clean and maintain, lowers the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, and can even take pressure off the jaw and teeth.
Think about orthodontic treatment if you (or your child) display any signs of malocclusion. Early treatment of malocclusion during childhood can lessen expensive treatment later on.
April 20th, 2016
At Hamilton Orthodontics, we prefer our patients to practice good oral hygiene between office visits. Part of that process includes flossing, which Dr. Todd Hamilton will tell you, is the process of cleaning between the teeth to remove food and debris from the areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. When food is allowed to remain between the teeth, it provides a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause periodontal disease.
Should you floss before or after brushing?
You can floss either before or after brushing, according to your own preference. By flossing first, you can brush away dislodged food debris afterward. On the other hand, brushing first allows you to loosen plaque between the teeth, making it easier to floss more effectively.
Whichever you choose, the most important goal is to floss thoroughly. That means using a fresh strand of dental floss each day, and carefully pulling it back and forth between all of the teeth. Do not skip flossing because your teeth look or feel clean.
When to Floss
Unlike brushing, you need only floss between your teeth once per day. Although you may choose to do it in the morning or afternoon, many prefer to floss at night to prevent food and debris from remaining in the crevices of the teeth overnight. This could prevent the build-up of plaque too, which is a cause of tooth decay.
Help with Flossing
If you have questions about your flossing technique or what type of floss is best for your teeth, contact our office. Our staff will be more than happy to assist you in perfecting your home hygiene regimen. In most cases, you can choose between interdental cleaning picks or flexible floss strands to perform your daily flossing routine. If you have permanent oral appliances or restorations, be sure to follow the flossing instructions provided to you, and contact our Denver, NC office with any questions.
April 13th, 2016
This may come as a surprise, but brushing your teeth right after a meal can be one of the worst things you can do for your healthy teeth. A toothbrush can be considered an assault weapon against your smile if used immediately after eating certain foods.
Enamel is like the tooth’s shield. It is a hard mineral exterior on each of your teeth. In reality, enamel is the hardest part of the human body—even stronger than bone! I like to regard it as a “super-structure.” But every superhero has a weakness, and enamel’s kryptonite is acid.
A healthy tooth lives in a mouth that has a proper pH balance. When that balance tips from alkaline to acidic, a harmful process called demineralization begins. Demineralization occurs when acids attack and soften the tooth surface. Pores and fissures form and harmful bacteria move in.
With each bite of food or drink, our mouth pH fluctuates. Highly acidic foods tip the balance of your mouth from a healthy alkaline to a dangerous acid. Here are some examples of those sources of acid: citrus fruits, soda, and sugary foods. There are certainly many others, but these are the most common.
So how does brushing your teeth immediately after a meal make this process even worse?
After eating highly acidic foods, your teeth are susceptible to damage. When you brush your teeth in this weakened state you are actually damaging your enamel. The abrasive bristles of the brush wear away the protective surface of the teeth. You should avoid brushing for at least an hour, or take other, simple preventive measures immediately following a meal.
First, rinse with or drink clear water. Then chew some sugarless gum. Both of these practices will produce saliva, restore a healthy pH level in your mouth, and coat your teeth with nourishing minerals. Out of all the sugarless gums available, the best of the best are those that list xylitol as the first ingredient. Another option is to consume cheese, milk, or another non-acidic food or drink to conclude your meal.
After you have given your mouth time to return to a healthy pH, feel free to brush your teeth. Just keep in mind that any time you eat acidic foods, you weaken your teeth. Make sure not to worsen the problem by brushing immediately after dining and damaging your teeth even more. Questions? Call us at Hamilton Orthodontics.
April 6th, 2016
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team correct the alignment of your teeth and jaws so that you can speak clearly, chew food effectively, and look attractive when you smile. We do this by putting sophisticated gadgets in your mouth. While many of these dental devices look similar, we use a wide variety of orthodontic appliances to straighten your teeth and repair jaw problems.
Orthodontic appliances are devices that move your teeth, change the position of your jaw, or hold your teeth in their finished positions after your braces are removed. These devices may be attached to your teeth or removable.
Braces straighten your teeth. Brackets, bands, and wires characterize traditional braces. Braces are attached to the teeth, so they are not easily removable.
Spacers are small plastic rings fitted between your back teeth before your braces are placed by Dr. Todd Hamilton. These spacers create space between your teeth to optimize the alignment your braces provide.
Retainers hold teeth in their finished position after your braces come off. A Hawley retainer is the most common type of retainer; it features an acrylic plate that rests against the roof of your mouth and a wire crossing in front of your teeth. Essex retainers are quite popular, as they are durable and nearly invisible.
Bite plates correct a deep bite, where the upper front teeth come down too far over the lower front teeth to cause bite problems.
Holding arches prevent the back teeth from moving forward to crowd the front teeth. A lower lingual holding arch prevents your permanent molars from migrating forward. The Nance holding arch maintains space between teeth after you lose baby teeth and before the permanent teeth come in.
A palatal expander widens your upper jaw by separating the bones of your palate. This appliance helps your top and bottom teeth fit together better. The Quad Helix widens your jaws to create more room for crowded teeth.
Contact our Denver, NC office today to learn more about the ways we can improve the appeal and function of your smile.
March 30th, 2016
By now, everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. But the truth is its broad-reaching health effects are not all known by everyone. This is especially true of oral health. Smoking can have serious repercussions in this regard. To give you a better idea of how smoking can affect your oral health, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team have listed some issues that can arise.
Oral cancer can have steep ramifications for anyone that gets it. Surgery can be required to eliminate the cancer before it spreads to more vital parts of your body. Any type of cancer is about the worst health effect you can get, and this especially holds true to the affects that smoking has on your mouth. The type of mouth surgery required with oral cancer can leave your face deconstructed in certain areas, and it is all due to smoking or use of other tobacco products.
Tooth Discoloration and Bad Breath
At the very least, it is fair to say that as a smoker you will often have bad breath, and while you may try to cover it up with gum or mints, tooth discoloration is a whole other story. The chemicals and substances in cigarettes stick to your teeth staining them brown and yellow colors that are increasingly difficult to disguise.
Gum Disease and Loss of Bone
Another effect of smoking is the increased risk of gum disease. Your gums may start to recede, which can eventually lead to the loss of teeth. Smoking can also increase bone loss and density in your jaw which is vital to the health of your mouth. Gum disease and bone loss are two signs that smoking is definitely bad for your mouth.
When it comes to the health of your mouth, the question is not whether smoking affects your health, it's how does it affect your health and to what degree. If for no other reason than because smoking involves your mouth as its entry point, it is safe to say that it can have long-lasting and detrimental consequences on your oral health.
To learn more about smoking and your oral health, contact our Denver, NC office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Todd Hamilton.
March 23rd, 2016
If your teeth don't line up like they used to any more, you may be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder, often called TMD. This is a term that can actually be applied to any condition that occurs because the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is inflamed.
The temporomandibular joint is essentially the hinge that holds your lower jaw to your skull, and when it is inflamed or damaged in any way, it can be extremely painful. You have two temporomandibular joint, one on each side of your jaw, and it is typical to experience TMD in both sides at the same time.
Shifting of the Teeth
The reason that your teeth may not line up as they once did is that the ball and socket joints are often out of alignment and, as mentioned above, often very inflamed as a result. In order to correct the problem, Dr. Todd Hamilton may prescribe dental orthotics such as a lower jaw splint.
Sometimes, the wisdom teeth can play a role in the shifting of the teeth as well. If shifting wisdom teeth is combined with TMD, it may be necessary to have your wisdom teeth removed. Dental splints may follow if your teeth don't shift back to their proper positions on their own.
TMD is certainly a difficult thing to deal with, so if you experience your teeth shifting, scheduling an appointment at our Denver, NC office is the smartest course. We want to help you get your smile back, so give us a call anytime.
March 16th, 2016
On March 17, everyone has a little Irish in them. St. Patrick’s Day is a joyous celebration of Irish heritage. The holiday originated as a commemoration of Saint Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. The saint arrived in Ireland in 432 and earned the reputation of a champion of Irish Christianity. March 17th, the day of St. Patrick’s death, has been commemorated by the Irish for over 1,000 years. St. Patrick’s Day is still observed as a religious feast day by several Christian denominations, but it is better known in the public imagination as a rich celebration of Irish culture.
St. Patrick’s Day has been an official public holiday in Ireland since 1903. Each year, the Irish celebrate with a several-day festival that includes theater performances, music, fireworks, and festive parades. The celebration is also a public holiday in Northern Ireland, Montserrat, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In other parts of the world with heavy Irish populations, it is an unofficial celebration of Irish heritage. Parts of Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, South Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States, and Australia commemorate the holiday each year. Typical celebrations in these countries include drinking green beer, wearing green, eating traditional Irish foods, parades, and shamrock decorations.
Many people, Irish and non-Irish alike, take part in the “wearing of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue. His use of shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish made the green clover emblematic of the holiday, leading to the traditional green attire worn by thousands on St. Patrick’s Day. Other little-known facts about St. Patrick’s Day include the following:
- Each year, the United States and Ireland face off in a rugby competition called the “St. Patrick’s Day Test.”
- Montreal celebrates the holiday with an annual parade, which has been held each year since 1824. The Montreal city flag even features a shamrock in its corner, as a nod to its Irish heritage.
- The Guinness World Records named St. Patrick’s Day the “Friendliest Day of the Year.”
- Along with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.
No matter your cultural heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to let loose and celebrate your inner Irish-ness! Don your greenest attire and exclaim “Erin go Bragh!” (Ireland forever!) to everyone you meet. From Dr. Todd Hamilton - have a great St. Paddy’s day!
March 9th, 2016
If you’re brushing your teeth twice a day during your orthodontic treatment, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team think that’s wonderful! But, don’t forget that it’s also important for you to visit your general dentist every six months, or as recommended, in addition to brushing your teeth and flossing. (And visiting Hamilton Orthodontics for regular adjustments, of course.)
Dental checkups are crucial for maintaining good oral health. Your general dentist can check for problems that might not be seen or felt, detect cavities and early signs of tooth decay, as well as catch and treat oral health problems early. During an oral exam, your dentist can also check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing.
If you have not been to the dentist in the last six months, let us know during your next adjustment visit and we will provide a few great references in the Denver, NC area!
March 8th, 2016
Halitosis is the fancy, scientific word for “bad breath.” Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team know there are several reasons why you may have halitosis; let’s look at a few:
- Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) – There are five main types of gum disease, and each one can range from mild to severe. For example the most common one is gingivitis; it is caused by bacteria in the plaque that has been allowed to build up, usually as a result of poor oral hygiene. A more serious and uncommon type of gum disease is called necrotizing periodontal disease. It is most common in people who have a suppressed immune system.
- Dry Mouth – This can be caused by something as simple as a medication you take.
- Food – Of course, if you eat something that is potent like garlic, it is going to give you bad breath.
- Diseases of the Body – Some diseases such as sinus infections and diabetes, among a few other types of infections, can also cause you to have halitosis.
How to Get Rid of Halitosis
The most obvious answer to how to get rid of halitosis is to practice good oral hygiene, although, depending on the cause of halitosis it may not be that simple. If you have an infection that is causing the halitosis then you may need an antibiotic to clear up the infection and then the bad breath will go away. Here are more tips:
- Brush your teeth after every meal and before bed.
- Floss your teeth. The more plaque you get out of your teeth, the better chance you have of not getting cavities or bad breath.
- Address any medical conditions that are not related to your teeth that can be causing the halitosis.
- Ask Dr. Todd Hamilton for a prescription mouthwash that kills bacteria.
Halitosis (bad breath) can be an embarrassing condition to live with, but there are plenty of ways to get rid of it permanently. Start by talking to a member of our team at our Denver, NC office.
February 24th, 2016
Nobody likes bad breath, and although it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have it, it is always better to practice good oral health than risk having a smelly mouth. There are many ways to reduce or eliminate bad breath, some are definitely more effective and longer lasting than others. Check out ways to do so below.
As difficult as it can be to remember to floss regularly, when it comes to bad breath, flossing is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to freshen your mouth. See, flossing reduces the plaque and bacteria found in areas of your mouth that a toothbrush simply can't reach, and in turn, it rids your mouth of the smell associated with that bacteria. While flossing may not eliminate bad breath on its own, if you do it along with other health oral hygiene habits like brushing, then you may just develop a fresher smelling mouth.
Using some sort of mouthwash can really freshen up your breath, especially if you find it still smells after brushing and flossing. There is a wide variety of mouthwash products on the market, however, you can also create your own by simply using baking soda mixed with water.
Always Brush after You Sleep
Whether after taking a nap, or having a full night of sleep, you will want to brush your teeth in order to reduce bad breath. The truth is, bacteria accumulates in your mouth while you are sleeping (even during a short nap) and that is ultimately the source of bad breath. So next time you wake from a good slumber, give your mouth some brushing and you will find it makes a big difference in the freshness of your breath.
There are many ways to freshen your breath beyond just using gum or mints, the above mentioned are just a few for you to try. Test them out and you will likely find your bad breath problem is solved, or at least considerably reduced. Of course, you can always ask Dr. Todd Hamilton at your next visit to our Denver, NC office.
February 17th, 2016
By no stretch is it rare for your gums to hurt during and after flossing. Even some bleeding is to be expected. This is especially true if you have not flossed in a long time. However, if your gums do indeed hurt when you floss, and unbearably so, there are some things you can do.
Perhaps the most obvious way to combat gum soreness and bleeding is to be gentle. One of the most common occurrences of these gum problems is over-aggressive flossing. In other words, if you are too rough on your gums while flossing, either because you are out of practice or because you are in a hurry, soreness and hurting is to be expected. Instead, try taking your time and be gentle. Also, if you are just starting out, be patient and consistent, your gums will become more conditioned over time.
Use an Alternative Method
If being consistent and gentle does not work, there are other alternative methods of flossing that you can try. You can also try a water floss machine, or what is sometimes called a water pick. The device essentially shoots water into the crevasses between your teeth, and in other areas of your mouth, in order to dislodge food and plaque. These oral instruments also come with different attachments that allow you to reach many of the hard to see and reach areas of your mouth. And lastly, you can always buy floss that is not as abrasive to your gums. There is floss that comes with soft and gentle coatings that will do less harm to your gums while they are adjusting to the good oral hygiene habit you are creating.
Flossing is one of the easiest parts of oral hygiene to overlook. When you first start out, it is common that you may want to stop because of the pain it can initially cause. However, if you try one, or all, of the above mentioned methods, you will give yourself the best chance of being success with your flossing, and it won't hurt as much.
For more flossing tips, schedule an appointment at our Denver, NC office and askDr. Todd Hamilton or a member of our team!
February 10th, 2016
Sports and energy drinks cause irreversible damage to the teeth of teens and young adults. A recent study published in General Dentistry states that energy and sports drinks contain so much acid that they begin destroying teeth after only five days of consistent use. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent of U.S. teenagers consume energy drinks and as many as 62 percent consume at least one sports drink per day. The high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel and the result is irreversible damage.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics encourage our patients to limit their intake of sports drinks. The enamel erosion ultimately makes teeth more susceptible to bacteria and that can lead to hypersensitivity, staining, and tooth decay. If you do consume an energy or sports drink, make sure to wait at least 45 minutes until you brush, as consumption of acidic drinks causes tooth enamel to soften, making teeth more vulnerable to wear from the abrasives found in toothpaste.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, five times more common than asthma. It’s also preventable with proper care. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team can help identify early signs of erosion and offer solutions on how to prevent further damage and more serious problems from occurring.
February 3rd, 2016
A famous mouthwash company chose the marketing slogan, “Better than flossing.” As a consumer, would you believe a high-end commercial that essentially tells you to stop flossing? Just use this brand of mouthwash and the risk of gingivitis, cavities, etc., is gone. What a wonderful idea! Now for the reality: This is simply not true.
The company that made these claims received some negative feedback for making this false claim. Does this mean that all mouthwashes are ineffective? Absolutely not. It takes a little bit of research to know which mouthwashes are most effective and best suited for you. Here are some key points to remember when choosing a mouthwash.
First, think about why you want to use a mouthwash. If you are at high risk for cavities, you would benefit from a fluoride mouthwash. Check the labels to see which ones contain fluoride.
If you have active gingivitis, a mouthwash with some antibacterial properties would be preferable. Read the labels carefully. You do not want a mouthwash containing alcohol. If you have active periodontal disease, an antibacterial mouthwash is appropriate, though you may want to discuss which kind would be best for your individual needs.
Prescription mouthwashes are also an option. You should pay close attention to the directions, such as how much and how long to use them. There is one brand in particular whose effectiveness can steadily diminish if you use it continually. There can also be side effects you should discuss with our office and/or your pharmacist.
Some great mouthwashes for kids change the color of plaque on their teeth to help them see how they are doing with their brushing. This is a great learning tool for the child and the parent! Why not pick up a bottle for yourself next time you’re at the store and evaluate your own performance?
Beware of claims that a mouthwash can loosen plaque. This is not accurate. Beware of any mouthwash that has alcohol. This is worth mentioning twice. Take care of your taste buds. If you are using a strong mouthwash, it can reduce your sense of taste.
These tips should help you choose the right mouthwash for your needs. Please contact Dr. Todd Hamilton at our Denver, NC office with any specific questions!
January 27th, 2016
At Hamilton Orthodontics, we aren’t just concerned with straightening your teeth and giving you the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. We are also committed improving the oral health and the well-being of all our patients. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team strive to serve our patients by educating them about their treatments, as well as making them feel as comfortable as possible during their initial consultations up until the day they complete their treatments.
Making our patients more comfortable with taking care of their braces in between visits increases the likelihood that they will complete their treatments successfully. We want you to know that if you should ever have any questions about your orthodontic treatment, whether it’s during your adjustment appointment or after hours, we are always here for you and your family.
Please do not hesitate to give us a call at our Denver, NC office or ask us any questions you may have on our Facebook page! We can’t wait to hear from you!
January 20th, 2016
Between the huge number of toothpaste brands on the market today, the different flavors, and claims from most to do different things, it isn’t surprising that people feel so confused when it comes to something that should be as simple as buying a tube of toothpaste. This guide will help you identify the common ingredients in toothpaste, and help you understand the important factors to consider before buying toothpaste again.
Toothpaste comes in gel, paste, and powdered forms. When it comes to the type of toothpaste, the choice is more a matter of preference.
- Abrasive Agents – Abrasive agents are the scratchy substances added to toothpastes to help in the removal of food particles, bacteria, and minor stains. Calcium carbonate is one of many abrasive materials, and arguably the most common.
- Flavor – When toothpastes are flavored, they almost always have artificial sweeteners to enhance the flavor of the toothpaste and increase the likelihood that you’ll use it. Flavors run the gamut from traditional mint to cinnamon that may appeal to adults, and bubble gum or lemon lime – flavors to target children.
- Humectants – Humectants are moisturizing agents that keep paste and gel toothpastes from drying out. Glycerol is commonly used as a humectant.
- Thickeners – Thickeners are used to give toothpaste its distinctive consistency, and to make it maintain a uniform consistency and come out of the tube easily.
- Detergents – Sodium lauryl sulfate is the most common detergent used in products that foam up, like toothpaste does in your mouth.
What to Look For in Toothpaste
Fluoride is naturally occurring mineral. It is the most important ingredient to look for in a toothpaste. Although there are people who argue against using fluoride toothpaste, dental professionals like Dr. Todd Hamilton emphasize that the fact that the incidence of tooth decay has decreased so significantly in the past 50 years is because of fluoridated toothpaste.
The suggestion that fluoridated water gives you enough fluoride to protect your teeth is wrong. Fluoride toothpaste is the best cavity protection there is. In addition to strengthening tooth enamel and protecting teeth from acid erosion (from acidic foods and drinks,) it remineralizes the surfaces of teeth that are suffering from early acid damage and may prevent developing tooth decay from worsening.
Tartar is the result of hardened plaque buildup on the teeth. Good oral hygiene and in between twice yearly cleanings from a dental hygienist are the best defense against plaque buildup. Plaque turns to tartar when people neglect their oral hygiene. Over time, tartar can build up on teeth and under the gums, increasing the risk of gum disease.
Your best bet is to use a toothpaste that has a combination of anti-plaque agents. Products containing more than one plaque reducer may be more effective than products that only one. Common ingredients to look for are zinc citrate or pyrophosphates. Triclosan is an antibiotic that is believed to kill bacteria in the mouth, and it can be found in some anti-plaque toothpaste.
Look for toothpaste that bears the seal of the American Dental Association. That seal is an endorsement of the ADA – and it means that many dentists agree that that particular toothpaste does what toothpaste is designed to do. We can also recommend toothpaste to meet your specific oral health concerns at your next visit to our Denver, NC office.
January 13th, 2016
Most of our patients at Hamilton Orthodontics will need to wear rubber bands at some point during their orthodontic treatment. The main reason our patients are instructed to wear rubber bands is to correct their bite. If your teeth do not fit together properly, Dr. Todd Hamilton will recommend that rubber bands be used. Dr. Todd Hamilton may also recommend using rubber bands to close or open spaces.
Rubber bands are a critical part of your treatment, and wearing them as Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend will help move your teeth into the desired position. Dr. Todd Hamilton may ask you to wear your rubber bands full time, meaning that they should only be taken out when you brush and floss your teeth three times a day. Other times, you may be asked to only wear them part-time, like only during the day or only during sleep.
If you still have any questions about orthodontic rubber bands, we invite you to give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment appointment. Remember, wearing rubber bands as prescribed by Dr. Todd Hamilton is an important step during your treatment, and can reduce the time you have your braces. If you lose your rubber bands or run out, stop by our Denver, NC office and pick up more!
January 6th, 2016
Dry mouth, also medically known as xerostomia, is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet. There are many ways to keep dry mouth at bay, including:
- Brushing your teeth after every meal with a fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing every day after a meal
- Avoiding tobacco, as well as drinks containing alcohol or caffeine
- Avoiding dry foods, as well as foods containing high salt, acid, spice, or sugar levels
- Drinking water frequently or sucking on ice chips
- Using a humidifier at night
Please call our convenient Denver, NC dental office to learn more about dry mouth, or ask us during your next visit!
October 28th, 2015
Halloween is fast approaching, and Dr. Todd Hamilton wanted to be sure to wish our patients a happy day, no matter how you might celebrate this holiday. The Halloween that is familiar to most people today bears little resemblance to the original Halloween; back in the "old days" it wasn't even called Halloween!
Festival of the Dead
Halloween started out as a Celtic festival of the dead that honored departed loved ones and signified a change in the cycle of the seasons. The Celtic people viewed Halloween, then called "Samhain," as a very special day – almost like our New Years day in fact, as their new calendar year began on November 1st. Samhain was the last day of autumn, so it was the time to harvest the last of the season's crops, store food away for winter, and situate livestock comfortably for the upcoming cold weather. The Celts believed that during this day, the last day of winter, the veil between this world and the spirit world is the thinnest, and that the living could communicate with departed loved ones most effectively on Samhain due to this.
Halloween as we know it today started because Christian missionaries were working to convert the Celtic people to Christianity. The Celts believed in religious concepts that were not supported by the Christian church, and these practices, which stemmed from Druidism, were perceived by the Christian church as being "devil worship" and dangerous.
When Pope Gregory the First instructed his missionaries to work at converting the Pagan people, he told them to try to incorporate some of the Pagan practices into Christian practices in a limited way. This meant that November 1st became "All Saints Day," which allowed Pagan people to still celebrate a beloved holiday without violating Christian beliefs.
Today, Halloween has evolved into a day devoted purely to fun, candy, and kids. What a change from its origins! We encourage all of our patients to have fun during the holiday, but be safe with the treats. Consider giving apples or fruit roll-ups to the kids instead of candy that is potentially damaging to the teeth and gums.
Remind kids to limit their candy and brush after eating it! Sweets can cause major tooth decay and aggrivate gum disease, so to avoid extra visits to our Denver, NC office, make your Halloween a safe one!
October 21st, 2015
When the time comes for Dr. Todd Hamilton to remove your braces, it is very exciting. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat confusing, too, because you are faced with choosing between two kinds of retainers. Should you go with permanent, removable, or a combination of the two? It is always wise to follow Hamilton Orthodontics recommendations, but knowing more about the two types of retainer beforehand can be helpful.
Removable retainers offer the advantage of easy use: you will generally put a removable retainer in at night and take it out in the morning. Regardless of your retainer schedule, you'll be able to enjoy some time with no retainer. However, a removable retainer can easily be forgotten at times, and this means you won't be taking full advantage of teeth retention.
Another potential advantage of a removable retainer is that you can take it out and brush and floss your teeth with ease, which is more of a challenge with a permanent retainer. Although removable retainers can be very effective, they don't tend to be as effective as permanent retainers, especially if they are not used as directed.
Permanent retainers are the clear choice for patients who want to “get it and forget it.” Once your permanent retainer is placed in your mouth, you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since it is permanently affixed to your teeth.
Because teeth begin to shift naturally as we age, a permanent retainer typically offers better long-term results for teeth straightening than a removable one. You can't forget to put it in — it's already there! Temporary retainers get lost or are forgotten on trips, and often fail to get used as often as they should be.
One drawback to permanent retainers is flossing. Some patients find it more difficult to floss with a permanent retainer, but we can show you effective ways to floss fairly quickly with your permanent retainer.
Some orthodontists may recommend a combination of the two; for example, a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lower ones because the lower teeth are smaller and tend to shift more.
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing your retainer as directed is extremely important. As long as you follow our orthodontist’s advice, you will get the best results from your retainer, regardless of its type. If you’re still not sure whether the choice you’ve made is truly right for you, get in touch with us at our Denver, NC location right away!
October 14th, 2015
The best way to avoid orthodontic emergencies is to know how to take care of your braces properly throughout your entire treatment. However, emergencies are … well, emergencies, and sometimes no matter how cautious you are or how well you take care of your braces, the wires loosen, the bands pop, or you experience orthodontic discomfort.
Common orthodontic emergencies include broken braces, poking wires, lost or broken retainers, mouth sores, and mouth injuries sustained playing sports, which often happens when you don’t wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliance.
It’s important to avoid foods that can damage your braces. Most people wear braces for about two years. All chewy, sticky, crunchy, and hard foods should be avoided during that time. While this may seem like a long time to go without popcorn or bubble gum, hard foods can break the brackets of your braces and sticky foods can bend the wires. If you have a loose wire, don’t try to fix it yourself. Call Hamilton Orthodontics. In the meantime, if a wire is poking into your cheek or lip and causing irritation, put wax or a wet cotton ball over it to dull the sharp edge.
Pain and Discomfort
Some discomfort is a normal part of orthodontic treatment, especially in the hours after the braces are placed on your teeth or after a recent tightening or adjustment. However, if the pain doesn’t subside in three to five days, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment at Hamilton Orthodontics. Until then, try dissolving a teaspoon of salt in an eight-ounce glass of water and gargling with the solution. Over-the-counter pain medication will relieve discomfort, too.
Just because you wear braces doesn’t mean you can’t play sports. You just need to take some extra precautions. Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are common. The best way to protect your mouth and your appliance is to wear a mouthguard. There are several different types of mouthguards available, so be sure to ask Dr. Todd Hamilton what’s best for you.
Brushing and Flossing
In order to keep your braces in good condition and avoid orthodontic emergencies, it’s important to brush and floss thoroughly after every meal. It’s easy for small particles of food to get trapped in your braces, and if the food isn’t removed, it gets wedged between the teeth and gums and causes plaque.
Need more tips on how to avoid orthodontic emergencies? Just ask any member of our Denver, NC team.
October 7th, 2015
Now that October is upon us, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics wanted to send you a friendly reminder to schedule your orthodontic appointment prior to the end of the year to take full advantage of any flex spend, health savings, or insurance benefits that you may have.
The end of the year is always a busy time so make your appointment now so you don’t lose your available benefits! Give us a call today!
October 7th, 2015
Invisalign Teen is one the newer styles of braces, and perfect for those who do not like the standard metal braces. They are available in a clear material that is practically invisible called aligners that are replaced every two weeks. The aligners are custom made for each patient and gradually straighten teeth without all of the metal and rubber bands that come with traditional braces.
Is Invisalign as effective?
If your child will wear them as directed to, then the answer is yes, they are as effective as traditional metal braces. However, to make sure the child is actually wearing them correctly you will notice a small blue spot on the back of each aligner. This is called an indicator and if worn correctly will fade over a period of two weeks. Dr. Todd Hamilton will be able to tell if the patient is not wearing them correctly.
Can Invisalign be removed?
Parents should be aware that the Invisalign aligners can be removed for up to four hours per day to eat, brush teeth, play sports, or play musical instruments. With the option of removing them it actually makes brushing and flossing easier and helps oral hygiene. The recommended time to wear them is at least 20 hours per day.
How long does treatment take and what is the cost?
Your teen will wear Invisalign as long as traditional braces. However, each patient is different so you should speak with Dr. Todd Hamilton to determine how many months your child can expect to wear them.
The cost is also very similar to other traditional braces; however there is no set fee. The cost will depend on your child’s unique orthodontic need.
Invisalign Teen has had remarkable success because patients are happy to have the option of having clear aligners for treatment. With the child more confident they are actually more prone to keep up with their treatment and many do complete their treatment sooner. You should speak with Dr. Todd Hamilton as soon as possible to learn about the benefits of Invisalign Teen.
October 7th, 2015
While it’s normal to feel self-conscious, there is no reason to avoid photos just because you wear braces. Many people wear braces and you do not need to be embarrassed about them. There are also ways you can enjoy your photos without hiding your smile.
Make it Fun
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff offer rubber bands for braces in a wide range of colors. Choose your favorite color and wear it with pride. You can mix and match your colors too. For Valentine’s Day, try alternating red and pink bands. For the Fourth of July, use red, white, and blue!
Bands are also available in neon colors and glow-in-the-dark designs. Your imagination is the only thing holding you back. You might want to avoid using dark green bands, though. It makes it look as though you have broccoli stuck in your teeth. Gross!
Make them Disappear
If your braces still really bother you in photos, technology can quickly solve the problem. A photo-editing program, or even a simple paint program, can easily erase your braces. Zoom in on your teeth, pick your natural tooth color with the dropper, and paint your braces away.
If you have a significant amount of metal in your braces, try to avoid close-ups with flash. The flash can reflect off the metal. The important thing to remember is how good your teeth will look and feel once your orthodontic work is complete. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff can also show you options for braces that are not as visible as the traditional style.
October 7th, 2015
Did you know that more than four million children throughout the US and Canada have braces? At Hamilton Orthodontics, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff know that kids can be picky and meticulous eaters. If cooking for children without braces is difficult, preparing meals for children with braces is especially daunting.
“Comfort food takes on a whole new meaning when cooking for children with braces,” says Pamela Waterman, author of The Braces Cookbook: Recipes You and Your Orthodontist Will Love. “Whether you have new brackets, elastics, headgear, or more, there are great foods you can eat; it just takes some thought.”
These five braces-friendly dinner recipes will be sure to keep your kids smiling!
- Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Pasta is soft, so it’s easy for children with braces to eat. The warm, gooey cheese melts in the mouth and doesn’t get stuck in the braces like hard or sticky foods. Chances are good that even the pickiest eater has a soft spot for this homespun classic.
- The key to braces-friendly cooking is to replace hard, crunchy foods with softer substitutes. In other words, burritos are a better option than tacos, and lasagna is a better choice than pizza. At the same time, if you have the culinary skills to whip up a pizza with a soft crust, you’re going to win the Best Mom (or Dad) of the Year award.
- Your child may not like fruits and vegetables. In fact, he or she may even try to convince you that with new braces, fruits and vegetables are off limits. Nice try, kids. While your child is wearing braces, prepare meals with cooked vegetables instead of raw vegetables. A vegetable stir-fry is a healthy and soft dinner choice for kids with braces.
- Whether it’s beef or chicken, meat is a good source of protein. However, meat, even when it’s carefully taken off the bone (kids with braces should never eat meat from a bone), can easily get caught in braces. Sloppy Joes are a good alternative. The beef is softened by the addition of the sauce and less likely to get strung in the wires and brackets of the braces. Serve the Sloppy Joes with a side of mashed potatoes.
- Ask any child and he or she will tell you that the best part of dinner is dessert. While hard candy, licorice, taffy, caramel, popcorn, and all other chewy candies should be avoided, ice cream and cake are braces-friendly treats that keep kids smiling.
Need more braces-friendly food ideas? Feel free to ask any member of our team.
October 7th, 2015
The Hamilton Orthodontics team knows that oral hygiene is important, whether you have braces on your teeth or not. But if you are a person who wears braces, caring for your teeth and gums can become somewhat challenging. Without daily oral hygiene practices, you may become prone to cavities and tooth decay during your time in braces.
Naturally, you know that brushing your teeth each morning and night, as well as after you eat, will help keep your mouth healthy and clean during the months you wear braces. But flossing is also an important part of your hygiene routine. Flossing with braces can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Dr. Todd Hamilton, your general dentist, or your dental hygienist can help you become more comfortable and adept at flossing your teeth during the months you wear braces.
Flossing Tips for Those with Braces
- Use Tools Provided by Our Office. A floss threader is a small, plastic needle that will help you floss between the wires and your teeth. Thread a 12-to-18-inch piece of floss onto the needle, and use the needle to get the floss easily behind the wires.
- Flossing Under the Wires. Once the floss is behind the wires, use your hands to manipulate the floss. Move it up and down along the wires to remove food particles.
- Flossing Between Your Teeth. Floss between your teeth as you normally would without braces. Move the floss up and down between your teeth, using a clean section of floss for each tooth.
- After You Finish Flossing. Your orthodontist may have suggested that you use a water pik or proxy brush after you finish brushing. Either of these tools will help remove any loosened food particles to ensure that your teeth and braces are clean.
Continue Good Oral Hygiene Habits
Good oral hygiene habits you use while wearing braces will help you achieve the beautiful smile you and the Hamilton Orthodontics team have been working toward. Once your braces are off, it may be tempting to slack off on the brushing and flossing. Don’t let yourself fall into any habits that will have a negative impact on your oral health or the attractive smile you waited for throughout the months you wore braces. See your general dentist for regular cleanings, and continue to brush and floss your teeth each day.
September 2nd, 2015
Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday each September here in the United States, is a holiday devoted to the American working community. The purpose of the holiday is honoring the country's workers and their contributions to the strength of our country as a whole.
How Labor Day Started
There is actually some debate as to the origins of Labor Day. It is uncertain whether Peter McGuire, a cofounder for the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew Maguire, who was the secretary of Central Labor Union of New York, had the great idea. However, the Central Labor Union's plans were what launched the first Labor Day in America.
The First Labor Day
The very first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th, 1882. The Central Labor Union then held annual celebrations on September 5th for what they called a working man's holiday. By the year 1885, the Labor Day celebration had spread to many different industrial areas, and after that it began spreading to all industries in the United States.
Labor Day Today
Labor Day today is a huge United States holiday during which we honor the country's workers with a day of rest and relaxation or a day of picnics and parades. This holiday is truly one to honor the many people who work hard to contribute to the economic well-being of our great country!
Our team at Hamilton Orthodontics hopes all of our patients celebrate Labor Day, and every holiday, safely and happily. Whether you stay in the Denver, NC area, or travel out of town, have fun, and don't forget to brush!
August 26th, 2015
Proper mouth protection is recommended by Hamilton Orthodontics when you participate in any sports activities. If you wear braces, this protection becomes essential. Injuries to your mouth can not only damage your teeth, but your braces could break and cut open your lip.
Full Facial Guards
Full facial guards are often used in football and offer protection to your mouth from most injuries. Even with full facial protection, you may benefit from additional mouth protection. While your face is protected from outside impact, you could still suffer from cuts or damage to your braces from internal impact.
Mouthguards referred to as boil-and-bites can be purchased at many retail stores. As the name implies, these guards are boiled in water to heat and soften the material. While the guard is still warm, you place it in your mouth and bite down gently. This causes the guard to form to the shape of your mouth. Unfortunately, these guards do not necessarily offer the best protection or fit.
Dr. Todd Hamilton can make custom mouthguards specifically for you. The custom fitting ensures you of better protection and a comfortable fit. Custom guards are also built in layers for durability. The American Dental Association recommends custom guards for orthodontic patients. Your mouthguard will be designed to provide proper protection for both your teeth and your braces.
No matter what type of sport you participate in, a mouthguard can protect your braces. Even an activity as seemingly harmless as table tennis can result in a contact injury. The Academy for Sports Dentistry states that a properly fitted mouthguard should not interfere with any athletic activity.
Hamilton Orthodontics will provide you with properly-fitting mouth protection to ensure the safety of your braces and your teeth. We will be glad to answer any questions you have so you can continue the activities you enjoy with little concern. If you do suffer any injuries to your mouth or braces during sporting activities, please contact us immediately. The sooner we can care for your mouth, the better the results will be.
August 19th, 2015
Braces can be painful, but if you are a teen who loves being social, the worst part about them can be their look. They show up in your photos, and you will not be able to take braces-free photos for several months, or even years. The time will pass, though, and your teeth will be the better for it. In the meantime, consider the other people who have survived braces.
Plenty of People Get Braces
There are many reasons for getting braces:
- Correct an overbite or underbite
- Straighten teeth
- Fix poorly-spaced teeth
With so many possible ways to get braces, it’s no surprise that they are so common.
Find Out Who Had Braces
The long lists of celebrities who had braces as teenagers or even adults can give you the comfort of knowing you are in good company. Even better, these lists provide visible proof that there is life on the other side of braces. Actors and actresses on the Cosby Show, Scrubs, and Ugly Betty, as well as tennis star Martina Hingis and Miss America 1975, Shirley Cothran, had braces. Ask your parents. If they didn’t have braces, there is a good chance that some of their siblings did.
Benefits of Braces
Wearing braces can make your life a lot better in the future. Your teeth will be more attractive, and your smile will shine through in photos of you. Straight teeth are not just about looks, though. They can prevent a variety of health problems, such as caries, gum disease, speech impairments, and trouble chewing. Be patient, and the benefits of braces will come.
August 12th, 2015
You and your braces will become good friends over the coming months or years, so it’s important to get your relationship off to a good start. Consider the following recommendations to prevent rocky times ahead:
- Floss, floss, floss. Yes, it’s a pain to floss around your braces, but it's the best way to prevent gum disease and other oral health problems. Ask Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff for floss threaders to make the chore easier. Just a few minutes per day will ensure that you don’t face significant dental health issues when the braces come off.
- Avoid sticky or hard foods. It’s tough to forgo toffee, caramel, gum, and other favorite sticky treats, but your braces will thank you. Sticky or hard foods can break a bracket or wire, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
- Chew with your back teeth. If you’re used to taking large bites with your front teeth, it might be time to switch your eating habits. Taking a large bite of food with your front teeth can leave your braces vulnerable to damage. Instead, cut large foods into pieces and use your back teeth to chew. This is especially important with corn on the cob, which should always be cut from the cob.
- Wear rubber bands and headgear. Rubber bands, headgear, and other orthodontic appliances may seem annoying, but failing to comply with wearing them can increase the length of your treatment by months. Wear them now to avoid problems in the future.
August 5th, 2015
The goal of orthodontic treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics, which may include the use of braces, retainers, and aligners, is to straighten your teeth. Treatment often starts in the pre-teen or teenage years, but adults may also need orthodontic treatment. The treatment can feel like a chore that lasts for several months or a couple of years, but it can fix important problems. These include:
- Crowded teeth spaced too close together
- Gaps between your teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Overbite or underbite
- Upper and lower teeth that do not meet
Straight Teeth are More Attractive
You are more likely to be proud of your smile when your teeth are straight and evenly spaced. Pride in your appearance can give you more confidence and encourage you to try new things. This can be particularly important for adolescents. In addition, people often judge others based on first impressions. A smile that shows straight teeth is more attractive.
Better Oral Health is Easier
Brushing and flossing your teeth are two basic components of an oral health routine to protect your teeth from conditions such as tooth decay, gingivitis, and plaque build-up. As Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff know, caring for your mouth is easier when your teeth are straight. The American Dental Association says the following conditions are less likely to occur if you have the proper orthodontic treatment.
- Dental caries
- Gum disease or gingivitis
- Tooth loss
- Impaired speech
- Worn tooth enamel
Orthodontic Treatment Improves Nutrition
Poorly aligned teeth can reduce your ability to chew properly or make certain foods more difficult to eat. Many of these more challenging foods are healthy, and avoiding them can cause you to limit your diet to softer, often less-nutritious foods, such as ice cream and canned soup. Straighter teeth and a better ability to chew let you eat crunchy foods, such as apples and carrots; stringy foods, such as asparagus and chicken; and chewy foods, such as raisins.
July 29th, 2015
However you may feel about having to wear braces, choosing the color of your rubber bands is sure to bring a smile to your face. Whether you want to express your creativity, coordinate your braces with your outfits, or show some serious school spirit, decorating your mouth with colorful bands takes some of the stress and self-consciousness out of wearing braces. So what do your rubber band colors say about you? Look no further than our rubber band horoscope.
Red. You’re intense and forward thinking, and that you won’t back down no matter how big the challenge. Red is also the color of the heart, so red rubber bands indicate that you’re a caring, loving person.
Blue. Blue means you’re chill – as cool as a cucumber. You’re one cool customer, as the saying goes. You’re relaxed and calm, even when your mom says you can’t chew any gum or eat popcorn because of your braces.
Green. Look at a traffic light and green means go, right? So you’re the type of person who’s always on the move. Go, go, go! It also means you’re generous and kind. Green is the color of nature and spring, so it says you love Mother Earth. Perhaps you even recycle. Green is the color of good luck.
Orange. You’re daring and wild, flamboyant and fun. Orange may indicate you’re an artist or a drama student. It says you have a big personality and that you don’t care what other people think about you. However, orange is also the color of balance and energy. And being flamboyant and fun takes a lot of energy!
Purple. You’re the creative type, for sure. You beat to a different drummer and think outside the box. It says you're mysterious. Purple is the color of royalty, and when you wear your purple rubber bands you are royally cool.
What if you can’t choose just one color? Well, you can decorate your teeth with alternating colors. You can choose the colors of your favorite sports team or holiday colors like red and green. If you’re still stumped as to what colors to choose, ask Dr. Todd Hamilton or a member of our team. We can let you in on all the trends our other patents are sporting at our Denver, NC office!
July 22nd, 2015
Those challenging teenage years are some of the most self-conscious ones of your life, and concern for your appearance definitely plays a large part. Invisalign is becoming a very popular choice for adolescent patients today, but is it the best choice?
The results from teenage Invisalign users indicate that Invisalign is both effective for teeth straightening and for satisfying that urge to avoid the dreaded “metal mouth.” Dr. Todd Hamilton can help you determine if Invisalign is right for you, but this article will explain why so many people are calling Invisalign the best choice for teens today.
Invisalign is a clear plastic device that fits directly over the teeth. There are no metal parts to mar the look of your smile, and your Invisalign aligners can straighten while allowing your pearly whites to shine through. Any teen will be the first to tell you that appearance is a top concern, so this is an excellent choice. People don’t even need to know you’re straightening your teeth with Invisalign.
Eat, Brush, and Floss Easily
Another particularly attractive aspect of Invisalign for most teenagers is the freedom it allows. While traditional metal braces can make eating, brushing, and flossing difficult, this is not the case with Invisalign. The aligners are easily removable for these activities, which gives teens the freedom they desire to live life as usual.
More Free Time
Invisalign Teen aligners need to be checked and adjusted at Hamilton Orthodontics less frequently than traditional braces. This allows for fewer appointments, something that is really important to teens. Having your teeth straightened is no reason to forgo activities or make room in your schedule for constant office visits when you choose Invisalign.
Learn more about Invisalign Teen at our Denver, NC office!
July 15th, 2015
When you think of orthodontic treatment, you may automatically assume that it only relates to older children and teens with alignment and spacing issues. But this isn’t the case: Orthodontic treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics offers many benefits when applied at a young age.
By considering orthodontic treatment at a younger age, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff are able to identify your child’s alignment issues early on, and are able to intervene in order to provide treatment as the teeth begin to develop. It is important to start dental care early, not only for proper dental health and the cosmetic benefits, but to improve a child’s overall health as well.
The Benefits of Straighter Teeth
Besides the cosmetic benefits, there are multiple advantages to starting orthodontic treatment at a young age:
- It can reduce the extent of orthodontic treatment needed later.
- With early treatment, the pediatric dentist helps guide the teeth into their right position to prevent the removal of teeth and improve an overbite, underbite, or crossbite.
- Straighter teeth are easier to clean and better for preventing tooth decay.
- As a benefit to you, the parent, your child’s orthodontic expenses will be much lower with early treatment.
- Lastly, much early treatment is covered by dental insurance.
Stages of Orthodontic Treatment
Multiple stages are included in early orthodontic treatment, with three stages in all:
The first stage is early treatment that starts around age two or three, and continues until the child is around six years old. This stage deals with preventive measures, such as avoiding bad habits that lead to crooked teeth and creating a plan for the future based on how the teeth are growing in.
During stage two, when the child is six to 12 years old, the first permanent teeth erupt and the dentist looks at possible early treatment for misalignment or bite issues.
Finally, stage three occurs during adolescence to correct any further problems with permanent teeth.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff are able to see how the teeth first erupt and know right away whether or not your child will need to have braces later on. Early treatment means fewer procedures, cleaner teeth, and less expense.
July 8th, 2015
Parents usually have numerous questions about orthodontic treatment for their children. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment for children should start at around seven years of age. This allows Dr. Todd Hamilton to evaluate the child’s existing and incoming teeth to determine whether or not early treatment might be necessary.
What is early orthodontic treatment?
Early orthodontic treatment, known as Phase One, usually begins when the child is eight or nine years old. The goal is to correct bite problems such as an underbite as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. It also helps to make room in the mouth for the permanent teeth to be properly placed as they come in. This will greatly reduce the risk of the child needing extractions later in life due to his or her teeth getting crowded.
Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?
There are several ways that you can determine whether your child needs early treatment. If you observe any of these characteristics or behaviors, you should talk to Dr. Todd Hamilton.
- Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
- Lat loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
- The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
- The child is a mouth breather
- Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
- Protruding teeth, typically in the front
- Biting or chewing difficulties
- A speech impediment
- The child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
- The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb
What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?
Early orthodontic treatment is begun while the child’s jaw bones are still soft. They do not harden until the children reach their late teens. Because the bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces work faster than they do for adults.
In short, early treatment at our Denver, NC office often allows your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, and surgery in adulthood. Early treatment is an effective preventive measure that lays the foundation for a healthy, stable mouth in adulthood.
July 1st, 2015
Happy Independence Day from Dr. Todd Hamilton and team! The Fourth of July celebrations in America may have changed a lot over the years, but there is no doubt that we Americans love to celebrate the anniversary of our country's independence! Today we're devoting the Hamilton Orthodontics blog to some fun facts about the Fourth!
- My, how we have grown! This year the United States Census Bureau estimates that our country has 313.9 million residents celebrating the Fourth of July this year, but back in 1776 there were just 2.5 million members of the country.
- Our country loves to show how proud that we are of our independence. Did you know that there are 31 United States places with the word “Liberty” in their names? The state of Iowa actually has four towns with the word Liberty in the name: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty, and West Liberty.
- The United States loves Fourth of July food! It is expected that around 150 million hot dogs are eaten on the Fourth each year. One of the Fourth's most popular sides, potato salad, goes just perfectly with the hotdogs and hamburgers that are standard Fourth of July fare. Some people choose potato chips instead, but we wouldn't have such a plethora of potatoes if not for the prodigious production of the states of Idaho and Washington -- they provide about half of all the potatoes in the United States today!
- Americans love celebrating the Fourth outdoors: About 74 million Americans fire up their BBQ grill every Fourth of July.
- The Chinese contribution: Did you know that Americans have spent more than $211 million on fireworks that were imported from China?
No matter how your family chooses to celebrate the Fourth, stay safe, take precautions, and don't forget to brush after your fabulous Fourth feast!
June 24th, 2015
At Hamilton Orthodontics, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff have found that patients who like their smiles have better self-esteem. People who don’t like their smiles are often skittish about talking to other people. According to the National Women’s Health Resource Center, when women are asked about what they’d most like to change about themselves, many point to their smile. Despite wanting to change their smiles, quite a few of the people who are unhappy about that part of themselves won’t consider getting braces.
Most Americans Don’t Have Straight Teeth
The American Association of Orthodontics estimates that 4.5 million Americans wear braces or other orthodontic equipment to straighten their teeth and to get a healthier mouth. One in five of those braces wearers are women. The organization’s statistics also show that about 75 percent of the population doesn’t have straight teeth, and those people would benefit from getting braces.
While the main benefit of braces is straight teeth, and to improve the look of your smile, there are other benefits that make braces even more useful, including:
- Straighter teeth help people chew better.
- Straighter teeth give people a proper bite.
- People speak better when they have straighter teeth.
- When people have straight teeth, they have better overall gum and mouth health. A healthier mouth means flossing and brushing are easier, and that means your entire mouth stays healthy.
- A healthy mouth is also linked to a healthy body.
When you feel proud of those pearly whites, you feel better about your smile, and that contributes to a better self-image and improved self-esteem. Ultimately, that can lead to greater career success and a more fulfilling social life.
June 17th, 2015
Water picks, sometimes called “oral irrigators,” make an excellent addition to your regular home care regimen of brushing and flossing. Especially helpful to those who suffer from periodontal disease and those patients of ours undergoing orthodontic treatment with full-bracketed braces, water picks use powerful tiny bursts of water to dislodge food scraps, bacteria, and other debris nestled in the crevices of your mouth. Children undergoing orthodontic treatment may find using a water pick is beneficial if their toothbrush bristles tend to get caught on their wires or brackets.
When you use a water pick, you’re not only dislodging any particles or debris and bacteria you might have missed when brushing, you are also gently massaging the gums, which helps promote blood flow in the gums and keeps them healthy. While water picks are an excellent addition to your daily fight against gingivitis and other periodontal diseases, they are incapable of fully removing plaque, which is why Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics want to remind you to keep brushing and flossing every day.
If you have sensitive teeth or gums and find it uncomfortable to floss daily, water picks are a good alternative to reduce discomfort while effectively cleaning between teeth. Diabetics sometimes prefer water picks to flossing because they don't cause bleeding of the gums, which can be a problem with floss. If you have a permanent bridge, crowns, or other dental restoration, you may find that a water pick helps you keep the area around the restorations clean.
So how do you choose the right water pick?
Water picks are available for home or portable use. The home versions tend to be larger and use standard electrical outlets, while portable models use batteries. Aside from the size difference, they work in the same manner, both using pulsating water streams. A more crucial difference between water picks is the ability to adjust the pressure. Most home models will let you choose from several pressure settings, depending on how sensitive your teeth and gums are. Most portable models have only one pressure setting. If you want to use mouthwash or a dental rinse in your water pick, check the label first; some models suggest using water only.
Please give us a call at our Denver, NC office if you have any questions about water picks, or ask Dr. Todd Hamilton during your next visit!
June 10th, 2015
Although adolescence is a common time to get braces, there’s no reason for adults of any age to have to deal with crooked teeth, overbite, underbite, or other dental issues. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists notes that demand for orthodontic treatment in adults continues to grow, with adults representing 20% of new patients.
You’re never too old for braces or other orthodontic appliances, but it’s important to consider the following:
- Braces don’t have to be as noticeable as the metal brackets of the past. Many adults opt for ceramic or plastic braces, which are bone-colored or clear, respectively. Another option is a lingual appliance, which attaches to the back side of your teeth. These so-called “invisible” braces are much less noticeable than traditional options.
- By adulthood, bone growth has stopped. This means that certain structural changes can only be achieved by surgery. Although this typically affects people with significant crowding, bite, or jaw problems, Dr. Todd Hamilton can provide an individualized treatment plan that addresses your unique issues.
- Treatment may take a bit longer. The length of orthodontic treatment tends to be slightly longer for adults than adolescents. Exact estimates vary by individual, but the average length of time for adult braces wearers is two years, according to the Harvard Medical School.
- Outcomes are just as good for adults! Many adults worry that it’s too late to treat their orthodontic problems. However, treatment satisfaction tends to be very high, which is a testament to how effective braces can be in middle-aged and older adults.
June 3rd, 2015
As we start our summer, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics wants to remind our patients who have completed treatment that it is very important to wear your retainer as prescribed even while away for vacations and summer camps.
If you are away from home and only wearing your retainer at night, here is a helpful tip: after removing and brushing your retainer in the morning, place it back in the case and then put it with your PJ’s or on your pillow. That way you have a reminder to put your retainer back in at night.
Remember, retainers should be worn every night, not just some nights.
We wish you safe travels and adventures this summer!
May 27th, 2015
Our patients at Hamilton Orthodontics hate the thought of delaying their treatments and often ask us what they can do in between their adjustment visits to help. Today, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team thought we would provide some tips on how you can stay on track in regards to your treatment plan time.
The first thing we want you to do is keep your adjustment appointments. Each visit with Dr. Todd Hamilton is carefully planned to move your teeth a specific way in a certain time frame. It’s important to note that missing an appointment can add weeks or months to your treatment time.
Next, we want you to let Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team know right away if your experience any problems with your braces or appliances. A missing wire, rubber band, or broken bracket can delay treatment time, so we ask that you please give us a call right away to report any issues rather than waiting until your next visit.
Make sure you wear your rubber bands as prescribed by Dr. Todd Hamilton. Most, if not all, of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatment. Not wearing the bands or elastics, or not wearing them enough, can slow down your treatment time. Rubber bands are critical in aligning your bite and are important for the bite-fixing phase of your treatment.
Finally, we want you to maintain good oral hygiene, just as you did before your treatment began. In addition to flossing regularly, we encourage you to brush your teeth several times a day. Not brushing will allow sugar to wear away the cement on the braces, making them less effective in moving your teeth, as well as elevate your risk of developing cavities or tooth decay, which will inevitably delay treatment time.
If you have any questions about any of these tips, or if you have any general questions about your treatment, please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office, or ask Dr. Todd Hamilton during your next adjustment visit!
May 21st, 2015
“The purpose of all war is peace.” - Saint Augustine
Fire truck sirens, baton twirlers, marching bands covering patriotic tunes, colorful floats, costumes, and millions of red, white, and blue American flags being waved in the air on a beautiful day in late May, that is what Memorial Day is all about. It is a federal holiday celebrated with town parades, remembrance, and a sense of unity and community togetherness.
Our team at Hamilton Orthodontics wants to take this time to wish you and your family a happy Memorial Day, as well as pause for a moment to reflect on what this holiday means and how it has changed over time. No, this is not a history lesson, but just a couple of thoughts and observances for you to take with you on your way to the next barbecue.
On the last Monday in May, America observes Memorial Day as a time to remember and celebrate the men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country in the Armed Forces. The holiday originated after the Civil War; at that time it was known as Decoration Day. While holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter remain the same from year to year, Memorial Day has changed over time, and in the 21st century we observe a far different holiday than what Americans did after the Civil War, or even the World Wars.
While many people place flags at cemeteries and visit national memorials in order to honor those who have passed away serving the country, Memorial Day is also a time for family barbecues, pool parties, trips to the beach, blockbuster movies, long weekend getaways, and fireworks. In America, Memorial Day has come to represent the unofficial start of the summer – a long, sunny, warm weekend devoted to family togetherness, outdoor events, and community.
It is time to load up the potato salad and the apple pie and head over to the neighbor’s house for their annual barbecue. And yes, contrary to popular belief, we do eat sweets, especially homemade apple pie! Everything in moderation, of course.
So whether you’re in the Denver, NC area or beyond, Happy Memorial Day to you and yours from Dr. Todd Hamilton!
May 13th, 2015
Your teeth are precious. Once your permanent teeth come in, they need to last you a lifetime. Extensive tooth decay can lead to dental caries and the need for fillings, crowns, bridges, and dentures.
While these fixes can go a long way toward maintaining your quality of life, they cannot compare to your natural teeth. Getting braces is no excuse to let up on your thorough oral health routine: You need to take good care of your teeth before, during, and after braces to benefit completely from the gains you get from newly straightened teeth.
Why You Should Maintain Good Oral Health for Life
Begin a complete oral health regimen as early as possible in life, and maintain this routine throughout your life. Keeping your (or your child’s baby) teeth clean establishes a routine. It preserves healthy baby teeth whose function is to save space for the permanent teeth when they are ready to come in. Care of your permanent teeth helps preserve the enamel and prevent decay.
Take Special Care with Braces
It is important to pay attention to oral health when you have braces. If you do not take special care of your teeth during the months or years that you have braces, you risk irreversible damage to your teeth. Care is more difficult with braces because food can easily get stuck. In addition to brushing twice daily and flossing each day, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff suggest avoiding sticky foods.
May 6th, 2015
The month of May has the unique distinction of being National Teen Self-Esteem Month. What does that mean?
National Teen Self-Esteem Month was created to raise public awareness about how low self-esteem can negatively affect teens. Especially during May, parents and guardians of teens are asked to be positive role models. If teens can receive positive re-enforcement and their negative images of themselves are improved, then their self-esteem has a better chance of developing in a positive direction.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics know there are a lot of young adults living in America are struggling with depressed self-images. These can affect all aspects of their everyday lives. Some evidence shows learning abilities and increased risk of eating disorders can originate in a teen’s low self-esteem. It can also lead to abuse of drugs and thoughts of suicide. Dating violence among high school teens is now more common than previously thought.
What can be done to help?
So what can adults do specifically to help their teens? The National Teen Self-Esteem Facebook page offers a variety of suggestions and positive messages for teens and parents alike. Of all the pages your teen “likes” on social media, perhaps he or she should include this page. Some of the tips offered include:
- When you stumble, get right back up.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
- Do things that make you feel good about yourself.
- Open yourself up to compliments.
Another great way to build self-esteem is to have a beautiful, health smile, and that’s where our team at Hamilton Orthodontics come in! Whether your teen is due for a simple cleaning, could benefit from cosmetic treatments, or needs orthodontic care, we can help bestow a confident smile he or she will be proud to show off.
Overall, a more positive approach to life will help us all. It is a very important trait to instill in our teens. As parents, a big part of our responsibility is to show our children there is always another day and bumps in the road are just that. We need to help guide their self-esteem and reinforce their positive traits. We can help them recognize the value of who they are.
We should make our children’s self esteem a priority — not just in May, but throughout the year. Let National Teen Self-Esteem Month serve as the impetus for new levels of self-esteem.
For more information on this topic, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Todd Hamilton, please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office!
April 29th, 2015
You may have noticed that kids seem to be getting braces and other orthodontic care a lot earlier these days. There was a time, only a decade or two ago, when braces were mainly seen on teenagers, but that is beginning to change. If you’re wondering when to bring your child to our Denver, NC office for an orthodontic evaluation, the answer actually has several parts.
The Telltale Signs
If your child has a very crowded set of adult teeth coming in, or if the permanent front teeth came in very early, these are signs that your child should see Dr. Todd Hamilton, regardless of age.
The Dental Age
Barring signs of trouble or early adult teeth as mentioned above, the time that your child needs to be seen for initial orthodontic evaluation depends not so much upon your child’s actual age, but on what is known as a “dental age.”
The dental age of the patient might be entirely different from his or her actual chronological age; for example, an eight-year-old could have a dental age of 13. It is part of Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff’s job to determine the dental age and then make appropriate recommendations for the resolution of orthodontic issues if they are emerging.
The Official Recommended Age
The American Association of Orthodontists officially recommends that kids should see an orthodontist for the first time between the ages of seven and nine. Even if the child does not have all his or her permanent teeth, the teeth growth pattern can usually be predicted quite effectively by an orthodontist.
This allows for a proactive response to emerging problems, and this is the reason that some younger children are now getting orthodontic devices earlier in life. If a young child has serious orthodontic issues emerging, Dr. Todd Hamilton can usually address the problems immediately and then follow up with another round of treatment when the child has all the adult teeth.
April 22nd, 2015
A bright, beautiful smile is often achieved with braces. The time you spend wearing braces is an investment in the good health and appearance of your smile. However, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff know that having braces on your teeth can pose challenges. Many of these challenges are commonly faced by all who wear braces, such as flossing, getting food stuck in your braces, and bad breath.
Today, let’s address bad breath and what to do about it. There’s no reason you have to shy away from conversation for fear that you’ve got bad breath.
Fresh Breath Tips for Braces Wearers
- Eat a Healthy Diet. Unhealthy foods that are laden with sugar can contribute to bad breath. Stick with healthy produce, protein, grains, and dairy found on the list of foods your orthodontist says are safe to eat with braces.
- Drink Non-Sugary Beverages. Likewise, steer clear of sugary sodas and juices for the same reason. They contribute to bad breath.
- Stay Hydrated. A mouth that’s continually dry can lead to bad breath by inhibiting your production of saliva. Regular production of saliva removes bacteria and excess food from your mouth, both of which cause bad breath.
- Brush Often. Brush your teeth and tongue first thing in the morning, after each meal and snack, and before you go to bed, to remove food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Don’t Forget to Floss. Flossing with braces might seem tricky, but it is a necessity. Ask Dr. Todd Hamilton to show you the best way to floss effectively with braces.
- Mouthwash Use. Use the mouthwash recommended by Dr. Todd Hamilton. For the best results, swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for 30 seconds.
- Get Regular Cleanings. Regular dental exams and cleanings are more important when you have braces. Cavities can delay your treatment progress, so be sure to visit your dentist every six months.
Practice Good Hygiene Daily
Good oral hygiene practices are important every day, whether you wear braces or not. But they become even more important during the months you wear braces. In addition to your regular orthodontic checkups, see your general dentist for cleanings and exams.
Together, you and our Denver, NC team will keep your mouth healthy and fresh during and after your orthodontic treatment.
April 15th, 2015
When you get your braces, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff will also give you a list of foods you should not eat and things you should not do. Pay particular attention to these items to keep your teeth and braces safe.
Charms belong on bracelets. While you can decorate your braces with colored bands, hanging a charm off them is a bad idea. If you bite down on the charm, you could damage your braces or your teeth. You could also swallow your jewelry.
Never use your teeth as a bottle opener. This is just as important when you are wearing braces. While braces straighten your teeth, your teeth are moving in the process. That makes them weaker, and the metal in the braces does not make them invincible. Invest in a bottle opener; you can buy one for a few dollars, which is much less expensive than having to replace your braces.
Contrary to what you might think, your braces are not designed to work as a radio. There are tales of people who have picked up radio signals from dental fillings or braces. While this is remotely possible, attaching an antenna to your mouth is just not a good idea. You will get better quality music from a radio.
On the other hand, you can still kiss someone while wearing braces. In fact, even if both of you wear braces, the chances of your getting locked together are almost negligible. However, to avoid cutting your partner’s lips, kiss with caution.
If you have any questions about taking care of your braces, please ask Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff. We want you to get the best results from your treatment without needless delays.
April 8th, 2015
So you’re about to get braces. Congratulations! You are taking a very smart step to improve the health of your teeth as well as get that killer smile in shape. But, as with anything that is good for you, there are a few things you will have to avoid while you “do your time.”
Some foods don’t do so great with braces. The foods listed below should be avoided while you are wearing your braces because they can pop the brackets and bend the wires. In other words, these foods can really ruin your day, and send you back to Hamilton Orthodontics to get your braces repaired.
So before you hit the chair, hit the grocery and candy store – one last time – for:
- Beef jerky
- Raw carrots
- Pizza crust
- Bagels and other crusty bread
- Hard candy
- Nuts and seeds
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff will give you more information about eating with braces. Some foods, such as apples, are okay as long as you cut them in pieces first. Others, like pudding and pasta, are fine just as they are. But then there is “the list”: the foods that are a big no-no and should be avoided. It won’t be forever, so hang in there.
Your braces time will pass before you know it and you can resume more normal eating. But before the braces go on, enjoy these tasty treats. Go ahead and indulge!
April 1st, 2015
The Importance of Facial Protection
Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. 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 sponsor this annual campaign, which aims 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, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton 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. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard molded and fitted by our team at Hamilton Orthodontics for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.
Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Todd Hamilton, please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office!
March 25th, 2015
Orthodontic braces are used to straighten the teeth, which not only creates a more pleasing appearance, but also helps prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems. Braces are only effective when they are properly cared for, however. Certain foods, for example, are better suited for individuals who have braces, as opposed to hard and sticky foods that can cause damage. So, what types of foods should you or your kids eat to protect dental appliances?
The best foods to eat with braces are those that are not high in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. For breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, bacon, wheat toast, or oatmeal. Lunch may steer toward a banana rather than an apple, a salad without nuts, and a glass of water. If you are looking for some after-school snacks for your kids, consider baked tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, or try string cheese with fruit.
A healthy dinner can include most types of vegetables, so long as they are cooked to an appropriate softness. Pair that with a lean protein, such as fish or chicken, and follow up with dessert. Just be sure to brush afterward!
As braces begin to adjust the alignment of the teeth, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics will periodically tighten them to continue the alignment process. After tightening occurs, the teeth may be sore and sensitive to certain foods. During this time, it is best to eat soft foods. Examples include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese
Foods to Avoid
Anyone who wears braces – whether fixed or removable – should avoid excessive snacking and should aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It is also important to avoid foods that could cause damage to the braces, such as:
- Hard candies
- Certain raw vegetables (for example, carrots)
Regardless of what types of foods you eat with braces, it is important to keep the crevices between the teeth and around the braces very clean. That means brushing and flossing after meals to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay. Not only can failing to do so damage the teeth, but it can also cause discoloration.
Have more questions about orthodontic treatment? The Hamilton Orthodontics staff is always ready to answer all of your questions and help you get the most out of the treatment plan prescribed for you by Dr. Todd Hamilton!
March 18th, 2015
At Hamilton Orthodontics, we proudly treat adults, teens, and children; no matter what your age, we believe you deserve a great smile. Our warm and welcoming team is known for their for their exceptional orthodontic skills. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our talented team have been creating beautiful smiles for years, and today would like to ask: what do you love about your new smile? How has your smile improved your life?
Whether you’ve just come in for an initial orthodontic consultation with Dr. Todd Hamilton or your family has been visiting office for years, we would love to hear your thoughts about your treatment. In fact, we encourage you to leave a few words for us below or on our Facebook page!
We look forward to reading your feedback!
March 12th, 2015
March 11th, 2015
“St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time -- a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic.” Adrienne Cook
Lucky green shamrocks, leprechauns, and pots of gold – it must be St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re not Irish, how do you go about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? It’s easy: You just put on one of those tall leprechauns hats, dress in green from head to toe, and wear one of those carefree pins that say “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”. On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish, and that is the universal beauty of the holiday. Celtic pride does not discriminate.
Wondering what our team at Hamilton Orthodontics is doing to celebrate March 17th? Well, we’ve thought about doing everything from handing out lucky gold coins (you know, the fake ones that are made of chocolate) to shamrock stickers. Maybe we’ll even give away green toothbrushes and floss! You’ll never know unless you come in to see Dr. Todd Hamilton !
All kidding aside, St. Patrick’s Day is an important cultural and religious holiday. There are lavish parades and church services across Ireland on March 17th. Over time, however, the holiday has developed into a day to observe Irish culture in general. In places like England and the United States, where there is a large Irish Diaspora, the holiday has greater significance than other countries. From the streets of Boston to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, it is a day of celebration, and many Americans of Irish descent will cook up a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage.
So, to all of you with Irish ancestry, and to all of you who have decided to be Irish for the day, our office wishes you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Good luck looking for a pot of leprechaun gold, which is said to exist at the end of the rainbow. However, keep away from those sugary Lucky Charms; sweet cereals might taste good, but your kids’ teeth might not be feeling too lucky if they eat it for breakfast every day. Have a great St. Paddy’s Day!
March 4th, 2015
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team hear this question a lot. Some of the common reasons for crooked teeth include:
- Thumb sucking
- Tongue thrusting or improper use of the tongue during speaking and swallowing
- Premature loss of baby teeth, which causes teeth to drift and shift
- Poor breathing airway caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils
There are also hereditary factors we get from our parents, like:
- Extra teeth
- Large teeth
- Missing teeth
- Wide spaces between teeth
- Small jaws
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team know that having crooked teeth isn’t just a cosmetic issue; it can lead to serious health problems as well. Crooked teeth can:
- Interfere with proper chewing
- Make keeping teeth clean more of a challenge, increasing the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis
- Strain the teeth, jaws, and muscles, increasing the risk of breaking a tooth
There are several treatment options we offer at Hamilton Orthodontics that can help correct crooked teeth. Please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office to learn more or to schedule an initial consultation.
February 25th, 2015
When a child is born, he or she will have 20 primary teeth and 32 permanent teeth. But sometimes kids are born with additional teeth, and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics calls this oral condition "hyperdontia." Primary teeth are the first set of teeth that erupt in your child's mouth, typically by the time they are 36 months old, and are shed by the time your child reaches the age of 12. Permanent teeth then take the place of the primary teeth and are usually fully-erupted by the time your son or daughter reaches 21 years of age. Anyone who develops more than 20 primary teeth or more than 32 permanent teeth has hyperdontia, and the additional teeth are referred to as supernumerary teeth.
While the cause of hyperdontia is not entirely clear, it is believed that there may be a genetic factor. Oral professionals have found that patients with extra teeth often have syndromes like cleidocranial dysplasia, Ehler-Danlos syndrome, Gardner syndrome, or cleft lip and palate. The prevalence of hyperdontia affects between one and four percent of the population in the United States, and the majority of cases are limited to a single tooth.
So, what is the best way to deal with hyperdontia? It really depends on the case. The treatment plan your doctor suggests varies according to the potential problem posed by the supernumerary teeth, as well as their type. Orthodontic treatment may certainly may help, but extraction can also be a good option. We recommend that children receive an oral evaluation or checkup no later than the age of seven. In addition to hygiene evaluation, this helps ensure your child does not experience hyperdontia problems.
If you suspect you or your child may be suffering from hyperdontia, please give us a call to schedule an appointment at our convenient Denver, NC office to be evaluated.
February 18th, 2015
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics know that for some of our patients wearing braces, it can be difficult to weave through those wires and brackets as you brush and floss during your treatment.
Some of our patients use a water pick to flush out food and other particles and bacteria stuck between their teeth as the water can reach behind the metal wires and hit spots where your floss simply cannot reach. People suffering from gum disease also find water picks quite effective because of their ability to flush out bacteria from inside the deep pockets.
Water picks are friendly to braces and are also gentle on the gums. They are less likely to cause bleeding for people with sensitive teeth or gums. But as many benefits as they may have, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team want you to know that water picks should never be used as a substitute for flossing. Though they are great tools for helping improve oral health while you are in treatment, they are just not a good enough tool on their own to keep your mouth and gums gingivitis- and decay-free. Water picks are also incapable of removing plaque from teeth as effectively as floss can. While water picks rinse the sticky bacteria off your teeth, flossing is actually more effective as it actually scrapes the bacteria off of your pearly whites.
If you have any questions about water picks or any general questions or concerns about your orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to please ask us below or give us a call!
February 11th, 2015
Valentine’s Day is best known as a celebration of love in all its forms. Pink hearts, red roses, and cute greeting cards adorn every surface you see. What many people don’t realize is that the modern Valentine’s Day celebration arose from a religious holiday.
St. Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated as a religious feast day in honor of early Christian martyrs. Three martyrs named Valentine were honored: a priest in Rome, the persecuted bishop of Interamna (a town in central Italy), and a saint martyred in Africa. This saint’s day was celebrated throughout Christendom, although it was removed from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969.
The origin of Valentine’s Day as a holiday for lovers began with Geoffrey Chaucer in his 1382 poem “Parlement of Foules.” Chaucer wrote, “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate,” and the modern romantic holiday was born. William Shakespeare and other writers mentioned Valentine’s Day as a day of love.
Valentine’s Day as we know it came about in the early 19th century. In Victorian England, printers began manufacturing small numbers of cards with romantic verses, lace, ribbons, and other frills. Anonymous Valentine’s Day card were a popular way for young lovers to exchange romantic sentiments in an otherwise prudish time. As the 19th century progressed, printers began mass manufacturing Valentine’s Day cards. People in the United States give an estimated 190 million valentines every year, and up to one billion if you count children exchanging cards at school! With the rise of the Internet, Valentine’s Day e-cards have become a popular mode of communication, with millions of e-cards sent each year.
The other items associated with Valentine’s Day include chocolate and flowers. The tradition of giving chocolates has been around for decades, and Richard Cadbury created the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates nearly 150 years ago. Today, purchases of chocolate total over $1 billion in the United States alone, with 35 million heart-shaped boxes sold each year. Loved ones also exchange flowers, with red roses being associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. On Valentine’s Day itself, florists sell nearly 200 million stems of roses.
Although many people dismiss Valentine’s Day as a commercialized “Hallmark holiday,” it is beloved to couples and romantics across the United States and other countries. The team at Hamilton Orthodontics wants to remind all patients that no matter what your celebratory plans, February 14th can be a wonderful day to celebrate the loved ones in your life. Happy Valentine’s Day!
February 4th, 2015
You can probably see how teeth straightening can make your smile more attractive, but you might be wary of how Invisalign Teen treatment works. If you’re like most teens at our Denver, NC office, you love hanging out with your friends, and you don’t want to be different, watch what you eat, or worry about how you look. Invisalign Teen has several benefits over traditional metal braces that can make your treatment easier.
People won’t know you’re wearing them.
Invisalign Teen consists of clear trays that are virtual impossible for others to see. Chances are, the only people who know that you are getting your teeth straightened will be your family and any of your friends whom you choose to tell. You won’t need to answer to “Tinsel Teeth” and “Metal Mouth” as some of your classmates with metal braces do.
You can eat what your friends eat.
You take your Invisalign Teen aligners out of your mouth for meals and snacks, so you can eat just like you normally would. You don’t need to worry about food getting stuck in your braces or leading to a bracket popping off. Unlike with braces, you can enjoy the following foods with your friends during Invisalign Teen straightening treatment:
- Popcorn at the movies
- Trail mix with dried fruit when you’re hanging out together
- Ribs and chicken wings at a party
- Eating a peanut butter sandwich, apple, and carrot sticks for lunch
You can take care of your teeth more easily.
It would be a shame if you took the trouble to straighten your teeth and then found out that you had developed tooth decay while wearing braces. This is less of a problem with Invisalign Teen aligners because they are removable. You can brush and floss your teeth as normal just by taking the trays out of your mouth.
Getting straighter teeth can be a serious confidence-booster in the long run, and with Invisalign Teen, the treatment isn’t that bad. You can wear these clear aligners without letting people know that you’re straightening your teeth, and they won’t interfere with your diet or dental hygiene.
January 28th, 2015
A clean mouth is a happy mouth. And when Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff see you have a clean mouth, we are happy too. Of course, all of this should make you happy because you’re the one preventing sneaky little food bits from getting trapped under the wires of your braces.
Still, you need to be thorough with your brushing. When you have braces, you’re playing a game of hide-and-go-seek with everything you eat. Here are five tips to keep your mouth (and us) happy.
- How is brushing with braces like geometry? It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down. Brush the bottom of your teeth with the brush angled up. Pointy brushes, aka interproximal brushes, are good for reaching the tiny spots around braces.
- Brush after every meal. If those sneaky little food bits hide in your mouth for very long, they’ll turn into plaque. And plaque is a sign of a very unhappy mouth.
- Brush one tooth at a time for at least ten seconds, and pay close attention to the spots where your braces touch your teeth.
- Fluoride is your new BFF. Make sure your toothpaste and mouthwash contain this cavity-fighting ingredient.
- Braces are no excuse not to floss. In fact, saying you can’t floss because you have braces is like saying the dog ate your homework. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff, like your geometry teacher, aren’t going to buy it. Be sure to floss after every meal.
January 21st, 2015
Not everyone is born with a million-dollar smile, not even some celebrities. The following stars have all had their moments as a “brace face,” either as a child, teenager, or adult. You might be surprised to learn about stars who had braces (including Gwen Stefani, who got braces just because she could!).
Take a look at some famous faces who sported braces!
Emma Watson: Emma admits to going through a rather awkward stage that included “terrible skin,” fluctuating weight, and braces. But look at the swan that emerged!
Tom Cruise: Who would have thought that one of the world’s most famous smiles could use an overhaul? Well, Mr. Cruise pulled it off … and most people didn’t even know. He wore “invisible” braces that had ceramic brackets for a few months just after his 40th birthday. And the results were pretty WOW!
Dakota Fanning: This lovely young actress had some troublesome teeth when she was younger. However, braces and dental work gave her that stunning star-quality smile we see now. Props to her, though, for staying real. She sported her headgear during an appearance on The Tonight Show and didn’t bat an eye.
Gwyneth Paltrow: The stunning Ms. Paltrow, who, in 2013 was named the Most Beautiful Woman by People Magazine, wore braces in high school. And she probably carried it off with the poise and grace for which she is so famous today.
Niall Horan: This member of One Direction, the boy band that’s currently tearing it up (and breaking some hearts along the way) wore his braces for several months. He got them removed in April 2013.
Other notable celebs who have had braces include Faye Dunaway, who got hers at the age of 61! Ryan Seacrest, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Drew Barrymore also belonged to the metal mouth club at one time or another.
What is comes down to is this: It isn’t whether you wear braces that are fully hidden, ceramic brackets, or have the traditional metal train tracks running across your teeth. Nope, it’s all about how you work it!
January 14th, 2015
Today, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team thought we would offer a few tips for our patients currently undergoing orthodontic treatment. For those of you wearing braces, it’s important to be even more dedicated to good oral hygiene than those not currently in treatment.
After getting your braces, it is important to know how to take care of your teeth in order to ensure that your braces stay intact and do their job so that your teeth are in top-notch condition after you complete your orthodontic treatment.
Braces are known to trap food, which contributes to plaque formation. If it is not carefully removed from the teeth and gums, plaque will develop into decay or gum disease, leading to costly delays during your treatment. It is important to practice good oral hygiene by following instructions from Dr. Todd Hamilton during your treatment.
We are proud to offer supplies to help fight plaque, such as a proxabrush, dental floss, and floss threaders. The use of an electric toothbrush and or a water pick can also be helpful in combating cavities and decay. And, of course, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics suggests brushing at least twice a day.
We hope that helps! If you have any questions, please give us a call at our Denver, NC office or ask us during your next adjustment appointment!
January 7th, 2015
The alarm sounds in the morning, you wake up and realize "I forgot to wear my retainer!"
If this only happened once, don't panic. Missing one night with a retainer is unlikely to cause significant teeth movement. However, if it has happened often, give our Denver, NC office a call to make sure your teeth haven’t shifted position.
Here are some tips from Dr. Todd Hamilton to help you remember your retainer:
1. Write down the instructions we give you for wearing the retainer, whether you should wear it all day or at night, or just a few times a week. Writing things out like this helps set the schedule in your memory.
2. Clean the retainer when you take it out each time. If you don’t you may not have time when you’re rushing to get to work or school to clean it properly and may be tempted not to wear it.
3. Put a note on your mirror or in your purse or wallet reminding you to wear your retainer.
4. Set an alarm on your mobile phone to remind you when it’s time to put the retainer in. If you have email with a calendar you can set up daily reminders, too.
5. Always put the retainer in its case when you take it out to eat or sleep. You’ll reduce your risk for losing it or accidentally throwing it away.
6. If you don’t have to wear the retainer every day, you can use some recurring events to help you remember. With this system for example, watching your favorite weekly TV show, laundry day, or family pizza night can all serve as reminders that you should put in your retainer.
7. Don’t be shy about asking for help if you’re forgetful. Assure your spouse, parents, siblings, or roommates that you won’t consider if nagging if they remind you to wear your retainer.
8. Surf online for examples of how teeth can shift when retainers are not properly used. Those stories can serve as timely warning not to let the same thing happen to you!
Remember, you can always call our Denver, NC office if you feel your retainer is uncomfortable or painful. We'll work with you to protect your smile!
December 31st, 2014
Watching the clock tick down the final seconds until midnight, many of us- Hamilton Orthodontics included- feel nostalgic about the passing year and hopeful about the new one to come. New Year’s Eve is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, with over-the-top celebrations taking place in dozens of countries. The Gregorian calendar, which is widely used in Western nations and around the world, was implemented in 1582. Since that time, December 31st has marked the final day of the year, with midnight heralding the beginning of a brand new year. In the United States, New Year’s Day is a public holiday; government offices, schools, public organizations, and many businesses are closed for the day. Ponder the following fun facts as you think about your plans for the holiday:
- Approximately one billion people watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, New York City. This televised event is one of the most iconic New Year’s celebrations in the world. For many years, watching the ball drop meant tuning in to Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, an iconic television special dear to the hearts of many viewers.
- The idea for the New Year’s Eve ball came about because of a citywide ban on fireworks. Before 1907, when fireworks became illegal in New York City, celebrations included an elaborate fireworks show. The large, glittering, illuminated ball was developed as an alternative. Although the first ball was heavy at 700 pounds, the modern New Year’s Eve ball is made of Waterford crystal and tips the scale at six tons!
- The top five New Year’s resolutions are: to lose weight, quit smoking, get a new job, return to school, or increase personal savings. However, approximately 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail. But don’t let that discourage you! Resolutions are most likely to succeed when they are clear, achievable goals. Setting out a concrete plan to achieve your resolution also boosts your chances of success.
- Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is said to bring good fortune in the new year. Collard greens, cabbage, and ham hocks are also considered lucky foods to enjoy. Just steer clear of the chicken or turkey dinners; eating poultry is a bad omen for the year to come.
Whether you plan to stay in Denver, NC, or head out into the crowds to watch the ball drop in Times Square, New Year’s Eve is a time to enjoy friends and family. Send your loved ones well wishes for the New Year, and look for that special someone to share a midnight kiss with for good luck!
December 24th, 2014
At Hamilton Orthodontics, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff know that eating with braces can be tricky. You want to avoid damaging the bands, brackets, and wires, since any damage can delay the progress of your treatment. After adjustments, your mouth may also feel sore, which will make eating more of a chore than a pleasure.
The good news is you do not have to avoid all of your favorite foods; there are ways you can still enjoy them. Try some of these ideas and recipes for great snacks that are friendly to your braces.
Fruits and Vegetables
You still need to eat fruits and vegetable for the healthy nutrients. The trick is to cut harder items into small pieces that you can chew easily with your back teeth. Canned fruits are also a great choice, but select fruits packed in water to avoid the heavy, sugary syrups. It’s a good idea to avoid excess sugar with braces, since sugar build-up around your braces can lead to plaque formation.
Single-serving packages are available to make your snack portable and convenient. Enjoy vegetables with a small amount of a healthy dip. Hummus or yogurt can be used for flavor without adding unnecessary fat or calories.
Banana and Honey Smoothie
Smoothies are a healthy treat, and you can create these drinks with your favorite ingredients. You can use a variety of yogurt types for your smoothie: regular, low or non-fat, and Greek are all great choices. Here’s one of our favorite smoothie recipes:
- 6 ounces of your choice of yogurt
- 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey
- 1 ripe banana
- 6 ounces milk
Chop the banana into smaller pieces and put all your ingredients into a blender. Blend on low until everything is mixed and then blend on high for about 20 seconds to make your smoothie fluffy.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute just about any small or cut-up fruit for the banana. Try blackberries, raspberries, or peaches for variety. Try to avoid fruits with small seeds; strawberries can leave bits stuck in your braces. You can even make a smoothie with peanut butter and jelly!
Please ask our team if you have any concerns regarding the foods you can safely eat while wearing braces.
December 17th, 2014
Teeth erupt crookedly for a number of reasons that range from genetics to mouth deformities and serious oral diseases. When extra teeth or abnormally large teeth create a malocclusion (crookedness or misplacement of teeth), the culprit is usually genetic in nature. Other inherited traits involve jaws that are too small to accommodate a full set of teeth and misaligned jaws that did not form properly in the womb.
Can crooked teeth be prevented?
In most cases, underbites, overbites, and crooked teeth are genetically derived and can’t be avoided. Orthodontic treatment with braces will be necessary to correct the condition once the child is old enough to wear them. However, certain early childhood behaviors may also contribute to the development of crooked teeth that can be avoided. These include:
- Thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
- Losing baby teeth to decay before permanent teeth have naturally pushed them out of their sockets
- Allowing pacifier use to continue after front teeth have erupted
Permanent teeth underneath baby teeth are directly affected by the health of baby teeth. If baby teeth are prematurely lost due to decay or trauma, permanent teeth will shift when they start moving upward. Baby teeth are like anchors for permanent teeth that help guide them as they erupt through the gums.
In addition, excellent care of baby teeth is vital to having healthy permanent teeth free of discoloration or decay. Harmful oral bacteria can spread into the gums and reach permanent teeth still buried in the gums. Once attached to a tooth’s enamel, bacteria will begin eroding the tooth even before it has a chance to take its first bite!
When to Start Orthodontic Treatment for Crooked Teeth
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our staff suggest that parents bring your child to Hamilton Orthodontics around age seven to rule out potential issues with permanent teeth eruption. If problems are discovered, it is not unusual to begin orthodontic treatment at that age. In fact, specific conditions such as crowding and gaps between teeth are easier to correct at an early age.
Early treatment also benefits from the growth process of the jaw, which helps move teeth to normal positions.
December 10th, 2014
Your first few days with braces will feel rather odd, awkward, and even painful. The day you get your braces you will probably just feel weird, like you have something in your mouth – because you do. You are most likely to feel pain and soreness during the second and third days. After that, you should be fine. If you experience any pain with your braces, there are a few things you can do to get some relief.
Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will soothe it and promote healing. Rinse several times a day or when your mouth, particularly mouth sores, are hurting. You can also take some Tylenol every four hours. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team advise against products that contain ibuprofen because it slows down the movement of your teeth.
You can also eat cold foods like ice cream or yogurt. The cold of the food will help dull the pain. Ice packs applied to your mouth help as well. You can also swish ice water around your mouth, but DO NOT eat ice!
Products for canker sores can be applied to the mouth sores you develop from your braces. There are also various rinses you can use that act as a shield or barrier in your mouth, and protect your mouth sores from further irritation.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team may have given you some dental wax to put on the abrasive areas of your braces to protect your mouth. Putting dental wax on the brackets creates a barrier that keeps your mouth from getting scraped and sore.
Bite wafers are another great pain relief too. When you bite down on the wafer, it increases circulation in your gums, which can ease the pain a bit. Just a little pressure will work; you don’t want to bite too hard. And they usually come in cool colors, too!
The pain won’t last forever. One day you will wake up and you won’t have any pain. In fact, you probably won’t even notice the braces in your mouth at all!
December 3rd, 2014
When beginning orthodontic treatment, most patients ask Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team a lot of questions about what to expect, while others choose to just "go with the flow" and leave it to us to build for them a beautiful smile. And for our team at Hamilton Orthodontics, that's understandable.
But for those who do ask questions, two of the ones we frequently hear are "Will my braces hurt?" and "How long will these be on?"
We explain to our patients that despite what they've heard, braces do not hurt when they're initially put on. Yes, you will experience soreness after your braces are placed and when your teeth start to move. Too often, our patients hear horror stories about how much it hurts to get the braces on, so they tend to over-worry. The truth is, after their braces are on, almost all patients say "that's it?" because it's actually easy and painless!
At Hamilton Orthodontics, we answer most of your other questions during your initial exam. When a patient visits our office for the first time, we give him or her a time estimate of how long it will take to achieve their ideal smile. All other questions are answered at the bonding appointment when the braces are placed. We cover all the topics, everything from eating to brushing with braces, but we also know that after your initial appointment, it's natural for you to have questions about your or your child's treatment. And we are always here for you; we are thorough and always try to answer any questions or concerns you may have. As a patient, that's one thing you never have to worry about. You will always know what's going on throughout your orthodontic experience.
November 26th, 2014
At Hamilton Orthodontics we love learning trivia and interesting facts about Thanksgiving! This year, Dr. Todd Hamilton wanted to share some trivia that might help you feel a bit smarter at the holiday dinner table and help create some great conversation with friends and family.
There is no historical evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a three-day party shared by the Wamponoag Indians and the pilgrims in 1621. Historians say they likely ate venison and seafood.
According to National Geographic, the dinner at the Plymouth colony was in October and included about 50 English colonists and 90 American Indian men. The first Thanksgiving dinner could have included corn, geese, and pumpkin.
Today, turkey is the meat of choice. According to the National Turkey Association, about 690 million pounds of turkey are consumed during Thanksgiving, or about 46 million turkeys.
The Side Dishes
The green bean casserole became popular about 50 years ago. Created by the Campbell Soup Company, it remains a popular side dish. According to Campbell’s, it was developed when the company was creating an annual holiday cookbook. The company now sells about $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each year, which is a major part of the recipe.
While there were likely plenty of cranberries for the pilgrims and Indians to enjoy, sugar was a luxury. What we know today as cranberry sauce was not around in those early Thanksgiving days. About 750 million pounds of cranberries are produced each year in the US, with about 30 percent consumed on Thanksgiving.
Since Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until Lincoln declared it in 1863, the annual parades were not yearly events until much later. The biggest parade that continues to draw crowds is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Beginning in 1924 with about 400 employees, they marched from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. Famous for the huge hot-air balloons today, it was actually live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo that were the stars of the show then.
However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.
November 19th, 2014
Getting your child excited about braces is a lot like: A) convincing a grumpy toddler that it’s time to take a nap? B) convincing a teenager to stop texting during dinner? C) convincing your husband to eat his peas? The answer, obviously, is all of the above.
And that’s why you may need a few thoughtful ways to get your child on board with braces.
- Throw a pre-braces party. It can’t be just any party, however, but a Willy Wonka celebration of candy, chips, gum, and all the sticky and sweet foods your child won’t be able to indulge in during the time he or she is wearing braces. Promise a post-braces celebration, too, and watch as your child’s eyes widen at the thought of an all-you-can-eat junk food buffet.
- Encouraging phrases like “braces aren’t eternal, but your straight smile will be” can go a long way.
- If your daughter is worried about getting picked on because of braces, then name-drop some A-list celebrities who have worn them. The list includes Cameron Diaz, Kelly Clarkson, Dakota Fanning, and Gwen Stefani.
- Emphasize that braces today aren’t the same as they were in the Stone Age. From clear ceramic braces to different-colored braces, more options are available. Braces can be cool accessories to express a personal style.
- To get your child to embrace braces, you need to sing the praises of beautiful teeth, even if that means pointing out how crooked your teeth are because you never got braces.
November 12th, 2014
Brace-ism: believe it or not, it’s a concept. The Urban Dictionary defines brace-ism as “acting mean to people who have braces on their teeth.” Phrases like metal mouth, brace face, and train tracks are common jokes uttered by gap-toothed fools who like to make fun of people with braces.
While ignoring these comments and taking the high road is the best thing to do, there’s nothing wrong with having a few clever retorts and quick-witted comebacks up your sleeve.
- The next time someone calls you train tracks, break into an obnoxious train imitation, with lots of toot-toot and chuga-chuga-chuga. Finish off your crazy locomotive impersonation with some sort of deafening train horn. That’ll keep the bullies at bay.
- “It’s better to be a brace face than a space case.”
- Counter with a ridiculously childish joke that makes the schoolyard tormentor feel even smaller than he already is. “Oh. Yeah. Why did the deer need braces? Because he had buck teeth. Hahaha.” Top it off with an exaggerated eye roll.
- “Yeah, my brother tells that joke. He’s six. You guys should hang out.” That’ll stop the haters dead in their tracks. Or would that be train tracks?
- Here’s one from the sarcasm grab bag. “Well, I’m just glad there’s a way to fix what’s wrong with my face.”
- “I can’t wait to discuss this formative moment at our ten-year class reunion, when my teeth are razor-straight and you’re wearing adult braces.”
November 5th, 2014
You may have noticed that we specialize in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. And while most people we talk to have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title. Today, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team thought we would explain the difference.
While orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and facial development, which occurs for the most part during childhood, and is a reason why kids are often the best candidates for receiving dentofacial orthopedic therapy. Dr. Todd Hamilton will examine and monitor your child’s growth to determine when starting treatment will be most effective. If your child begins orthodontic treatment before his or her adult teeth have erupted, it is known as Phase-One treatment. During this phase, Dr. Todd Hamilton will use treatments designed to correct your child’s jaw growth and make sure that the jaw bone is properly aligned before beginning the next phase of treatment, which usually involves placing braces to straighten your child's teeth.
Dentofacial orthopedics is also used to treat adult patients at Hamilton Orthodontics, however, this process may involve surgery. With our younger patients, we know the jaw bones are still forming, making it easier for our team at Hamilton Orthodontics to control bone growth and tooth movement. Adults, however, are a different story; their bones are no longer growing, and their jaw bones have hardened, so it is more difficult to adjust the bite and move teeth into proper alignment. Dr. Todd Hamilton may recommend surgery to adjust the jaw bone and establish the proper bite alignment before beginning treatment.
Because our team at Hamilton Orthodontics is skilled in both areas, we are able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure, and can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments.
We hope that helps! To learn more about dentofacial orthopedics, and to find out if this type of treatment is right for you, please contact our Denver, NC office and schedule an initial consultation for you or your child. It’s never too late to get a great smile, and we can’t wait to help you or your child get started.
November 3rd, 2014
October 29th, 2014
Halloween is a favorite holiday among children due to the festive games, imaginative costumes, and candy. Modern celebrations stem from a combination of traditions from Pagan and Christian traditions throughout the centuries. The original holiday was called Samhain and derived from the ancient Druids of Ireland. In their belief system, November 1st marked the beginning of winter, and Pagans began their Samhain celebrations at sunset on October 31st.
Modern Celebrations of Halloween
Children and adults love dressing up for Halloween, and this tradition comes from the ancient belief in spirits. From sunset on October 31st until sunrise on November 1st, the souls of the dead entered the physical world. Some spirits were benevolent and wanted only to cross over to the afterlife while others harbored malicious intents of revenge and trickery. Pagans wore masks and disguised themselves so that the malevolent souls would mistake them as fellow spirits.
Families left food and ale outside of their doors to appease the spirits. With the rise of Christianity in Europe, the church encouraged its members to offer food and money to beggars. In exchange, the beggars would agree to pray for the family's deceased loved ones. Eventually these traditions led to the development of today's customs where children dressed up and received candy from their neighbors while circling the community.
With all of the excitement and free candy on Halloween, it is easy to get carried away on a sugar high. Parents warn their children not to eat too many pieces in one night to avoid tummy aches and cavities. Our team at Hamilton Orthodontics especially wants to remind children with braces to be extra cautious about the treats they eat because some varieties can get stuck in between the brackets and damage the devices. Sticky candy, such as caramels, fruit chews, and gum should be avoided when wearing braces. Children can trade with their friends and siblings to get only safe candies. The following list offers some alternative treats that children with braces can safely enjoy.
- Solid chocolate, including milk, white, or dark
- Nougat-filled candy bars, such as Three Musketeers
- Candy-coated chocolates like M&Ms
- Powdery candy, such as Sweet Tarts or Pixie Stix
- Mint-flavored candy
- Malted milk balls
- Peanut butter crackers or cookies
When in doubt, children should ask their parents or Dr. Todd Hamilton if a specific candy is safe. Halloween is a fun holiday for children, and having braces does not have to take away any of the excitement from tasty treats.
October 28th, 2014
October 22nd, 2014
Perhaps you feel your teeth are not perfectly straight, or you think your bite could be adjusted. It’s quite possible that braces and other orthodontic treatments might be the right choice for you. As orthodontic professionals, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics works with your general dentist in order to determine the best options for your oral health and cosmetic appearance.
You might need braces if ...
- You lost your baby teeth relatively early in life. If your baby teeth fell out too early and your adult teeth did not come in for a while, this could have affected the way your adult teeth grew and developed.
- Your teeth look crowded or crooked. If you are embarrassed to smile because your teeth are not straight, it might be time to consider the cosmetic options available to you.
- Your jaw shifts or makes sounds. This can signify a developmental issue with your teeth and your jaw line, and orthodontic treatment may be able to help. Set up an appointment with Dr. Todd Hamilton if your jaw is recessed or protruding as well.
- You are constantly biting the sides of your cheek or hitting the roof of your mouth. This could indicate that your teeth are not properly aligned. Braces can address an underbite or an overbite.
- You have a difficult time chewing your food. This is not only an inconvenience, but it can also be detrimental for your health. Braces can help fix the alignment of your teeth.
- You have to breathe through your mouth on a regular basis. You may not attribute this to an issue with the development of your teeth or jaw, but orthodontic treatment might be able to help.
The ideal age for a child to be seen by an orthodontist is age seven. However, there are many orthodontic treatment options available to adults. It is becoming increasingly common for adults to wear braces and other orthodontic devices. We recommend that people who are interested in braces and other orthodontic treatment options set up a consultation appointment with Dr. Todd Hamilton today.
October 15th, 2014
So, you just got your braces on, and you're wondering why you should continue visiting your general dentist since you’re seeing Dr. Todd Hamilton every other month. Patients always ask us if they should continue to see their dentist while in orthodontic treatment. In short, the answer is yes.
Today, we thought we would share a few reasons why it’s crucial to keep up with your regular visits with your dentist in addition to coming in for your regular adjustments at Hamilton Orthodontics.
One of the best reasons to visit your dentist while you undergo orthodontic treatment is to remove plaque and tartar. Having braces provides additional nooks and crannies in which food particles and bacteria can hide. Eventually, plaque and tartar can form around your brackets, bands or other appliances which can lead to cavities. Having your teeth professionally cleaned can help ensure most, if not all, plaque and tartar is removed. Even if you are undergoing clear aligner treatment, dental checkups and cleanings are equally as important.
The next reason to visit a dentist is to help protect your teeth from decalcification, or the loss of calcium in your teeth. A potentially serious condition in which white spots on your tooth surfaces, decalcification is irreversible and if left untreated, can lead to cavities. Decalcification is preventable; patients who cut down on sugary sweets and acidic foods, practice good oral hygiene, and visit their dentist regularly can help prevent decalcification.
The final reason we recommend visiting your dentist while you have braces is this: cavities can prolong your treatment. If you are interested in completing your orthodontic treatment on time and without any delays, visiting your dentist every six months or as recommended can go a long way toward making that a realistic goal. Your dentist can provide fluoride treatments or other treatments that strengthen your teeth and protect them from cavities.
Making sure to visit your dentist will help ensure your teeth look their best once your braces come off. If you do not have a general dentist and would like a recommendation on finding one in the Denver, NC area, please give us a call or let us know at your next adjustment appointment!
October 8th, 2014
Kids can be picky eaters. How many times have you seen your child try to hide the peas under a mound of mashed potatoes?
At Hamilton Orthodontics, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team understand how hard it can be to get your child to eat the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. The task of providing fun, nutritious meals becomes even more challenging if he or she wears braces. It's an age-old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. These five braces-friendly recipes are not only nutritious, but they will have little Jimmy flashing his “tin grin” when he sits down at the kitchen table in the morning.
- Scrambled eggs are soft and easy to eat if you have braces. If you drown them in ketchup (which many kids love to do), eggs become even mushier. Minimal chewing is required, and that’s the key to a braces-friendly recipe.
- A healthy breakfast provides energy and jump-starts metabolism. A smoothie is not only a good source of fruit, but it’s also gentle on braces. More importantly, smoothies are fun to create. You can toss anything in the blender (bananas, mangoes, strawberries, spinach) and create a drink that’s loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
- If you wear braces, eating crunchy cereals or granola for breakfast is out of the question: Bite down the wrong way and you might snap the wires or dislodge the brackets. However, you can get your grains and oats by substituting oatmeal for cereal. This mushy breakfast treat has a host of health benefits.
- Pancakes are not the healthiest breakfast choice. Still, this Sunday morning favorite is braces-friendly. The idea is to make it healthier by hiding blueberries in the pancake batter just like your child hides peas in the mashed potatoes.
- Toast with jam is ok, but skip slathering peanut butter on the bread. If you have braces, the general rule of thumb is to steer clear of foods that are hard or chewy. These types of foods can break wires. Of course, most kids will agree that toast isn’t the most exciting breakfast recipe. Make it a Pop-Tart instead!
For more braces-friendly recipes, please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office!
October 1st, 2014
Fall can be a really enjoyable time of the year for you and your family. The kids are back in school, the leaves are changing, and Halloween approaches. This holiday is a lot of fun for kids, but Hamilton Orthodontics wants to remind you it can also be risky, especially for your child’s braces. If you have kids with braces, take a look at the following tips from the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) on how to keep your kids and their teeth safe this Halloween season.
Important Safety Tips
Trick-or-treating is a favorite Halloween activity for kids everywhere. While it is a great holiday tradition for children, it comes with some potential risks. To keep your kids safe while trick-or-treating, try following these simple guidelines:
- If you have young children, make sure they are accompanied by an adult at all times.
- You or your kids should always carry flashlights.
- For costumes, try to include a light-colored or reflective element that can be easily seen by oncoming traffic.
- Avoid costumes that include a mask, especially for younger children. These can pose a safety hazard for both the wearers and the people around them.
- Tell your kids not to eat any of their candy until they arrive home. Be sure to inspect all treats carefully before letting them dig in.
Following these guidelines can help you keep your kids safe on Halloween.
Halloween Treats to Avoid if Your Child Has Braces
If your kids have braces, you’ll want them to steer clear of certain treats on Halloween. Many candies can cause damage to braces, so it’s wise to avoid them while you’re celebrating this fun holiday. Here is a list of treats to stay away from:
- Hard candies
- Chewy candies
- Jelly beans
- Hard pretzels
Some of these treats may seem harmless, but all of them have the potential to bend or break your child’s braces. So it’s best to avoid eating them altogether.
Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats
If your children have braces, they may feel like they can’t enjoy any treats on Halloween. However, there are plenty of braces-safe treat options for them to choose from, including the following:
- Soft chocolate
- Peanut butter cups
- Gelatin treats
- Ice cream
- Root beer floats
- Apple cider
These are just a few braces-friendly alternatives to traditional Halloween candy. Helping your kids have a fun and safe Halloween—while at the same time protecting their braces—can be easy if you follow these simple tips and guidelines. Help your kids enjoy the holiday without having to visit Dr. Todd Hamilton for repair work on damaged braces!
September 24th, 2014
Are you an adult who is considering getting braces? Perhaps you’ve had them before, but over the years that dental work has been reversed. Or maybe you’ve never had any orthodontic work done, but are considering braces for the first time. In either case, Hamilton Orthodontics can help you enjoy straighter teeth, an improved bite, and a more beautiful smile. If you are considering getting braces, here is what you need to know about adult orthodontic work from Dr. Todd Hamilton.
Can braces work for adults?
Absolutely! Braces work for just about anyone. However, there are several different types of braces, and not all of them may work for you. Different types of orthodontic treatments include:
- Ceramic braces
- Metal braces
- Self-ligating brackets
- Lingual brackets (braces behind the teeth)
- Invisible braces
- Rubber bands for bite correction
- Headgear and other appliances
By scheduling a consultation, we can determine which treatment or combination of treatments would be best for your specific needs.
How do I get started?
Getting braces can be a little bit daunting. At first glance, the process may appear expensive and time-consuming. However, if you take it step by step, getting braces can be a simple and relatively pain-free experience. Here are the first steps you need to take to get on the road to straight teeth:
First, you need information. If you are nervous about getting braces, or are having trouble getting started, learning more about the process can help ease your mind. Here are a few sample questions to ask:
- What kind of braces do you recommend for my teeth?
- How long will the treatment take?
- How often will I need to come in for adjustments?
- What is the total cost of the treatment? Do you accept insurance? Will you require the full amount up front, or do you have payment plans?
Asking these types of questions will help you understand what to expect during the entire process, which can aid your decision on the proper course of action.
The next step is to complete any prerequisite treatment. During your first meeting with Dr. Todd Hamilton, we’ll need to take some X-rays and molds of your teeth, and then help you determine an appropriate treatment plan. Recommendations may include some preliminary dental work before you get your braces, which can be an important step in making sure your orthodontic treatments are effective.
Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to get started! After you’ve chosen a treatment plan and undergone any necessary prerequisite dental work, you’ll be able to get your braces. Just like that, you’re on your way to a better smile! If you’d like to get started right away, call our Denver, NC location today!
September 17th, 2014
While everyone understands that a dentist takes care of teeth, not everyone is aware of what an orthodontist does. This confusion sometimes leads to misunderstandings about what Hamilton Orthodontics does for our patients and how exactly Dr. Todd Hamilton can help them. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the myths and misconceptions about orthodontists.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about the orthodontist is that they’re just like your family dentist. The truth is, they’re actually very different. While it’s true that both orthodontists and dentists care about helping you enjoy a lifetime of good dental and oral health, orthodontists go about achieving this goal in different ways. For instance, if you need to have a cavity filled, you probably won’t make an appointment to see an orthodontist. Dentists are the health professionals to see if you’re concerned about a cavity or need a filling. A dentist can also treat gum disease, tooth decay, toothaches, and other common oral health problems.
People see an orthodontist for very particular services. Most of the patients we see on a daily basis are here because they have braces, or they need to be fitted with braces or another form of tooth-straightening device. In other words, they consult an orthodontist when they are concerned about the alignment of their teeth. As a child grows up, his or her teeth may come in crooked. This can happen for a number of reasons, so it’s important for an orthodontist to take a look at a child’s teeth at about seven years of age. At that age, it’s possible to detect any problems that have not become too advanced to treat easily. Your family dentist may also refer your child to an orthodontist once the adult teeth have fully grown in.
Another common misconception about orthodontists is that they only treat children. It’s true that when you visit an orthodontic clinic you’re apt to see a lot of young kids, but you’ll also see teenagers, college students, and adults. Because crooked teeth can be caused by a number of different factors, it’s entirely possible for someone to require orthodontic treatment at any age.
If you want to know more about the practice of orthodontics or what your orthodontist can do for you, then simply ask Dr. Todd Hamilton. It’s best to get answers to your specific questions directly from the person who will be treating you. While you’re sure to find Internet resources helpful, there really is no substitute for the personal attention you’ll get during your appointment at our Denver, NC office.
September 10th, 2014
At Hamilton Orthodontics, we know orthodontic emergencies are neither convenient nor timely. If you are a patient of record, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team are more than willing to see you after hours or over the weekend. As a general rule, you should call our Denver, NC office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. If you have an orthodontic emergency after regular office hours, please give us a call and follow the emergency prompts to contact one of our doctors.
September 3rd, 2014
These days, Americans everywhere are putting greater emphasis on health and self-improvement, and more people are seeking orthodontic treatment to improve their smile. September happens to be Self-Improvement Month, and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics knows that orthodontic treatment is an investment in self-improvement that will provide benefits for a lifetime. Recent advances in orthodontia now make treatment more comfortable for many interested in obtaining that beautiful smile.
Not only does orthodontic treatment give you a beautiful smile, it can also benefit your dental and general health. If teeth are poorly aligned, removing plaque and tartar by brushing and flossing may be difficult. A bad bite may result in fractured or excessively worn tooth surfaces, and the extra stress caused by a bad bite may even result in problems with your jaw joints.
If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, Dr. Todd Hamilton would love to have you visit for an initial consultation. Please give us a call to schedule a visit! See you soon!
August 27th, 2014
Labor Day is upon us, and that means the non-official end to summer. Before the kids head back to school and temperatures start to cool down, this is your last chance to barbeque in the beautiful Denver, NC community, head to the lake, and wear your favorite pair of white pants.
About Labor Day
Each year, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It is the one day of year Americans celebrate their achievements in work, which the US Department of Labor says has contributed to prosperity and well-being of America as a whole. Americans have been celebrating Labor Day since the 1880s, and today it is an official federal holiday.
Interesting Facts About Labor Day
- Every year, more than 30 million Americans travel over Labor Day weekend.
- Canada was the first to celebrate Labor Day, and the US soon followed.
- President Cleveland made Labor Day and official US holiday in 1894.
- Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and NCAA sports seasons for fans.
- Labor Day marks the end of hot dog season, when Americans consume seven billion hot dogs.
Thanks for being a valued patient of our orthodontic office. Our staff would like to wish you a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. Enjoy your time off!
August 20th, 2014
Orthognathic surgery is surgery to correct a wide variety of abnormalities of our patients' jaw and teeth. The surgery is often done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. While the patient’s appearance may be significantly improved as a result, the primary purpose of the surgery is to correct functional problems including but not limited to:
- Unbalanced facial appearance
- Protruding jaw
- Open bite (upper and lower teeth don’t overlap properly
- Excessive wearing down of the teeth
- Difficulty with chewing or biting
- Chronic mouth breathing
- Sleeping problems such as sleep apnea
- TMJ pain (jaw joint pain)
- Restoring facial injuries
Knowing when to start the orthodontic treatment in preparation for orthognathic surgery can also be tricky if our team at Hamilton Orthodontics is treating a teenager. It is important to know when to get started. If orthodontic treatment is initiated too soon and the teenager is still growing, the patient will either need to hold in braces until his or her growth is complete and they are ready for surgery or the braces will have to be removed and then placed again when growth is complete. Neither of these options is attractive since it requires longer time in treatment, which is something all our patients want to avoid. Our team at Hamilton Orthodontics strives to get all patients finished with treatment as quickly as possible because it is healthier for the teeth and gums and gives them a beautiful smile to enjoy for a lifetime.
If you are considering orthognathic surgery or you have been told that you need jaw surgery, give us a call to schedule your initial consultation today. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics will explain our treatment plan in a way you will understand and we will keep you informed every step of the way.
August 13th, 2014
How You Can Start Preparing Now
When you first start thinking about going to the orthodontist, it is normal to feel apprehensive. What will your orthodontic experience bring? Whether you have been advised by a dentist or chosen to seek out orthodontic care from Dr. Todd Hamilton on your own, there are a few things you can do to prepare for your initial consultation at Hamilton Orthodontics.
One of the best ways to prepare for an orthodontic consultation is to understand your options. With so many choices available today, orthodontic care is a lot more versatile than in the past. You can start preparing now by seeking out and understanding those options. With a few specific things in mind, you can be totally confident and prepared for your consultation.
Questions to Ask During the Consultation
As you consider orthodontic care, it is likely that a few questions may naturally arise. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have. Our orthodontic team is here to help. Here are just a few examples of questions you may want to ask at your consultation.
- Is there an estimated length of time that I will likely require braces?
- How much should I expect to pay for my treatment? What are the payment options?
- Does getting braces hurt? Is there anything I can do to prevent or minimize pain?
- Is it likely that I will be wearing extra appliances in addition to braces to correct my overbite or other problems?
- Are there specific foods I will need to avoid when I get braces?
- Will braces prevent me from playing my favorite sport or musical instrument?
- How can I keep my teeth clean with braces?
- How often will I be expected to come in for checkups and other appointments?
Once your consultation is over, you don’t have to feel like your options are exhausted. If questions arise after the consultation, don’t be afraid to ask. Our orthodontic team will be here to help throughout the entire process.
Confidence throughout the Process
With answers to your questions, and an orthodontic team on your side, you can be confident about any necessary orthodontic treatments. From the initial consultation to the day your braces come off, your orthodontic treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics can be a smooth and simple process. The moment you see that beautiful smile, you’ll know it was all worth it.
We love bringing nothing but the most amazing smiles to our patients!
August 6th, 2014
It’s no easy feat to have one of the best smiles in Hollywood. The reality TV starlet Kristin Cavallari attributes her gorgeous smile to routine oral hygiene, the removal of two impacted wisdom teeth, and having undergone orthodontic treatment. Kristin’s treatment began in sixth grade when she was fitted with a device Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team call a palatal expander, which is used to guide upper jaw growth in our younger patients.
What is a palatal expander?
A palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by applying gentle pressure on your upper molars, and is used to make the bottom and upper teeth fit together better. In addition, palatal expanders work to create more room for teeth, as well as promote a broader, more appealing smile.
Do palatal expanders hurt?
Palatal expanders are usually not painful, however you may experience difficulty speaking and swallowing for the first few days. Adjusting your palatal expander as instructed by Dr. Todd Hamilton will ensure there are no delays in regards to your treatment plan.
Typically, it takes a few weeks to achieve the desired amount of expansion, after which you will keep wearing your expander for about six months, giving time for the new bone to form and stabilize. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics will give you detailed instructions about how to adjust your appliance and can answer any questions you may have about your palatal expander.
If you have any questions about your palatal expander or your treatment plan with Dr. Todd Hamilton, please give us a call at our Denver, NC office!
July 30th, 2014
Our team at Hamilton Orthodontics knows that there are many ways you can protect your pearly whites throughout your orthodontic treatment. If you follow the rules and brush your teeth twice a day, floss often, and protect your appliances from damage, you should have a successful treatment.
But did you know there’s another way to keep your teeth sparkling and healthy during your time wearing braces?
Fluoride, the mineral that helps you prevent cavities and tooth decay, can also help keep your teeth strong. Fluoride comes in two varieties: topical and systemic. Depending on your oral health or the recommendation of Dr. Todd Hamilton, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. We may also prescribe a fluoride product such as a mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse for at-home treatment to keep your teeth happy in between visits.
If you have any other questions about fluoride or your treatment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!
July 28th, 2014
As we hit the middle of summer, we know that a lot of our patients are out enjoying vacations and having adventures! Hamilton Orthodontics wants to see the fun things our patients are doing--and you can even win some prizes while doing so!
We have two contests running right now. For our “Summer Selfie” Photo Contest, we want to see your best summer selfie! Take a selfie this summer while on vacation or just having fun at home. Post it on our Facebook or Instagram page and have your friends "Like" and "Share" your selfie. The patient with the most likes and shares will win an Apple TV adapter!
Our other contest asks you take a picture or video. This time, instead of taking it just anywhere, we want to see you in your Hamilton Orthodontics shirt while out on vacation! Take a picture or video and email it to our office (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post it to our Facebook page for your chance to win either a iPod Nano or 500 points on a Rewards Card ($50 value). We will have two winners for this contest!
July 23rd, 2014
Wearing braces during your treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics presents some unique challenges in the types of food you can safely eat. The wrong items can be difficult to remove from between your teeth and the appliance. Other foods may even break or loosen your braces.
Dinner recipe ideas
Lasagna is a great dinner choice because it provides you with several food groups in one easy dish.
- 1 ½ pounds ground hamburger
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 pound diced tomatoes — canned is fine
- 12 oz. tomato paste
- 1 package of dry spaghetti sauce mix for seasoning
- 10 oz. box dry lasagna
- 3 cups ricotta or cottage cheese or 1 ½ cups each mixed
- ½-cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 pound sliced or shredded Mozzarella cheese
Brown and drain your hamburger meat. Dice the garlic and simmer the hamburger, garlic, basil, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and powdered sauce mix for ½ hour.
Cook the lasagna noodles as directed on the package and drain.
Beat the eggs and combine them with your ricotta or cottage cheese.
Layer ½ of the noodles in a 13 x 9 pan. Spread ½ of your cottage cheese mix on top of the noodles, then layer ½ of the mozzarella on top. Finish this layer with ½ of your hamburger mix. Repeat the layering with the other half of your ingredients. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
You can enjoy ribs and chicken wings as long as you cut the meat from the bone before you eat. The same rule applies to turkey legs; do not gnaw on bones, because this can damage your braces.
Vegetables and fruits
You still need to include fruits and vegetables in your daily meals. Skip corn on the bob, whole apples, and raw carrots. Broccoli is soft but particles can become stuck in your braces, so be sure to brush and floss after your meal.
Avoid caramel, taffy, and hard candies for dessert. Pudding and ice cream are fine, but low-sugar versions are best.
Remember that your mouth will be sore after adjustments with Dr. Todd Hamilton. Stick to softer foods until the sensitivity is reduced. Please do not hesitate to ask our team for recipe and meal ideas. We will be happy to take the time to explain which foods items are the best choices and why.
If you have any questions about these recipes, or if you have any questions about eating with braces, please give us a call at our Denver, NC office!
July 16th, 2014
Parents of a certain age will no doubt remember the teen comedies of the 1980s. These movies typically included a character so wired up with orthodontic apparatus (elaborate metal braces, rubber bands, a mountain of headgear) that he or she looked like some sort of electrical machinery. In recent years, the technological advancements in braces have not only made this character a thing of the past, but if your child needs braces to fix crooked teeth, you no longer need to worry about him or her being called “brace face” with a “tin grin.”
Traditional braces use a system of archwires, brackets, and rubber bands to straighten and realign crooked teeth. Self-ligating braces that Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics provide, by contrast, use specialized clips to hold the archwires in place instead of rubber bands. But what makes self-ligating braces so good?
- Self-ligating braces make it easier to keep your teeth clean because there are no rubber bands. Rubber bands collect food particles, and this can lead to an increase in plaque and decay. Have you ever tried to brush for two minutes with a mouth full of rubber bands? It’s tricky. Self-ligating braces improve oral health.
- Self-ligating braces are smaller and less noticeable than conventional braces. Most kids are self-conscious about how they look (flashback to those 1980s comedies), so braces that are subtle and less conspicuous are a huge draw.
- Self-ligating braces are more comfortable than traditional braces. Less pressure and friction are placed on the tooth. These types of braces also need fewer alterations and adjustments, so chances are you will save money by making fewer appointments with our office.
- Self-ligating braces move crooked teeth into place more quickly than conventional braces. In other words, you’re going to wear self-ligating braces for a shorter amount of time than traditional braces.
- Orthodontic work can be expensive. Self-ligating braces, however, cost about the same amount of money as traditional braces.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team are proud to offer self-ligating braces as an alternative to traditional metal braces. Ask our team if they are right for you by giving us a call at our Denver, NC office!
July 9th, 2014
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team are excited to offer Invisalign Teen, a clear alternative to braces that’s just for teens! With Invisalign Teen, we are able to straighten your teen’s teeth without the hassle, discomfort, and embarrassment of traditional braces.
Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners are virtually invisible. What's more, they are removable, which means your child is free to eat anything they choose, as well as brush and floss with ease! And best of all, Invisalign Teen uses no wires or metal to straighten your teen's teeth.
Invisalign Teen aligners are made from a lightweight plastic material and fit precisely on the teeth. Invisalign Teen has become a popular treatment here at Hamilton Orthodontics because it helps our younger patients achieve a straight, beautiful smile without their friends noticing.
Our team at Hamilton Orthodontics is aware that most teens today have a busy lifestyle, and sometimes, they tend to lose things, including their retainers or aligners. But with Invisalign Teen, if your child happens to lose an aligner, let Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team know as soon as possible and we will have the aligner replaced.
For more information on Invisalign Teen, please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office today!
July 2nd, 2014
Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the area.
The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations
Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.
First States to Recognize the Fourth of July
In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.
Fun Facts About the Fourth of July
- The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
- Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
- Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
- The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
- Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.
For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!
June 25th, 2014
While braces play an important part in helping to create a healthy mouth and teeth, you might experience a few side effects while wearing them that are common and can be easily treated.
Even with the best of care, braces can cause soreness to your mouth. As your teeth begin to move, it is natural for your teeth to feel aches and your jaw to develop soreness.
If there are broken wires or loose bands on your braces, a sore tongue, mouth, or canker sore will occur. Canker sores are a common occurrence when braces rub inside the mouth. There are ointments available to reduce the pain and irritation associated with mouth sores. We urge those who experience a sore mouth or any of the following problems to call our office to schedule an appointment.
- Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket temporarily. You might also apply a little between the braces and the soft tissue of your mouth.
- Loose bands: These must be secured in place by your orthodontist. Try to save the band for repair.
- Protruding or broken wires: The eraser end of a pencil can be used to move the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If you are unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax to the tip. If a mouth sore develops, rinse with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.
- Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned and sometimes replaced.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods can also help or hurt you while you’re wearing braces. Remember to cut your food into small pieces that can be easily chewed. You will want to avoid hard and chewy foods that can break your hardware. Foods such as corn on the cob, nuts, carrots, apples, ice, and bubble gum should be avoided.
Braces, rubber bands, springs, and other mouth appliances associated with braces will normally attract food particles and plaque. Without the proper care, this could cause staining of your teeth.
Our staff at Hamilton Orthodontics recommends brushing after every meal or snack and carefully removing any food that might be lodged in the braces. A fluoride mouthwash might be helpful as well as flossing. At your next appointment, Dr. Todd Hamilton can advise you how to floss with a brush specially designed for braces!
June 18th, 2014
The average age of individuals who get braces is between nine and 14, although it is appropriate for younger children to visit Hamilton Orthodontics for a consultation with Dr. Todd Hamilton. While parents may be concerned about the efficacy of early orthodontics, research suggests that early intervention can prevent greater dental health problems later in life.
What types of conditions require early intervention?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, 3.7 million children under the age of 17 receive orthodontic treatment each year. Early intervention may be appropriate for younger children with crooked teeth, jaw misalignment, and other common issues. Early orthodontic treatment may be of use for several types of problems:
- Class I malocclusion. This condition is very common. It features crooked teeth or those that protrude at abnormal angles. In general, early treatment for Class I malocclusion occurs in two phases, each two years long.
- Class III malocclusion. Known as an underbite, in which the lower jaw is too big or the upper jaw too small, Class III malocclusion requires early intervention. Because treatment involves changing growth patterns, starting as early as age seven is a smart choice for this dental problem.
- Crossbite. Crossbite occurs when the upper and lower jaws are not properly aligned. An orthodontic device called a palatal expander widens the upper jaw, allowing teeth to align properly. Research suggests that early treatment may be beneficial in crossbite cases, especially when the jaw must shift laterally to correct the problem.
- Tooth extraction. That mouthful of crooked baby teeth can cause problems when your child’s permanent teeth erupt. For kids with especially full mouths, extracting baby teeth and even permanent premolars can help adult teeth grow in straight.
Considerations when thinking about early intervention
Early intervention isn’t helpful for all conditions. For example, research suggests that there is little benefit to early orthodontics for Class II malocclusion (commonly known as an overbite). Instead, your child should wait until adolescence to begin treatment. Scheduling a visit to our Denver, NC office when your child is around age seven is a smart way to create an individualized treatment plan that addresses unique orthodontic needs.
June 11th, 2014
It's the big day and your braces are finally coming off! Does that mean you are completely done? Not so fast! After you complete your treatment here at Hamilton Orthodontics, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team will recommend you wear a retainer, which must be worn routinely after treatment in order to hold your teeth in their proper, new position while your gums, ligaments and bones adapt. Most patients are required to wear their retainer every night at first, with many also being directed to wear them during the day. It's important to know there are different kinds of retainers, and today we thought we would explain the differences between them.
The Hawley retainer is one of the most common types of retainers. It is a removable retainer made of a combination of a metal wire that typically surrounds the six anterior teeth and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while the wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in an ideal position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors or patterns.
Essix (Clear) Retainers
The Essix retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of your teeth. This clear or transparent retainer fits over the entire arch of teeth and is produced from a mold. Similar to Invisalign’s clear aligner trays, Essix retainers have no metal or wires. They can also be used to produce minor tooth movements and can be helpful in prevention of tooth wear due to tooth grinding at night.
Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower canines. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics encourage our patients with bonded lingual retainers to be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause your teeth to shift. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep your bonded retainers clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your lower teeth, as well as the wire itself.
The retention phase of treatment begins when the patient’s braces are removed. Retainers are worn full time, typically for the first nine months, except while eating. Retainers should also be removed before brushing your teeth.
If you have any questions about the retainers we offer or to learn more about post-orthodontic treatment, please feel free to contact us at our convenient Denver, NC office and we will be happy to answer any of your questions!
June 4th, 2014
The community health awareness group Oral Health America has reported that 82 percent of adults are unaware of the role that infectious bacteria can play in tooth decay or cavities, and almost three out of five children aged 12 to 19 have tooth decay. Since June is National Smile Month, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics thought we’d remind our patients about the importance of good oral hygiene visits between office visits.
To keep your family’s smiles healthy and beautiful for years to come, be sure to:
- Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss every day to clean between your teeth
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks
- Visit Dr. Todd Hamilton for scheduled appointments
If you want to know more about healthy home care habits, feel free to ask our team at your next appointment, or ask us on Facebook!
May 28th, 2014
As you probably know, you can always connect with Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team by calling our Denver, NC office, or going to our Facebook page. However, if you’ve recently moved or gotten a new phone number, we’ll need to update our records so we can easily connect with you!
If any of your contact information has changed, please let our team at Hamilton Orthodontics know, just in case we need to reach you. While you’re at it, you can also schedule your next appointment! We look forward to hearing from you!
May 21st, 2014
Memorial Day didn't become an official holiday until 1971, but Americans started gathering annually in the spring to remember those who lost their lives in war during the 1860s, right after the Civil War. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, people still decorate the grave sites of war veterans and hold memorial services, but Memorial Day has also evolved into a day that signifies the beginning of summer.
During the summer months, many people take road trips to visit family members. Some head off to the airport to enjoy a long-awaited vacation far away, while others look forward to spending time with friends and family at home. However you spend Memorial Day and the subsequent summer months, there are a few things you can take care of to ensure your summertime is enjoyable.
Checklist for an Enjoyable Summer
- Have the AC Checked. During the hottest days of summer, many families find themselves sweating it out due to a broken air conditioning system. Be proactive so you can avoid waiting for hours or days because the HVAC repair person is booked solid. Have your air conditioning system checked before or around Memorial Day each year.
- Ensure Security While You're Away. When you leave for vacation, the last thing you should have to worry about is the security of your home. Install a home security system, if possible, and put a timer on your lights so they go on and off at normal hours. You can also alert your local police department that you'll be gone, and ask them to drive by your house once in a while to make sure everything is okay.
- Visit Dr. Todd Hamilton Before Vacation. Many people put off exams until after summer vacation. Avoid the crowds and make sure your physical and oral health are in top shape prior to vacation time so there are no unpleasant surprises.
Our team at Hamilton Orthodontics wants you to look forward to Memorial Day and the days of summer by preparing to spend the time safely and comfortably. As you plan ahead, take care of your health and secure your home, you can place your focus on creating memories with family members and friends while enjoying your favorite Memorial Day traditions.
May 14th, 2014
Many people undergo orthodontic treatment during childhood, adolescence, and even into adulthood. Wearing orthodontic appliances like braces is sure to produce a beautiful smile. Though orthodontic treatments at Hamilton Orthodontics are designed to accommodate your lifestyle, chances are you will need to make some dietary modifications to prevent damage to your braces and prolong orthodontic treatment.
The First Few Days with Braces
The first few days wearing braces may be the most restrictive. During this time, the adhesive is still curing, which means you will need to consume only soft foods. This probably will not be a problem, however, as your teeth may be tender or sensitive while adjusting to the appliances.
Orthodontic Dietary Restrictions
You can eat most foods normally the way you did without braces. However, some foods can damage orthodontic appliances or cause them to come loose. Examples of foods you will need to avoid include:
- Chewy foods like taffy, chewing gum, beef jerky, and bagels
- Hard foods like peanuts, ice chips, and hard candy
- Crunchy foods like chips, apples, and carrots
How to Continue to Eat the Foods You Love Most
Keep in mind that you may still be able to enjoy some of the foods you love by making certain modifications to the way you eat them. For example, steaming or roasting carrots makes them softer and easier to consume with braces. Similarly, you can remove corn from the cob, or cut up produce like apples and pears to avoid biting into them. Other tips include grinding nuts into your yogurt or dipping hard cookies into milk to soften them. If you must eat hard candies, simply suck on them instead of biting into them.
If you have any question whether a food is safe to eat during your treatment with Hamilton Orthodontics, we encourage you to err on the side of caution. Of course, you can always contact our Denver, NC office with any questions you have about your diet and the foods that should be avoided during treatment. By following our dietary instructions and protecting your orthodontic appliances from damage, you will be back to chewing gum in no time.
May 7th, 2014
"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." - Robert Browning
We would like to take this moment to thank all the great moms out there for being so great during their child’s visits to Hamilton Orthodontics. Whether it’s driving their kids to regularly scheduled appointments or for “being there” while their child is treatment, the moms who come to our office are all stellar individuals, so Dr. Todd Hamilton and our entire staff would like you to know that we appreciate you all!
Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy your special day!
April 30th, 2014
Great question! Tooth movement is your body’s natural response to light pressure applied by braces over a period of time (usually two years). Braces work by using brackets that are glued onto your teeth; these brackets have small slots, and that is where Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team insert orthodontic wires. These wires are held in place by small elastic ties that fit around the brackets. As time passes during your treatment, these wires apply pressure on your teeth, which sets in motion the movement of your teeth into their desired positions. Each of your teeth has a different size and shape to them, as do the brackets. Each bracket is custom-made for the particular tooth on which it’s supposed to fit.
Not long ago, orthodontists had stainless steel wires and that was about it. Today, however, we have a number of different high-tech wires at our disposal to move your teeth faster and more comfortably.
When you first get your braces on, the first wire or two will typically be very flexible, but still strong enough to apply a constant force on your teeth. As your teeth straighten out over time, however, Dr. Todd Hamilton will use progressively thicker and firmer wires to help move your teeth in place for an ideal bite.
Every time you visit our office for an adjustment, we will swap out the wires in order to keep putting pressure on your teeth, which is why it’s so important for you to keep your adjustment visits during your treatment. Most adjustment appointments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart to give your teeth time to move.
As for rubber bands and elastics, most of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatments. These elastics typically go from one or more of the upper braces to one or more of the lower braces, and pull on your teeth to move them in the direction they need to move in order to achieve an optimal bite.
If you have any questions about wires, brackets, or elastics, or have any general questions about your treatment, please give us a call at our Denver, NC office.
April 23rd, 2014
The purpose of braces and other forms of orthodontic treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics is to correct malocclusion, also known as crooked or crowded teeth, or “bad bites.” Past orthodontic practice dictated that wisdom teeth be removed, especially in cases of crowding.
The wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in, and are officially known as the third molars. The teeth typically erupt, or break the surface of the skin, in young people between the ages of 13 and 20.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth are impacted. That means they cannot break through the gum tissue. This typically happens when the mouth or jaw is too small to accommodate the teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, and some dentists and orthodontists may want to remove them as prophylaxis to prevent possible future infection.
Justification for removing wisdom teeth
Dr. Todd Hamilton will tell you that in some cases, wisdom teeth attempt to come in the wrong way, either tilting in the jaw, or sideways. If the mouth is too small to accommodate these additional teeth, they inevitably become impacted. Swelling or infection of the gum flap above an impacted wisdom tooth may cause pain. The greatest danger is pericoronitis, a potentially dangerous infection that can occur in the gum area around an impacted wisdom tooth, or around a wisdom tooth that has erupted.
Orthodontists base their decision to remove wisdom teeth on each patient's individual circumstances. To learn more about the impact wisdom teeth have on orthodontic treatment, or to schedule a visit with Dr. Todd Hamilton, please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office!
April 16th, 2014
The idea for Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin. He envisioned an Earth Day that would be a kind of environmental teach-in. The first Earth Day celebration took place on April 22, 1970, and a surprising 20 million people participated on that day. Ultimately, it became the largest organized celebration in US history.
Earth Day Over the Years
Over the years, the recognition of the day, and the number of people celebrating it all over the world, turned Earth Day into an international celebration. Because it is celebrated throughout the world, it is not only the largest international environmental observation, but it is also more widely celebrated than any other environmental event in the world. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 175 countries where over 500 million people participate in celebrations.
The Earth Day Movement
The Earth Day movement is credited with developing the idea that people should “think green”. It encouraged congress to enact laws, including one that resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It also inspired the passage of the Endangered Species Act.
The Five R's and Their Importance
- Reduce – Reduce by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Reduce your use of materials that wind up in landfills. Reduce the use of chemicals around your house. Reduce your use of disposable bags, plates, cups, eating utensils, and batteries.
- Reuse – Instead of using plastic bags for your groceries or purchases, bring your own reusable bags. When you go to buy coffee at Starbucks, take a travel mug so you don't have to get your coffee in a disposable paper cup. Instead of storing food in disposable refrigerator containers, buy containers that can be washed and reused. Don't use regular batteries. Whenever possible, opt for rechargeable batteries that you can reuse.
- Recycle – Most cities offer a recycling program to collect used bottles, cans, and newspapers. Recycling includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers and manufacturing raw materials into new products.
- Re-buy – Make an effort to purchase things that are made through recycling. When purchasing furniture, look for items that are made from reclaimed wood. When buying paper for kids school work, computer printer paper, holiday cards, or anything else, make a point of purchasing recycled paper products. Instead of buying clothing at full retail price, shop for second hand clothing. You will save a lot of money by doing so!
- Rethink – Rethink the way you do things so that you do them in an eco-conscious way at all times. Instead of driving to work alone, consider taking the bus or going in a carpool. Walk or ride your bike when you're only going a short distance. Plan your shopping trips and errand runs so that you can do everything on one day, and do it in a way where you can save time and gas.
Other ways to "think green" include growing your own food, composting yard waste and food scraps, or by participating in local recycling programs. Join a group like Freecycle so you can share your unneeded and unwanted possessions with people who can use them. Likewise, you'll be able to get things you need or want for free.
Earth Day teaches people that the planet belongs to everyone, so everyone is equally responsible for protecting it. Although Earth Day is an environmental celebration, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics wants to remind you that you don't have to wait until then to make changes that will allow you and your family to live a greener life.
Happy Earth Day from the team at Hamilton Orthodontics.
April 9th, 2014
Many teens want to improve their smile without the pain and embarrassment of having to wear metal braces. Just like metal braces, Invisalign works by gently moving teeth into position. Metal braces are worn continuously, however, and need to be adjusted by Dr. Todd Hamilton regularly in order to move the teeth into proper position.
Invisalign uses a series of clear trays to move teeth into position. When you are done with one tray, simply pop in the next! Invisalign Teen straightens teeth just as well as traditional metal braces, but has several advantages.
You’ve probably figured out the most obvious advantage already: the aligners are nearly invisible. Invisalign works by using a series of clear aligners that should be worn 20 to 22 hours a day. Invisalign trays are almost undetectable when you wear them, so you can smile with confidence — even while you are straightening your teeth.
One of the best things about Invisalign Teen is that the trays are removable. This means you can remove your tray to eat, brush, and floss your teeth, or even to play sports. While Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics require you to wear the trays for most of the day, having the ability to remove your straightening trays means you have practically none of the dietary restrictions that metal brace wearers have to observe.
Teens that play contact sports often experience difficulties with metal braces. Invisalign Teen allows the flexibility to wear a mouthguard, and no metal wires or brackets means less risk of cuts or other injuries while playing a game. Musicians also benefit from being able to remove their trays during rehearsals and performances. You can even remove your tray for your school photo or to snap a quick selfie!
Finally, because you can remove your aligners, you can easily keep your teeth clean through normal brushing and flossing. You can also clean your trays by brushing and rinsing them in warm water. Brushing and flossing with metal braces can be frustrating and time-consuming. Invisalign Teen treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics helps you keep your smile white and shiny with very little change to your normal routine.
To learn more about Invisalign Teen, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Todd Hamilton, please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office!
April 2nd, 2014
It's springtime and it's again time to remind our patients at Hamilton Orthodontics to protect their faces and pearly whites while out on the field playing sports. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually.
If you are planning on participating in spring sports, it’s imperative to have a proper-fitting mouthguard. Mouthguards can prevent chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, jaw fractures, mouth lacerations and even concussions.
Having a mouthguard can make the difference between losing your teeth or not, and because many of our patients who play high school sports have jaws that are still growing, last year’s mouthguard may no longer fit as it should. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics can fit you for a new guard.
To learn more about mouthguards or for general questions about your treatment at our Denver, NC office, please give us a call!
March 26th, 2014
One word no one likes to hear is “cavity!”
For those patients of ours wearing braces, hearing that word is especially problematic, considering that delaying any dental work may result in delaying treatment time.
We often blame candy as the culprit behind tooth decay, but other foods and drinks that kids consume can be just as harmful to their teeth, and can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Keeping your teeth or your child’s teeth from decay during treatment starts with a proper diet, and today, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics will explain the negative effects that candy and other treats, including peanut butter, raisins, fruit juice, and chewy fruit snacks, have on your child’s teeth as he or she undergoes orthodontic treatment. Keep in mind that half of your child’s sugar intake may be coming from beverages that he or she drinks. A major offender is soda, but be mindful of fruit juices as well.
While sugar is known to sit in your child’s teeth and in between and under brackets and wires after consumption, it is important to know sugar is not the only cavity-causing culprit. Carbohydrates, starches, acids, and any food that is chewy or sticks break down into sugars, and can promote tooth decay.
So, what are the alternatives?
Candy such as dark chocolate, sugar-free gum, or anything that contains xylitol, a sugar substitute, is not as harmful for your teeth as hard, chewy, or sticky sweets. Sugar-free gum or gum that contains xylitol are known to reduce levels of bacteria on teeth.
And if you’re still looking for something to snack on, we recommend cutting up easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables. You would also be surprised how much eating a banana or sipping on a glass of water helps you curb snack cravings.
If you’re one of those folks who just can’t stay away from sweets, we encourage you to brush your teeth immediately afterward and swish water in your mouth.
Whatever you eat, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team want you to remember to brush often, floss regularly, and visit your general dentist as your treatment progresses. If you have any questions about sugary foods or drinks, please give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit!
March 19th, 2014
Also known as onchophagia, the habit of nail biting is one of the so-called “nervous habits” that can be triggered by stress, excitement, or boredom. Approximately half of all kids between the ages of ten and 18 have been nail biters at one time or another. Experts say that about 30 percent of children and 15 percent of adults are nail biters, however most people stop chewing their nails by the time they turn 30.
Here are four dental and general reasons to stop biting your nails:
1. It’s unsanitary: Your nails harbor bacteria and germs, and are almost twice as dirty as fingers. What’s more, swallowing dirty nails can lead to stomach problems.
2. It wears down your teeth: Gnawing your nails can put added stress on your pearly whites, which can lead to crooked teeth.
3. It can delay your orthodontic treatment: For those of our patients wearing braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth and weakens roots.
4. It can cost you, literally: It has been estimated that up to $4,000 in extra dental bills can build up over a lifetime.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend the following to kick your nail biting habit:
- Keep your nails trimmed short; you’ll have less of a nail to bite.
- Coat your nails with a bitter-tasting nail polish.
- Ask us about obtaining a mouthguard, which can help prevent nail biting.
- Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever you get the urge to gnaw on your nails.
- Think about when and why you chew your nails. Whether you are nervous or just bored, understanding the triggers can help you find a solution and stop the habit.
- If you can’t stop, behavioral therapy may be an effective option to stop nail biting. Ask Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team for a recommendation.
March 12th, 2014
Millions of people, around Denver, NC and beyond, wear green on St. Patrick’s Day so they can show their spirit for the holiday and avoid getting pinched. While it may be easy for you to throw on a green shirt, sport a St. Patrick’s Day button, or wear a pair of emerald-hued shoes, if you’re an avid St. Patty’s Day enthusiast you may want to try something different this year. Dr. Todd Hamilton thought of a few ideas that will help you take your holiday spirit to the next level:
Visit Chicago’s Green River
If you happen to be near the Windy City during St. Patrick’s Day or you’re thinking of planning a trip, don’t miss out on going downtown to watch the large-scale celebration that kicks off when the city dyes the river bright green. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago has been celebrating the holiday with this tradition for more than 50 years, with tens of thousands of people gathering annually to witness the mysterious dying process and the stunning result.
Don Green Face Paint
Just like an avid sports fan on game day, you can use green face paints to showcase your enthusiasm for this holiday. Avoid breakouts or allergic reactions by only using paints that are specifically meant to be applied to the skin. A little bit of face paint can cover a large area, so feel free to get creative and decorate the whole family on St. Patrick’s Day.
Eat Green All Day
Not a fan of green eggs and ham? With the increasing popularity of green smoothies, there’s no better time to get in on this health craze. To create a green smoothie without the aid of food coloring, you can simply blend a generous amount of a leafy green vegetable, such as spinach or kale, with the ingredients that you would typically use to make a smoothie, like fruit, ice, milk, or juice. Keep the trend going throughout the day by using those same vegetables to create a green soup, egg salad, or a batch of bright green pastries. As an added bonus, you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamins without changing the taste of most of these foods.
If your old holiday routine has gotten stale, leave your green T-shirt in the drawer and try one or all of these tips. Don’t be surprised if you have so much fun that you decide to start a new, annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition! Have a happy St. Paddy’s day from Hamilton Orthodontics!
March 5th, 2014
In recent years, many links have been established between orthodontic treatments and whole body health. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, researchers have observed that people with gum disease are more likely to develop heart disease or experience difficulty controlling blood sugar than people without gum disease. While researchers continue to find associations between oral health and the overall health of the body, as of yet it hasn’t been determined whether gum disease is the sole cause of these health conditions. What can be determined, however, is that good oral health isn't just about maintaining a healthy smile; it has an impact on the health of your entire body.
The associations between gum disease and whole body health
The links between the health of your mouth and the health of your body are too many to ignore. Is it a coincidence that gum disease and other health problems occur together? Researchers don’t think so, despite the lack of definitive proof.
Here are four possible connections between the health of your mouth and the health of your body.
- Excessive oral inflammation has been linked to a greater incidence of clogged arteries.
- The American Society of Microbiology has revealed that certain types of oral bacteria can infect the arterial cells and weaken the wall of the heart.
- Loose teeth are often believed to be a warning sign for osteoporosis, a disease that causes the bones to become less dense.
- Some studies suggest women with gum disease are more likely than those without gum disease to deliver preterm, low-weight babies.
Orthodontics and gum disease
So what does undergoing orthodontic treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics have to do with gum disease? Braces do so much more than give you a nice-looking smile. Quite simply, straight teeth are easier to keep clean than crooked teeth. Your toothbrush is able to remove more plaque-causing bacteria, and your floss is more effective at ridding tiny particles between your teeth.
Despite the lack of hard facts in these findings, the message is clear: If you improve your oral health, you will also have a greater chance of maintaining the health of your entire body. And that’s a chance Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics believe is worth taking. For more information about this topic, please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office or ask Dr. Todd Hamilton during your next visit!
February 26th, 2014
Getting braces comes with a lot of rules. No sticky candies, watch out for popcorn, and steer clear of chips. These rules leave many braces-wearers wondering what they can still eat without hurting their teeth or their expensive orthodontic appliances. Fortunately, constructing a braces-friendly lunch is straightforward once you know which foods to avoid.
Foods to Avoid When Wearing Braces
There are a few food categories to avoid when you have braces. Sticky foods also stick to the metal in your braces, and can potentially break wires or individual braces. For example: bubblegum, candy bars, caramel, licorice, fruit roll-ups, and Starbursts should be avoided. Many of these foods also contain high levels of sugar, which can cause plaque build-up if not brushed away properly.
Also, be wary of hard foods that can harm your orthodontic appliances. Avoid eating hard taco shells, chips, Rice Crispy treats, hard candy, beef jerky, and popcorn. Some healthy foods, such as carrots, apples, corn on the cob, and nuts, are hard on braces. To eat these foods safely, cut them into smaller pieces before eating.
Remember that certain habits may be harmful to your braces. For example, crunching on ice cubes may be a reflexive response when you’re enjoying a cold beverage, but this can significantly harm your braces and extend treatment time. To stay on the safe side, Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics recommend you drink beverages without ice or add crushed ice whenever possible.
Even with braces, it’s easy to enjoy a healthy, nutritious lunch. For example, make a panini on whole wheat bread with slices of turkey deli meat, a piece of Swiss cheese, and tomato slices. Spread 1 tbsp. of mustard or mayonnaise on the bread before toasting the sandwich in a panini grill. Serve the panini with ½ c. low-fat cottage cheese and a sliced pear or apple for a balanced meal. Then grab a pudding cup or some JELLO for dessert. Wash it all down with water containing a lemon wedge or all-natural fruit juice. Make sure to brush your teeth or rinse with mouthwash after lunch to wash away sugars and food residue that can get trapped in braces and cause decay.
If you have any questions about what you can and can’t eat with braces during your treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics, be sure to ask our team during your next appointment at our Denver, NC office!
February 19th, 2014
Two-phase orthodontic treatment involves two separate and distinct periods that your child receives orthodontic treatment. It allows your son or daughter to begin early treatment of bite and jaw problems, in order to reduce the dental issues he or she experiences later on.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment with Dr. Todd Hamilton can improve how well the second phase of the treatment works and helps to make room for permanent teeth. Overall, two-phase treatment helps to position the teeth and the jaw for an attractive profile. Our team at Hamilton Orthodontics recommends that you bring your child to our Denver, NC office at the age of seven or eight, so that Dr. Todd Hamilton can determine if early (Phase-One) treatment is necessary.
Phase-One orthodontic treatment is known as early treatment. It begins shortly after your child’s first orthodontic examination, usually around age eight or nine. The main goal of Phase-One orthodontic treatment is to help make room for permanent teeth, which reduces crooked teeth as a result of overcrowding. It treats the jaw and bite growth, and issues like crossbite or underbite. This can reduce the need for your child to undergo extractions.
Phase-Two orthodontic treatment is when braces are placed on the upper and/or lower teeth. The purpose is not just to correct spaces or misaligned teeth, but also to correct overbite or underbite concerns. Phase-Two usually begins around age 11 or 12, and the braces are worn for an average of two to three years, depending on your child’s unique needs. Some children have fewer issues and wear braces for little more than a year, while others need them for up to four years.
Signs your child needs two-phase orthodontic treatment
If your child exhibits the following signs, he or she may be a good candidate for two-phase orthodontic treatment:
- Losing baby teeth early, before five years of age
- Problems with biting or chewing
- Sucking the thumb after age five
- Evidence of a crossbite, where the teeth don’t come together when opening or closing of the mouth
- Teeth are crowded at age seven or eight
- Protruding teeth on the top or bottom
Not all children need to have early treatment, but if your child shows any of these signs, you should bring him or her to us for an evaluation at Hamilton Orthodontics.
February 12th, 2014
Did you know the actions leading to the beginnings of Valentine's Day were actually centered on the avoidance of war? A Catholic priest named Valentine defied the orders of the Emperor Claudius II and secretly married young men and their brides after the emperor had declared it illegal because only single, young men could be sent to war. Rather than lose potential soldiers to fight his war, Claudius attempted to hoard them by proclaiming marriage illegal.
Valentine continued to marry young couples anyway and, eventually, was put to death for it in 270 AD. Before his death, he sent a letter to a secret love and signed it “From your Valentine”. Nearly 1,800 years later, people are still signing letters and cards in this manner. This year, carry on the tradition started long ago, while adding your own twist. Here are a few suggestions.
Simple and Creative Valentine's Day Ideas
- Memorialize it with a Photo. Couples often have photos taken around Christmas, but Valentine's Day photos allow you to capitalize on romance. Famous couple Julia Child and her husband, Paul, had their picture taken together every Valentine's Day and included their sense of humor with silly props.
- Return to Your First Date Location. Even if your first date together was at a local hotdog stand, its sentimental value can make it a fun part of your Valentine's Day agenda. Be creative and make a treasure hunt with clues that lead your partner to the original date location, where you can express your love with flowers or a gift.
- “From Your Valentine” Messages. Deliver your message in a creative way to make this Valentine's Day stand out from the others. Bake your partner's favorite treat and write a message on it with a tube of icing, or draw a note on the steamed up mirror so it shows up when your partner takes a shower.
Although Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love, it doesn't have to be a special day only for couples. If you're single, use this special day to shower yourself with love, because you're worth it! After all, the priest Valentine believed so strongly in the sanctity of love that he was willing to risk his life for it. Whether you're in a relationship or single, young or old, romantic or not, Valentine's Day is for you. Happy Valentine’s Day from the orthodontic office of Dr. Todd Hamilton.
February 5th, 2014
Invisalign Teen is designed with today’s youth in mind. These clear, removable orthodontic aligners can straighten your teeth without the need for metal wires and brackets. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign Teen aligners are comfortable, nearly invisible, and removable, which allows you to remove them as you eat your favorite foods and brush and floss your teeth. Invisalign Teen motivates teenagers to enjoy life without restrictions while promoting better overall dental care.
Key features of Invisalign Teen
Teenagers are constantly on the move and require special options when it comes to their braces. Invisalign Teen utilizes the same technology as Invisalign for adults; they consist of a series of clear plastic aligners that gradually move the teeth. Extra features designed especially for teens include:
- Blue wear-indicators on the aligners that gradually fade from blue to clear to help you, and our team, gauge wear time
- Aligners designed to compensate for the growth of molars and new teeth
- Customization to fit your mouth correctly and comfortably
- Removable and nearly transparent to ensure you can eat with freedom and smile with confidence
- Six free individual replacement aligners in the event that your aligners become misplaced or lost
Conditions improved by Invisalign Teen
Between 70 and 80 percent of adolescents in the United States require braces, according to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Invisalign Teen uses advanced technology to treat a broad range of orthodontic conditions. These include overbite, underbite, crossbite, widely-spaced teeth, and overly crowded teeth. Injuries and tooth and jaw problems may also require the use of braces to correct jaw and teeth alignment problems.
How does Invisalign Teen work?
Like any orthodontic treatment, Invisalign Teen requires a customized treatment plan created by Dr. Todd Hamilton. Generally, each set of aligners is worn for approximately two weeks and removed when you brush, floss, eat, and drink. Your teeth will gradually move with the series of aligners, which typically ranges from 18 to 30 aligners in total. You’ll visit our Denver, NC office every eight to ten weeks to check your progress and make any needed adjustments.
Invisalign Teen introduces a whole new way to make your smile straight without the unappealing look and hassle of traditional metal braces. This revolutionary method of correcting smiles is being used by teens everywhere, including right here at Hamilton Orthodontics, to straighten their teeth with confidence.
January 29th, 2014
If Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics have recommended a palatal expander, you might be wondering what it is and how it will help you. A palatal expander is a small appliance fitted in your mouth to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is often used when there is a problem with overcrowding of the teeth or when the upper and lower molars don’t fit together correctly. While it is most commonly used in children, some teens and adults may also need a palatal expander.
Reasons to get a palatal expander
There are several reasons you might need to get a palatal expander:
- Insufficient room for permanent teeth currently erupting
- Insufficient space for permanent teeth still developing which might need extraction in the future
- A back crossbite with a narrow upper arch
- A front crossbite with a narrow upper arch
How long will you need the palatal expander?
On average, patients have the palatal expander for four to seven months, although this is based on the individual and the amount of correction needed. Several months are needed to allow the bone to form and move to the desired width. It is not removable and must remain in the mouth for the entire time.
Does it prevent the necessity for braces?
The palatal expander doesn’t necessarily remove the need for braces in the future, but it can in some cases. Some people only need braces because of a crossbite or overcrowding of the teeth, which a palatal expander can help correct during childhood, when teeth are just beginning to erupt. However, others may eventually need braces if, once all their permanent teeth come in, they have grown in crookedly or with additional spaces between.
If you think your child could benefit from a palatal expander, or want to learn about your own orthodontic treatment options, please feel free to contact our Denver, NC office!
January 22nd, 2014
A lot of patients ask us why Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics work tirelessly to give our patients straight teeth. Of course it’s nice to have a smile full of evenly-aligned teeth, but did you know that straightening your teeth can keep them healthier as well? Straight teeth lead to better oral hygiene, increasing your chances of keeping your own natural teeth for a lifetime!
Straight teeth are also less prone to decay, because they collect less plaque, that sticky colorless substance that forms on our teeth. When you visit Hamilton Orthodontics for your initial consultation, Dr. Todd Hamilton will examine all aspects of your teeth, face, smile, and jaw.
If you’re wondering whether your teeth might cause problems because they are out of alignment, please give us a call to set up an initial orthodontic consultation at our convenient Denver, NC office. Dr. Todd Hamilton can help you decide whether or not you will benefit from orthodontic treatment.
Questions? Give us a call, ask us below or on our Facebook page!
January 15th, 2014
Sticky, hard, and gooey: these candies fill your dopamine receptors with spasms of sugar-filled joy, but if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics to straighten your teeth, then these sweets are not so sweet. While you may have a Willy-Wonka-sized sweet tooth, there are some candies you’re going to have to avoid while wearing braces.
Here are five bracket- and wire-destroying culprits that Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend leaving on the candy aisle and not put in your mouth, no matter how tempting they may be.
- Gum is sticky and stringy. It can get tangled like fishing net in your braces. You don’t want to be that boy or girl trying to pull knots of Wrigley’s out of your braces without being seen.
- All chewy, gooey candies need to be avoided. When you’re wearing braces, don’t even think about putting a caramel candy in your mouth. Caramel will not only stick to your braces, making it look as if you haven’t brushed your teeth in a week, but the gooey texture can pull apart the wires, and trigger an emergency visit to Hamilton Orthodontics.
- Hard candy may seem like a safe choice, but it’s not. What’s the problem? Nobody ever just sucks on hard candy; sooner or later, we bite down on it. Biting a hard candy may cause part of your braces to snap. Furthermore, once the candy is broken into a bunch of little pieces, it’s not uncommon for one of those sugary shards to get wedged between your braces and teeth … and that’s a cavity waiting to happen.
- The taffy you enjoy getting at a seaside boardwalk is going to have to go on the back burner. Like caramel, taffy can pull apart and damage your braces. You don’t want to have your expensive orthodontic gear replaced.
- Please, just one lollipop? Nope. A lollipop is nothing more than hard candy on a stick. If you can’t have hard candy during orthodontic treatment, then you shouldn't have hard candy on a stick either.
Have any more questions about what you can and can’t eat when you have braces? Please give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office to learn more, or ask Dr. Todd Hamilton during your next adjustment visit!
January 8th, 2014
As you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics would like to point you to a helpful website. Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have lots of important information about everything relating to braces, including myths and facts of orthodontics, tips for a better orthodontic experience, and cool webisodes about orthodontics.
Check out AAO today and feel free to contact us at our Denver, NC office if you have any questions.
Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics hope this information helps you!
January 1st, 2014
People have been ushering in the New Year for centuries but it became an official holiday in 1582 when Pope George XIII declared January 1st to be the day on which everyone would celebrate the New Year. At midnight people would yell, holler, and blow horns to scare away the evil spirits of the previous year so the New Year would be joyous and filled with opportunity. Nearly 500 years later, we still greet the New Year by whooping and hollering, but in a celebratory manner instead. Whether you intend to ring in the New Year quietly at home in the Denver, NC area or have plans to join the countdown at a gala extravaganza, these tips can help you ring out the old and usher in the new with a smile.
Tips for a Happy New Year's Eve Celebration from Hamilton Orthodontics
- Be Safe. There's no way to predict the behavior of others on New Year's Eve, but you can be responsible for your own behavior to keep yourself safe. If adult beverages will be part of your celebration, plan on spending the night wherever you are or line up a designated driver to bring you home after the party is over.
- Enjoy Family and Friends. Spending time with the important people in your life is what makes the holidays enjoyable. Coordinate your schedules and choose New Year's Eve activities that everyone in the group will enjoy. You don't have to go to a party to ring in the New Year; some people like to go bowling, see a movie, or have a great meal at home.
- Accessorize with a Smile. Whether you dress up or have a quiet dinner with family and friends, one of the best accessories you can add to your attire is a beautiful smile.
New Year's Eve is a time to gather with friends and family, reflect on the year that's coming to an end, and look forward to the new one with anticipation. Enjoy this transitional holiday in a way that's safe, healthy, and fun. After all, counting down until the clock strikes 12 marks the beginning of a full year of opportunity ahead of you. From Dr. Todd Hamilton, have a great new year!.
December 30th, 2013
You've made an investment on spending money on getting braces, so why not keep your teeth in good health while undergoing orthodontic treatment? Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics will tell you it is just as important to develop a regular hygiene routine while you're wearing braces as you did before proceeding with treatment.
Flossing is essential to the health of your teeth and gums when you're wearing braces. Because braces may hold food, sugars and liquids upon eating, it is very important to keep on top of your brushing and flossing, as well as visiting our office for regular adjustments.
While we know it's tough enough to get kids to floss daily without braces, that battle becomes even tougher when braces are involved. Remember that by not flossing, you will become more prone to cavities and gum disease during your treatment.
When flossing, remember to gently massage your gums in between the teeth. You will find that flossing with braces takes extra time, as you will have to weave the floss through each bracket. When flossing, there should be no signs of blood. If you see blood, you are not flossing enough or properly.
Using an electric toothbrush is also a good idea to massage your gums before or after flossing as electric toothbrushes can help remove any harmful bacteria that are lingering in your mouth. And don't forget to add a mouthwash to your routine to break up any bacteria that has formed. A good mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape during your treatment.
If you have any questions about flossing or your orthodontic treatment at Hamilton Orthodontics please don't hesitate to give us a call or during your next adjustment appointment!
December 19th, 2013
Most parents know that routine dental care should begin during their child’s toddler years. And many assume they must wait until their child has all of his or her permanent teeth to visit Dr. Todd Hamilton for an initial orthodontic consultation.
The ideal age for an orthodontic evaluation is age seven. At that age, your child will have a mixture of adult and baby teeth for Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team at Hamilton Orthodontics to make a determination about whether any problems are present. Typically the first molars have come in by the time your child turns seven, giving us an opportunity to check for malocclusion, also known as “bad bite.” Also, by the time your child reaches the age of seven, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites, and open bites can be detected.
When Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team perform an evaluation on your child at an early age, you get one of two positive outcomes. Although treatment usually will not begin until one to five years after the initial evaluation, it’s still helpful in determining whether your child has any problems with the jaw and teeth early when they are still easy to treat. Earlier treatment can also cost less to correct a potential problem than delayed treatment.
Early evaluation, of course, may signal a need for early treatment. For some children, early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and are detrimental to good oral hygiene.
If your child is approaching age seven, or has already surpassed his or her seventh birthday, it is time to schedule an appointment for an initial examination at Hamilton Orthodontics.
December 11th, 2013
One exciting part about wearing braces from Hamilton Orthodontics is getting to choose the colors of your rubber bands. Orthodontists place elastic bands, or ligatures, over each bracket to secure the archwire in place. These rubber bands may be individual or connected, depending on your mouth’s needs. From Dr. Todd Hamilton, you have the option of choosing the color of your elastics, which are changed about once every month at every visit. Our offices keep a color wheel handy to help you choose which ones suit you best!
Children and teens often enjoy picking different colors each month to express their creativity and coordinate their braces with outfits. Decorating your mouth with your favorite colors is fun for kids and takes some of the stress out of wearing braces. Adults who wish for subtlety have color options that blend in with the metal brackets and archwire. Common choices for adults include silver, clear, and gray tones.
Common Color Combinations for Rubber Bands
With individual ligatures for each bracket, you may choose different color combinations for special events. You can have alternating colors or place an entire rainbow over your teeth. Here are a few options to consider:
- School spirit colors
- Favorite sports team colors
- Patriotic colors
- Holiday themes
Some patients choose only one color to match their mood, personality, or favorite outfits. The palette of choices allows you to make bold statements with your braces or go for subtler tones that blend in with the metal structures. Keep in mind that bright colors make your teeth look whiter, while lighter shades, such as yellow and white, may cause your teeth to appear less bright.
What Your Rubber Band Color Says About You
- Red tones indicate that you are ready for action and take charge of your life with aggressive, forward-thinking steps.
- Blue tones are calm and relaxing. You are conservative and exhibit integrity when dealing with situations.
- Green tones represent growth and balance. You are level-headed and look for opportunities to grow emotionally and spiritually.
- Purple tones attract creative energies. You like to have fun and use your imagination in every aspect of your life.
- Orange tones indicate that you are optimistic and thrive in social situations where communication is open.
- Pink is a romantic color that represents a caring personality. You also enjoy having fun with silly games and endless laughter.
December 4th, 2013
As more people turn to bottled water and away from the tap, they may be missing out on one important ingredient that most brands of bottled water fail to include: fluoride! Because fluoride helps strengthen teeth, it is an important component of maintaining good oral health. Our friends at the American Dental Association have endorsed both community water fluoridation and the use of fluoride-containing products as a safe means of preventing tooth decay.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also warned that “bottled water may not have a sufficient amount of fluoride, which is important for preventing tooth decay and promoting oral health.” If you are avoiding fluoridated tap water in favor of ever-more-popular bottled water, you could be missing out on the levels of fluoride necessary to make a difference in your oral health. One 2012 study in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that more than 65 percent of parents using bottled water did not know what levels of fluoride it contained.
If bottled water happens to be your or your children’s beverage of choice, check the label to make sure your brand contains fluoride. Of course, simply drinking fluoridated water is not a magic ticket to perfect teeth. To keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape, it’s important to brush and floss daily and avoid sugary sweets, in addition to maintaining your fluoride intake.
Questions about fluoride? Give us a call at our convenient Denver, NC office! We look forward to hearing from you!
November 27th, 2013
At Hamilton Orthodontics, we love to celebrate the holidays with vigor! Dr. Todd Hamilton would love to share some unique ways of celebrating Thanksgiving from beyond the Denver, NC area to the national level!
When Americans sit down to dinner on the last Thursday of November, the day that Abraham Lincoln designated as the day on which Thanksgiving would be celebrated, they do so thinking that the first Thanksgiving feast was held at Plymouth in 1621. According to National Geographic, the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez Coronado and his men celebrated a feast of Thanksgiving in Texas in 1541, giving Texas the distinction of being the first place where Thanksgiving was celebrated.
Different Types of Celebrations
Native Americans had rituals around which they celebrated in hopes of ensuring a bountiful harvest. The Cherokees had a Green Corn Dance that they did for this very purpose. The Pilgrims (not to be confused with the Puritans,) rejected any type of public religious display. They held a three-day long non-religious Thanksgiving feast. Although they said grace, the focus of their celebration was on feasting, drinking alcohol (they did have beer,) and playing games.
The Pilgrims at the Plymouth Plantation celebrated a different day of Thanksgiving in 1623. Plagued by a crop-destroying drought, the settlers prayed for relief. They even fasted. A few days later, they got the rain they so desperately needed. Soon thereafter, they received another blessing when Captain Miles Standish came with staples they couldn't otherwise get. He also told them that a Dutch supply ship was en route. In gratitude for the abundance of good fortune, the Plymouth settlers celebrated a day of prayer and Thanksgiving on June 30, 1623.
The Story of Squanto
No discussion of Thanksgiving is complete without a discussion of Squanto, or Tisquantum, as he was known among his people, the Patuxet Indians. It is believed that he was born sometime around 1580. As he returned to his village after a long journey, he and several other Native Americans were kidnapped by Jamestown colonist, Thomas Hunt. Hunt put them on a ship heading to Spain where they were to be sold into slavery.
As fate would have it, some local friars rescued him and many of the other kidnapped natives. Squanto was educated by the friars. Eventually, after asking for freedom so he could return to North America, he ended up in London where he spent time working as a ship builder. By 1619, he was finally able to get passage on a ship headed to New England with other Pilgrims.
Upon arriving at Plymouth Rock, he learned that his entire tribe was wiped out by diseases that accompanied earlier settlers from Europe. In gratitude for passage on their ship, he helped them set up a settlement on the very land where his people once lived. They called the settlement Plymouth. Since they knew nothing about how to survive, let alone how to find food, Squanto taught them everything, from how to plant corn and other crops, how to fertilize them, how and where to get fish and eels and much more.
After a devastating winter during which many settlers died, thanks to Squanto's teaching, they had an abundant harvest. After that harvest, they honored him with a feast. It is this feast of 1621 which was celebrated between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians that is widely considered the first Thanksgiving celebration.
About the Meal of the Plymouth Settlers
Surviving journals of Edward Winslow that are housed at Plymouth Plantation indicate that the first Thanksgiving feast was nothing like what Americans eat today. The meal consisted of venison, various types of wild fowl (including wild turkey,) and Indian corn. There were no cranberries, stuffing, pumpkin pie, potatoes, or any of the other “traditional” foods that appear on modern menus.
Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, the day that Abraham Lincoln designated as the holiday. It is still a day of feasting, and for some, a day of prayer and thanksgiving. For others, it is a celebration of gathering, especially for families. Still others may celebrate in entirely different ways, including watching college football bowl games, or by playing family games.
If you ever wonder why you're so tired after the Thanksgiving meal, it's because turkey contains an amino acid, tryptophan, and it sets off chemicals whose chain reaction combine to make people sleepy.
November 20th, 2013
While they may sound refreshing, especially after participating in sports activities or after a jog, recent studies suggest that energy and sports drinks can damage tooth enamel, thus elevating your cavity risk. These drinks are especially popular among our younger patients.
In the study, researchers analyzed the fluoride content and pH levels of 13 sports and nine energy drinks by soaking tooth enamel samples in the aforementioned drinks. The samples were soaked for 15 minutes in each drink, and then were soaked for two hours in artificial saliva four times a day for five days.
As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1 percent to 1.5 percent).
Yes, there are health benefits to consuming orange juice, fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavored waters, which can contain valuable ingredients such as vitamin C and other antioxidants; these drinks can also replenish nutrients lost during a sporting event and lower the chance of heart disease and cancer. But, if not consumed carefully, these beverages can harm your teeth. They are full of sugar, which converts to acid and wears away at your teeth, causing cavities, sensitivity, and eventually tooth loss.
Even one drink a day is potentially harmful, but if you are absolutely unable to give up that sports or energy drink habit, we encourage you to minimize their use and rinse with water afterward or chew a sugar-free piece of gum. Do not brush immediately after drinking them; softened enamel due to acid is easier to damage, even when brushing. Remember, it takes your mouth approximately 30 minutes to bring its pH level back to normal. The best thing to do is to wait an hour, then brush to remove sugar that lingers on your teeth and gums.
There are many sports drinks, energy drinks, and flavored waters out there today. Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team recommend you take the time to read the labels. Check for sugar content and citric acid in the ingredients. If you have any questions, or would like suggestions on the best sports drink options, please give us a call at our Denver, NC office or ask us during your next visit!
November 13th, 2013
We hear this question a lot at Hamilton Orthodontics, and we don’t mind when patients who are eager to complete their orthodontic treatment ask us. After all, we know there is no better feeling than getting your braces off!
During your initial consultation with Dr. Todd Hamilton, we will map out a specific treatment for you and will try our hardest to give you a timeline of when we expect you to wrap up treatment.
Having said that, we know every patient is different. People have different biological responses to orthodontic treatment and some people’s teeth may move faster than others.
Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure your treatment wraps up in a timely manner. By following these suggestions, you can avoid any setbacks during your treatment.
- Make sure to keep your adjustment appointments. Postponing or cancelling will delay treatment!
- Be sure to show up on time to your appointments. This will give Dr. Todd Hamilton and our team time to do everything we planned during your adjustment visit.
- When prescribed, make sure you are diligent about wearing rubber bands or other appliances.
- Avoid damage to your braces and teeth by wearing a mouth guard during sports activities.
- Make sure to brush and floss regularly! Gum disease or other dental work can delay orthodontic treatment.
If you remember to follow these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to having the dazzling, healthy smile you’ve always wanted. As for us, our team at Hamilton Orthodontics will do our part to move your orthodontic treatment along efficiently. If you have any questions about your treatment time, please give us a call at our Denver, NC office or ask us during your next visit!
November 6th, 2013
Orthodontists and dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. Dentistry is a broad medical specialty that deals with the teeth, gum, nerves, and jaw, while orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on correcting bites, occlusion, and the straightness of teeth. One important difference is that all orthodontists like Dr. Todd Hamilton are dentists, but not all dentists are licensed orthodontists.
How are they similar?
The main similarity between a dentist and orthodontist is that they both focus on oral care. An orthodontist can work in a dental office and provide the same care as a dentist. So in this respect, they are quite similar. They are both considered doctors, and deal with the teeth and gums.
How are they different?
There are more differences than similarities. An orthodontist requires additional schooling as a dental specialty; the situation is similar to a doctor who obtains additional schooling to become a surgeon. Another difference is that orthodontists specialize in helping patients with the alignment of their teeth, improving their bite, or fitting them for corrective braces and devices. If a patient has an overbite, a dentist will refer him or her to an orthodontist.
Dentists typically encourage good oral hygiene and provide services related to:
- Tooth decay
- Root canals
- Gum disease
- Teeth whitening
Orthodontists are dentists that specialize in the alignment of teeth, and provide services related to:
- Misaligned teeth
- Crowded teeth
What an orthodontist can help with
Orthodontists help with crooked teeth, but they assist patients with other issues as well. These include overbites and underbites, crossbites, spaces between teeth, overcrowding of teeth, and the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Additional problems with the jaw also need to be treated by an orthodontist.
While a dentist may be trained to provide orthodontic care in addition to extractions, TMJ treatments, and fillings, trusting your smile to an orthodontist can better balance the different procedures you require.
To learn more about the difference between dentists and orthodontists, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Todd Hamilton, please give our team at Hamilton Orthodontics a call at our convenient Denver, NC office.
November 5th, 2013
October 31st, 2013
October 28th, 2013
The team at Hamilton Orthodontics has been wearing our "Braced for a Cure" buttons every day, and on October 10th we all dressed in pink! We were also able to participate in Hopewell High's pink night by giving out foam fingers. Check out our favorite photos, and feel free to share your own with us!
Click photos to enlarge:
October 16th, 2013
October 3rd, 2013
October 1st, 2013
October 1st, 2013
October 1st, 2013
We always have plenty to celebrate at Hamilton Orthodontics!
Our Clinical Coordinator, Allison, recently shared her birthday with us. She's been part of our family for 25 years now! In her spare time she enjoys shopping for high heels and handbags, and says that "lipstick fixes everything!" We're happy to have Allison on our team, and glad she shared her birthday with us!
July 1st, 2013
May 13th, 2013
March 14th, 2013
Millions of people wear green on St. Patrick’s Day so they can show their spirit for the holiday and avoid getting pinched. While it may be easy for you to throw on a green shirt, sport a St. Patrick’s Day button, or wear a pair of emerald-hued shoes, if you’re an avid St. Patty’s Day enthusiast you may want to try something different this year. Our office thought of a few ideas that will help you take your holiday spirit to the next level:
Visit Chicago’s Green River
If you happen to be near the Windy City during St. Patrick’s Day or you’re thinking of planning a trip, don’t miss out on going downtown to watch the large-scale celebration that kicks off when the city dyes the river bright green. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago has been celebrating the holiday with this tradition for more than 50 years, with tens of thousands of people gathering annually to witness the mysterious dying process and the stunning result.
Don Green Face Paint
Just like an avid sports fan on game day, you can use green face paints to showcase your enthusiasm for this holiday. Avoid breakouts or allergic reactions by only using paints that are specifically meant to be applied to the skin. A little bit of face paint can cover a large area, so feel free to get creative and decorate the whole family on St. Patrick’s Day.
Eat Green All Day
Not a fan of green eggs and ham? With the increasing popularity of green smoothies, there’s no better time to get in on this health craze. To create a green smoothie without the aid of food coloring, you can simply blend a generous amount of a leafy green vegetable, such as spinach or kale, with the ingredients that you would typically use to make a smoothie, like fruit, ice, milk, or juice. Keep the trend going throughout the day by using those same vegetables to create a green soup, egg salad, or a batch of bright green pastries. As an added bonus, you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamins without changing the taste of most of these foods.
If your old holiday routine has gotten stale, leave your green T-shirt in the drawer and try one or all of these tips. Don’t be surprised if you have so much fun that you decide to start a new, annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition! Have a happy St. Paddy’s day!
February 1st, 2013
From your very first visit to our office, we strive to provide superior treatment in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. We are always updating our office with the most advanced and up-to-date technologies and methods and are here to get to know you personally and find out how we might make your visit a wonderful one!
We thought we’d ask you, our wonderful patients: Have you been especially impressed by our work? Did our team go out of their way to make your day? Are you in love with your smile?
Whether you’ve just come in for a one appointment or your family has been visiting our office for years, we’d love to hear your feedback below. Or, you can tell us by posting on our Facebook page!
November 6th, 2012
While braces play an important part in helping to create a healthy mouth and teeth, you might experience a few side effects while wearing them that are common and can be easily treated.
Even with the best of care, braces can cause soreness to your mouth. As your teeth begin to move, it is natural for your teeth to feel aches and your jaw to develop soreness.
If there are broken wires or loose bands on your braces, a sore tongue, mouth, or canker sore will occur. Canker sores are a common occurrence when braces rub inside the mouth. There are ointments available to reduce the pain and irritation associated with mouth sores. If you experience a sore mouth or any of the following problems, call our office to schedule an appointment.
• Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket temporarily. You might also apply a little between the braces and the soft tissue of your mouth.
• Loose bands: These must be secured in place by our office. Try to save the band for repair.
• Protruding or broken wires: The eraser end of a pencil can be used to move the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If you are unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax to the tip. If a mouth sore develops, rinse with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.
• Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned and sometimes replaced.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods can also help or hurt you while you’re wearing braces. Remember to cut your food into small pieces that can be easily chewed. You will want to avoid hard and chewy foods that can break your hardware. Foods such as corn on the cob, nuts, carrots, apples, ice, and bubble gum should be avoided.
Braces, rubber bands, springs, and other mouth appliances associated with braces will normally attract food particles and plaque. Without the proper care, this could cause staining of your teeth.
We recommend brushing after every meal or snack and carefully removing any food that might be lodged in the braces. A fluoride mouthwash might be helpful as well as flossing. At your next appointment, we can advise you how to floss with a brush specially designed for braces!
November 2nd, 2012
Everyone wants a naturally aligned and beautiful smile, and it is no secret that orthodontic braces can help deliver one. However, there are greater benefits to wearing braces than just having straight teeth. You’ll gain many oral health benefits in addition to the cosmetic ones.
Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Crooked or crowded teeth may overlap each other and create tight spaces in between. These can make it very difficult to brush and floss effectively, allowing bacteria and plaque to build up, and eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. With orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become properly aligned and spaced, which allows for more effective brushing.
Difficulties with Speech
Your teeth play an essential role in speech. When they are out of line or lean too far forward or backward, this can affect your speaking patterns, and possibly cause embarrassment and frustration. Braces can readjust the positioning of the teeth to allow for clearer, more professional speech.
Bone and gum tissues begin to erode when there are no teeth to support. This is also true for poorly aligned teeth that leave gaps and spaces or place too much pressure on the jawbone due to a bad bite. With braces, the bones and tissues are less likely to erode and can continue to support the teeth in their new alignment.
Your teeth play an important role in digestion. Before food ever enters your stomach, it has been partially digested by the teeth. If teeth are severely out of line, however, they may not play their role in breaking down food as effectively as they should. With braces, your teeth will be straightened into optimal alignment for eating and chewing.
December 14th, 2011
Did you know one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult? We’re living longer and technology is improving, making orthodontic treatment an appealing and safe option for patients of all ages. As the trend toward treatment later in life grows, we’re seeing braces on parents as well as children – and even adult celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani and Nicholas Cage have shown off their braces. It’s never too late to look and feel your best with Hamilton Orthodontics!
Can Braces Work for Adults?
People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment with Dr. Todd Hamilton. The physical process for moving teeth is the same, young or old, which means it’s never too late to address issues such as an overbite or underbite, crooked or crowded teeth, or jaw disorders.
How Do I Get Started?
If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, we’ll make a consultation appointment with you. During this meeting we will perform a general assessment of your oral health, discuss options for treatment, and answer any questions you may have. We will also discuss matters of cost and insurance. The next step is an orthodontic records appointment in which we take x-rays, photos, and an impression of your teeth. This information drives your unique treatment plan.
What Are the Benefits?
Straightening your teeth can improve your smile, your self-esteem, and your dental health. Technologically advanced new treatments make it easier to identify the option that best fits your lifestyle. Modern techniques and materials have made braces and aligners more effective, comfortable and unobtrusive than ever.
If you think you might benefit from orthodontic treatment, give Hamilton Orthodontics a call, so we may set up a consultation to determine what type of treatment best meets your needs.
November 3rd, 2011
Happy November, everybody! Believe it or not, we’re almost in full holiday mode! But before our team at Hamilton Orthodontics, forget about the spooky month that was, we’d like to know how you celebrated Halloween! What did you wear? How much candy did you get? Did you have fun?
If you have any photos or videos that you would like to share with us, please send them our way or feel free to post them on our Facebook page!
We hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween! Also, what are you up to this month? Anything exciting happening in your life? If so, we’d love to hear all about it!
Lastly, have you been in for a dental checkup lately? It’s important that you see your general dentist, as well as visiting Dr. Todd Hamilton while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you have questions about your orthodontic treatment or just want some general information, give us a call or ask us during your next visit!
October 27th, 2011
It’s almost that spooky time of year again and Denver orthodontist, Dr. Todd Hamilton, and our team thought we’d share some Halloween tips from our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists.
Trick-or-treating safety guidelines:
• Young children should always be accompanied by an adult
• Carry a flashlight
• Wear a light-colored or reflective costume
• Choose face paint over masks for young ghosts and goblins
• Have an adult inspect all treats before the children dig in
To protect your braces, steer clear of the following Halloween treats, or recipes with these ingredients:
• All hard candies
• All chewy candies
• Jelly beans
• Hard pretzels
• Popcorn (including unpopped kernels)
Of course, Halloween does not have to be completely treat-less. Braces-friendly Halloween treats can help you enjoy the “spook-ta-cular” holiday. For example, plain chocolate candy is okay, provided you remember to brush and floss afterwards. Bobbing for apples as well as caramel apples are not recommended. However, you can enjoy thinly sliced apples, dipped in yogurt or creamy chocolate sauce.
Dr. Hamilton suggests looking for foods that are soft, such as soft chocolate that can melt in one’s mouth or peanut butter cups. Overall, candies that aren’t sticky, chewy, hard or crunchy are generally acceptable.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN from the entire team at Hamilton Orthodontics!