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Back in the day we weren’t exactly spoiled for choice when it came to teeth straightening options. In fact, your only choice up until recent years (1999, to be exact) was metal braces. Nowadays, we have the freedom of choice.

Should you choose Invisalign over braces? Well, that really is up to you, the timeframe you’d like to straighten your teeth in, and your budget, of course. 

If you’re looking to straighten your teeth, correct a crowded mouth, or bite abnormalities, Invisalign could be just right for you. To learn more about why Invisalign could be a better option than traditional braces, keep on reading. 

Why Should You Straighten Your Teeth Anyway? 

Aside from creating a beautiful smile, teeth straightening has a number of oral health benefits — it’s not all cosmetic. Correcting a crossbite, overbite, or an underbite, for one, can help to eliminate jaw problems and pain. 

By evening out overcrowded teeth, you can also benefit from improved dental health as it makes it easier to brush and floss teeth thoroughly. This keeps gum disease and tooth decay at bay. 

Teeth straightening can also help with speech issues, such as lisp impediments caused by overcrowded teeth or jaw problems. 

Why Choose Invisalign Over Braces? 

Invisalign made its way onto the market about 22 years ago. Since then, it has revolutionized the type of orthodontic care offered to patients across the globe. With its patented technology, Invisalign has become the teeth straightening method of choice for both children and adults alike. 

Here are some of the standout benefits and why you might want to choose Invisalign over metal braces

1. Invisalign Is Removable 

Why is this a big deal? Simply because metal braces are completely fixed to your teeth with dental cement and a network of wires. This puts a limit on the types of foods you can eat, and also makes them difficult to clean. 

Yes, you have to wear your aligners for an average of 22 hours per day. But the upside is that you can remove them at any time. This means you have the freedom to eat and drink whatever you want. If you’re feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable you can pop them out at any time. 

The only thing you must remember to do is brush your teeth after you eat and rinse your aligners before putting them back in. Invisalign is also very easy to clean. You can start with just rinsing them throughout the day. Then soak them in a cleaning solution and gently scrub them with a toothbrush at night. 

All in all, Invisalign decreases your risk of developing tooth decay or gum infection because of how hygienic they are. 

2. Invisalign Is Comfortable 

The clear aligners are made from polyurethane plastic resin, so this means you won’t have a mouth full of metal to contend with. The efficient, patented material was designed with mouthfeel and comfort in mind. 

Not only is this material 100 percent safe to use, but it moves with the teeth in a precision-like fashion, without excessive amounts of tooth pain or sensitivity.

Your dentist will take a mold of your mouth and ensure the clear aligners match your specific diagnosis. They fit snugly around your teeth so you won’t have to worry about them digging into your gums or falling out, either. 

3. It’s Discreet, Subtle, and Professional 

There’s a reason why Invisalign has become so popular with young adults and professionals today. The aligners are almost invisible and make for a completely discreet and subtle means of teeth straightening when compared to braces. 

Basically, you can wear your Invisalign throughout your workday and not worry about them. They are ideal for all types of career professionals. They are also a great choice for teens who may be self-conscious about their smiles, too. 

Today, there is the option of choosing Invisalign Teen which is specifically designed to suit the growing mouths of children.

4. It’s Effective and Offers Proven Results 

The Invisalign design team has invested years of research into product development. So, it’s not likely that you’ll find a more reliable orthodontic tool on the market today. Not-to-mention, millions of dollars on product adjustment to ensure Invisalign offers proven, efficient results. 

Invisalign utilizes a specific type of technology known as SmartTrack™ plastic, as well as SmartForce™ attachments. As a result, these clear aligners offer faster tooth movement than any other clear aligner brand today.  

Yes, braces are an effective tool for treating a huge variety of teeth conditions. But Invisalign may be even more effective in treating specific conditions, such as open bites, for example. However, this depends on the advice of your orthodontist. 

5. You Won’t Need to Visit Your Orthodontist as Often

When you opt for Invisalign treatment your orthodontist will set out a predicted timeline and follow a series of custom-made aligners. Each set of aligners is swapped out every two weeks for the next set in the series. 

Most of the time you’ll receive a few sets in advance as well as instructions on when to swap out your aligners. All in all, this means you can maintain your Invisalign treatment from home and won’t need to physically go into your orthodontist’s office that often. 

You will only need to visit your orthodontist every 3 months or so to collect your next series of aligners. Whereas with braces, you might need to visit your orthodontist every month!  

6. You Can Whiten and Straighten Your Teeth Simultaneously 

This is yet another brilliant perk of Invisalign. The clear aligner trays can double as teeth whitening trays while you wear them throughout the night during your sleep. 

You simply apply a specialized and orthodontist-approved teeth whitening gel to the inside of your aligner trays. Then pop them in for a quick and efficient tooth whitening treatment overnight. 

7. The Entire Treatment Process Is Shorter 

As a general rule of thumb, most people have to wear braces for a period of 18 months to 2 years for full and effective treatment. The great thing about Invisalign is that the entire treatment process takes half, if not a quarter of the time. 

Due to their specialized design and technology, you can complete an entire Invisalign treatment from start to end in as little as 6 months. However, this does depend on your unique case, and how often you wear your aligners, too. 

8. It’s Not as Expensive as You Think 

Many people are under the impression that Invisalign is just not affordable, or that it’s far more expensive than braces. But the reality is that an entire Invisalign treatment costs almost the same as the extent of metal braces. 

To add to this, if your insurance offers orthodontic coverage, it should cover the cost or partial cost of Invisalign, much the same as it would with traditional braces. 

Looking for a Family Dentist You Can Rely On? 

So, should you choose Invisalign over braces? At the end of the day, this choice is highly personal. But if the above benefits were enough to sway you, then it’s best to get started with your Invisalign journey sooner, rather than later. 

At Webster Family Dentistry your oral health is our priority. Whether you’re looking for cosmetic, restorative, or preventative dentistry, we’d love to meet you! 

Get in touch with our practice if you’re based in the Webster Groves region and we’d be happy to schedule your next visit. 

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What if every meal was putting your teeth in danger?

There are plenty of common foods that stain teeth. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what these foods are until it’s too late!

That’s why we put together this simple guide. Keep reading to learn about seven common foods that are likely to stain your teeth!

1. Coffee

Most of us begin our morning with a warm cup of coffee. And coffee can provide a powerful “pick me up” throughout the day if your energy is lagging.

Unfortunately, coffee is one of the primary foods that you can count on to stain teeth. And the blacker the coffee, the more your teeth are at risk.

The good news is that you can counteract this by lightening your coffee up. Throw some milk in your morning coffee to enjoy a bit of extra calcium and Vitamin D along with whiter teeth.

2. Cola

It’s possible to lighten your black coffee up and avoid those annoying stains. But one drink you can’t really lighten up is cola.

The dark color of cola is enough to stain your teeth. And the temperature (cola is usually served ice cold) can make your teeth contract, making staining that much more likely.

If that’s not bad enough, things like citrus and phosphoric acids in your cola encourage tooth decay. When it comes to tooth color and health, you are better off switching most of your colas for seltzers or other alternative drinks.

3. Tea

Speaking of alternative drinks, many drink tea as a seemingly healthier alternative to coffee or cola. Sadly, tea is also very likely to stain your teeth!

This is mostly due to the tannins in the tea. And as with the other drinks, the darker teas are the ones likeliest to stain teeth.

That means it is best to skip out on teas like Earl Gray (sorry, Captain Picard). Instead, try out some white, green, and herbal teas to enjoy the flavor and calming benefits of tea while minimizing the risk of staining teeth.

4. Popsicles

You are likelier to consume certain kinds of food in different seasons. For example, on a warm summer’s day, it can be very tempting to cool down with a tasty popsicle.

However, anyone who has ever eaten a popsicle (or a slushie, for that matter) knows that these colorful treats are likely to turn their tongue a different color. And anything that can stain your tongue can easily stain your teeth!

You can always swap those popsicles for safer treats such as lemon ice or even some sugarless gum. But if you absolutely have to have a popsicle, make sure that’s a “sometimes food” unless you want bright and colorful teeth.

5. Tomato Sauce

There is nothing quite like Italian food. And most Italian dishes don’t come to life until you add some kind of tomato sauce (we’re partial to some homemade marinara).

However, if you eat enough Italian dishes, you eventually discover how easily tomato sauce can stain your clothes. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to discover that these delicious tomato-based sauces can also stain your teeth.

We would never tell you to skip the marinara or Bolognese when you’re tucking into your favorite Italian dishes. But if you can eat some kind of spinach, salad, or broccoli appetizer ahead of time, you can protect your teeth from these annoying stains.

6. Candy

If you’re looking to avoid staining teeth, we’ve got some bad news: pretty much all candy and sweets is your enemy.

That’s mostly because of the different colors of candy. Much like popsicles, any candy that stains your tongue is pretty much guaranteed to stain your teeth. 

Fortunately, candy doesn’t pose a major tooth-staining risk unless you are eating it all the time (which you shouldn’t be doing). If you ease up on the candy and maybe brush up after you eat those sweets, then your teeth should be fine.

7. Curry

If you enjoy Indian food, then you are likely to enjoy curry. And if you enjoy spicy food, then curry may be one of your favorite foods on the planet.

Unfortunately, that bright yellow curry will definitely stain your teeth. After you finish your dish, your teeth are likely to look just as yellow as the curry itself!

There is no real way to avoid this, so you should focus on what you can do after eating. Brushing your teeth would be the ideal move, but even gargling a bit of water in the bathroom of the restaurant can help you avoid stains.

8. Soy Sauce

Do you enjoy Chinese and Japanese cuisine? If so, you know what it’s like to reach for the soy sauce.

In small doses, soy sauce can help to bring out the flavor of the dish. But that dark soy sauce can easily stain your teeth if you go overboard with it.

As with most of the foods on this list, “moderation” is the name of the game. Instead of dousing your food with soy sauce, just use it in small amounts.

Honestly, this is a good move for your overall health as well as the appearance of your teeth. Soy sauce is chock full of sodium, and it’s easy to consume more sodium than is healthy for your body if you use too much of the soy sauce.

Avoiding Foods That Stain Teeth: Your Next Move

Now you know about the different foods that stain teeth very easily. But do you know who can help keep your teeth looking and feeling amazing?

At Webster Family Dental, we are basically your “one stop shop” for dental needs. From simple cleanings to root canals to tooth whitening, we’ve got your different needs covered.

Want to discover what we can do for your teeth? All you have to do is contact us today!

Mother Daughter Brushing teeth

While many people think of oral health issues as a problem that comes with age, this is not the case. 20% of children between the ages of 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth, which can cause discomfort and a plethora of other health issues. These problems include gum disease, headaches, and jaw problems that stem from biting down on food incorrectly.

Clearly, dental care for kids is important, and the main aspect of this is tooth brushing. But what can you do to make brushing more palatable for reluctant little ones? Read on to learn the answer to this question and to get some expert strategies for making teeth-brushing time more fun.

1. Brush Your Teeth Together

Children- especially small children- love to imitate the adults in their life. They view the things that you do as mature, sophisticated, and interesting, and they believe that mimicking your movements will make them develop these qualities as well.

This means that setting an example and brushing your teeth at the same time as your child does will make brushing time more fun for them. They will be happy to imitate your movements so that they can feel like an adult themselves. This strategy is great because it motivates you to brush properly as well!

2. Play Fun Music

Children tend to struggle with brushing their teeth for a long enough period of time. Even when they do decide to brush, it could last for only 10 seconds before they get bored and decide that they’re done. This is clearly insufficient, so you need to give them something fun to do for the entire interval that they should be brushing.

A favorite song can do just that. Turn on a tune that your child likes and brush your teeth for the interval that that song plays in. This will generally give your child anywhere between 2-4 minutes of brushing time and allow them to reach into every part of their mouth.

3. Get a Cool Toothbrush

It can be tempting to get your child an adult toothbrush- they’re cheap, easy to access, and come in packs that you can use as well. However, in a child’s mind, these toothbrushes are incredibly boring. They’re usually unicolor and have no fun print on them besides a brand name that kids don’t care about.

Luckily, they do manufacture toothbrushes that kids are sure to love. If your child loves Disney princesses, you can find a Mulan or Cinderella toothbrush at any department store. The same applies to other favorite characters like Toy Story, Cars, Hello Kitty, and more.

4. Make Games and Tell Stories

Kids are incredibly imaginative and they love to play games. You can make tooth-brushing into a kind of game with them where you bring in a favorite toy or doll and brush its teeth before moving onto their own.

If your child is too old for that or seems disinterested, you can play hide-and-seek with their toothbrush and toothpaste. Having them play a game of treasure hunt of hot-and-cold to find it is something that they may look forward to and associate with brushing time. This will put them in a good mood and give them a positive mindset about oral hygiene.

5. Offer Fun Rewards

Children often don’t feel like they’re getting any benefits from brushing their teeth, which makes them understandably reluctant to do so. In their mind, it’s a waste of time at best and an unpleasant bad-tasting activity at worst. However, offering them a small reward can help them view tooth-brushing as a chore that they get something out of.

Daily rewards can be something as simple as a sticker or interestingly-shaped rubber eraser (they come in bulk packs at the dollar store and kids love them.) You can also set up a larger weekly reward for brushing twice a day, such as a dinner at a favorite restaurant or an extra hour of iPad time.

6. Switch Up Toothpaste Flavors

Everyone has tried using a toothpaste that they don’t like before, and it really puts a damper on brushing time. Even adults procrastinate and outright avoid brushing when their toothpaste tastes bad or has some weird, awful texture. Children, as is to be expected, will also avoid this but on a much larger scale.

Ask your child directly if they like the toothpaste that they’re using. If they say ‘no,’ take them to the store and let them select an alternative that they think they might like. Check in again a couple of weeks later (make sure that you give them time to adjust and get used to the new toothpaste). Repeat the process if they still dislike their toothpaste.

7. Be Encouraging

Children love to receive praise because they value the opinions of their parents. Cheering your child on while they brush their teeth is a great way to make them feel good about the activity. Stand by and tell them when they do something specifically good while brushing such as hitting spots on both sides of their mouth or brushing their tongue.

Offering them a sincere ‘good job’ after they finish brushing is sometimes all that it takes to turn oral hygiene maintenance from a chore to an opportunity to please.

Get Professional Dental Care for Kids

While frequent brushing is important for children, seeing a professional twice a year is also critical to pediatric oral health. Scheduling an appointment with your local dentist ensures that your child will get the dental care that they need to maintain their adorable smile.

Schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable dental professionals. We offer both preventative and restorative dentistry solutions so little ones can get the care that they need. Feel free to also browse our webpage if you want more information before scheduling and to contact us with any remaining questions that you may have.