Great Holiday Goodies to Enjoy with Braces

From our team here at Hutta & Hutta Orthodontics, we want to wish you a very happy holiday season! We hope you have the opportunity to relax, spend some quality time with friends and family, and enjoy some delicious holiday food. Even though you’ll be surrounded by the temptation to eat sticky, chewy goodies that could damage your braces, don’t worry! There are still plenty of ways to safely indulge in holiday treats this season.  

There are so many holiday goodies that have our orthodontists’ seal of approval. Here are some great options for a braces-friendly winter treat:

  • Soft sugar cookies: A classic holiday treat, soft cookies with soft frosting (no hard sprinkle beads or candy on top!) are perfect treats for those with braces. Just be sure to avoid cookies that are hard, crunchy, or loaded with nuts and hard toppings.
  • Potato pancakes (latkes): These traditional holiday treats are soft, easy on the teeth, and delicious!
  • Holiday cheese balls and logs: As long as you avoid any nuts, holiday cheese balls are safe for braces. An added bonus—cheese is a dental superfood! Cheese helps balance the pH level of your mouth, minimizing your risk of developing cavities. Cheese is also rich in phosphates and calcium, which helps strengthen your teeth and bones.
  • Hot chocolate: Hot chocolate is a sweet winter treat with your orthodontists’ seal of approval. If you’re really missing candy canes this holiday season, try a peppermint flavored hot cocoa mix! But, save the marshmallows for next year–even though they’re soft, they can easily get caught in your orthodontic appliances because of their sticky consistency.
  • Soft pies: Pumpkin, apple, and chocolate pies are all totally safe to consume with braces. However, pie crusts or nut toppings may be problematic for orthodontics.
  • Pudding: You might have to steer clear of sticky toffee this holiday season, but you can always enjoy some toffee pudding. Since puddings are so soft, they won’t cause any damage to your orthodontic appliances.
  • Soft dinner rolls: When you’re scanning the holiday dinner table, soft dinner rolls are a safe bet for your braces. If you want to be extra careful, tear up the rolls into small, bite-sized pieces. 

Even though you have braces, you won’t have to miss out on all the delicious treats this holiday season! Just remember to brush and floss after your holiday meals to wash away leftover food debris. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch with our office. We hope you have a happy holiday season!

Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid If You Have Braces

Thanksgiving is a celebration of friendship, family, and—of course—food! However, if you have braces, prepping for a food-related holiday might seem daunting. You certainly don’t want to disturb your holiday season with a last-minute trip to the orthodontist’s office. To make things a little easier, Drs. Hutta and Hutta have compiled a list of the top Thanksgiving Day foods to avoid. With a little planning ahead, you can keep your braces safe while still enjoying the holiday.

  • Chips and popcorn: These crunchy snacks are a braces no-go. But, they may be tempting when you’re still waiting on that turkey dinner to get out of the oven. Best to steer clear of these appetizers and opt for some dip with a soft veggie such as cucumber or pepper.
  • Croutons: You might not think twice about biting into your salad, but beware of crunchy croutons hiding out in your greens! Croutons are hard enough to potentially damage your wires and brackets.
  • Turkey legs: This year, avoid eating any meat off the bone. Biting into a turkey leg with your front teeth can cause severe damage to the appliances of your braces. Cut meat off of the bone and into small, bite-sized pieces that you can chew with your back teeth. 
  • Corn on the cob: Much like biting into a turkey leg, you can end up distorting your wires or pulling off a bracket when you try to bite into a piece of corn on the cob. Instead, enjoy your corn by cutting it off the cob. 
  • Pecan pie: The crunchy nut topping of your pecan pie can easily break your orthodontic appliances. Better to skip this holiday classic. Or, if you really can’t resist, just remove the nut topping and crust and simply eat the sweet filling of the pie!

Although there are certainly some restrictions on what you can safely enjoy this Thanksgiving, choosing modified versions of your favorite dishes or finding a delicious replacement won’t harm your holiday fun. From sweet potato casserole and mac and cheese, to mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing, there are still plenty of holiday dishes that are perfectly braces-friendly. Just make sure to avoid these top offenders, and you should be able to celebrate Thanksgiving as usual! 

If you have any questions or concerns about preparing for a braces-friendly Thanksgiving, give our office a call.

World Smile Day

The Benefits of a Beautiful Smile

Did you know that the first Friday in October is World Smile Day? Your smile is one of the very first things that others notice about you, and when you’re comfortable and confident in your smile, it shows!  

We all know that a straight, aligned smile is an important aspect of your health, but did you realize that it can also improve your mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing in several surprising ways? In fact, studies have shown that people who feel confident in their smiles experience greater success within their professional lives as well as in their interpersonal relationships.  

A survey conducted by Career Builder found that more than 38% of managers listed “lack of smile” as one of the most offsetting qualities during a job interview. Another study found that people who smile regularly are almost 50% more likely to land a job. When you feel confident about the appearance of your teeth, you tend to smile more and speak more clearly in many professional settings. In other words, you’re statistically more likely to get hired when you feel good about your grin! 

In your personal life, a carefree smile makes you appear more friendly, confident, and approachable. And, although it might sound obvious, a straight smile is attractive! Your teeth are an important aspect of the first impression you give others. In fact, a recent study found that people with straight teeth 57% more likely to get a first date. A radiant, confident smile that reflects your inner beauty might just give your relationships the boost you’ve been looking for!

When you aren’t worried about covering up crooked teeth, you’ll be able to smile and speak with ease. Plus, having a straight smile often leads to people taking better care of their oral health and hygiene. By letting your inner beauty shine through your smile, you’ll allow others to truly see what makes you, you.

If you don’t feel completely confident in your grin yet, take World Smile Day as your opportunity to make a change. Don’t keep making excuses or putting it off—you deserve the self-esteem boost that a healthy, happy smile brings! Call our office today and schedule an appointment to speak with our orthodontists about options for straightening your smile.  

Does Your Child Play Sports? How to Best Protect Their Mouth During Orthodontic Treatment

Kids these days are more active than ever! Participating in sports is a great way to keep our bodies healthy and happy. However, if your child has braces, they are at an increased risk of experiencing a mouth injury during these physical activities. Despite this increased risk, orthodontic treatment should never hold your young athlete back from full participation! Instead, we recommend taking precautions to ensure that your child does not suffer an injury that could bench them for the season. After all, September is National Childhood Injury Prevention Month, so it’s the perfect time to review the proper protective gear for your child’s sport participation. 

First and foremost, Drs. Hutta and Hutta recommend that your child always wears a mouthguard while engaging in any physical activity—whether that be an everyday practice or a game. Mouthguards are clear, soft plastic covers that are specifically designed to fit over your braces, teeth, and gums. You can ask our orthodontists for a recommendation based on your child’s specific athletic needs.

Why does your child need a mouthguard? 

Mouthguards provide protection for your child’s orthodontic appliances. An impact to the mouth can easily bend a wire out of place or knock a bracket off a tooth, which could require an impromptu and inconvenient trip to our office. 

Even more importantly, mouthguards can prevent injury to your child’s mouth. This is especially important when your child is undergoing orthodontic treatment, as the sharp edges of brackets can severely cut the inner mouth, cheeks, lips, and tongue upon impact. If your child bumps into another player on the field, they risk a painful injury to the interior of their mouth. Even during a non-contact sport, there is always the risk of falling. 

Beyond the braces, a mouthguard will provide important protection to your child’s teeth. According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the teeth if they are not wearing a mouthguard. 

This simple and inexpensive piece of gear could save your child a whole lot of pain down the line. In fact, the American Dental Association reports that mouthguards prevent an estimated 200,000 injuries each and every year. Unfortunately, the American Association of Orthodontics estimates that 84 percent of children neglect to wear mouthguards while playing organized sports. Let’s start to change those statistics! Schedule an appointment or call our office today to discuss the best mouthguard option for your child. 

Should You Pack Your Retainer for College?

The big adventure of college is right around the corner! In a few weeks, you’ll be moving into your dorm, meeting your roommate, and starting new classes. But before all that excitement begins, you will need to pack! It’s a daunting task to fit everything you’ll need for the upcoming semester into a small dorm room, and you might find yourself wondering, “Do I really need to pack this old retainer?”  

We are here to tell you that the answer is YES!  In fact, we recommend wearing your retainer forever.

Why is it important to wear your retainer every night?

Teeth are attached to your gums and surrounding structures through various fibers and ligaments that keep them tightly anchored in their respective places. However, during orthodontic treatment, these fibrous linkages become loose due to the forces generated by the braces or orthodontic appliances. Once treatment is completed, the teeth can rapidly shift back to their original position. Teeth have memory, and, over time, they will move unless they are stopped from doing so by wearing a retainer.

If you don’t wear your retainer on a nightly basis, your months, or even years, of orthodontic treatment may end up going to waste. Don’t give up your beautiful, straight smile just because you don’t want to seem uncool! 

How quickly will your teeth shift if you don’t wear a retainer?

Teeth can shift out of place in a matter of days, which is why it is so important to wear your retainer on a nightly basis. You certainly won’t be able to get away with only putting in your retainer when you’re home for the holidays!  

If you miss a couple of days during the hustle and bustle of back to school, it shouldn’t be an issue.  As long as you don’t miss more than a week, your retainer will probably be able to push your teeth back into proper position.  

However, if your retainer no longer fits, make an appointment to visit our office as soon as possible! The worst thing you can do is wait to come into our office until your teeth have had even more time to shift. If you haven’t been wearing your retainer, go ahead and make an appointment to come in before you head off to college.

When you’re packing up in the next few weeks, be sure to include that retainer (and supplies to keep your retainer clean)! It may seem “dorky,” but there’s nothing cooler than a straight smile. 

What to Do If You Have an Orthodontic Mishap on Vacation

No one wants to spend their vacation dealing with orthodontic discomfort! At Hutta and Hutta Orthodontics, we have some suggestions for dealing with common orthodontic mishaps when you’re out of town and can’t make it into our office. 

First, give us a call! We’re here for you even when you’re on vacation. Our office can help you troubleshoot the issue you’re experiencing and determine the best course of action.

If you can’t get in contact with the office because it’s after business hours or a holiday, here are some simple solutions to deal with the most common orthodontic problems:

  • Poking wires – It’s normal for wires to shift while your teeth are moving into new positions. It’s a great sign that the braces are doing their job, but we know that this can cause some discomfort. We recommend using wax to alleviate the pain caused by poking wires. However, if the wires are too long and are causing a significant amount of discomfort, they can be carefully clipped with nail clippers and covered with wax until you are able to come into the office. 
  • Broken brackets – This issue is typically caused by hard or chewy foods that damage the braces. If a broken bracket is causing pain, you can apply wax to the rough parts of the appliance. Alternatively, the bracket can be taken off the wire, but always make sure to keep track of the bracket and bring it in to your next orthodontic appointment! 
  • Wire slips out of place – Wires often pop out of the back brackets of braces. This is no reason to worry! If you are able, you can slip the wire back into the bracket hole with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. If the wire is causing pain, you can apply wax or clip the wire. However, if you chose to clip the wire, make sure to come by our office to get it repaired when you’re home from vacation! 
  • Missing Invisalign® tray – If you wear a clear aligner rather than braces, you should always carry your case with you and put your aligners in the case immediately whenever you remove them to eat or drink. If you accidentally lose an aligner, don’t panic! Simply put in your previous tray and get in contact with the office ASAP so that your orthodontist can order you a new set.  

If you do happen to experience ongoing orthodontic discomfort when you’re on vacation, we suggest searching online to find other orthodontic practices near you. Most orthodontists will be happy to help you in the case of an emergency situation. Then, when you’re back in town, you can schedule an appointment with your regular doctor to resolve the situation!

Retainer Hygiene Tips for Summer

Summer is just around the corner, bringing sunshine, warmer weather, and unfortunately, a greater chance of bacterial overgrowth on dental apparatus. Since bacteria thrive in warm, moist conditions and can be transmitted through food, a retainer is the perfect place for them to camp out. Luckily, with a little attention to detail and a simple routine, you can keep your retainer sparkling clean all summer. Use these five tips to make sure you’re keeping your retainer (and your mouth) in tip-top shape. 

1. Freshen up with water: Don’t have time for a full cleaning? If your retainer feels dirty while you’re out and about, try swishing some water around your mouth a few times. Staying hydrated, which is especially important in warmer weather, can help prevent bacterial overgrowth. It is also helpful in combatting a dry mouth, which has been linked to tooth decay. Remember to remove your retainer before enjoying a sugary beverage, or avoid the hassle and choose water, instead. 

2. Brush it: Use a toothbrush and a non-whitening toothpaste to gently clean the retainer, and then rinse it thoroughly before storing it or putting it in your mouth. This should be done as often as you brush your teeth. If the retainer looks cloudy, has white spots on it, carries a bad odor or taste, or hasn’t been cleaned in over a week, it’s definitely time to clean it. You’d never go a week without brushing your teeth and the same should apply to your retainer. 

3. Store it: Store your retainer in a case when you aren’t using it. If a case is unavailable, you can use a damp paper towel as a temporary solution to soak it. Retainers that are dried out are more likely to be damaged, so this ensures your retainer will last a long time and won’t break or lose its shape. Your retainer can also be soaked in denture-cleaning liquid, which can sometimes cause it to have a slight odor or taste. If this is bothersome, it can be eradicated by a quick water rinse.  

4. Alternative methods: White vinegar, Castille soap, and mouthwash are all gentle disinfectants that can be used to clean your retainer. If you are unsure which option is best for you, ask your orthodontist or dental provider to recommend a retainer cleaner that is suited to your individual needs. 

5. Set a reminder: Consistency is key. If you have a hard time remembering to clean your retainer, try setting a reminder in your phone or sticking a note to your bathroom mirror so you remember to clean it each night and morning. It takes a few weeks to form a new habit, but doing it in the same place at the same time every day will help establish a pattern of behavior that will stick in your mind. Soon, you won’t need the reminder. It only takes a few minutes, and your teeth will thank you. 

The Top 3 Reasons to Start Orthodontic Treatment This Summer

Beginning an orthodontic treatment for you or your child is an exciting time, but before you start, there are a number of considerations to take into account. One that is often overlooked is when to begin treatment. Though getting braces at any time of the year is incredibly beneficial, beginning your child’s orthodontic journey in the summer does offer a few unique advantages. We’ve compiled our top three reasons why you should consider starting your child’s orthodontic treatment this upcoming season.

1. It’s easy to schedule appointments

Between tests, after-school activities, and homework, the school year can be hectic—especially for a new orthodontic patient who may require several visits when beginning a treatment. In the summer, without school as a commitment, your child’s schedule is likely to be much more open, making it easier to schedule all the appointments you need!

2. Summer gives your child time to rest

When children receive braces or any other orthodontic treatment, some may also want time to rest—even if that rest is only for a few hours or for a day. For some children, teeth may be a little sore at first, although they shouldn’t be painful or uncomfortable. Preparing soft (rather than hard or chewy) foods and helping your child use orthodontic wax to prevent discomfort are two easy ways to help your child rest after their treatment.

If your child plays sports or is involved in other activities, they may also want a day off to fully adjust to their braces. This is also normal! Remember—getting braces is a new experience for your child, so be patient and supportive as they begin their smile transformation.

3. There’s plenty of time to master life with braces

Getting used to braces or a retainer can take time for new patients. And, though patients can easily adjust to orthodontics throughout the year, the summer gives your child plenty of time to master life with braces. Because braces come along with new oral hygiene practices, foods that can’t be eaten, and different sensations in the mouth, the summer gives your child supervised time at home or with friends where they can learn how to care for their new smile.

Ready to begin your orthodontic journey?

If you are ready to get started with a new orthodontic treatment during the summer months, call us today to schedule an appointment. We can’t wait to help you get your healthiest, happiest smile!

The Top 10 Things Your Orthodontist Wants You to Know

Each year, orthodontists help millions of patients obtain their healthiest, happiest smiles. Yet, even though so many Americans have braces, there’s still plenty that patients should learn about orthodontics. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things that our orthodontists want you to know about braces, treatment, and oral care

1. Braces are about more than aesthetics.

Although braces do create beautifully aligned smiles, orthodontics have a variety of non-cosmetic goals. Aligned teeth can make it easier to clean teeth properly, leading to healthier oral health. Plus, orthodontics can align your jaw position, aiding speaking, chewing, and daily life.

2. We can tell if you haven’t been wearing your retainer or Invisalign®trays.

Your smile can shift out of place over time, so if you are not wearing your retainer as instructed, your orthodontist will know. In the case of Invisalign, little blue marks on the tray will disappear with proper use, showing your orthodontist if you’ve been wearing the aligners as instructed. Don’t undo time-intensive treatment by neglecting to wear your retainer or Invisalign trays!

3. Treatment can be affordable for all.

At Hutta & Hutta Orthodontics, we work with everyone to create financing or payment plans that accommodate every family’s budget. We know how important an aligned smile is for health, confidence, and oral hygiene, so we are committed to helping people obtain this important care!

4. Even if you don’t think your child needs orthodontics, they should be checked early.

Even if your child doesn’t show any obvious signs of needing braces, the American Association of Orthodontists suggests children should have a check-up with an orthodontist when they are seven. Early treatment can help detect and prevent future dental, jaw, and oral health problems—often saving children from unnecessary tooth extractions later in life.

5. Adults get braces, too!

Orthodontists treat patients of all ages who want to improve their smiles. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, currently more than one million U.S. adults wear braces. If you are interested in improving your health and smile alignment, call us today—it’s never too late!

6. Braces have come a long way.

Though the thought of braces may conjure up images of headgear and mouths full of metal, orthodontic technology now offers discreet, comfortable, and efficient results. In addition to clear aligners like Invisalign, there are also options like tooth-colored ceramic braces and lingual braces, which are hidden from view on the inside (tongue side) of the teeth. 

7. Don’t try to fix teeth yourself.

The internet has plenty of do-it-yourself techniques that promise a beautiful smile. Yet, these often do more harm than good. Some patients have even lost teeth using DIY braces! To stay safe, always visit a board certified orthodontist who will design a treatment plan according to the needs of each individual patient—taking into account facial structure, jaw development, and oral health—to safely create a healthy smile.

8. Follow-through is necessary.

Failing to wear retainers after finishing treatment will cause teeth to drift apart, creating problems like crowding, spacing, or flaring of the teeth. Protect your investment by wearing your retainer as instructed!

9. We don’t stop until the teeth are perfect.

Orthodontists provide an estimated time frame for the length of treatment, but this may need to be adjusted in order to achieve the desired results. To avoid delays, adhere to your orthodontist’s instructions and ask for a growth study. A growth study includes things like taking X-rays of your child’s hands and referencing parents’ and siblings’ jaws to help determine future growth speed and patterns.

10. Every treatment plan is customized and unique to the patient. 

There are often clear approaches for common conditions like cross-bites, but more complicated cases may involve a variety of complex solutions—every patient’s treatment plan is unique! Be sure to discuss your options with your orthodontist, who will ensure that you achieve your best smile through customized treatment.

If you have questions about any of our treatments or services, call us today to schedule an appointment. Our friendly staff looks forward to helping you get your best smile yet!

Choosing the Right Sweets for Valentine’s Day

Conversation hearts, boxes of chocolates, or pink and red lollipops all scream Valentine’s Day. But, for patients with braces or other orthodontic work, not all of these candies are equally sweet! Rather than risking damage to your wires or brackets this holiday, treat your braces and teeth with love. We’ve compiled our top tips to help you determine which sweets are braces-friendly and which are better left uneaten.

Candies to Avoid

Candies are not all equally safe for braces. This holiday, sticky candies are very likely to damage your braces, so be sure to avoid them. Options like gum, caramel, or Jelly Belly stick to wires, brackets, or teeth, ultimately putting orthodontics at risk. Even worse, sticky candy residue and particles tend to linger on teeth longer—even after brushing—contributing to tooth decay and cavities. 

Chewy candies are also problems for your braces. Some options, like Tootsie Rolls, not only get stuck in braces, but also could possibly stain them. As often as possible, avoid candies like Twizzlers, Air Heads, or salt water taffy since all of these can cause problems with wires, bending them or causing them to shift positions while you chew.

Finally, avoid hard candies. Chewing on hard candy poses an immediate threat to your wires and braces. Even if patients resist the urge to bite down on sticky, hard candies, many options, like jawbreakers, are meant to stay in the mouth for a long period of time, allowing tooth-decaying acid more time to eat away at enamel. Therefore, options like Jolly Ranchers, rock candy, lollipops, and unfortunately, conversation hearts, not only threaten orthodontic work, but also damage tooth health, too.

Better Options for Teeth and Orthodontics

Instead of risking damage to your braces, the American Association of Orthodontists urges patients with braces to try softer foods or candy during Valentine’s Day. If you want to treat your valentine to something traditional, stick to soft chocolates—the darker the better! Hershey’s Bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, or Kit Kats are perfect since they are easy to brush off of teeth and braces without bending or dislodging any part of your orthodontics. If you aren’t a fan of soft chocolates, or if you want more sweet options, try ice cream, cupcakes, hot cocoa, or soft cookies. These are great candy substitutes for Valentine’s Day—as long as you remember to brush your teeth!

While these suggestions are ideal for patients with braces, even patients with removable aligners or without orthodontic work can benefit from these tips. When in doubt, soft, non-sticky, non-acidic candies are typically better for orthodontics, though, choosing to avoid excessive sugar altogether is always the sweetest for your oral hygiene! If you have any questions about caring for your braces or if you want to schedule an appointment, call us today. We can’t wait to help you get your happiest, healthiest smile yet.