Caring for your Smile

Will My Teeth Stay Where My Orthodontic Treatment Moved Them?

October 1st, 2018

At Linaker Orthodontics, this question has come up from time to time from our patients and parents. We try to explain the importance of retainer wear before treatment begins, during treatment and of course as your treatment is completed and retainers are placed.

Change is a natural part of life. Just as our bodies change throughout our whole life, our teeth change too. We start out with no teeth, then get baby teeth, and shed those in favor of permanent teeth. Sometimes there are problems with tooth placement and jaw positions. That’s where the orthodontist is called in to bring about a change for the better, and transform misaligned teeth and jaws into a healthy and beautiful smile.

After any orthodontic treatment is complete the most reliable way to keep your teeth where you and Dr. Linaker moved them is by wearing your retainers as prescribed. Your teeth will not stay where they’ve moved to unless you do. Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon, and to maintain the result created by your orthodontic treatment, retainers must be worn. While small changes after treatment are normal, retainers prevent teeth from going back to their original positions.

When treatment is complete, there is a “settling in” period; teeth adjust as you bite, chew, swallow and speak – actions that all place forces on your teeth. These small changes in tooth position are not a failure of orthodontic treatment, but are a natural process. If your retainer is not worn as prescribed, however, large changes occur instead. Large changes are disappointing to you and to us. If you are in retainers, and should you notice an unwanted change in your bite or your smile, or if you should lose a removable retainer or damage a fixed retainer (bonded in behind teeth), contact us right away. Don’t give your teeth an opportunity to shift.

Commit to wearing retainers as prescribed and limit those undesirable changes!

Linaker Ortho Invisalign Hacks

March 12th, 2018

As we’re seeing an increasing number of Invisalign patients, and even have one of our staff in treatment, we’re hearing some great feedback that we can share with all of you that hopefully will make your Invisalign Treatment even more enjoyable.
If you’re currently in treatment and have a great idea or Invisalign Life Hack to share with us make sure to let us know so we can pass it along.

Soak your aligners in a clear whitening rinse while you’re eating and brushing, this will keep them clear longer and give you a minty fresh feel when you put them back in. We’ve noticed that some colored rinses can tint your aligners and then they need to be scrubbed which can dull them.
(BONUS: We’ve seen some patients teeth even get whiter simply from soaking them a whitening rinse and putting the aligners directly in their mouth.)
Keep a good nail file on hand (gentlemen this is for you too) At times, new aligner trays will have rough edges that could irritate your tongue, cheeks and lips. Simply file them a bit yourself to smooth them down. This will make your aligners more comfortable and save you a trip to the office.
Make sure you have your Invisalign Case with you at all times. You can also ask for an extra case at the office to have one for home and one for your purse or pocket. You want to be able to keep your aligners protected on those impromptu stops for coffee or lunch. There’s nothing worse than having to dig thru a public garbage can for something that is practically invisible because they were inadvertently wrapped in a napkin and subsequently thrown away. :-O
Eat with your aligners in. Believe it, this is an option. We wouldn’t recommend foods or drinks that could potentially stain (such as spaghetti with red sauce, red wines, coffee, etc…) or perhaps a big old steak, but many foods can be chewed just fine with your aligners in place. This eliminates the possibility of them being thrown away. Then just make sure to remove them to rinse and brush as soon as possible.
Keep a travel dental/aligner cleaning kit in your purse, backpack, carryon bag or vehicle. It’s important to put clean aligners on clean teeth so even if you can’t take the time to thoroughly floss and brush, you can at least get things clean enough to replace your aligners until you get home or to your next destination.
Colored lozenges or hard candies are not your friend. These can damage and stain your aligners. Try not to have sweets in your mouth with your aligners and if needed, switch to a lozenge with no color such as a honey or lemon flavor. Also, breath freshening strips such as Listerine strips are a great option in place of gum or a sugary breath mint.
Lipstick is possible! Girls you may have found that some lipstick colors have ended up on your aligners and given up on the idea for as long as you’re in treatment. We’ve found however that using a matte lipstick, an extended wear color and/or blotting your lip color several times, proves to help make lip color a possibility. Make sure to apply your lip color without aligners in or to not let your lips rub against your teeth/aligners until the color is blotted and dry.
Put your new set of aligners in before bed each week. This helps provide potentially 8 hours of uninterrupted movement as your new aligners begin to transform your teeth to the next position. Also, for some of us, each new set of aligners causes a little soreness, getting that movement while we sleep will help to deal with any possible discomfort.
Jump on to your patient page on our website and watch your Clincheck animation. Depending on the length of your treatment, your excitement may begin to wane. Seeing the simulation of your teeth moving toward their final straightened position promises to be just the encouragement you need to keep your aligners in and keep going! You can even share this with your friends and family and let them see how easy and amazing Invisalign treatment is.
SMILE!!! Show off your aligners and your new beautiful straight teeth. And when people ask about them, which they will, make sure to tell everyone how much you love Linaker Orthodontics and they should make a new patient consultation appointment! (And if they tell us you sent them, you’ll receive a gift card for the referral ;-) Win/Win!)

Orthodontic and Dental Health Resolutions for 2018

January 9th, 2018


2018 is upon us and with a new year usually comes a plethora of articles and posts regarding healthy resolutions. Why should we be any different? Resolutions are a good idea no matter how long they last. Here are some ideas for orthodontic and dental health resolutions that you might want to include in your list for 2018 from us at Linaker Orthodontics.

Linaker Ortho Resolution #1: Excellent oral hygiene every day

Good Oral Hygiene is important whether you wear braces, Invisalign, retainers or nothing at all, but because braces create places where food remnants and bacteria can get trapped, you will need to pay special attention if you are in treatment. Leaving remnants of food and bacteria in your mouth, can cause gingivitis, calcium buildup, and cavities. In more extreme cases, failing to clean your teeth well with braces can lead to demineralization of your teeth.
At Linaker Orthodontics we recommend the Oral B precision toothbrush to get the best results. Your proxy interdental brush and floss threaders are also effective if you are wearing braces. If you need a refresher on how to keep your teeth clean with braces just ask us, we’re happy to go over the best techniques with you again.

Linaker Ortho Resolution #2: Schedule and keep your regular dental appointments

While you are undergoing treatment with us, you need to make sure that your dentist and hygienist see you for your twice yearly hygiene visits too. Occasionally you may need to have an extra cleaning, depending on your oral hygiene circumstances Some dentists require you to have your wires removed for these appointments. No problem. Schedule an appointment immediately before and after your dentist visit, with our office, and we will remove and replace them in no time. This takes some coordination however, so be sure to contact us well in advance.

Linaker Ortho Resolution #3: Wearing your retainers every day in 2018

Retainers are vital to making sure your smile lasts a lifetime, and you’ll need to wear them every day to make sure they’re effective. Remember, it’s not just while you’re sleeping but 10-12 hours every day. If you’ve recently had your braces removed, are getting them off in 2018 or finishing with Invisalign, resolve to wear your retainers exactly as instructed.

Linaker Ortho Resolution #4: Less sugar and more water

If there’s one simple thing you can do to improve the health of your teeth, it’s cutting down on sugary snacks and drinks. Sugar interacts with bacteria in the mouth to form acids that eat away at tooth enamel, which can cause decay. Cutting back on sugar will not only benefit your teeth, but your overall health in general.
Did you know that the role of saliva is to keep your mouth clean, and that drinking water helps encourage saliva production? Water will also help flush pieces of food from your braces. And of course in our Southern Arizona climate, even in the winter, hydration is vital. Drinking more water is a win win.

Linaker Ortho Resolution #5: Keep all of your appointments at our office

We love seeing you and keeping your appointments will help keep your treatment with braces or Invisalign on track. Your smile will thank you!

Your Linaker Ortho Family wishes you a happy and a healthy New Year!

To all of our Easter Bunnies: A Few Tips for Braces Friendly Easter Treats

April 10th, 2017

Easter is always a special time of year. It’s a holiday that all ages enjoy together. One thing that is symbolic with Easter is the eye-appealing baskets that are usually chock-full of sweets, treats, and goodies galore. But for the person who has braces, there are some treats that should be left out of the Easter basket. Some of the treats you put into the baskets can lead to discomfort, or even a trip to the orthodontist. The good news is that steering clear of those treats is not difficult, and your child will still end up with a really great Easter basket!

Tasty Treats
There are some treats that are off limits when it comes to wearing braces, and you will want to avoid those for sure. When you put the treats into the Easter basket just think for a moment if they are foods that are particularly hard or sticky. This means you will want to bypass the jelly beans, which may be a tradition in the baskets, but can cause problems with braces. Sticky or chewy foods can be especially difficult for people who have braces. When it comes to choosing what will go in the basket, here are a few safe options to consider:

Most kids are going to want some chocolate in their Easter basket. Heck, most adults want some, too! Be sure to avoid any chocolates that are hard or may be filled with things like chewy caramel. Opt for those chocolates that are soft and will melt in the mouth. There are usually small balls of chocolate available every Easter. Other options include Hershey kisses and peanut butter cups. Another tip to keep in mind about selecting chocolate is that dark chocolate is a healthier option. Dark chocolate, which comes in many varieties, contains riboflavin and antioxidants that provide health benefits for the teeth and gums.

Most kids love fruit, so putting some in their Easter basket should be a great treat. Think about those fruits that are soft and will make an ideal addition to the basket, such as bananas, strawberries, or blueberries. All of these are soft, easy to eat when you have braces, and they are healthy. In addition to containing vitamins, strawberries are also an astringent and act as a natural tooth whitener.

While marshmallows can be a little sticky, they are also soft and shouldn’t be a problem because they dissolve in water. Putting a few of the traditional marshmallow Peeps in the Easter basket is fine for your kids, but it would be wise to have them brush their teeth after eating them.

Hard-boiled eggs
Because this traditional Easter food is so soft, it should not pose a problem for those with braces. Decorated hardboiled eggs will make a nice addition to any basket.

Pop a few iced sugar cookies into that basket and your kids will love you even more. Whether you make them at home yourself or you buy some from the store, this will be a tasty treat that won’t be a pain. Brownies No kids can resist brownies. You can find some in stores or bakeries that are decorated for Easter, or you can make them yourself. If you make them yourself consider getting creative with making them healthier. There are plenty of recipes online for turning ordinary brownies into ones made with black beans. While they may sound odd, they have become popular and the kids seem to like them, too.

Other foods
There are a lot of foods that you can add to your child’s Easter basket, keeping their age in mind of course. Think of things like bottled smoothies, pudding cups, and grapes. There are snack packs of crackers, chips, and graham crackers. You can even find a few varieties of soft cereal bars, such as those by Kashi, Udi’s, or Nutri-Grain that are perfectly braces-safe.

Of course you can always opt for non-food items in your Easter baskets as well, which often go over even better that food treats.

Happy Easter and Happy Basket Stuffing from our Family to Yours!

(Adapted from Dustin S Burleson, DDS)

October is National Orthodontic Health Month

October 4th, 2016

October is National Orthodontic Health month and we think it's no coincidence - for Linaker Orthodontics it's a perfect time to remind our patients with braces to put some thought into the treats you enjoy this Halloween. We want our patients in braces to enjoy the holiday and not feel that they are missing out. They can choose among the many treats that are brace-friendly, avoiding ones that are hard, sticky, gummy or chewy. Brace-friendly ones include soft, nut free candies, soft candy bars, peppermint patties, and peanut butter cups. There are lots more that will keep your braces safe and still let you enjoy the holiday! Remember the beautiful smile that is in your future will be much sweeter than the momentary pleasure from candy that damages your braces or your teeth.

For everyone, a gentle reminder that sugar, when left on the teeth creates a perfect breeding ground for damage to your teeth and gums, including cavities! Brushing and flossing continues to be an important habit that is even more critical when your intake of sugary foods increases. For those in braces, this means brushing carefully around all the brackets and wires and concentrating on areas where the teeth meet the gums and where the braces attach to the teeth!

Orthodontic Health month is also an opportunity for us to remind everyone of the positive impact orthodontic care can have. Regardless of your age, orthodontics can improve how you look and also have a positive impact on your health. If you have crowded teeth, having braces can improve your ability to keep everything clean, reduce periodontal problems and tooth wear. If you experience pain or discomfort from TMJ, orthodontics can offer long term relief. Orthodontics can also have a positive impact on your confidence; no more hiding your smile or feeling less than fabulous! There are many other benefits to orthodontic care and we're happy to talk to you about the benefits you or your child can have from orthodontic care.

At Linaker Orthodontics we have many treatment options including metal braces, clear braces, Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. Your complimentary consultation will give you an opportunity to see our office, meet our team, and find out all about your treatment options and our affordable treatment plans. We have two convenient locations in the Tucson area. Call our office to schedule your initial exam and consultation today!

Protecting Your Healthy Smile while Wearing Braces

April 21st, 2015

Oral care throughout orthodontic treatment
Orthodontic treatment is an important investment in your future. Everyone helping with your orthodontic care wants you to have the best results possible. While you are wearing braces, it is essential that you take care of your teeth and gums. This article explains why and how.

More care needed during orthodontics
Have a look in the mirror at your new braces. As you see, the brackets and wires have many nooks and crannies that can trap food and plaque. This means your risk of tooth decay and gum problems may be higher while you are wearing braces.

You need to pay special attention to cleaning your teeth everyday and to your diet. Permanent damage to tooth enamel can occur if the teeth and brackets are not kept clean.

Areas on the enamel surface may begin to lose minerals (the early stage of tooth decay), leaving unsightly white spots. You may also develop inflamed, bleeding gums (gingivitis). Gingivitis and the early stages of tooth decay can be reversed by taking extra care with your cleaning and diet. If left untreated, they can lead to bigger problems that will require treatment and have life-long effects. While you are having orthodontic treatment, you need to continue to have regular check-ups with your family dental professional to ensure little problems don't become big ones.

Tooth-friendly diet
Dental professionals are increasingly concerned about acidic foods and drinks that can damage tooth enamel when consumed frequently or when sipped over extended periods of time.

Most of us are well aware that sugary foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay. Starchy foods, such as potato chips, can also stick to teeth for long periods of time and cause tooth decay.

Soda is especially hard on teeth because it not only contains acidic flavor additives, but it also includes 10–12 teaspoons of sugar, which further increases your chance of developing cavities. Studies show that diet sodas are just as damaging as regular sodas at weakening tooth enamel.1

Saliva is your body's natural defense against tooth decay. You need to give saliva plenty of time to wash away acids that form after eating and drinking. A good rule to follow is to limit eating times each day to 3 meals and 2 snack times. You can drink plenty of water as often as you like! Be aware that bottled water may not contain fluoride.

Braces-friendly diet & habits
There are foods that can loosen, break or bend wires and bands when you are wearing braces.

Avoid hard foods such as nuts and hard cookies. Foods such as apples and carrots should be chopped into small pieces before eating to reduce the stress on your braces. Avoid sticky foods such as caramels, toffees, muesli or fruit bars. No chewing gum! No chewing ice!

Habits such as nail biting, unnatural tongue thrusting, pencil chewing and nervous picking at your wires can also break braces. Be aware of these and make an effort to stop them. Remember that damaged braces mean extra appointments, inconvenience and extended treatment time. If you do break your braces, be sure to make an appointment with your orthodontist immediately. Broken braces are not correcting your teeth!

Care at home
When cleaning your mouth while you are wearing braces, you need to pay special attention not only to your teeth and gums, but also to the brackets and wires.

Here are 10 simple steps for keeping your teeth, gums and braces in great shape:

1) If your orthodontist has fitted you with elastics, remove them before brushing.
2) Using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft, compact toothbrush, place your brush at an angle of 45 degrees against the gums. Gently brush along the gum line where the gums and teeth meet, using a small circular motion on each tooth.
3) Spend about 10 seconds on each tooth before moving onto the next tooth, brushing in a set pattern so that you don't miss any teeth.
4) Gently brush the braces. Press your toothbrush firmly enough so that the bristles spread into the gaps between the wire and the tooth. Brush in and around all of the brackets and wires. Ensure that you brush under the wires. A battery powered brush may be helpful.
5) Brush both the inside and the outside surfaces of your teeth using a gentle circular motion on each tooth.
6) For the chewing surfaces, use a firm back and forth motion.
7) Spit out excess paste, then closely inspect your teeth and braces in the mirror to check that they are clean and shiny.
8) Replace your elastics in accordance with your orthodontist's recommendation.
9) After brushing, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash, such as Colgate® Phos-Flur® , for 1 minute to help prevent cavities and white spots.
10) Use other oral care products, such as PreviDent® 5000 Booster™ (1.1% Sodium Fluoride), as prescribed by your dental professional.

Fluoride and oral care products
Fluoride protection against tooth decay is needed throughout life. However, while you are wearing braces, it is much harder to keep your teeth clean. This can result in higher than normal amounts of plaque accumulation, which can cause cavities.

Using fluoride toothpaste after each meal or at least twice a day is one of the most proven ways to help you stay decay free. Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to the acids produced after eating or drinking and replaces minerals that are lost in the early stages of tooth decay.

Because your risk of tooth decay may be higher while you are wearing braces, your orthodontist may prescribe other fluoride products that give you additional protection, such as PreviDent® 5000 Booster™ (1.1% Sodium Fluoride).

PreviDent® 5000 Booster™ has over 4.5 times the fluoride protection than your everyday over-the-counter toothpaste. It can help repair early root cavities, so they don't become bigger problems.2

Your orthodontist or hygienist may recommend using special cleaning aids such as interdental brushes or floss threaders - yes, you can and should floss while wearing braces! Ask your orthodontist or hygienist to show you. They may also suggest rinsing with an antiseptic oral cleanser, like Colgate® Peroxyl®, or applying an oral pain reliever, such as Colgate® Orabase®, to help clean, soothe and heal cuts and scrapes that are caused by wearing braces.

1. Von Fraunhofer J, Rogers M. Dissolution of dental enamel in soft drinks. Gen Dent. 2004;52:308-12.
2. Baysan A, et al. Reversal of primary root caries using dentifrice containing 5,000 ppm and 1,100 ppm fluoride. Caries Res. 2001;35:41-46.

Adapted from

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