Ugh, Not Braces!

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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.

Top Ways to Ensure You and Your Braces Have a Good Relationship

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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. Felix Gen 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.

How to Floss with Braces

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The Dr. Gen 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. Felix Gen, 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 Dr. Gen 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.

At what age should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?

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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 Mayfield Heights, OH 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. Felix Gen, 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. Felix Gen 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. Felix Gen can usually address the problems immediately and then follow up with another round of treatment when the child has all the adult teeth

Tell us about your summer!

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The dog days of summer are upon us, and what better time for Dr. Felix Gen 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 Mayfield Heights, OH 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!

Happy Fourth of July!

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Happy Independence Day from Dr. Felix Gen 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 Dr. Gen 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!

Looking Back at the Old Days of Braces

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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.

Feeling Confident at Your Orthodontic Consultation

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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. Felix Gen on your own, there are a few things you can do to prepare for your initial consultation at Dr. Gen 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 Dr. Gen 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!

Myths of Orthodontics

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The stereotypical braces wearer – in middle school, with a mouth full of metal brackets – has led to numerous myths about orthodontics that discourage many people from getting the dental care they need. Dr. Felix Gen and our staff would like to put some of these myths to rest.

Myth 1: Orthodontic treatment is for kids. Although teenagers often visit the orthodontist to get braces, adults represent a growing proportion of orthodontic patients. Whether you’re eight or 80, a consultation with an orthodontist can identify problems with your teeth, jaws, or bite that can be corrected by orthodontic interventions.

Myth 2: Traditional, metal braces are my only option. Advances in orthodontic technology have rendered improved braces and other orthodontic appliances that are much less noticeable than the braces of yesteryear. Ask Dr. Felix Gen about Invisalign® braces and other options that make sense for your situation.

Myth 3: Orthodontic treatment is only helpful for crooked teeth. Sure, a crooked smile is a common reason that patients seek orthodontic care. However, orthodontic interventions help with a range of dental health problems. From missing teeth to overbite to jaw misalignment, your orthodontist can help with many problems associated with the teeth, gums, and jaws.

Myth 4: Orthodontic treatment is too expensive. As with any medical procedure, orthodontics can be pricey. However, our Mayfield Heights, OH team works with patients to find payment plans, insurance coverage, or other payment options that reduce the financial burden.

Going on vacation? Remember these simple tips!

Travel on countryside road through  fields. Summertime

Travel on countryside road through fields. Summertime


If you are wearing braces and are planning a vacation, our team at Dr. Gen 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!