Braces Cleaning Techniques — 5 Surefire Tips for a Winning Smile

When you got your braces, the technician spent a few minutes showing you some braces cleaning techniques. They showed you briefly how to clean around the brackets and wires. The chances are that you barely paid attention, and we understand that. You just got braces, and your mouth was sore. You were probably tired, excited, and 50 other emotions rolled into a jumbling ball of “Let me out of here!”

It wouldn’t be good if we didn’t understand the mixed barrage of feelings about getting braces. We want you to have a winning smile while wearing your braces, so it will be an incredible smile when you get your braces off.

Why Cleaning Your Braces is Important

Braces cleaning techniquesBraces create a gazillion nooks and crannies. The edges of each bracket hide food particles and can develop plaque. Food particles hide under the archwire, where they can create tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. We understand that oral hygiene takes time out of your busy day, but it’s essential.

Skimping on taking care of your braces can create problems later. If you get a cavity, your dentist may need to remove your braces to fill it. Then you’ll be back at the orthodontist for a new bracket and adjustment.

It also makes a difference when you get your braces off. After months of wearing braces, the last thing you want is to have a less-than-perfect smile. Caring for your teeth while wearing braces means having that perfect smile when getting them off.

5 Surefire Tips for a Winning Smile

We have a list of five tips to keep you on the path to a great smile while wearing braces. Some are just common sense. Some you might remember from your brief time with the technician after getting your braces. After the tips, we’ll give you instructions on creating a braces care kit. You can keep your kit in your backpack to make having braces a little easier.

Tip #1 — Floss Every Day

At least once every day, take the time to give your teeth a good flossing. Using a floss threader can help make it easier. This handy device works sort of like your grandma’s sewing needle threader. If you aren’t familiar with this dental tool, here is a brief instruction guide on how to floss using a floss threader.

Start with a piece of floss about 18 to 24 inches long. Thread about 5 inches of it through the loop in the floss threader. Thread the point of the threader between your wire and your teeth. Pull the threader completely through, leaving the floss in place. Using the same technique as without braces, floss between the two teeth, making sure to go to the gum line. Repeat the process until you have flossed between all your teeth.

Tip#2 — Brush with a Soft Toothbrush at Least Twice Daily

Brushing twice daily for at least two minutes should already be a habit. With braces, you may find it easier to use a side-to-side brush stroke instead of an up-and-down motion. Make sure to cover each quadrant completely, rinsing as necessary.

Dentists and orthodontists recommend using a soft-bristled brush to protect your teeth and the braces. Brushing with a stiffer bristle brush may damage tooth enamel. You don’t need to press harder with a soft-bristled brush. Maintain even pressure, keep the brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, and gently brush.

Tip#3 — Use a Circular Motion Around Each Bracket

Use the tip of your brush and make circular motions around each bracket. This loosens and removes food that may be hiding in the nook and crannies we discussed earlier.

Tip#4 — Avoid Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste can be a great thing, but not with braces. The brackets are bonded to your teeth with a dental adhesive. The tooth under each bracket won’t get whitened when you brush using whitening toothpaste. When you get your braces off, you may have tiny, dingy squares of unwhitened tooth standing out against the exposed area.

When you get your braces off, you can use over-the-counter tooth whitening products to boost your smile. Your dentist and orthodontist may also offer professional teeth whitening products. So, avoid whitening toothpaste and opt for a touch-up after you have your braces removed.

Tip#5 — Use Mouthwash at Night

For fresh breath and to give your mouth some extra fight-power at night, use a mouthwash before bed. Find a mouthwash with anti-cavity properties and added fluoride. Try to rinse for at least a minute, swishing the liquid around all your teeth.

Tools to Make Braces Cleaning Techniques Easier

Making a braces tool kit will make your life easier. The suggested tools to include are things you already have. You’re just assembling them into one container for easy access. To make your tool kit, you’ll need:

  • A new pencil with an unused eraser
  • Dental floss
  • Floss threaders
  • Toothpicks
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sterilized tweezers
  • Sterilized nail clippers
  • Dental wax

You can store these items in a zippered baggie, small make-up case, or even a small pencil case. Keep it in your purse, backpack, or briefcase.

How to Use Your Tool Kit

The pencil eraser can gently push a broken wire down and away from the delicate parts of your mouth. Once it is neatly folded, you can use a dab of dental was to hold it in place until you can get to the orthodontist to have the wire repaired correctly.

The sterilized tweezers can be used to move broken wires to protect your mouth from pointy ends. If a wire is in a bad spot or too short to fold out of the way, you can clip it using the nail clippers. Always add a dab of dental wax to the wire end to keep it from poking you.

The rest of the contents are self-explanatory.

Good Braces Cleaning Techniques will Make Your Smile Awesome

The purpose of having braces is to make your smile great. It makes sense to use good braces cleaning techniques during treatment. If you have any questions, the helpful staff at Northeastern Braces can help. Don’t hesitate to contact the office for questions or get more tips.

You may use our Contact Form or call us at either of our offices.

11 Foods to Avoid After Getting Braces

When you get new braces, you will also receive a list of foods to avoid after getting braces. Although having braces may not seem like much fun, the end result will be a perfect smile. Some sacrifices must be made in order to arrive at that goal successfully. But it doesn’t mean that you need to live on a diet of mashed potatoes, either!

Foods to Avoid After Getting Braces

New braces mean new habits. You’ll have to learn how to floss around the wires and brush around the brackets. The technician likely handed you a list of foods to avoid that include:

  • Chewy foods such as taffy and licorice
  • Sticky foods like caramel and gum
  • Hard foods like nuts and candy
  • Crunchy foods like potato chips

Other items on the list include apples, carrots, and corn on the cob. Crusty rolls and pizza too. But don’t despair just yet. You don’t have to memorize everything on the list.

Why Do You Have to Avoid Certain Types of Food?

The biggest reason that you are asked to avoid certain types of foods with braces is to avoid damaging the wire or dislodging a bracket.

Changing the way you think about foods will help you avoid the types of foods that will cause damage. Before you eat something, ask yourself, “Will this damage my braces?” If the answer is yes, you should not eat it. If the answer is no, you can indulge at will.

Another reason that you are asked to avoid certain types of foods is because of how braces work. While working to straighten your teeth, the movement may make some of your teeth seem loose. If you chomp down on something hard, you may shift a loose tooth into the wrong position. Not only is that painful, but it may prolong your treatment.

Foods You Can Eat Safely with Braces

Donuts. Eat all the donuts, except the ones with nuts. Skip the pecan pie, but the other holiday pies are just fine for you to eat. Other things that you can eat include:

  • Soft bread such as muffins and tortillas
  • Pasta and rice
  • Dairy products like cottage cheese, yogurts, and cheese
  • Most meats, including seafood and poultry
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Softer fruits

Pizza is a tricky one. Cheese pizza with a pan-style crust may be fine. The crunchy toppings like bacon should be left off, but softer toppings like pineapple, onions, and peppers are ok. To keep from using your teeth to pull on the pizza, it is also better to cut it into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Making it manageable so that you can chew mostly with your molars means you can enjoy pizza with your braces.

Aren’t Apples Good for Me?

Well, yes, apples are good for you. The restriction on apples mostly pertains to eating them whole. If you want apples, peel them and cut them into half-inch pieces that can be chewed using your molars. This limits contact with your braces. You’ll still need to chew carefully, but cutting up certain foods does allow you to eat them safely.

Carrots too. Cooked carrots are best, but if you really want raw carrots, cut them into smallish pieces. Bite-sized pieces will allow you to eat some of the foods on the restricted list, but please remember to chew carefully. The danger of potentially breaking the archwire or dislodging a bracket is still there.

What to Do If Your Break a Wire

The archwire, usually made of a stainless steel or nickel-titanium alloy, is pretty strong. It is capable of supplying the tension necessary to shift your teeth into alignment. At the same time, this little powerhouse is also fragile. Because it is under tension, applying pressure to it in the wrong direction can cause it to break.

Chewing an ice cube, biting into an apple, or chewing on your pencil can all cause the archwire to break. It usually happens at an inopportune time, so knowing how to deal with it to avoid further damage is a good idea.

First, check to see if the wire end is poking into the soft tissue inside your mouth. If it is, use a pea-sized ball of dental wax to cover the wire end to avoid cutting the inside of your mouth. If the wire is longer, you can use the eraser on a new pencil (not the one you were just chewing on!) to bend the wire away from the soft tissue. Then cover it with dental wax to hold it in place.

Anytime that you break a wire you should contact your orthodontist as soon as possible. They will advise you what you should do and when you should go to the office. They may ask you to take a selfie of the damaged wire so they can better assess the problem.

What to Do If a Bracket Comes Off

The brackets of your braces are bonded to your teeth. Although the glue is strong, it does occasionally break down enough to allow a bracket to dislodge. If this happens, don’t panic. Your braces will still work until you can get to the office to get the loose bracket reattached.

If the bracket is completely loose and you can remove it from the archwire without causing additional damage, remove the bracket and put it in a safe place. Take it to the orthodontist with you.

If the bracket is only partially dislodged, use dental wax to seal it to the tooth until you can get to the orthodontist for repair. Use caution while eating and avoid chewing in that area of your mouth. Remember that hot beverages will soften wax, so use caution and check the wax if you drink coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.

Mashed Potatoes Aren’t so Bad

If you love mashed potatoes, you can eat all of them that you want with braces. However, as long as you remember to avoid the types of foods that will damage your braces, you don’t have to live on them. A varied diet is better for your health and well-being.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Northeastern Braces (@nebraces)

If you have questions about what foods to avoid after getting braces, please don’t hesitate to contact our staff at Northeastern Braces. Staff at both of our locations are eager to assist you.

Newburgh Office: (845) 863 0500
Bronx Office: (917) 801 3600



Breaking Brackets: All You Have To Know About Your Broken Braces

Breaking brackets are relatively common with braces. In fact, broken brackets are more or less part of orthodontic treatment. Sometimes patients get injured in the mouth due to carelessness. Avoiding the food on the list you received will help keep your braces safe.

On average, a patient breaks at least one bracket during treatment. The bracket can come off anytime, even when the patient is sleeping. This may happen because it had already been somewhat loosened but had not completely detached from the tooth. 

What Causes Breaking Brackets?

Brackets for braces are difficult to break as they are extremely strong. The archwire is tough, but it can be broken even though it is made of a very strong alloy. However, you risk damaging the adhesive bond between the bracket and the tooth.

The brackets are usually glued to the enamel of the teeth’ outer surface with special glue. The bond is made to be slightly weak for safety reasons. The glue’s characteristics will securely hold the bracket while also being removable. 

Brackets can accidentally break off for a number of reasons, including:

  1. The patient eats hard food, such as nuts or crackers: There is an excessive mechanical impact on the system when eating nuts, dried fruits, smoked meat, or tough to chew products. The bracket is subjected to great pressure while eating hard food. 
  2. The patient brushes his teeth too aggressively with an ultrasonic toothbrush: Unlike an electric brush, which uses mechanical movements, an ultrasonic brush uses vibration to remove plaque.  
  3. Physical impact: a blow to the jaw, careless use of a spoon, fork, toothbrush, and so on.
  4. Crowding of teeth, as a result of which the system’s pressure is distributed unevenly on the braces.
  5. The use of devices for performing hygienic oral care that is not intended to clean braces.
  6. As defective bite normalizes, the teeth begin to make contact with the structure’s details.
  7. Poor-quality glue was used, or the brace-gluing technology was violated.

Can You Break a Bracket by Getting Hit in the Face?

Yes, you can break your brackets if you get hit in the face with substantial force. For this reason, mouthguards should be worn by people exposed to a lot of physical contact, for example, athletes. Your orthodontist would normally advise that you avoid activities that risk you getting hit at all.

What To Do When Your Braces Come Off

If your braces come off, the simplest thing to do is visit your doctor that same day. You should not put off the appointment because the system’s state directly affects the condition of the teeth. The pressure in the system decreases where the lock has been removed, while it increases in others. This alters the process of tooth displacement and hurts the overall treatment plans.

If the broken bracket dangles from the archwire, it should be removed immediately. The bracket can be removed in self-ligating systems by opening the bracket clip that holds the force bow.

If the broken bracket is in front, you can do it all on your own. If the broken bracket is at any other part, and you can’t detach it remove the lock, glue it in place with a small ball of dental wax.

Detached brackets have to be replaced, even if they appear in perfect condition and have no external flaws. If you delay going to the clinic to change the bracket, your treatment plans might be dealt a serious blow. 

A broken archwire causes no particular annoyance other than being pointy and sharp. However, it would be best not to wait to replace it later.

A breakdown of the archwire leads to the following negative consequences:

  • Violation of the process of orthodontic treatment.
  • Damage to the mucous membranes with sharp ends of the wire.
  • Risk of swallowing a piece of the archwire with sharp ends.

What Happens if You Swallow Parts of Your Braces

Broken braces can cause mucosal damage but it is not difficult to avoid. The same dental wax will come in handy here. You can get a whole “bunch” of problems when you swallow individual archwire fragments. The sharp ends of the archwire can cause damage to the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract.

In most cases, the fragment passes naturally through the intestines during transit. However, cases have been described in the medical literature in which wire fragments lingered in the esophagus, puncturing its wall with one end. To avoid complications, it is suggested that:

  • To avoid excessive wire movement and damage to the mucous membrane, refrain from eating before arriving at a medical facility and conducting examinations.
  • Make no active, sudden movements.

At the clinic, doctors will take an X-ray. There is no need to be concerned if a piece of wire moves slowly through the digestive tract. If the wire is still in the esophagus during an examination, the doctor may remove it without surgery.

Unlike archwire fragments, you shouldn’t be concerned about swallowed brackets. They have no sharp edges and thus cannot cause harm.

Northeastern Braces Does Braces Right

At Northeastern Braces, staff works to repair smiles, maintain, and improve the overall oral health of patients. For further questions, you may call our Newburgh office at (845) 863 0500 or reach our Bronx office at (917) 801 3600. For online communication, please use our Contact Form.

How to Practice Smiling More — 5 Tips to Promote Happiness

Practice smiling? Why on earth would you want to do that? It is condescending when you’re at work and a co-worker says, “Smile, you look grumpy.” What does it matter if you look grumpy? Turns out that it matters a lot. Maybe that co-worker knows something you don’t.

There is a scientific basis that smiling is good for both our emotional and physical beings.

Why Practice Smiling?

Sometimes smiling comes naturally. We witness something funny. Uncle George tells the same lame joke he tells every Thanksgiving. Sometimes we smile just because someone smiled at us and wished us a good day. Unfortunately, the world isn’t always a joy-producing place.

With everything working against us, learning how to practice smiling can have profound effects on our entire body. Sometimes we just need a little pick-me-up to get through a rough day. Whatever reason is behind your need for a smile, the result is always good.

Although it would be awesome to reclaim a bit of our youth, we can’t go back in time. Children smile about 400 times per day while adults may eke out a measly 40 to 50 smiles a day if they are happy. Normal people average about 20 smiles per day! We can, however, practice smiling more.

What Smiling Does to Your Body and Mind

The act of smiling begins a chemical chain reaction in your body. The movement of facial muscles, particularly the zygomaticus major (the “smile” muscle), instructs the brain to release neuropeptides. The three most common are endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These little messengers travel through our bodies doing magical things.

Endorphins act as natural pain relievers, which also help to reduce stress. This can also lower blood pressure and have a good effect on your heart rate.

Serotonin and dopamine are your body’s anti-depressants. When you smile and your brain releases these “feel good” chemicals you feel, at least momentarily, a little happier.

Although smiles aren’t a cure-all for everything that ails us, they are a great starting point. Smiles are 100 percent free, easily accessible, and they can spread from one person to the next to create a cacophony of mirth. This is one contagion we like to spread!

Smiling Makes Your Workday Better Too

People who smile seem to have wonderful lives. They have good jobs, great families, they finish their to-do list every day. Everyone seems to like them. It may surprise you that smiling is beneficial to workplace productivity.

Happy workers make the entire work environment more pleasant.

Practice Smiling to Improve Your Immune System

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all looking for ways to improve our immune systems. Surprisingly, you don’t need extra vitamins or a healthy diet (although those also help). Smiling can help to boost your immune system.

When we smile or laugh, part of the chemical chain reaction from our brain releases infection-fighting antibodies. These increase our immune cells and our ability to resist illnesses. The benefits of laughter have been compared to the benefits of exercise for improving our immune system.

Improve Your Overall Health

There are many other ways that smiling has a positive impact on your entire body.

Endorphins create an improved mood. When you smile, the muscle movement helps make you feel happier, even if it is a fake smile!

We mentioned pain relief earlier. It has been documented that smiling or laughing decreases pain. Think about taking a spill on an icy sidewalk. If you grumble, it really hurts. If you laugh about how silly you looked going down, you can get up, brush yourself off, and go on about your day. If there happens to be video evidence it’s even better!

Although it is not a substitute for prescribed blood pressure medications if you need them, smiling can lower your blood pressure. When you laugh, there is a momentary rise in blood pressure which triggers an increase in blood flow. As the chemicals from your brain travel through your body, your stress levels decrease along with your blood pressure and heart rate.

Happy people tend to have better relationships, both at work and home. Smiling makes us more likable and more approachable. Having and maintaining better relationships tends to have a good effect on your whole being.

People who smile more tend to look younger. We often associate happiness with youth, so a happy person must be younger, right? Although this one might be just an illusion or trick of the mind, appearing younger is usually not a bad thing in anyone’s life!

Give Yourself a Reason to Smile

Sometimes you just have a horrible day and it is difficult to muster a smile. Those are the days when you need a smile the most! Finding something to smile about might take a bit of effort, but you can do it!

Start with happy memories. Whatever brought you happiness is fair game to bring on a smile when you need it. If you have difficulty using images from your past, you can find plenty of resources in the present day.

Watch a funny movie or TV show. Go to the nearest local comedy show. Spend time with friends or family.

Are your neighbor’s children playing and laughing in their yard? Smile as you watch them have fun. Take a trip to the zoo and watch the antics of the monkeys. No matter where you are, there is always a way to find a small spark of happiness.

How to Practice Smiling More

Look in a mirror. Smile at yourself. Did your reflection smile back at you? See. It’s already working. If you need to practice smiling more to add joy and laughter back into your life there are lots of ways to get help.

Doctors and therapists are recognizing the benefits of smiling and are actually prescribing laugh workshops, laugh yoga, laugh therapy, and even goats. Yes, goats are almost always doing something silly and we can’t help but laugh at them.

There are laugh groups that meet regularly to just laugh. One person starts the merriment, usually with a really bad fake laugh. Someone else laughs at how horrible the first laugh was.

Pretty soon everyone is holding their side, with tears streaming down their cheeks. What started as a bad fake laugh evolves into a true, belly-jiggling round of genuine laughter. It is really good medicine.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you aren’t quite ready to step out and practice smiling more because you don’t like your smile, Northeastern Braces can help. With braces or Invisalign treatment, the doctors at Northeastern Braces will have your smile picture-perfect in no time.

It is easy to schedule your Free Consultation using our online form. If you would rather speak directly to a Scheduling Coordinator you may call our Bronx office at (917) 801 3600 or the Newburgh office at (845) 863 0500. We proudly serve the entire area with braces, Invisalign, and general orthodontic care.

Please check out our Orthodontic Blog for more information about our services, dental care tips, and more.

Do Braces Hurt? What to Expect with New Braces

One of the first things people getting braces wonder is, “Do Braces Hurt?” The short answer is no, but you experience discomfort. It doesn’t hurt when the doctor affixes the brackets. Your mouth will feel “funny” because of the extra hardware. Let’s look at how braces work.

How Braces Work (Honest, Braces Don’t Hurt)

Braces work using the principle of tension to create the necessary force to move teeth. To apply the tension, you need brackets and an archwire. The doctor affixes brackets to your teeth using a dental bond (glue). That part doesn’t hurt at all. The brackets might feel odd against the inside of your lips and cheeks.

The archwire threads through all the brackets. It is locked in place by clamps on the brackets and small rubber bands (elastics). Although installing the archwire doesn’t hurt, you may experience some discomfort when the doctor begins to tighten the wire. By tightening the wire, the doctor adds tension to move your teeth into alignment.

The doctor will adjust the archwire periodically during your treatment period to continue moving teeth into alignment. Because your teeth will be slightly loose while moving, you may feel discomfort from that, especially if you eat something hard, crunchy, or chewy.

You Will Experience Some Discomfort

Throughout your treatment, you will experience discomfort. Most often, this will occur after an adjustment as your teeth shift to new positions. Normally, this may last a day or two and regular over-the-counter pain relievers will help. If it lasts more than a week or is beyond discomfort and into “pain” you should contact your orthodontist.

Another way to ease some of the discomforts is to use analgesic gels such as Anbesol® or Orajel®. These topical solutions contain numbing agents that can help. Cold compresses or ice packs can also help.

The brackets and wires may irritate your mouth. This is normal and your mouth will adapt. Placing a small bit of dental wax on the bracket that is rubbing will help.

At times, you may experience a broken wire that may poke the inside of your mouth. The brackets may also get loose or come off. While they may cause pain, there are things you can do to ease that until you can have them repaired by the doctor. We’ll discuss quick DIY fixes for comfort shortly.

All in all, it shouldn’t hurt to have braces. If your level of discomfort is painful, please let your orthodontist know.

Dental Wax is Your Friend When Your Braces Hurt

You will receive some dental wax when you get your braces. Keep it with you at all times. We mentioned that placing a dot of dental wax over a bracket that is rubbing will help. Dental wax can also be used to temporarily secure a loose wire or bracket.

If you play a brass instrument in the marching band you will LOVE your dental wax. It can be useful to shield the inside of your lips while playing your instrument. Braces will not interfere with the playing of any of the wind instruments, but your embouchure may get tender. Dental wax to the rescue!

Occasionally, you may have a poking wire. In many cases, a dab of dental wax will allow you to continue your activities without pain. Remember, we do expect you to have some discomfort, but your braces should not hurt.

Tools to Make Life with Braces Easier

With new braces come new habits. We recommend that you create a braces tool kit that you can keep in a little box, container, or even a zippered baggie. Put it in your backpack, briefcase, or purse and keep it with you. The items we recommend putting in your kit are:

  • Dental wax
  • A new pencil with a clean, unused eraser
  • Small, clean nail clippers
  • Interdental brushes
  • Clean tweezers
  • Dental floss and a floss threader
  • Toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste
  • Collapsible cup (optional)

Although you can purchase pre-made kits, the items listed above will do the job for you to solve almost every orthodontic emergency you may have, at least temporarily. Please be sure to contact your orthodontist before performing do-it-yourself repairs on your braces.

What to Do if Your Braces Hurt

When you first get your braces and right after having an adjustment you may experience more discomfort for a day or two. You may feel soreness when chewing especially. Because the brackets are new, you may develop sores inside your mouth and on your tongue from rubbing.

Taking OTC pain relievers and using analgesic gels will probably be sufficient to ease the pain. You may want to alter your diet a bit, including softer foods such as:

  • Smoothies
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Cold, non-sugary drinks
  • Soup
  • Macaroni and cheese

You can also use a warm salt-water rinse. Simply add about one teaspoon of salt per cup of warm water, swish, and spit. The warm water will soothe your gums. Of course, you want to avoid this if you have open sores inside your mouth. Don’t forget your friendly dental wax for those sore spots.

Proper Oral Hygiene with Braces

We don’t need to tell you about the importance of oral hygiene in general, but we should mention that it increases with braces. The hardware adds extra nooks and crannies where food particles can hide. Keeping your braces clean will prevent food and plaque from collecting in all the extra little spaces around your brackets and under your wires.

Call with Questions

The staff at Northeastern Braces is ready for your call. Always call if any part of your appliance breaks or comes unattached. Our staff may talk you through the steps to repair the problem, at least temporarily, or they may recommend an additional appointment for repair. Although you will be able to handle most emergencies on your own, it is very important to maintain contact with the office.

If you haven’t gotten braces yet, we answered your question, “Do braces hurt,” and it is a perfect time to make an appointment with Northeastern Braces. You can click on any of the handy “Book Online” links on our website or call our offices to speak directly to an appointment Coordinator.

Bronx Office — (917) 801 3600
Newburgh Office — (845) 863 0500

Also, be sure to check our Orthodontic Blog for more great information on braces, Invisalign, and oral health.

How to Pick Your Next Great Toothbrush

Figuring out how to pick your next great toothbrush isn’t rocket science. Or is it? We researched what goes into a good toothbrush and why some brands are better than others. We reviewed manual vs. electric, the size of the bristles, shape of the head, angle of the handle, and other factors. In the toothbrush industry, the race is on to make the most ergonomic toothbrush.

What is “Ergonomic?”

Ergonomics is an applied science that works to create tools and equipment that enhance life, comfort, and reduce injury.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition is a bit more refined:


Although original ergonomic concepts had a purpose revolving around workplace safety, they have become more commonplace in household applications. You will find the concepts applied to seating, keyboards, toothbrushes, lawn rakes, and even ink pens.

When you look at a toothbrush that says it has an “ergonomic design” it simply means that it incorporates properties that make it easier to use and increases its efficiency.

How the Shape and Size of the Head Make a Difference

In reality, it doesn’t matter that much and is more a personal preference. Whether you prefer a diamond, oval, square, round, or the old rectangle, what matters more is how you use the toothbrush. Split, angled, cross-bristled — there seem to be a million choices out there. The one constant the entire industry agrees on is that you should use a soft-bristled brush.

There is evidence that a smaller round or diamond-shaped head can be more effective in removing food particles and plaque from hard-to-reach molars. The shaped edges fit more comfortably between the teeth and inside of the mouth which makes brushing more comfortable.

Our recommendation here is to find a shape and size that matches your mouth. Using a Sasquatch-sized brush in a Thumbelina-sized mouth won’t achieve optimum results. So, choose your Goldilocks toothbrush head — you know, the one that is “just right.” The important thing is to select one that you will use regularly.

You’ve Seen One Handle, You’ve Seen Them All

Handles also are a matter of preference. There is a wide variety from straight to ergonomically contoured with custom no-slip grips. Rigid handles. Flexible handles. Angled handles. Cushioned. There are even environmentally-friendly bamboo handles! There are four industry-wide classifications for handles on manual toothbrushes:

  • Straight
  • Contra-angle
  • Non-slip grip
  • Flexible

The take-away here is to select the handle that best suits your needs. Find a style that is comfortable to use and allows you to reach the inside of your mouth thoroughly. If you have arthritis or other physical limitations, select something that allows you to work within your abilities to brush all the surfaces of your teeth.

Manual vs. Electric and Battery Powered

Electric toothbrushes, which include battery-operated and sonic toothbrushes, are more effective at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes. That said, they don’t work any better if you don’t use them. So, our recommendation in this area is to select a toothbrush that you will use.

How to Pick Your Next Great Toothbrush

Ignore the hype and all the commercials you see. When you shop, select a toothbrush for the features that you like that includes the ADA Seal. Whether a toothbrush costs $2.00 or $200.00 if you don’t use it is just a dust collector. So select a brush that you will use.

Most manufacturers recommend changing out your toothbrush or toothbrush head once every three months. However, there are instances where you should change earlier, such as after an illness or if you drop it on the floor.

If you have additional questions about how to pick your next great toothbrush, please contact us at Northeastern Braces. We can help you sort through the millions of choices you will see in the dental section of any retailer.

Don’t forget to check our Orthodontic Blog for more information.

How Long Do You Have to Have Braces on For?

You’ve just been told you need braces and your first thought was probably, “How long do I have to have braces on for?” Although it may seem like a life sentence, the average time for braces is 12 to 18 months. There are some instances where the time can be as short as six months, and others that may be 36 months or longer.

Type of Braces and How They Work

Traditional metal braces and Clear Braces work on the principle of tension. Brackets are affixed to the patient’s teeth. An archwire routes thru the brackets to create tension, which is the force that shifts teeth into alignment. The archwires are held in place by tiny rubber bands, called elastics.

Over the years, the brackets have become smaller, which leads to greater comfort and a better overall look. Metal braces use metal brackets and wires. Clear Braces use a clear ceramic bracket that blends with the natural coloration of teeth and is less visible.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Northeastern Braces (@nebraces)

Invisalign® is a different orthodontic tool that uses almost invisible tray aligners to gently shift teeth into alignment. Invisalign® works using constant pressure which performs the same function as the tension of regular braces. The treatment period for Invisalign Teen® is approximately 6 to 18 months.

What Determines the Length of Your Treatment?

Every mouth is unique. That means that no two treatment plans will be identical. The largest determining factor is the degree of misalignment that you begin with. Minor issues take less time, while complex issues naturally take longer to correct. Other things that affect the length of treatment:

  • Type of braces
  • General oral hygiene
  • Age (adults take longer)
  • Overall physical health

Unfortunately, it is impossible to estimate an exact treatment duration without a complete examination. Using a combination of x-rays, digital images, current, and past medical and dental histories, and a hands-on oral examination, the doctor will map out a custom treatment plan.

Whether you opt for traditional, Clear Braces, or Invisalign®, you will know all the details after completing the initial examination.

How Long Do You Have to Have Braces on For?

The good news is that Northeastern Braces offers a Complimentary Consultation to get you on your way to a straight smile. You can set up an appointment at either of our two locations in the Bronx and Newburgh. In addition to a complete examination, you will receive information on our recommended treatment plan. This will include the type of treatment, the duration, cost, insurance options, and payment information.

During treatment, appointments for adjustments with the orthodontist happen every four to eight weeks. Between appointments, our staff is always available for questions or concerns. Please don’t hesitate to call either of our offices at (845) 863-0500 (Newburgh) or (917) 801-3600 (Bronx).

For more information, news, and updates, please visit our Instagram and Facebook pages.

Invisalign or Braces: What’s the Difference?

The first question most people ask when exploring Invisalign or Braces is, “What’s the Difference?” While the end goal of both treatment types is the same — a perfectly aligned smile — the way they accomplish that is different. As you research different treatment methods, you will find a lot of technical descriptions. We will attempt to cut through that techno-babble to give you a complete understanding of both Invisalign and Braces.

A Look at Traditional Braces

Understanding how traditional braces work may be the last thing people think about. The biggest concern is normally the cost or that they are so visible. Modern braces are changing, though, so bear with us here.

Braces work using tension. An orthodontist will bond brackets to the patient’s teeth. The wire is placed in the brackets and is held in place by elastics (tiny rubber bands). The tension created when the wire is tightened is what works to shift teeth into proper alignment. Adjustments continue moving teeth as your smile becomes straighter. This principle has been in use since 300 to 400 BC, but improvements and changes are changing the way braces look.

The brackets are now much smaller than they were. That means that even though they are still quite visible, they aren’t so “jump out and grab you” huge that they monopolize your whole face. Many people find the new brackets more comfortable, too. Someone decided that braces should be fun, so they began using colored elastics to secure the wires. Another great advancement is the introduction of Clear Braces.

Patients can now opt for clear, ceramic brackets with traditional braces. These work just like regular stainless steel braces, but the brackets are clear to blend with your natural tooth coloring. They aren’t “invisible” but are much less conspicuous. Using white wires helps them blend in better also. Of course, if you opt for brightly colored elastics to round out the ensemble, that’s on you!

Braces have changed and are definitely worth considering. Talk to the staff at Northeastern Braces to find out more about this tried-and-true treatment method. Your options may surprise you.

A Look at Invisalign

Unlike braces, Invisalign uses almost invisible tray aligners that slide over a patient’s teeth. The SmartTrack material used to create the trays is the result of more than eight years of advanced research and development. The trays use constant pressure to create change. Patients wear a tray set for about two weeks before switching to the next set in sequence.

Trays are designed using computer software that makes adjustments based on a 3D image (or map) of the inside of the patient’s mouth. This allows the trays to gently shift tooth positioning over the duration of treatment.  The constant pressure created by the trays acts in a similar manner to the tensioning created by the wire in traditional braces.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Northeastern Braces (@nebraces)

Aside from the near-invisibility, the other big draw to Invisalign users is that the trays are removable. That means that eating and oral hygiene are easier. There are no dietary limitations, although some patients opt for softer foods during the first couple of days using a new tray set. Brushing and flossing are the same as without braces.

Invisalign or Braces: What’s the Difference?

Whether you opt for Invisalign, traditional metal braces, or clear braces, Northeastern Braces will help you find your perfect smile. You can start right now by clicking on any of the convenient appointment links on this website. Alternately, you can call our offices at:

Newburgh: (845) 863 0500
Bronx: (917) 801 3600

For more information about finding your best smile, see our Orthodontic Blog, Instagram, and Facebook.

Affordable Braces in the Bronx

When looking for affordable braces in the Bronx, Northeastern Braces should be at the top of your list. With offices in Newburgh and Bronx, they serve patients throughout the area. Dr. Lidia Movahedian and Dr. John Paul Dow offer a wealth of orthodontic knowledge and years of experience. Both doctors maintain professional memberships with the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

Traditional Braces or Clear Braces

Although most people think of the clunky old metal brackets and wires, changes in the appliances over the years makes wearing braces less traumatic. So, when you hear the word “braces,” please know that the meaning is a bit different these days.

In fact, there are now several different types of braces that patients can select from. Beginning with traditional metal braces, let’s talk about some of the improvements. The first, and most noticeable difference is that the stainless steel brackets are significantly smaller. While still visible, the smaller size makes braces more comfortable.

Clear, or ceramic, braces work the same as traditional braces, using wire to create tension to shift teeth. The clear brackets allow them to blend with the natural coloration of the teeth. This blending effect makes the braces less noticeable, which makes clear braces a popular and affordable choice.

Another option available with both traditional metal and ceramic braces is the ability to add a bit of color. Rubber bands are used to hold the wires in place on each bracket. By using colored bands, known as elastics, patients can support their favorite team, match their wardrobe, or just sport their favorite color!

Northeastern Braces has Affordable Braces in the Bronx

Keeping braces affordable is a priority at Northeastern Braces. Although we can’t quote an exact price until after an examination, patients will find our pricing lower on average than our competitors. One of the things that we understand is that braces are an investment in your smile.

When you are trying to fit braces into an already-tight budget, rest assured that our staff will work with you to ensure that your braces stay affordable. Our office works with many insurance companies and will help file the necessary forms to get the benefits your policy permits.

If you have an employer-based Health Savings Account (HSA), some of those funds may offset orthodontic costs. Once all discounts, insurance, and saving plan funds have been applied, the adjusted amount can be paid in several ways. With flexible payment plans and other options, affordable braces are available in the Bronx.

Schedule Your Appointment to Begin

If you are ready to schedule your appointment or arrange one for your child, please use our Contact Form. You can select either the Newburgh or the Bronx office, complete the form, then submit it. You will be contacted by our scheduling coordinator to finalize the appointment.

We post fun stuff, information, and updates on social media with pages on Instagram and Facebook. Our orthodontic blog also contains a lot of helpful information.

Traditional Braces in the Bronx/Newburgh

Looking for traditional braces in the Bronx/Newburgh area? Northeastern Braces has what you need and much more. Offering orthodontic care for the entire family including braces, Invisalign, and Clear Braces. With two locations, Northeastern is convenient to the entire metropolitan area.

How Braces Work to Transform Smiles

Understanding how traditional braces work will help you determine if they are right for your smile. Although braces are among the oldest orthodontic appliances, they are also very effective. In fact, braces have been in use since as early as 300-400 BC! There have been a lot of improvements during the intervening years.

Traditional braces work on the principle of tension. The orthodontist affixes brackets to a patients’ teeth. An archwire connects the brackets to one another. The archwires are held in place with small rubber bands called elastics. Tightening the archwire creates tension which causes teeth to shift.

By guiding the shifting of the teeth, an orthodontist can straighten teeth and create a perfect smile. Although the process can take as little as six months, most treatment plans range from 12 to 18 months or longer. The duration depends on the initial degree of misalignment. More severe malocclusions do require longer treatment periods.

Each patient is unique, so every treatment plan is unique. The type of treatment also plays a role in the duration. Although traditional braces are the standard treatment for all malocclusions, other types of appliances are available. During your initial consultation, the doctor will discuss the recommended treatment plan that will provide the best results for you.

Finding the Right Orthodontist for Your Family

Now that you understand a little about how braces work, finding the right orthodontist is also important. Although every office will tell you they are the best, exploring those claims on your own will offer you the peace of mind of knowing you really have the best orthodontist.

Things to look for in a good orthodontist:

  • Years of experience
  • Good patient reviews
  • Association memberships
  • Awards and recognition
  • Offers more than one option for treatment
  • Accepts insurance and offers payment options

One thing you will notice with many orthodontic practices is the offer of a complimentary initial consultation. Although these vary with each office, most offer a diagnostic examination including x-rays, medical history evaluation, and an oral exam. The average savings from this offer can range from $250 to $350 depending on the offer.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Northeastern Braces (@nebraces)

If you’re ready to find out more about traditional braces in the Bronx and Newburgh, contact Northeastern Braces to set up your initial consultation today!

Traditional Braces in the Bronx/Newburgh

To begin the process of transforming your smile, please use our Contact Form to arrange your appointment. Select the office nearest your location and complete the information, then submit the form. Our scheduling coordinator will contact you to confirm the arrangements.

To learn more about Northeastern Braces, check out more articles on our orthodontic blog. We’re also on social media — Instagram and Facebook — where we post fun stuff, updates, and information.