Orthodontist Smithtown NY | Dr. Craig Smith

(631) 265-3435

50 Route 111 Suite 214
Smithtown, NY 11787

Dr. Craig Smith



8 Signs Your Teen Needs Orthodontic Care

orthodontic care smithtown ny


If you’re like me, you’ve probably blocked out some of the more cringe-inducing memories of your teenage years, but I’m sure you remember that being a teenager can be HARD – and having a smile you’re not proud of can make it even harder. Though we encourage otherwise, it’s an undeniable fact that many teens’ self-esteem is tied largely in part to their outward appearance and comparing it to that of their peers. As much as we try to drive home the very true point that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, sometimes believing that is easier said than done in the appearance-driven society we live in.

According to a study done by StageOfLife.com, 59% of teens feel inferior based on their appearance. That’s, unfortunately, an incredibly high number. Helping your child feel confident about the smile they share with the world can play a bigger, more complex role in their lifelong self-esteem than you might think. However, fixing their smile with orthodontics is about much more than just helping your child feel great about their looks. It’s also important for their overall long-term oral health. Are you wondering if your child needs orthodontic care in Smithtown?

8 Signs Your Teen Needs Orthodontic Care:

1) Did your child lose their teeth early or late in life?

2) Do they have difficulty chewing or biting?

3) Are their teeth crowded, or do they have extra space between them?

4) Does their jaw click or make sounds when chewing?

5) Do they frequently bite their cheeks or the inside of their mouth?

6) When they bite down, do their teeth meet awkwardly, or not at all?

7) Are their teeth out of proportion with the rest of their mouth?

8) Do their teeth stick out?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I would recommend that you make an appointment with our office, North Shore Orthodontics in Smithtown, to get your teen’s smile evaluated. Not only will an orthodontic consultation put your mind at ease, but it could also lead to your teen feeling much more confident in the feature they use to communicate with the world- their smile! If your teen is worried about the aesthetic complaints commonly associated with having braces, have no fear- there are lots of more subtle treatment options available, including clear braces & Invisalign clear aligners. Our orthodontic office in Smithtown will be happy to explain all of your options to you and your child in detail at your consultation.


Wishing you and your teen a great 2019,

Dr. Craig Smith

North Shore Orthodontics

Smithtown Orthodontist

5 Benefits of Orthodontics


October is our favorite time of year, and it’s not just because candy overflows every grocery aisle. Rather, it’s Orthodontic Health Month, the best time of year to think about your smile!

As the world gears up to gorge themselves on Halloween candy and pumpkin spice lattes, we’re gearing up our practice, North Shore Orthodontics, to educate patients about the benefits of orthodontics and what they can do for your smile and self-esteem.

5 Unbelievable Benefits of Orthodontics:

BENEFIT 1: Your self-confidence will go through the roof.

Improving your smile can improve your self-confidence. It’s like putting on an outfit you know you look good in; only you can wear it every day, and it goes with everything. Not only that, when you share a smile with someone else, they’ll most likely smile right back. Studies have shown that the more you smile, the more positive you’ll feel about your life. So, why not make your smile one you’re proud to share with the world?

BENEFIT 2: Your teeth and gums tell a lot about your overall health. 

Good dental hygiene is a sign of your overall health. If your teeth are crowded, you can’t clean them properly. This can cause plaque to build up, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. That’s why it’s important to give your teeth some room if they’re crowded. The best way to do that is to get braces or Invisalign from our orthodontic practice in Smithtown.

BENEFIT 3: You’ll be able to speak more clearly. 

People who are ashamed of their teeth are more likely to speak with their mouth closed, which can make it sound like they’re mumbling. In addition, poorly aligned teeth can cause you to lisp. With the right orthodontic treatment from Dr. Craig Smith, you’ll not only speak more clearly; you’ll also want to smile more when you do speak.

BENEFIT 4: Your food will go down more easily.

I know what you’re thinking, “riiiiight.” But, it’s true. When your teeth are in the correct position you’re able to chew more effectively. That means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest it!

BENEFIT 5: You’ll look 5 years younger.

A great smile is better than Botox! With a smile that’s straight and white, you can look up to 5 years younger. No needles. No working out. That’s reason enough to get orthodontic treatment at any age. Dr. Craig Smith is passionate about the fact that it is never too late to perfect your smile. Make sure to ask about our adult treatment options and whitening!

If you’re thinking about doing something incredible for yourself this year, think about giving yourself the gift of a perfect smile. It’s not only great for your health; it’s also great for your self-worth.

Wishing you all a great fall!

North Shore Orthodontics in Smithtown


New School Year, New Smile, No Problem!

smithtown braces

With school right around the corner in Smithtown, there’s no better time to get a shiny new smile! If your kid is getting braces before school starts, there are some things we’d like to share to help set the stage for an awesome orthodontic experience.

Getting braces is a rite of passage for teens, but emotions can range from elation to trepidation. Some kids are excited because it means they’ve finally reached their teenage years and are on their way to rocking a beautiful, mature smile. For others, not so much. They may fear feeling self-conscious or worry that braces will hurt.

As an orthodontist, I’ve witnessed both sides of this emotional spectrum and everything in between. Rest assured, getting braces should NOT be a traumatic experience. In fact, with the right knowledge, your child can get their braces on and feel cool and confident heading into the new school year.

Here are three tips to steer clear of any drama when your kiddo gets braces in Smithtown.

  1. Put their mind at ease.

At my orthodontic practice, I always schedule a free consultation with patients before the big day. That way, my team and I can explain everything your teen needs to know about getting braces, including how we put them on, how it will feel, and the foods they should avoid. We always try to make them laugh and create a relaxed environment. By doing that, I’ve noticed that the kids I treat are a lot less nervous when the big day arrives; most are even excited. Especially when I tell them they can pick out different colored rubber bands at every appointment to show off their unique style. It’s the little things!

  1. Be prepared.

There are a lot of things you can do to make those first few days and weeks of having braces go more smoothly. First things first, have dental wax on hand. Encourage your kid to place wax anywhere on their brackets or wires that feels tender. Second, stock up on ice cream and make cool treats like smoothies readily accessible. Need a recipe? We got you covered. Check out this link.

These cold snacks and meals help relieve swelling and numb some of the soreness, especially for the first few days. If that’s not doing the trick, feel free to use pain relievers like Tylenol or Ibuprofen with the proper dosage.

  1. Set up the reward system.

Orthodontic treatment is a journey. It can be a little lengthy depending on your child’s orthodontic issue, so it’s important to celebrate milestones. For example, once your child has braces on for six months, consider celebrating with a delicious meal of their choice on Long Island. For their one-year braces anniversary, maybe you can give them a gift card to their favorite store. For the grand finale, pull out all the stops and give them a “skip day” from school (if there are no tests, of course!) so they can spend the day with you taking selfies of their new smile.


Getting braces in Smithtown should be fun. It’s a complete transformation for teens, not only in their smile but in their confidence, too. Hopefully, these helpful tips will have both you and your child ready to rock the braces process to create a smile that sparkles in yearbook photos for years to come!

Good luck and best wishes for a wonderful school year for all!

Give us a call at North Shore Orthodontics to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Dr. Craig Smith

Smithtown Orthodontist

The True & False of Invisalign



A lot of people think Invisalign is just for minor problems, but that’s simply not true. Since Invisalign came into existence in 1997, the technology has come a long, long way. Now, Invisalign trays can fix almost any problem, big or small. The problem we notice at North Shore Orthodontics in Smithtown is that there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about Invisalign. Therefore, we thought it was time to sort the fact from fiction.

1) Invisalign is only for people with slight orthodontic problems. FALSE.

Invisalign doesn’t just fix minor overbites and underbites or those few teeth that are crowded together. It can fix more than that. The key is to understand the severity of the problem you want to fix and determine with Dr. Smith whether it’s right for you. Most cases can be easily fixed with Invisalign.

What Invisalign can fix:

  1. Gaps in your teeth
  2. Crowded teeth
  3. Overbites
  4. Underbites
  5. Crossbites

2) Invisalign doesn’t have an age limit. TRUE.

Invisalign is perfect for anyone at almost any age looking to correct their teeth in Smithtown. It’s great for teens because it’s virtually invisible, which helps with their self-esteem. At North Shore Orthodontics, we understand that with dating, prom, sports and active social lives, getting metal braces probably isn’t at the top of your teen’s list of things they want to do.

Adults seeking orthodontic treatment can benefit from Invisalign because it’s discrete and allows them to smile confidently without feeling awkward. Plus, it’s great for older people who want to get their smile back to where it was 20 years ago. After all, our teeth will shift throughout our lives, and we can only keep them in the right position through treatment and retention.  The only group we do not currently recommend Invisalign for is children, due to their developing jaws. Other than that, it’s a picture-perfect solution.

3) Remembering to wear the trays will be hard. FALSE.   

For Invisalign to work its magic, you need to wear them for 22 hours a day. That’s 2 hours to eat, drink, floss and brush. A lot of people worry that they won’t have what it takes to wear their aligner trays for 22 hours every day, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. Truly, you’ll hardly notice them after the first hour. Think of them like contacts; once they’re in place, you don’t even notice them.

invisalign smithtown new york


As for your teen, Invisalign has taken every step to ensure they stay on track with treatment.  Invisalign Teen aligners come with “compliance indicators,” little blue dots that gradually fade if the aligners are being worn full time.  Some of us like to keep these little blue dots a secret until the first appointment.

Don’t fret, the staff at North Shore Orthodontics knows that you can do this!

4) The aligners will make me talk with a lisp. (mostly) FALSE

It’s normal to have a lisp for the first few days of wearing your Invisalign trays. However, you should remember that the human body and the mouth, in particular, have amazing adaptation abilities. Learning to talk with Invisalign is very quick and easy. You’ll be speaking normally in no time!

5) You can see the results happening right before your eyes. TRUE.   

So, it’s not going to happen overnight, but it does happen rather quickly. In fact, most people see visible results within the first 3 months of wearing their trays. Plus, since they’re clear, and you won’t have all that metal in your mouth, you’ll notice a difference easily!

Side note: Looking to speed up your progress? Check out AcceleDent. Just use it 20 minutes a day to massage your gums, and your teeth will move faster. Ask a staff member or Dr. Smith for more information.

6) I won’t be able to eat whatever I want. FALSE.

This is completely false. With Invisalign, you can eat and drink anything you want. The key is to just take out your aligners first and make sure you brush, floss, and rinse your teeth before you put them back in. So, who’s ready for some corn on the cob or soda? With Invisalign, you can eat it, drink it and have seconds. Just remember to put your aligners back in right away!

7) I can take them out for special occasions. TRUE.

Weddings. Prom. Homecoming. Board meetings. Interviews. Whatever the reason or occasion, the beauty of Invisalign is that you can remove your aligners anytime you want. If you have a big event coming up that you don’t want to wear your aligners for, then don’t. You’re free to take them out and put them back in after. It’s that simple. With regular braces, that’s not the case. You need to wear them until your treatment is finished. Unless, of course, you’re a multi-millionaire or movie star. Then you can have your metal braces removed and put back on whenever you like.

invisalign smithtown new york


8) Invisalign costs much more than braces. FALSE

You may be surprised to hear that in most cases, Invisalign costs the same or very close to the cost of braces.  Oftentimes, if you have orthodontic insurance, Invisalign is covered the same as braces! Plus, here at North Shore Orthodontics, we’re happy to help work with you on a payment plan to suit your needs.

So, stop waiting, and stop by the office and let’s talk Invisalign.




When Should a Child See an Orthodontist?


As your Smithtown orthodontist, we know there is no greater joy than watching your child grow up smiling. All parents should know their options to best care for their child’s happy, beautiful smile. Braces are an important rite of passage in a child’s life, giving children the benefit of straight teeth, improved self-confidence and healthier smiles. However, it can get a bit confusing when you’re trying to understand the process of orthodontics for your child. When should your child see an orthodontist? Do they need to start treatment right away? The questions are enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed.

child orthodontist smithtown new york


Why Age 7 Matters

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a child have their first orthodontic visit by age 7, which may surprise you. Although your child’s mouth is still developing, it’s easier to intervene if certain problems are already present. Dr. Smith can see how your child’s mouth is taking shape and take the necessary steps to ensure correct development. Early orthodontic treatment can prevent more serious treatment as a child grows older and save you and your child time and money down the road. In short, early detection is the best protection!

Some issues that can often be detected by age 7 are:

  • Bite issues: underbites, crossbites, etc.
  • Crowding
  • Problems caused by excessive thumb sucking
  • Teeth grinding
  • Mouth breathing
  • A narrow jaw
  • The number of teeth coming in

Intercepting these problems at a young age can prevent more invasive treatment like tooth extractions and jaw surgery, which are often necessary to treat severe orthodontic problems once a child’s permanent teeth are fully grown in. If you notice any signs that these issues may be developing, it’s a good time to have your child see an orthodontist.

Next Steps

Keep in mind that early screening doesn’t mean treatment must start right away. In fact, most children don’t begin active orthodontic treatment until they’re 9 to 14 years old. However, North Shore Orthodontics offers complimentary consultations, allowing you to get all the facts and make the best decision for your child at an early age. If your child is 7 or older, why not bring your child to see an orthodontist today? Schedule a free consult with Dr. Smith here or give us a call at 631-265-3435.


Why Your Teeth Move After Braces

smithtown orthodontist


The human body is in constant flux. Your lungs never stop inhaling and exhaling for as long as you live. Your heart is always beating. At this very moment while your digestive system breaks down your last meal, your hair grows just a tiny bit longer and new skin cells are being generated. If you look at the big picture, your eyes, muscles, and even your memory are always changing as the years pass.

Is it any wonder that in this system of ongoing change, your teeth are in flux too?

The reality is that even after orthodontic treatment is complete, your teeth are still likely to move. Why does this happen? There are a few ways to think about it:

  • Ligaments aren’t fixed – The name of the connector that attaches each tooth to a jaw bone is the periodontal ligament. Ligaments aren’t hard like bones. Instead, they are elastic. These ligaments are why orthodontic treatments can move teeth to begin with, and why they can move after treatment.
  • Nothing is holding the teeth in place – When you have braces or a retainer on your teeth, the appliance is preventing your teeth from going where they might go on their own. But once any external structures are removed, your teeth are free to follow their own paths.
  • Various forces act on the teeth – You’re constantly using your mouth, and whenever you bite down, you’re putting a bit of pressure on your teeth. Your tongue and talking and chomping on an apple all generate forces, however small. Over time, these forces can cause your teeth to move.
  • Mouth memory lasts a long time – Those periodontic ligaments and other structures that hold the teeth in place “remember” in a sense where they once were. When the braces come off, your teeth may seek to make their way home.
  • Changes in the mouth reset the balance – Suppose you lose a tooth or have one extracted. Your other teeth are going to notice they have room to move and may drift over into the gap. Not all changes to your mouth are as dramatic as a lost tooth, but growth and age-related changes to your mouth will also change how your teeth relate to one another.

If you are currently undergoing or have recently finished orthodontic treatment, this news that your new smile won’t stay straight forever may be disconcerting. But even if your teeth do move somewhat, you will still have a much straighter smile that you did before treatment began. And use any concerns you have to be a motivator to wear your retainers.

The most important time to wear your retainer is the months just after treatment. Wearing them during this period will allow your teeth to settle into their new positions and give time for your jaw bones to solidify around them. As a result, the shifting of your teeth won’t be that extreme. And you should continue to wear a retainer once or twice a week while sleeping for the rest of your life. Ask us for specific recommendations.

Remember, even with a retainer, your teeth still may shift a little for all the reasons listed above. But a retainer will serve to minimize shifting and let your smile shine for a lifetime. Ask Dr. Smith, your Smithtown orthodontist, any questions you may have about your retainers.


Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth


If you want to whiten your teeth, professional whitening in a dental office will get you the best results. Professional whitening uses stronger agents than can be sold over the counter and often entails a special light source that speeds up the whitening process.

Of course, professional whitening is a pricier option than at-home teeth whitening kits. But even if price isn’t a factor, you may simply prefer to use a natural solution. Maybe you don’t like the idea of using synthetic chemicals or strong bleaching agents. Maybe you feel the intense whiteness that purchased products sometimes yield doesn’t look…well…natural to you. Maybe it just feels better to you that you can use something you may already have at home in your pantry or refrigerator.

So if you’re one of those people who prefer a natural process for whitening your teeth, you’re in luck. There are several options you can try.

Some natural ingredients that can help whiten your teeth are:

  • Baking soda – Baking soda has been used to help clean teeth since before pre-mixed toothpaste was available commercially, and it can be a cornerstone of a natural whitening habit. It is abrasive, but only mildly, which means using it can be a gentle way to scrub away surface stains. To make a paste, mix baking soda with water, hydrogen peroxide (see below), lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – Hydrogen peroxide is found in many over-the-counter teeth-whitening products, albeit in a highly concentrated form. Integrating hydrogen peroxide into your oral care regimen, such as a rinse, can help keep stains at bay, but it may not be all that effective at whitening.
  • Coconut oil – Coconut oil, which you can often find in jars at natural sections of grocery stores or sometimes the cooking oil aisle, is often used in skin or hair care by natural product aficionados. It is also slightly acidic which means it can kill bacteria that live on the surface of your teeth.
  • Apple cider vinegarVinegar is often used as a household cleaning product, so it’s no surprise that it can be used to clean teeth as well. Apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse or mixed with baking soda. Be sure to brush or rinse again after using it, however, because the acidic properties can damage tooth enamel.
  • Lemon – We mentioned lemon juice as a possible additive to baking soda above, and the acidic properties are also present in the rind of the fruit. Try brushing with a mixture of lemon juice and water (if you don’t wish to use baking soda), or rub the peel directly on your teeth.

Remember that the best results start with prevention. Avoid stain-creating drinks like coffee and tea, and if you do drink them, brush right away whenever possible. Don’t smoke, keep sugar intake to a minimum, and maintain your teeth’s enamel with proper oral care.

The key to natural teeth whitening is consistency. Don’t expect immediate results. Rather, it could take at least a month, often longer, before you start to notice outcomes. And if you are using an acidic solution such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, be careful. The acidic properties can damage the enamel on your teeth. You can try using them a few times a week instead of daily, or be sure to brush just after using to make sure the acid doesn’t sit on your teeth. Lastly, if you’re in braces, it’s best to wait until after orthodontic treatment is over before you begin any sort of whitening regimen. Ask Dr. Smith, your Smithtown orthodontist, for more information.

Should You Choose a Permanent or Removable Retainer?


While you’re reading this, try to push one of your teeth with a finger. It seems to be solidly in place, right? But in reality, your teeth are not fixed into their spots. They can and do move and shift, which is why orthodontics is even possible to begin with. If your teeth couldn’t move, your orthodontist could never have arranged your teeth to make a beautiful smile.

But this aspect of your teeth also has a downside. Namely, it’s that your teeth won’t necessarily stay where they are after orthodontic treatment is over. Over the years, they may begin working their way back to their original positions. In addition, the forces of your jaw and tongue—the opening, closing, biting, chewing, and general activity day after day—will exert minute forces on your teeth. Over time, these forces may impel the teeth to move.

This is why retainers are so important. They are there to keep your teeth from shifting and undoing the work of your orthodontic treatment. Right after your treatment is done is the most important time to wear a retainer because the structures in your jaw that support your teeth need time to set around the new positions. Even later, teeth can shift, and a retainer will prevent this from happening.

There are two general types of retainers, permanent and removable. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.

Permanent retainer

A permanent retainer, also sometimes called a bonded retainer, is essentially a wire that’s attached (or bonded) to the back of your teeth.


  • Effective – Permanent retainers are always there and doing their job. They can’t be temporarily removed or ever lost. You’ll never accidentally leave it at home when you go on vacation.
  • Discreet –They’re installed behind the teeth so it will be hard for others to know you’re wearing one.
  • Longlasting – The glue that holds a bonded retainer on your upper teeth will last several years, and a bonded lower retainer will need to be replaced even less often.


  • Harder to clean – Flossing, in particular, can take a little longer as you’ll have to use special threaders or tools.
  • Dental visits – Bonded retainers can promote build-up of calculus, meaning you really should stay on top of recommended biannual cleanings.
  • Annoying – Bonded retainers are more lightweight than braces, but some people don’t like the feel of the wires on the back of their teeth.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers are made of plastic. One type of retainer, called the Hawley retainer, fits into the roof of your mouth or in the space between your tongue and back teeth. Hawley retainers include wires that wrap around the front of teeth to keep them from drifting. Essix retainers, on the other hand, fit directly over your teeth and have no wires.


  • Removable – Yes, these are called “removable” retainers for a reason. Nothing is installed in your mouth, and you can take them out when you need to.
  • Transparent – Clear plastic means these retainers are even more inconspicuous than bonded retainers.
  • Easy cleaning – Because you can remove them, you can stay on top of oral care and clean the retainers easily too.


  • Not as versatile – You will need to take them out to eat or play sports.
  • Losable – When you take these out, they might get accidentally misplaced or thrown away. It happens.
  • Less durable – Removable retainers need to be replaced every so often. You can, however, arrange for new ones to be mailed to you.

This overview should give you a good idea of the differences between types of retainers. Consider which would be best for your specific situation considering your teeth and your lifestyle, and ask Dr. Craig Smith, your Smithtown orthodontist, for more details.

Eating with New or Tightened Braces


For the duration of the time that you’re in braces, you will have to make some changes to your diet. We generally recommend that you keep away from hard, crunchy foods or any foods that cause you to exert pressure on your jaw (like corn on the cob). You should also avoid sticky foods that will get caught it your hardware beyond the reach of cleaning implements.

Consider this slightly limited diet to be a temporary sacrifice you’ll need to make in order to achieve a straight and healthy smile that you’ll have for the rest your life.

And just because you are supposed to be careful of eating things like crunchy foods when you’re in braces, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut them out of your diet entirely. In many cases, you can eat them with a little bit of preparation or flexibility. For example, you shouldn’t bite into an apple, but if you let a knife rather than your teeth do the work, you can cut them up into small pieces. You can steam carrots until they are soft. You can strip corn kernels off the cob. You can even eat potato chips by letting one soften in your mouth from saliva, a technique that will also slow down your snacking and allow you to savor the flavor.

The times when you are likely to make the most concessions in your diet are the days after you first get your braces put on or after an appointment when you’ve had them tightened. These times are when your teeth will be the sorest, and the soreness will likely last a few days.

To get through these periods, we suggest you:

  1. Eat super-soft foods – Many foods can be nourishing that don’t require that you use your teeth at all. Puréed soups, smoothies, yogurt, and protein drinks are good options. If the soreness isn’t that severe for you, you can have can pasta, bananas, and rice. Meat cooked in a slow-cooker all day long becomes ultra-tender. If you cook scrambled eggs over very, very low heat, they become deliciously creamy.
  2. Cut food into small bites – Don’t make your teeth do work they don’t have to when they’re sore. In other words, don’t bite with your front teeth. Outsource the task of breaking food into chewable sizes to your knife and fork.
  3. Use your molars – Molars are the cube-like teeth in the back of your mouth designed for chewing and grinding food. They likely won’t be as sore as your other teeth after a tightening. So direct the food you’re eating to them.
  4. Eat slowly – If you’re eating too quickly, you won’t be taking the time to cut up food into morsels and to direct them to your molars. Instead, eat slowly and pay attention to what sort of activity your mouth can handle during this sensitive time.
  5. Drink water while you eat – Keep a tall glass of water within reach while you’re eating to help you wash down food.
  6. Take painkillers – For general soreness, it’s fine to take over-the-counter painkillers for a few days until the soreness starts to abate. Aspirin, Advil, and Tylenol (or generic versions) are all good.

Remember, the trade-offs you make when eating with new or tightened braces are only temporary, and the reward will arrive with a wonderful smile waiting at the end of orthodontic treatment. If you have any other concerns or questions, ask Dr. Smith.

Tips to Help Your Child Smile Brightly with Braces at School


Here at North Shore Orthodontics in Smithtown, we’ve found that many young patients choose summer as the time to get braces first put on their teeth. By starting treatment when school is out, kids have a low-pressure time to get accustomed to their new appearance, allow the initial discomfort to pass, and get used to eating with braces. Now that the new school year is upon us, parents in Long Island have one more thing to do in the back-to-school bustle: help their children in braces make a smooth transition.

Pack a Teeth-Cleaning Kit

We recommend that our patients who wear braces clean their teeth after each meal or snack. It keeps the teeth healthy, and your child will speak and smile confidently knowing there is no food stuck in their braces. As a parent, you should pack a small kit that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste and any picks, rubber bands, dental wax, or other items that your child needs. Your child simply needs to take a few minutes after lunch to do a quick cleaning regimen in the bathroom. The kit can also include a small mirror to check for trapped food throughout the day.

Use a Retainer Case
You’ve probably heard anecdotes about students wrapping their retainer in a napkin in the cafeteria only to discover later that it has been thrown away. It happens all the time! If your child wears a retainer, ask us for a retainer case or even some extra ones, and be sure your child uses them. Retainer cases are insurance against headaches, unnecessary appointments, and spending extra money.

Select Softer Meals and Snacks to Eat

The food in the cafeteria may be too hard or crunchy for kids with braces, so parents should pack a lunch that their children can easily eat. Foods like applesauce, pudding, yogurt, bananas, hummus, cheese squares, meatballs and soups are all good. As long as it’s fairly soft, it should work. Keep in mind that teeth can feel sore after a visit to our office for a tightening. Even approved foods can be rather difficult to eat for a few days, so be particularly mindful in these times.

Offer Some Reassurance

Even children who normally get excited about going back to school may feel a little uneasy about it now that they’re in braces. The self-consciousness will likely pass, but give your child positive, encouraging words about his or her appearance. Also, remind your child that plenty of their friends will be wearing braces too, and have them keep the long view in mind. The treatment they’re in the middle of now will give them a lifetime of straight teeth and beautiful smiles.

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