smiles

Food to Avoid with Braces

July 9th, 2021

Congratulations you have braces and are on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile! For your orthodontic treatment to be most effective, and stay on schedule, it is important that you follow Dr. Barden's instructions and take care of your orthodontic appliances. Breaking your brackets, arch wires, and other orthodontic appliances will slow down your treatment (resulting in wearing braces for longer time!) and result in more visits to fix and repair the damage.

This means that while you have braces, or other orthodontic appliances, you may need to make a few lifestyle changes and to be careful about what you eat. Eating the wrong foods can result in loose or broken brackets and bent arch wires.  Take care of your braces and appliances by avoiding hard or sticky food. This includes things like popcorn and nuts. Also avoid sticky candy  such as caramels, taffy, gum.

Hard vegetables and fruits like apples and carrots are healthy food choices, but eating them whole can cause broken brackets and bent arch wires. During orthodontic treatment we recommend cooking hard vegetables and fruits until they are soft or cutting them into small, bite size pieces.

Other things to avoid that can cause damage to your braces include chewing on ice or objects such as pencils (you should avoid doing these things even if not in braces as they can damage your teeth!)

Taking these precautions will reduce the number of broken brackets, reduce your number of emergency visits and help keep you on track to a healthy, beautiful smile.  Ask Dr. Douglas Barden and his assistants if you have any questions about what you can, and can’t, eat while in treatment!

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Children’s Thumb and Pacifier Use

May 7th, 2021

Young children commonly suck on their thumbs, fingers, or a pacifier. For babies and young children this action can be soothing and helps them to feel secure. At an early age, sucking habits are not something to cause concern. However, remember that pacifiers should never be dipped in sugar or other sweeteners as this can promote cavities.

By the age of two years, children should be encouraged to stop sucking on pacifiers and their thumb. This is because thumb and pacifier sucking can become problematic as children become older.  Continued sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and teeth alignment. It can also cause changes to the roof of the mouth.

Generally, by age of two to four years most children stop sucking behaviors on their own.  You can encourage your child to quit by praising and rewarding them for not sucking during times that they normally engage in that behavior (such as being away from you or during bedtime). You can also bandage your child’s thumb at night as a way to discourage them from sucking.

If your child has a favorite pacifier you might want to consider sewing it into a new stuffed animal so the pacifier is still there, but not in a way that can be used orally.  Some parents have found that a “pacifier fairy” who takes away a pacifier and leaves a “big kid toy” can also be effective at ending the pacifier habit. If these suggestions don’t work for you, be sure to check with your pediatric dentist for more ideas.

Starting at the age of one year, children should see a pediatric dentist who will monitor the child's dental health. Their dentist can also help you identify if there are problems from continued thumb sucking or pacifier use.

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Sports and Teeth

April 2nd, 2021

Patients often ask if they can still play sports while in orthodontic treatment. The answer is YES!  Many of our patients (children, teens, and adults) are active with sports.

Dr. Barden recommends that everyone always protect their smile with a properly fitted mouthguard when playing sports and there is the potential for injury to your mouth or jaw. This is true even if you are not in orthodontic treatment.

When should you wear a mouthguard?

  • Mouthguards should be used when playing any contact sport such as football, hockey, baseball, softball, wrestling, field hockey, boxing, martial arts, rugby, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse.
  • Mouth guards can also be helpful for non-contact sports such as gymnastics or skateboarding where falls and accidents can cause mouth and jaw injuries.
  • Wear the mouthguard for practices as well as games.

Mouthguard tips:

  • Mouthguards should have enough flex that they won’t break or tear.
  • Mouthguards should fit properly and be comfortable.
  • Mouthguards should not impair speech or breathing.
  • Custom made mouthguards often work the best and are the most comfortable. See your dentist if you need a custom fit mouthguard.
  • If you have braces you will need a mouthguard that fits with braces. See Dr. Barden if you need one.
  • Don’t wear orthodontic appliances, such as retainers, when wearing a mouthguard.
  • Rinse the mouthguard in cool, soapy water after each use.
  • Store the mouthguard in a hard case and away from the sun or in the heat. Sun and heat may melt or distort mouthguards.
  • Children and teens may need new mouthguards as they grow to ensure proper fit.

Sport-related dental injuries can be painful and expensive.  A quality mouth guard is a good investment to protect your smile.  Ask Dr. Barden if you have any questions about mouthguards and protecting your smile while in orthodontic treatment.

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Benefits of Reading “Teeth Books” with Children

March 5th, 2021

We love a good book – especially if it is a “tooth book”! No, we don’t mean a book from Dr. Barden’s time in dental school. We love books written for children about teeth and dental health. There are a number of excellent children's books with a tooth or dental theme. There are books that tell the story of the tooth fairy, demonstrate good dental hygiene, and teach about first visits to the dentist. Dr. Barden even has a book about how a moose brushes his teeth (which happens to be a favorite with his children)!

What are the benefits of reading a "tooth book" with your children?

  • For younger children, reading a book about their favorite character going to the dentist can help to reduce any nervous feelings they might have before their appointment. Children are afraid of things that are unfamiliar, so reading a book that explains what will happen during their visit can be very helpful.
  • Tooth books promote healthy teeth and good oral hygiene. In our office you can find books that highlight healthy eating and teach proper brushing and flossing techniques, in fun, age-appropriate stories.
  • Tooth books teach about teeth. Who knows - you might be raising a future dentist, hygienist, or orthodontist!
  • Reading with your children helps them develop a love of reading and is often a special bonding time.

There are so many reasons to read with your children. Do you recommend a good tooth book that your children  love to read? Share the title and author with us on our TwitterInstagram, or Facebook page!

Happy reading!

Recommended Valentine’s Day Treats

February 5th, 2021

At Barden Orthodontics we love Valentine’s day.  Especially during these challenging times, it is important to show your love and appreciation for your family, friends, and other special people in your life.

As you think about the different treats to share with these special people, don’t forget about your teeth. You want everyone to have a beautiful, healthy smile and too much candy can negatively impact your smile!

Dr. Douglas Barden’s Recommendations for Celebrating Valentine’s day:

Do:

  • Share your love with people you care about in your life. We can all use some cheer and appreciation!
  • If you have braces, pick treats that are soft and will not damage your brackets or appliances. Chocolate covered strawberries are a good choice. Dark chocolate even has some health benefits!
  • If you have Invisalign or clear aligners, you can eat whatever treats you want as you will take out your aligners. Remember, DO brush your teeth before putting them back in.
  • Show your love for someone with something other than candy or treats. Kids enjoy stuffed animals, balloons, stickers, and small toys. Adults might enjoy flowers, a special dinner delivered, or other things that show you care.

Don’t

  • If you have braces or other orthodontic appliances Do not eat treats that are hard and sticky. That means candy with nuts, hard candy (sorry, but no Valentine conversation hearts!), and sticky treats such as gum, caramels or licorice should be avoided. These can damage your appliances and slow down treatment.
  • Do not eat treats all day long as that prolongs the amount of time the sugar is on your teeth. Pick one time for a treat and then brush and floss your teeth.

Show the people in your life some love this Valentine’s day. Then show your teeth some love too! Brush, floss, and use a fluoride rinse every day.  We love a beautiful, healthy smile!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Dr Barden and his team at Barden Orthodontics!

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Give Yourself a Gift - a New Smile!

December 6th, 2019

Let this be the holiday season that you get the smile you have always wanted!

Are you considering braces or clear aligners (such as Invisalign®) to improve your smile? Are you worried that your current lifestyle might not work with braces? Put your fears to rest! Dr. Douglas Barden will work with you to review your dental treatment goals, talk with you about your lifestyle, and outline a treatment plan that gives you a beautiful smile.

You will be happy to learn that braces will likely work with your current lifestyle. While wearing braces or clear aligners you can still do all your favorite activities -- whether it’s playing sports, playing instruments, singing, or speaking in public.

Today’s braces are much smaller than they used to be. The days of “metal mouth” are long gone! Metal brackets are much smaller, and many adults and teens prefer braces made of ceramic or plastic, which are barely noticeable. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign®, are also popular with our adult and teen patients because of the low visibility and ease of treatment.

What can’t you do with braces? Chewing on ice and hard, sticky food will damage your brackets. You might also have tender teeth after adjustments. But these are minor inconveniences in order to have a healthy, beautiful smile!

If you choose to have treatment with clear aligners, most people won’t even notice that you are wearing them. You can still eat all of your favorite foods because you remove the aligners while you eat.

A consultation with Dr. Douglas Barden at his Whitefish Bay, WI office will help you determine how you can benefit from orthodontic treatment and which method (braces, clear aligners etc) will work best for your lifestyle. Consultations with Dr. Barden are always free, and he is happy to answer all of your questions about orthodontic treatment. We can also coordinate with your dental insurance and develop a payment plan that works for your budget.

We look forward to welcoming you to our Whitefish Bay office and starting you on the path to the new smile of your dreams! Happy Holidays!

Teeth Friendly Halloween Treats

October 6th, 2019

Halloween is Dr. Barden’s favorite holiday! Dressing up in costumes, hanging spooky decorations, pumpkin picking and carving, and trick-or-treating are fun, family friendly activities. But, the Halloween candy gives Dr. Douglas Barden and his staff a real scare.

A friendly reminder for our patients: if you have braces be sure to avoid any candy that is sticky (gum, taffy, caramel) or hard (hard candies or candy with nuts). These can damage your brackets and wires. This will require an extra appointment and can slow down your treatment progress. This means caramel apples are a real danger! If you are being treated with Invisalign® you will be happy to know you can eat anything you want as you will take off your aligners while eating.

Everyone should be careful about the amount of candy that they eat. The sugar on your teeth can cause cavities. So, please eat in moderation and then brush and floss thoroughly!

Here is our challenge to you for this year. Instead of handing out candy for trick-or-treating, how about trying some teeth-friendly alternatives? Here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Stickers
  • Balloons
  • Stamps
  • Glow in the dark wands
  • Halloween themed pencils
  • Bat shaped rings
  • Vampire teeth
  • Mini coloring books and crayons

Barden Orthodontics will be participating again in the Merchants of Whitefish Bay trick-or-treating event. We hope you stop by for some teeth-friendly treats!

Happy Halloween!

Celebrating 7 Years of Barden Orthodontics!

May 10th, 2019

This month we celebrate 7 years of Barden Orthodontics in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. We love working with the many wonderful patients and excellent area dentists. We love what we do here – creating beautiful smiles with amazing people!

On our anniversary we want to celebrate some of our accomplishments and highlight what sets Barden Orthodontics apart from other orthodontic offices:

  • Dr. Barden was named a 2019 TOP ORTHODONTIST by Milwaukee Magazine. This honor is based on reviews from dental professionals in the community. We are so proud to have received this distinction that recognizes Dr. Barden’s expertise.
  • Dr. Barden is President-elect of the Wisconsin Society of Orthodontics. He has previously served as vice president, treasurer, and trustee to the organization. Service to the community is an important part of Dr. Barden’s professional commitment.
  • Our new, state-of-the-art office utilizes the newest technology. This provides patients with the most efficient and advanced care available. The digital x-ray is low radiation and provides an immediate x-ray for use during the appointment. Our iTero element scanner means no goopy, messy impressions!
  • Barden Orthodontics is FAMILY FRIENDLY and was designed to be fun and relaxing. Patients and their families can enjoy complementary gourmet coffee, wi-fi, and of course our very popular GAME ROOM and PHOTO BOOTH! We love seeing patients and their families enjoying their time together in the waiting room. Patients tell us that coming to an orthodontic appointment is a lot of fun at Barden Orthodontics!
  • The TEAM at Barden Orthodontics is the best! From the smile you receive at the front desk to the encouragement and gentle care from the assistants, we treat our patients like our own family.
  • Dr. Barden is proud to live and work in this wonderful community. He is honored to be a business sponsor for numerous community events and various area organizations.

Dr. Barden and his team want to thank you for your support. We love being part of the amazing Whitefish Bay and Milwaukee Northshore Community. We look forward to many more years serving the area and creating beautiful, healthy smiles!

Whitening Teeth with Braces

May 15th, 2018

Now that you are working hard to improve your dental health and appearance with your braces, it might seem like a logical time to whiten your teeth as well. But should you go ahead with home kits or a professional whitening? The answer might be yes, but not quite yet!

Toothpaste

The easiest way to whiten teeth is regular use of a whitening toothpaste. But these do not make a major difference in tooth color and may also contain abrasives which can damage ceramic brackets and make them more likely to stain. And, whether you have metal or ceramic braces, the brackets used are bonded to your teeth. Any part of your tooth covered by a bracket will not be affected by the whitening paste. Ask our office if you are thinking of using one of these products. We will be happy to recommend the best toothpastes to use while your braces are in place.

Whitening Strips and Trays

Whiteners can be applied at home with strips or tray kits. Strips are coated with a whitening gel and then pressed around your teeth. Tray kits provide a mouthguard-like appliance, which is filled with whitening gel. But neither strips nor tray solutions will whiten any area covered by brackets. When your braces come off, there might be noticeable differences in color on each tooth. Strips are difficult to apply with braces, and trays need to be custom-designed to fit your braces and make sure they don’t disturb your orthodontic work. One size most definitely does not fit all! Finally, these whitening agents can cause tooth and gum sensitivity, especially around the time of adjustments. Many manufacturers do not recommend using their products while you have braces. Please talk to us if you are thinking of using them.

Professional Whitening

A dental professional can whiten your teeth in office for the best possible results. The most effective treatments for your unique teeth are combined with protective care of your gums and mouth. Whether this treatment is appropriate while you have braces is something we are happy to discuss.

The best way to keep your teeth bright is to keep up your regular dental routine! Brushing and flossing are more important than ever now, because plaque builds up around brackets. Avoid foods that stain teeth and rinse or brush after every meal and snack. Dr. Douglas Barden will show you the best way to take care of your teeth while your braces are on—and that includes the best way to keep them white and bright. Talk to us about the perfect time to whiten your beautiful smile during your next visit to our Milwaukee, WI office. And if you have to wait a few extra days for the smile you’ve been working toward, truly, the wait will be worth it!

Toothbrush Care

April 10th, 2018

You found the perfect toothbrush! The bristles are soft, to avoid irritating your delicate gum tissue. The angle of the bristles is perfect for removing plaque. The handle is durable and comfortable when you spend at least two minutes brushing in the morning and two at night. Why, you love this toothbrush and you’ll never let it go… for the next three or four months.

The life of a toothbrush is naturally a short one. Dr. Douglas Barden and our team recommend replacement every three to four months because the bristles become frayed and worn with daily use. They cannot clean as effectively when the bristles begin to break down, and, depending on your brushing style, may wear out even more rapidly. (Children will probably need to replace toothbrushes at least every three months.) But even in the short time you have your toothbrush, there are ways to keep it ready for healthy brushing.

  • Don’t share. While sharing is normally a virtue, sharing toothbrushes can lead to an increased risk of infections, especially for those with compromised immune systems or existing infectious diseases. Similarly, keep different brushes separate when drying to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Rinse thoroughly after brushing. Make sure to remove any toothpaste or debris left after you brush.
  • Store the brush upright. Air-drying is the preferred way to dry your brush, as covering the brush or keeping it in a closed container can promote the growth of bacteria more easily.

There are several products on the market that promise to sanitize your brush. The verdict is still out on its success, but if you or someone in your home has a compromised immune system, call our Milwaukee, WI office to see if it might be worth your while to check them out.

Even though your toothbrush won’t be with you long, make its stay as effective and hygienic as possible. And if you find a brush you love—stock up!

Halloween Fun with Braces

October 25th, 2016

Halloween is a favorite holiday among children due to the festive games, imaginative costumes, and candy. Modern celebrations stem from a combination of traditions from Pagan and Christian traditions throughout the centuries. The original holiday was called Samhain and derived from the ancient Druids of Ireland. In their belief system, November 1st marked the beginning of winter, and Pagans began their Samhain celebrations at sunset on October 31st.

Modern Celebrations of Halloween

Children and adults love dressing up for Halloween, and this tradition comes from the ancient belief in spirits. From sunset on October 31st until sunrise on November 1st, the souls of the dead entered the physical world. Some spirits were benevolent and wanted only to cross over to the afterlife while others harbored malicious intents of revenge and trickery. Pagans wore masks and disguised themselves so that the malevolent souls would mistake them as fellow spirits.

Families left food and ale outside of their doors to appease the spirits. With the rise of Christianity in Europe, the church encouraged its members to offer food and money to beggars. In exchange, the beggars would agree to pray for the family's deceased loved ones. Eventually these traditions led to the development of today's customs where children dressed up and received candy from their neighbors while circling the community.

Teeth-Friendly Treats

With all of the excitement and free candy on Halloween, it is easy to get carried away on a sugar high. Parents warn their children not to eat too many pieces in one night to avoid tummy aches and cavities. Our team at Barden Orthodontics especially wants to remind children with braces to be extra cautious about the treats they eat because some varieties can get stuck in between the brackets and damage the devices. Sticky candy, such as caramels, fruit chews, and gum should be avoided when wearing braces. Children can trade with their friends and siblings to get only safe candies. The following list offers some alternative treats that children with braces can safely enjoy.

  • Solid chocolate, including milk, white, or dark
  • Nougat-filled candy bars, such as Three Musketeers
  • Candy-coated chocolates like M&Ms
  • Powdery candy, such as Sweet Tarts or Pixie Stix
  • Mint-flavored candy
  • Malted milk balls
  • Cookies
  • Peanut butter crackers or cookies

When in doubt, children should ask their parents or Dr. Douglas Barden if a specific candy is safe. Halloween is a fun holiday for children, and having braces does not have to take away any of the excitement from tasty treats.

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