All About Elastics: Why Rubber Bands Are An Important Part of Your Orthodontic Treatment

Have you been wearing your rubber bands?

If you're receiving orthodontic treatment, that's a phrase you might end up hearing over, and over, and over. We might sound like a broken record, but we're really trying to help you out! Those small, colorful little rubber bands might not seem like much (and it may not seem like a big deal to skip out on them), but they do a world of work inside your mouth that's critical to aligning your jaws properly and fixing your bite.

So, what's the big deal with rubber bands?

 Orthodontic treatment coupled with rubber-band wear, like this Class II elastic pattern, help align your jaws and correct your bite.

Orthodontic treatment coupled with rubber-band wear, like this Class II elastic pattern, help align your jaws and correct your bite.

Rubber bands do the one thing we can't do with our archwires: align your jaws! We do a lot at your appointments to adjust your braces and move your individual teeth into proper alignment, but we can't correct major bite issues without your help. When we instruct you to wear your rubber bands 24 hours a day (at school, at work, at home, sleeping, and eating!), we are putting that part of treatment in your hands. Prolonged wear of rubber bands is what corrects bite issues like overjet, overbite, crossbite, and more.

We know you are excited about your new smile - we are too! Accordingly, we want to ensure you have all that you need to cooperate during your orthodontic treatment. The reality is that not wearing your rubber bands can significantly delay your treatment. Inevitably, we've seen plenty of cases where patients don't take treatment seriously and neglect wearing their rubber bands - and end up adding years to their treatment in the process. If, however, you follow Dr. Land's simple instructions for your rubber bands, you can anticipate finishing your treatment on time and sporting a brand new smile before you know it!

  1. Wear your rubber bands 24 hours a day. As Dr. Land says, he wants to see you wearing them whenever you eat, drink, sleep, and kiss your mom and dad! The only time you should not be wearing your rubber bands is when you're brushing your teeth.
  2. Change out your rubber bands at least once per day. Over time, your rubber bands will lose their stretch and/or break. It's a good habit to switch them out periodically to ensure they're doing their job.
  3. If you run out of rubber bands, don't wait until your next appointment. Stop by our office to pick up
  4. Don't go it alone. Ask your friends, parents, spouse, or partner to hold you accountable. They can tell when you're not wearing your rubber bands - give them permission to remind you when they see you without them.

As Dr. Land always tells his patients, rubber bands are your passport out of braces!

Halloween and Braces: Your Guide to Braces-Friendly Tricks and Treats

It's that time of year again! There's a slight chill in the air, leaves crunch underfoot, and the ghosts and cobwebs are dotting our yards and porches. In less than a week, you'll be venturing out in costume to collect treats from your neighbors (or maybe you'll be sticking at home doing the treat-giving this year). Nonetheless, October 31 is nearly here and you've probably started to wonder: how in the world am I going to survive the sugary temptations of Halloween with braces?!

Well, you're in luck! We present to you a handy guide to enjoying Halloween with braces. Dr. Land of Land Orthodontics in Raleigh, Wake Forest, and Angier, NC shares his favorite tips (and a few tricks!) for satisfying that sweet tooth and avoiding any orthodontic emergencies here at Halloween.

If it's hard, sticky, or chewy, avoid it like the plague!

There's no quicker ticket to an emergency Halloween visit to your orthodontist's office than sinking your pearly whites into a sticky, solid (and delicious) candied apple (or anything like it). We can't give you an exhaustive list of what to avoid, but just stick to this simple 3-word rule and most of your bases are covered. When in doubt, just ask yourself - is it: hard? sticky? chewy? If so, you're better off avoiding it.

Now for the good news! Here's a list of some of the wonderful treats you actually can enjoy this Halloween!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
No harm here. Soft, creamy, and delicious! Extra points if you go for the Pumpkins! :)

Kernel-free popcorn (Pirate's Booty!)
Traditional Popcorn is one of the biggest no-no's while wearing braces, but there's a delicious, braces-friendly alternative: Pirate's Booty! It doesn't have the kernel that traditional popcorn has, so it's safe to eat. You can even use it to make these spooky popcorn hands:

Hershey Kisses (or a regular old Hershey bar for that matter)
As long as you're avoiding the Hershey with Almonds (or any other nuts), you're in the clear.

3 Musketeers!
Great costume idea for a trio, but also a stellar sweet snack for braces.

They melt in your mouth, not in your hand! These milk-chocolatey drops of goodness are the perfect braces-friendly treat (as long as you avoid the Peanut variety).

"Break me off a piece of that" is probably exactly what you're thinking right now.

It's about as close as you're going to get to eating anything gummy with braces.

Pies - especially pumpkin!
Unless it's a pecan pie, you're pretty much in the clear. Just avoid any hard ingredients (pecans, walnuts, etc) and you're ready for the holidays, fork in hand!

Milky Way
Creamy, nougat-y goodness. What's not to love?

York Peppermint Patties
They're minty fresh! But you still have to brush after you eat them.

5 Health Hacks for a Cleaner Mouth With Braces

If you've ever had braces, you know the struggle. Broccoli in your brackets, waffle in your wires. It happens to the best of us! But there's good news. We've been treating patients for well over 30 years and we've observed, tested, and verified the best strategies for keeping a clean, healthy mouth with braces. Here are five sure-fire ways to keeping your smile squeaky clean when you're wearing braces.

Start using Super Floss or Threader Floss.

This stuff is worth its weight in gold. It makes flossing under your wires and between your teeth so much easier! You can even pick it up at Target or even order it in a few clicks from Amazon. If you've never used it before, ask us for a free sample pack at your next appointment.


Brush after every meal. And when you can't brush, rinse.

When you're wearing braces, good brushing habits are especially important. With braces, your teeth are more inclined to collect plaque, which leads to decay. At a minimum, brush night and day (and try to brush after lunch, too). Try carrying a travel toothbrush with you. If your schedule prevents you from brushing midday, at least take time to rinse out with water after eating your lunch. It's nowhere near as effective as brushing, but it will remove some food debris.


Add an electric toothbrush to your wishlist.

Admit it - it's time for an upgrade. Switching to an electric toothbrush will seriously up your oral hygiene game. In fact, electric toothbrushes remove 21% more plaque than standard manual toothbrushes. And they're more affordable than ever. For less than $10, you can get a basic model and for less than $100, you can get a more advanced rechargeable toothbrush. Either way, switching to an electric toothbrush will ensure a consistent, superior clean every time.


Use proxy brushes to get to those hard-to-reach spots.

Not only do they look like Christmas trees, but they also bring good cheer and glad tidings! :) But seriously - you'll be jumping for joy when you've got these to help you clean. They're the perfect little tool to remove that hunk of bread stuck in your braces way in the back of your mouth.


Consider investing in a Water-Pik.

Water-Piks use a directed stream of water to flow between and clean your teeth, brackets, and wires. It's like a take-home version of the water jet/syringe we use to rinse and clean your teeth here in our offices.

Crazy in Love with Land Orthodontics & Beyonce!

Last month, we sent two of our patients and a guest of their choice to see Beyonce live in Raleigh for her Formation tour. We love every single one of our patients and love to celebrate you when you're making your appointment times and taking great care of your teeth! This wasn't the first and it won't be the last time we put on a big contest like this for the wonderful people who trust us to care for their smiles. 😊 When we finally drew the winners from our HUGE bucket of entries, we gave them a call. Both Corddarryl and Chase were through the moon! We could hear their excitement and imagined this was what was going on on the other side of the phone:

Well, we wanted to share a little of what the Beyonce experience was like. Corddarryl was so gracious to share more about the show, including many, many pictures! While he was at the show, he even bumped into Lynn and Danita - two of our orthodontic assistants (catch their selfie below)! 

So here it is from Corddarryl's perspective - what it's like to win big at Land Orthodontics and get to share his beautiful smile with the Queen B herself! We love you Corddarryl and are so thankful to have you in the Land Orthodontics family. 😄 👍  

The Beyonce: Formation tour was such an amazing experience. I truly enjoyed the evening and the event. The seats were fantastic and it was a night that I will cherish and remember forever. From beginning to end, she covered her classics all the way up to her latest material. The entire crowd sang along to her hits and all jumped in excitement when she proclaimed in the harsh rains that “If you all are in the rain; I am in the rain!”. She gave us all an amazing performance and it was great to see her give her fans a performance that I am sure no one will ever forget! Thank you to Dr. Land and his entire staff for this amazing opportunity. I am forever grateful!
— Corddarryl Rose, current Land Orthodontics patient

Contest alert: You, bae, Queen Bey. May 3.

Warmer days are here and if you're like us, your countdown to summer has already begun. What better way to kick off that countdown than to see Beyoncé in concert in Raleigh - FOR FREE? Yes - you heard us right. Go ahead - take a minute and do your happy dance. We're right here dancing with you!

We're sending two very lucky patients and a guest of their choosing to the May 3 concert! All you have to do to enter is to brush and floss well and come to your appointments on time. We love each and every one of our patients and want to reward you for your hard work keeping those teeth fresh and clean while we work on perfecting your smile.

If you're really gung-ho about seeing Queen Bey live on stage this spring, make sure to tell your friends. For every new patient you refer to us, we'll give you 5 extra raffle entries. And the sky's the limit - keep referring your friends to our practice and you'll be right there slaying with Beyonce in no time! 

How to Pick the Right Orthodontist for You

Making the decision to get braces is a big one. You're investing your time and hard-earned money, so it's important to find an orthodontist with whom you feel comfortable trusting your smile. As you consider your options, use this list of important questions to learn more about your treatment provider. Whomever you choose to begin orthodontic treatment with, we want to make sure you're confident selecting a responsible, qualified orthodontist who will help you gain the smile of your dreams!

Are you seeing an orthodontist or a general dentist?

Your smile matters. If you're looking for the highest-quality treatment for your smile or bite issue, you should see an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a specialized dentist (DDS or DMD) who has spent 2-3 years after dental school dedicated to treating advanced orthodontic cases. Although some general dentists provide limited orthodontic treatment, you'll get the absolute best care by seeing an orthodontist. A general dentist is who you'll want to see for biannual oral health exams and restorative treatment like fillings and root canals - think of them like your primary care physician.


Is this orthodontist Board Certified?

Let's take it a step further. If you're really looking for the most highly-credentialed and qualified doctor, you'll want to make sure your orthodontist is Board Certified. This certification, administered by the American Board of Orthodontics, means that your orthodontist voluntarily spent hundreds of additional hours of preparation to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in orthodontic patient care. Only a third of practicing orthodontists are actually Board Certified, so make sure to ask your orthodontist about their certification. 


Do their current & past patients recommend them?

Have you checked out this doctor's reviews? There are many online review sites for healthcare professionals, but Google, Healthgrades, and RateABiz are some great places to start. If you're not receiving a personal recommendation from a friend on which orthodontist to see, online reviews are a great place to learn about other patients' experiences. You'll likely be with this orthodontist for 18-24 months, so do your research!


Have they treated a case like yours before?

Your smile is unique to you, but certain elements can track across comparable cases and allow for similar treatment plans. Some bite issues, however, are more rare and 'difficult', requiring significantly more complex treatment, potentially involving surgery. Ask your orthodontist if they've treated a case like yours before. They may even be able to share a case study similar to your situation. A good orthodontist will be glad to show you what you can expect and how treatment would progress.


What is the fee for an initial exam and orthodontic consultation?

Not everyone needs braces or orthodontic treatment. But consulting an orthodontist is the best way to find out exactly what type of bite issues you may have and whether or not you need braces. At Land Orthodontics, we believe that your initial exam and consultation should be purely educational - not a sales pitch. We want the best for you and your smile, so we offer a complementary no-strings-attached Land Orthodontics Smile Analysis, including digital x-rays (if needed), examination, and treatment plan, to every new patient who walks in the door.


How do they treat emergency appointments?

Orthodontic treatment can be relatively pain-free. Other than soreness from tooth movement, the most likely form of discomfort arises from a wire poking or a broken appliance. Most orthodontists will provide wax to help prevent oral irritation until your next visit, but we take it a step further. We make every effort to get you in for a quick emergency appointment at no charge to fix the issue and help make you comfortable again. Unless you're habitually eating the wrong foods (anything hard, sticky, or chewy) and breaking appliances over and over, these emergency appointments come at no cost to you and we often are able to see you same-day.


Do they offer flexibility in the way of payment?

Some orthodontists require payment in full before your braces ever come on. That's doable for some, but for many, it's simply unaffordable. Ask your orthodontist about their payment policies and whether they offer any flexibility. At Land Orthodontics, we want to make a perfect smile attainable for every one of our patients. We do everything we can to work with you, from providing 0% flexible financing options to filing your insurance payments for you. 


Does the fee for treatment include retainers?

The average course of treatment takes 18-24 months. Once we remove your braces, you will be provided with a retainer - a simple acrylic or clear plastic appliance you wear at night to keep your teeth aligned properly. When you're considering the cost of orthodontic treatment, make sure that your orthodontist discloses their retainer fees upfront. At Land Orthodontics, your retainers are included in the initial treatment cost. We also have you come back for periodic, complimentary retainer checks years beyond when your treatment is completed. We want to make sure your smile stays straight for life!


Are they empathetic, kind, and caring?

This, of course, isn't a question you'll directly ask your treatment provider. You can recognize empathy and friendliness just by calling the office, visiting their website, and meeting the staff. It's a simple thing, but we think it's key to use the Golden Rule as a test. Does this office treat patients with genuine care, love, and respect? Can you tell that they love helping patients meet their goals? Are they invested in the local community? Go with your gut on this one - after all, you'll likely be spending the next two years with these folks!