After undergoing months of intensive orthodontic treatment to improve your smile, you tend to walk out of the final appointment extremely committed to following all the aftercare instructions your orthodontist provides you regarding wearing your retainers. After all, you want to do everything you can to keep your teeth straight. Unfortunately, sometimes that dedication and commitment to following instructions tend to lessen and before you know it, you are completely neglecting your retainer.

Think it isn’t a big deal that you aren’t wearing your retainer? Think again. Learn about some of the things that can happen if you neglect your retainer.

Bacteria Can Grow on the Retainer if Not Properly Cleaned

Failure to properly clean retainers is one of the most common forms of retainer neglect that we see at an orthodontist office. People fail to properly clean their retainer because they are running short on time, don’t know the proper way to clean their retainer, or just don’t know that retainers need to be cleaned.

Retainers come into direct contact with a lot of things ranging from sugars and acids to bacteria and food particles. Cleaning your retainer will not only prevent bacteria that can harm your teeth and cause tooth decay from growing on it, but it will extend the lifetime of the retainer.

The following tips will help you keep your retainer properly cleaned:

  • Use cool water and a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your retainer. Don’t use toothpaste because it has abrasive particles that will scratch and dull them.

  • Clean your retainer at least once a day.

  • Clean your retainer immediately if it has been exposed to sugar or acids.

  • Your retainer can be soaked in the dentures solution to help deep clean them

Teeth Start to Shift Without a Retainer

Many people assume that because the orthodontic treatment worked so well that they no longer have to wear their retainers. That isn’t the case. If you fail to wear your retainer, your teeth will slowly shift and you will end up with crooked or misaligned teeth.

The teeth naturally want to shift, many times back toward their original positions. Your retainers keep your teeth straight by preventing them from shifting and moving after orthodontic treatment.

Of course, failing to wear your retainer one day isn’t going to mean you will wake up with a completely distorted smile. However, if you continue to neglect your retainer and don’t wear it as you are supposed to, you will slowly notice changes in your smile and eventually, your teeth will be misaligned.

To prevent your teeth from shifting, do the following:

  • Retainers need to be worn every night to maintain your smile. The longer you go without it your teeth will shift. If you find that it is difficult to get them in and out then more than likely you should be wearing them more often!

  • Retainers will need to be worn for your entire life if you wish to keep your teeth straight. Even if you never received orthodontic treatment your teeth will shift with age so if you want to keep your current smile throughout your life, we still suggest wearing a retainer at night.

  • Your retainers could last many years, but if they are lost or broken, new ones can be made.  The sooner you get to your orthodontist when you encounter a problem like this, the better. The longer you wait, the more likely you will have significant shifting.

  • Do not leave your retainers out in the sun or rinse them in hot water. This may cause them to warp, and your teeth will shift.

  • When not wearing your retainers, always keep them in your retainer case. Never wrap them in a napkin or leave them out on a table. This only makes them more likely to be thrown out or chewed by a pet!

Has it been a while since you have worn your retainer?  If so, it is time that you see Dr. Horne before your teeth have more time to shift.  Call Smiling Springs Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment 719-487-9303. Dr. Horne will be able to assess your individual case and determine if you just need a new retainer or if your teeth have shifted so much that you may need to undergo orthodontic treatment.

What Prolongs Your Treatment?

Don’t Miss Scheduled Appointments

Making trips to the orthodontist’s office is all part of undergoing treatment. After the first few visits you may start to see these appointments as inconveniences and be tempted to miss them. Don’t do that!

Skipping scheduled appointments with your orthodontist could prolong your treatment. One of the reasons you need to have regular appointments is so that your orthodontist can check your progress. If, for some reason, your teeth aren’t shifting or moving like they should, your orthodontist can make adjustments so there aren’t delays in your treatment.

Another reason for visiting the orthodontist is for planned adjustments. If you skip an appointment where your orthodontist was going to tighten or adjust the wires, it could delay treatment because your teeth won’t be moving in the same timeframe as predicted.

The best thing you can do is to try to make all of your scheduled appointments. In the event something comes up and you can’t make an appointment, call your orthodontist and reschedule as soon as possible. This will help keep you on schedule and help you complete your orthodontic treatment in a timely manner.

Avoid Chewing on Hard Candy, Ice, and Other Objects

If you are one of those people who likes chewing on your pencil when you are thinking or snacking on ice, you should stop while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Of course, that is if you want to complete your treatment in the estimated timeframe.

When you chew on hard objects like candy, ice, and pencils, you put yourself at risk of damaging your orthodontic appliances. If your braces or wires get damaged, they won’t function properly. When your teeth aren’t shifting or moving as they are supposed to, it could result in having to wait longer to complete orthodontic treatment.

It is also best to avoid sticky foods, as they can damage or loosen parts of your appliances which can slow your treatment progress down.

Don’t Get Lazy with Oral Hygiene

We cannot stress enough how important it is that you practice good oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Failure to brush and floss regularly while undergoing treatment could result in the development of cavities. If a cavity forms or your gums get inflamed, these issues must be dealt with right away and this will take precedence over your orthodontic treatment progress.

Practicing good oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment means doing the following:

  • Trying to brush your teeth after every meal or snack, a bare minimum of twice per day

  • Brushing all of the surfaces of your teeth and around the brackets and wires, paying special attention to the gum line

  • Flossing at least once per day

  • Scheduling regular visits with your dentist, at least once every six months, for professional cleanings

When you become a patient at Smiling Springs Orthodontics we want you to improve your smile as fast as possible. That is why we take the time to explain all instructions to you and answer any questions you may have about wearing braces or undergoing orthodontic treatment. Call our office today to schedule an appointment to speak with Dr. Horne about how we can help you improve your smile!


Invisalign sounds like an ideal orthodontic treatment option. It is practically invisible, has no food restrictions, and is relatively painless. Unfortunately, while Invisalign is a great orthodontic treatment option, it isn’t for everyone.

Think you might want to get Invisalign? Learn more about who is a good candidate for this type of orthodontic treatment.

Older Teens and Adults are Better Candidates for Invisalign

Age plays a role in whether or not you are a good candidate for Invisalign. This orthodontic treatment option usually works best for older teens and adults because in most cases, responsibility increases with age.  Younger teens and children can get Invisalign treatment but other treatment options, such as traditional braces, may be a better option. Each patient and situation is different though.

Older teens and adults are better candidates because they are often able to follow the strict instructions that come with Invisalign. Invisalign aligner trays must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours a day and changed out on schedule. Younger teens may be tempted to frequently remove the aligner trays or forget to switch to a new tray as scheduled.  Younger patients also tend to lose things more often and losing trays can lead to problems.

The Orthodontic Problems That Need to be Corrected

Invisalign can correct a wide variety of orthodontic problems. However, it cannot properly correct major orthodontic problems, such as a severe overbite or underbite. It cannot correct these major orthodontic problems because the structure and positioning of your jaw need to be corrected and Invisalign primarily corrects the placement and position of your teeth.  Technology is always advancing, however, so Invisalign may have even more uses in the future!

Minor orthodontic problems that can be corrected with Invisalign include:

  • Crooked teeth that slightly overlap each other

  • Protruding teeth or teeth that are not in their proper position

  • Gaps that have formed between the teeth

  • Overcrowding of the teeth

  • Some crossbites – when the upper teeth fit on the inside of the lower teeth

  • Minor open bites

  • Minor underbites and overbites

If you need to have severe orthodontic problems corrected the only treatment option that may be available to you is traditional braces. An orthodontist can give you a better idea of the type of orthodontic problems that need to be corrected in order to give you the smile you always wanted.

Other Qualities That Make a Good Candidate for Invisalign  

The activities you engage or things you like to do in often determine what type of orthodontic treatment option is best for you. Invisalign may be a good treatment option for the following type of people:

  • People who do a lot of public speaking – the aligner trays can be easily removed if there is a concern about slurring or mumbled speech while talking. However, most patients easily adapt to the trays and can speak with ease.

  • People who play full-contact sports – the trays can be removed while you play a favorite sports activity.

  • People who lead busy lives – many times, there are fewer visits to the orthodontist required with Invisalign. You will still need to go to the orthodontist, but you won’t have to go as often as those with traditional braces

Schedule a Consultation with an Orthodontist to Discuss Invisalign

The only way to know for sure if you are a good candidate for Invisalign is to visit an orthodontist.  After conducting a brief examination, your doctor will speak with you about what results you wish to see from undergoing orthodontic treatment. Once this information is gathered, your orthodontist will be able to determine if you are a good candidate for Invisalign or if you should consider other orthodontic options.

Choosing The Right Orthodontist

When choosing an orthodontist and seeking professional orthodontic care, we hope that price will not be the primary factor in making your decision. Rather, it should be the experience of the professional and the quality of service.

Orthodontics can shape the experience and quality of your life. Choosing the right orthodontist is very important and that choice cannot be made based on cost alone. It must be noted that while all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists: only 6% of dentists are orthodontists. You should ensure that the individual providing orthodontic treatment is in fact an orthodontist, because if treatment is not done right, it can take a lot of time and money to fix.

Factors To Consider in Choosing The Right Orthodontist

While we understand that cost will be an important factor in your final decision about where to seek treatment, we advise that you also choose your orthodontist based on these important factors.

  • Ensure that the individual is a licensed orthodontist. Some dentists who offer orthodontic treatment are not licensed orthodontists.

  • Ensure that the orthodontist has a credible reputation. Check online reviews or ask previous patients if possible.

  • Choose an orthodontist that has a clean, organized office and friendly staff. The office atmosphere is integral and can tell you a lot about the orthodontist.

You should always take advantage of initial consultations as they can help you to make the right choice. These consultations can give you a chance to ask the right questions, meet the orthodontist, and hear about the treatment options that are available to you.

What Makes An Orthodontist?

#braces #orthodontist #coloradoorthodontist #dentist


Orthodontists are dentists that are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults. Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively!

Orthodontists use a variety of “appliances,” including braces and clear aligner trays (Invisalign), to move teeth. Because of orthodontists’ advanced education and clinical experience, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet every individual patient’s unique treatment goals.

When making the decision to receive orthodontic treatment, make sure to select an orthodontist for your care as orthodontists are the only type of dentist specifically certified to provide tooth and jaw alignment treatment.


There are three steps in an orthodontist’s education:

  • Four years of college

  • Four years of dental school to become a licensed primary care dentist

  • Two to three years of orthodontic residency (additional training which focuses only on the specialty of orthodontics)



After completing college requirements, the prospective orthodontist attends dental school. Upon graduation from dental school, the future orthodontist must be accepted as a student in an accredited orthodontic residency program and then successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of study. The orthodontic student learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).

  • Only those who have successfully completed this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists.”

  • Orthodontists limit their scope of work to orthodontics.

It was so exciting to see Sydney’s new smile just in time for her homecoming!!

#braces #bracefree #debond #smile #smilingsprings #orthodontics #brackets #coloradospringsorthodontist #coloradobraces
#braces #bracefree #debond #smile #smilingsprings #orthodontics #brackets #coloradospringsorthodontist #coloradobraces
Miss Avery was so happy to be getting some braces!! You rock them girl!!

Miss Avery was so happy to be getting some braces!! You rock them girl!!

Marleni cheesing big with her set of braces!!

Marleni cheesing big with her set of braces!!


#braces #ceramic #treatmenttime #coloradoorthodontist #coloradospringsbraces #braces #braceface #clearbrackets

One of the first questions people ask when they get braces is, “How long will I have my braces?”

Dental braces straighten teeth by applying slow, steady pressure that moves teeth in a specific direction over time. One of the biggest problems with braces is that they do take time to move teeth. Most people wear braces between 12 and 30 months, depending on how significant their problems are.

There are steps you can take to make treatment go smoothly, so you can get your braces off as soon as possible and get the best results.



While chomping on a piece of hard candy or chewing gummy bears occasionally may seem harmless, they can do damage to your appliances or even lead to cavities. Your orthodontist probably gave you a list of foods to avoid, but the list likely includes popcorn, nuts, hard taco shells, hard and sticky candy, gum, ice, corn chips, pretzels and more.


Sweets can leave excess sugar on the surface of your teeth and braces, and this sugar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. If you do snack on sugary food, be sure to brush soon afterward.


Prevent unnecessary damage to your braces by cutting your food into smaller bites, especially if it is something tough. It is especially important to cut chewy meat, crunchy vegetables and other foods that usually require a lot of chewing. Be sure to chew these foods slowly and gently to avoid accidental damage to your wires or brackets.


Gnawing on pen caps, pencils, fingernails or other objects can also bend wires and pull your teeth off course. Chewing ice is bad for your teeth and it could damage the wires and brackets.


Playing with your braces is likely going to cause problems, many times the types of problems that can cause you discomfort.  Damaging your appliances in this way may also slow progress.


This is one of the only ways you have control over how efficiently your treatment moves.  Your orthodontist will give you instructions on how much to wear them, but for the most part, the more you wear the elastics, the more progress you are likely to see.


A healthy mouth responds to teeth straightening better than an unhealthy one. Brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day. Regular brushing and flossing removes food particles and excess sugar, which could lead to tooth decay and gum problems that can slow down orthodontic treatment. Consult with your orthodontist if you suspect that you have a tooth or gum problem. Get your teeth professionally cleaned at least once every six months.


You can damage the delicate wires and brackets by brushing or flossing too aggressively.  Appliances can occasionally be damaged and the teeth and gums can also be injured by brushing and flossing that is too aggressive.


Make and keep regular appointments. It is difficult to make progress if you are not seeing your orthodontist for adjustments to your braces.  Your orthodontist will check your teeth to make sure they are healthy and on track with your treatment schedule. Your dental health professional will also check your teeth and gums to make sure they are healthy. To speed up your orthodontic treatment, be sure to follow all the recommendations your orthodontist offers.

For more information about getting your braces off sooner – and for better results when you do have your braces removed – speak with your orthodontist.

Best Products To Aid in Cleaning Around Your Braces!

#cleaningbraces #smilingsprings #orthodonticblog #coloradoorthodontist

While wearing braces, normal brushing and flossing alone aren’t enough to keep your mouth as clean as it should be. Braces have many sections and good dental hygiene is important to avoid unnecessary problems. With braces, it is crucial to clean your teeth after eating. If you can’t brush your teeth at the moment, then use a mouth wash or floss taking care to remove elastic bands before brushing or flossing. Here are some of the best products to help you with cleaning braces:

Floss Threader

This plastic threader has a loop where you place a string of floss and a stiff point that you put between your teeth at the gum line. Pull the threader all the way through so it places the floss correctly so it is ready to use.


This type of floss refers to a pre-cut string of floss with a plastic threader on the end. This type of floss doesn’t require making a loop which makes it more convenient to use. It also comes with a spongy component for cleaning broader spaces and regular floss for small spaces.

Gum Soft-Picks

These are made of soft, versatile rubble bristles which have a tapered design that fits better into adjoining spaces created by the orthodontic materials.

Water Flossers

Water flossers don’t need traditional floss at all. These devices use water to remove food residues and plaque from the teeth and gums. This method is more efficient that using regular floss and also massages the gum lines.

Electric Toothbrush with Ortho Brush Heads

An electric toothbrush with a circular ortho brush is developed for cleaning braces gently but efficiently. Typical toothbrushes can be too rough on the delicate parts of the braces. Using an ortho brush can safely clean the gum line, brackets and wires in circular motion and can also benefit your gum health.

Making Braces Fun For Your Child

It may be hard getting your child accustomed to the idea of braces. We’ve collected our top tips on how you can make wearing braces fun for your child.

  1. Color them! Most children love colors and they will be excited to know that they can choose the color of their braces. There is a wide variety of colors to choose from, and they can change the color with each orthodontic visit.

  2. Show them famous people who wear braces. There are a lot of singers, actors, and athletes who wear braces, or who wore them as a child. If your child knows this, he or she might feel more comfortable wearing braces and find them fun.

  3. Tell them how important braces are. If you tell them how much their braces are doing for them, hopefully they will feel more comfortable and happier wearing them. Show them before and after pictures of people who have had braces, and show videos on how braces can fix their dental issues.

  4. Bring them somewhere fun every time they visit the orthodontist. Take them to the park, the movies, or for a scoop of ice cream! This will remove the fear of going to the orthodontist. As a matter of fact, this can even make them look forward to their appointment.

What Are Elastics And What Are Their Purpose?

Orthodontic elastics, also called rubber bands for braces, are applied to the wire to improve and maintain the alignment of the bite and teeth during the entire treatment process. They apply pressure on specific areas and the orthodontist either loosens or tightens them as he or she sees fit. While the wires are responsible for ensuring the teeth stay in one line, it is the elastics that pull them together.

These elastics are not the same as the little ones you see attached on each bracket. They are small bands that are attached in between the frontal or back brackets or the lower and upper ones.

Because of their size, it at first may not appear as though the elastics are able to change the positioning of your teeth. On the contrary, the elastics serve a huge purpose in terms of aligning your bite. This part of getting your braces on takes the longest period of time, but these small bands being applied in exchange for perfectly aligned teeth is well worth it.

An important thing to note about using rubber bands is that it requires the user’s active participation in attaching them and following the doctor’s instructions. This part is crucial. The orthodontic elastics need to be positioned and installed in a specific place and way so that they remain effective. They also need to be replaced a few times a day!

Good Foods To Eat When New To Braces!

You may feel some minor and short-term discomfort after you get your new braces. Don’t worry, as any discomfort or soreness will go away shortly and you will back to your normal eating habits. In the meantime, here are some of the best foods to eat as a new braces patient:

1 – Chicken Noodle Soup

This delicious soup is not just a great option for when you have the flu! Those with new braces can get plenty of nutrients from this dish, which is especially crucial at a time when chewing can be difficult and a bit painful. Add healthy carbohydrates to the meal by soaking crackers or bread into the soup so they become easier to chew and eat.

2 – Bananas

Ripe bananas a great fruit when your mouth is sore because they are soft, healthy, and very easy to eat. Bananas are a great option for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack. Bananas are packed with vitamins and the nutrients that will power you through the day.

3 – Yogurt

Yogurt is a great breakfast option and will not require you to do any chewing at all. Just note that some yogurts have a high sugar content, so it’s recommended that you gargle or brush your teeth after eating yogurt.

4 – Eggs

Scrambled eggs are a great choice for those with new braces. Eggs are high in protein and will keep you full for hours. You can also add cheese and vegetables to your scrambled eggs for extra nutrition.

5 – Smoothies

Like yogurt, smoothies do not require any chewing effort to consume. Plus, the cold sensation in your mouth can help numb the inflamed parts of your gums from the new braces.

There are plenty of other types of food that can be consumed when your braces are new. Stick to soft foods that don’t require lots of chewing, and that do not put too much pressure on your teeth.

Are you flossing everyday?

Do you floss every day? If you don’t, you are allowing bacteria to build up that can cause a number of different dental health issues to occur.

But what about brushing your teeth? Isn’t that enough? Brushing your teeth is critical for keeping your mouth healthy, but brushing does not remove all of the bacteria that can get in between your teeth and around your gums.

Bacteria that is left in between your teeth and around your gums increase your likelihood of developing tooth decay and cavities. Not only are cavities and decay a possibility, but gum disease is another dental health problem that can occur due to a lack of flossing. This is why flossing is so important for your oral health.

To protect your teeth and gums, brushing and flossing every day is necessary. Dental health problems do not just affect your mouth, but can also have an impact on your overall health.

Something we suggest to all of our patients is a Waterpik. They are great at removing plaque and getting around the braces efficiently. To use a Waterpik put warm water into the reservoir and aim the tip at your gumline starting in the back with your molars. Make sure you lean over the sink and close your lips slightly to prevent splashing. Then just follow your gumline front and back until you get around all of your teeth. This should take you around 1 minute to do! It's that easy! 



#waterpik #braces #orthodonticcare #orthodontist #coloradobraces #coloradosprings

Adult Braces

It’s never too late to improve your smile. More adults are having their teeth straightened. If you didn’t have orthodontic treatment as a child, you may have had problems that were left untreated like an overbite or underbite, crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw. You could be experiencing tooth decay, headaches and earaches, chewing issues or gum disease as a result. As an adult, you may have a better opportunity to get these problems fixed.  Dr. Horne will tailor a treatment plan that best aligns with your expectations. Are you having jaw soreness or does your bite feel off? Feel free to give a call and schedule a complimentary consultation!