Dr. Adriana da Silveira

Top Tips To Keep Your Smile In Shape in 2019

Even if you aren’t a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, there’s something about exciting about the beginning of a brand new year. Flipping over the first page of the calendar often inspires us to review and reset our habits, whether it’s losing weight and exercising more often, or paying more attention to your oral health, which is an important part of your overall health. Here at Bee Cave Orthodontics, we want to help you keep your smile looking and feeling amazing this year! January may be flying by already, but you’ve still got plenty of time to embrace these simple tips that can have a big impact on your smile in 2019.

Taking it back to the basics

From the time we’re old enough to hold a toothbrush, we’re reminded over and over about how important it is to brush and floss regularly, even if we didn’t always listen. But a good dental hygiene routine really is the best – and easiest – thing you can do to keep your smile healthy and fully functioning. To remove bacterial plaque successfully, there are some basics you should be following, including:

  • brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, using a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
  • brushing gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline, moving the toothbrush across all surfaces of the teeth to effectively remove bacteria and any trapped food particles
  • flossing at least once per day to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated throughout the day
  • replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if you’ve had a cold or any other illness
  • using antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes for an extra boost!

These are good habits for everyone to adopt, but they’re even more important when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you’re one of our braces patients, the areas between your brackets and gums and the spaces in between the wires and your teeth need to be carefully cleaned, but you probably know that can be a little tricky sometimes. If you haven’t already tried them, interdental brushes can make this a much simpler process since they fit easily into hard to reach spots, helping to remove any sticky plaque and food debris you might have missed. Oral irrigators like a Waterpik are another useful tool. These use a high-pressure, targeted stream of water to clean the teeth more efficiently.

Dr. Adriana and team member

If you’re in braces, you’ll be able to get the best results from your dental hygiene routine by:

  • using fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush
  • replacing your toothbrush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear
  • brushing around every part of your braces, and the surface of every tooth
  • flossing every night before you go to bed, taking advantage of tools like floss threaders and waterpiks if you’re having trouble getting into the tighter spaces

If you’re straightening your smile with a clear aligner system like Invisalign, be sure you’re removing your aligner every time you eat or drink anything other than water. You should also be gently cleaning your aligner regularly, as well as changing it out as directed by Dr. Da Silveira.

Let good food be your guide

With Christmas treats finally finished, and Valentine’s candy already lining the supermarket shelves, there’s no better time than now to remind yourself about the important role food plays in keeping your teeth healthy, including the items you should avoid if you’re in braces. That includes:

  • Chewy foods like fruit snacks and bagels
  • Crunchy foods such as chips, nuts, and hard candy
  • Sticky foods like caramels, gum, and certain types of candy

Although food restrictions can be frustrating, try to remember that they’re only temporary. All your hard work will pay off once we reveal your new smile! There’s are many foods you can still indulge in that are good for your mind, body, and mouth, as well.

For example, milk and other dairy products pack a calcium-filled punch that can help bones and teeth stay strong and healthy. Whole grain breads and pastas are full of complex carbohydrates that give bacteria less digestible food to grow on. Chicken, red meat, and fatty fish like salmon are loaded with phosphorus, an important mineral that helps strengthen and protect tooth enamel. And last but certainly not least, eating a rainbow of fresh fruits and veggies is one of the best things you can do for your body! A variety of these give you magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium, and magnesium, minerals that play a vital role in maintaining oral health.

If you really want to make your smile sparkle, consider cutting down on your consumption of sugar and soft drinks! Sugar is a carbohydrate, and carbohydrates feed the bacteria on your teeth, encouraging them to produce the acids that cause tooth decay. Soft drinks also contain sugar and acid that can wear away at the enamel on your teeth and cause unsightly decalcification if plaque is allowed to collect around the brackets if you wear braces.

Bee Cave Orthodontics team

On the go care

Although we recommend brushing and flossing after every meal, that can sometimes be difficult if you’re away from home. With today’s families busier than ever before, you can prepare to care for your teeth and gums on the go by stocking a small bag with toothpaste, an orthodontic toothbrush, and floss. If you’re a braces patient, add a bit of orthodontic wax to your kit, too. This will give you a quick fix in case you experience any minor emergencies!

BEE your best in 2019 with a Bee Cave smile

If you want to get your smile off to the very best start this year, follow the simple tips we’ve listed above. Our team is here to support you, answer any questions you have, or provide a little extra encouragement from time to time if you need it! We believe 2019 will be a year of healthy habits, lasting changes, and BEE HAPPY smiles in Austin this year, and we’re excited to share that vision with you!

Bee Cave Orthodontics office

Get The Most Out Of Your FSA

Christmas is coming, and most of us are busy making holiday plans, checking off items on our shopping list, and hopefully taking a little time to stop and smell the hot cocoa! But it’s also open enrollment, with many families investing in a new health insurance plan, adjusting their existing one, or planning out their flex spending accounts (FSA) for 2019. Each year around this time, we often have patients and parents ask us if treatment with Bee Cave Orthodontics is eligible for reimbursement through their FSA. Let’s take a look at what an FSA is, how to plan your contributions for the upcoming year, and what an FSA can be used for below!

What is a flexible spending account?

A Flexible Spending Account is as an employer-sponsored benefit that allows employees to pay for eligible medical expenses on a pre-tax basis. If you have one, a predetermined amount of money is placed into your account to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs not covered by your health insurance.

An FSA can save you money by reducing income taxes. Contributions made to a Flexible Spending Account are deducted from your pay in regular increments before any federal, state, or Social Security taxes are calculated, and they are not reported to the IRS. This allows you to decrease your taxable income and increase your spendable income, something we can all use a little more of!

In order to make the full contribution available to spend at the beginning of the year, flexible spending accounts are generally pre-funded. This means that leaving a company mid-year could leave you on the hook to pay back any spent funds that have not been covered by paycheck deductions yet, but this varies from employer to employer.

FSAs operate on a “use it or lose it” principle, meaning any amount that has not been spent by the end of the year is lost. This differs from a health savings account (HSA) which can have money added it to it indefinitely. The rules for this are fairly flexible, though. For instance, some employers will allow employees to carry over a capped amount in unused funds, while others may offer a grace period of 1-2 months in the coming year. Whatever your employer’s rules, it’s important to try and calculate the right amount to set aside every year so that you don’t end up with any unused money come December.

Planning FSA contributions for the upcoming year

In 2019, employees will be able to contribute $2,700 to their flex spending accounts, a slight increase from the 2018 limit of $2,650. In choosing an FSA amount, you may find it helpful to refer to these two simple rules of thumb:

If your individual out-of-pocket medical bills usually amount to $225 per month or more —  or roughly $2,700 annually — contributing the maximum amount is a good choice.

If your medical expenses are generally low, it may be worth contributing only the total amount of approximate copays, as well as the expected dental and vision expenses for the next year.

While medical costs can be hard to predict, there are a few things you should take into consideration when planning contributions for the upcoming year. These include:

  • Primary care visits
  • Specialist office visits
  • Any planned surgeries
  • Prescriptions
  • Medical devices
  • Routine vision services
  • Glasses or contact lenses

Any planned dental or orthodontic care should also be considered, including cleanings, dentures, crowns, fillings, plus braces and clear aligner therapy.

Although many flexible spending accounts will provide a debit card to pay for expenses, you should always save your receipts in a safe place in case a charge is rejected and you need to prove that expense.

Dr. Adriana working with a patient

What expenses does an FSA cover?

Any expense that is considered to be a deductible medical expense by the IRS (and not reimbursed through insurance) can generally be reimbursed through a flexible spending account. Some examples of this include:

  • Medical, dental, surgical, chiropractic, psychiatric, and psychological visits
  • Contact lenses and eyeglasses
  • Qualified long-term care services and insurance premiums, associated nursing services, lab fees, and prescription medications
  • Non-elective cosmetic surgery
  • Eye surgery or Lasik
  • Co-payments on covered expenses
  • Deductibles
  • Orthodontic treatment, including braces and clear aligner therapy

FSA and orthodontics

Orthodontic treatment normally takes place over an extended period of time, so there are a few things to keep in mind regarding FSA benefits. Orthodontic care differs from other medical and dental procedures that require the actual service to be performed and paid for within the benefit period. While some patients will choose to pay for their orthodontic treatment in full, others may choose to make regular monthly payments. An FSA should allow reimbursement for prepaid orthodontic expenses up to the chosen amount as long as the payment was made during the benefit period.

Dr. Adriana with a patient

We’re here to help you plan the future of your smile!

Bee Cave Orthodontics is committed to providing the more rewarding orthodontic experience possible for patients of all ages in Austin and the surrounding communities. Our team is here to help you figure out the best way to achieve excellent oral health and an incredible smile, whether you use an FSA, dental insurance, or a payment plan to do so! For more information on our services and payment options, get in touch with us today by clicking here or calling our office at 512.596.5623.

Dr. Adriana with a patient

How to Survive Halloween with Braces

With Halloween right around the corner, you’re probably planning out your trick-or-treating route and finalizing costume plans. While this is an exciting time for most kids, it can be a source of anxiety for children in braces, and their parents, too! If you have a child undergoing orthodontic treatment, you may be feeling a little nervous about how to balance out the food restrictions that come with braces with all the sweet treats of the season. Although braces patients should avoid several types of candy to keep their appliance safe, that doesn’t mean they’ll be stuck on the sidelines watching other children dig into their Halloween haul!

Here at Bee Cave Orthodontics, we want our braces patients to be able to enjoy all the fun that Halloween has to offer without having to worry about broken brackets, bent wires, or scheduling an emergency appointment. October is also National Orthodontic Health Month, so it’s extra important to us that patients know what candy they can and can’t indulge in to keep braces safe and smiles healthy! That’s why we’ve prepared this simple Halloween Survival Guide for our braces patients. We’ve got the lowdown on which candy to keep, a couple of recipes for making your own ghoulish goodies, and we’ve also included some simple tips for keeping your child’s teeth clean over the next few weeks. Keep reading below for more!

Candy to keep away from kids in braces

From an orthodontic point of view, one of the scariest parts of Halloween is all the chewy candy people love to hand out! These can stick to the brackets, bands, and wires, and may even pull parts off. If your child’s teeth are tender from having their braces put on or after an adjustment, these types of treats may be painful to chew, leaving their mouth sore or aching. Chowing down on hard candies also puts a huge amount of pressure on braces, and can lead to broken brackets and bent wires. Remember that every bracket and band that has to be replaced or repaired sets the orthodontic process back a step, so avoid the following sweets to keep your child’s treatment plan progressing on schedule!

  • Caramel
  • Bubblegum
  • Hard candy
  • Taffy
  • Licorice
  • Nuts
  • Jelly beans
  • Candy corn
  • Popcorn and caramel corn
  • Chewy candy
  • Candy and caramel apples

We know that this list may seem long, but there’s still plenty of good stuff out there for your child to enjoy!

Candy that comes with our seal of approval

For braces patients, anything with soft chocolate is a good choice. Fortunately, this includes several classic candies, such as:

Any candy bars without caramel or nuts are generally okay, as well, but do keep in mind that biting into bigger candy bars can potentially damage the braces on your child’s front teeth. Breaking large candy bars into smaller pieces is better for braces and teeth both. It’s a good thing Halloween candy comes in tons of fun-sized and mini-sized bars!

Bee Cave Staff putting braces on a patient

Frightfully fun Halloween recipes

Whether you’re hosting a party, have an invitation to one, or just feel like getting creepy in the kitchen this Halloween, we’ve got twofantastic desserts that can be whipped up in no time. These sweet treats will please all the ghoulies and ghosties in your life, braces or not!

Pumpkin Cookie Pops

(Adapted from www.pumpkinnook.com)


3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup canned or fresh cooked pumpkin

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

20 wooden sticks (tongue depressors or Popsicle sticks)


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, brown sugar and orange zest. Add the pumpkin, egg yolk and vanilla, and blend.
  • Gradually add the flour and spices. Mix with your hands to create a soft dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Divide dough into two portions. Roll out each piece to 1/4-inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut into pumpkin shapes with cookie cutters.
  • Place on ungreased baking sheet and securely insert a wooden stick into the bottom half of each pumpkin cookie.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Decorate with your favorite frosting and Halloween decorations.

Peanut Butter Eyeballs

(Makes about 36 eyeballs)


¼ c. butter, completely softened

2 c. plus 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1 c. creamy peanut butter

1 ½ c. toasted rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)

12 oz. white chocolate

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Food coloring (two colors)


  • Combine the butter, powdered sugar, and peanut butter in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined. (If you don’t have an electric mixer, this can be done by hand.)
  • Mix in the toasted rice cereal; Using your hands, form into ½ oz. balls (the size of a large marble) and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).
  • Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt, adding vegetable oil partway through. After all chocolate is melted, stir until smooth.
  • Dip the balls, one at a time, into the melted white chocolate mix using a fork to roll them around so they are entirely coated; remove them from the chocolate and set on a waxed paper lined sheet pan. Chill to set up (about 30 minutes).
  • Separate remaining white chocolate into two bowls and add 1-2 drops of food coloring to tint each bowl a different color.
  • Reheat chocolate if necessary, and using a small spoon, place a dollop of the colored chocolate on each eyeball to make an iris. Use a smaller drop of the contrasting color for the pupil.
  • Let the chocolate set; place balls in individual mini muffin papers and serve.

Remember basic braces care

In all the excitement surrounding Halloween, it can be easy to forget a brushing session or two. Flossing may fall by the wayside. However, you should actually take extra care with your child’s teeth during this time! Even treats that are braces-friendly contain an increased amount of sugar that can be harmful if it’s not removed from the teeth promptly.

Basic oral hygiene will help to prevent cavities as your kids make their way through their candy stash. That means brushing at least twice a day and flossing every night before bed. It’s also a good idea to pair a glass of water with your child’s treat time, as water will naturally help to wash sugary debris away. This keeps it from lingering on the teeth and building up around the braces.

Spread the wealth

If you have lots of leftover candy, donating it is a great option. Passing it along to others who may be missing out will give your child a sense of pride, and it can also help to take the sting out of not being able to indulge in some of their favorite Halloween treats. Plus it’s a really easy way to brighten someone’s day! Many charitable organizations accept donations of unopened candy, including:

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude sends care packages to U.S. troops that are stationed overseas and first responders still here at home. Their mission is to put smiles on soldiers’ faces, and they encourage families to include letters and pictures with their donation.

Soldiers’ Angels

Similar to Operation Gratitude but a bit smaller scale, Soldiers’ Angels do a “Treats for Troops” event annually. You can click here to find a donation drop-off point, or register to start a drive of your own!

Ronald McDonald House

The Ronald McDonald House is famous for providing a place for families to stay together when a child is seriously ill. Most locations will accept donations of unopened candy for their resident families after Halloween. You can find your local chapter here, and you may want to call ahead to find out the rules for dropping off candy before heading that way!

If you’d rather keep things closer to home, homeless shelters, food pantries, and nursing homes will often accept unopened candy donations, too. You can make this experience even more special by having your child include notes or drawings for the residents and guests.

Dr. Adriana working with a patient

BEE aware of your child’s braces this Halloween

As you can see, being in braces doesn’t have to take all the fun out of your child’s Halloween celebrations! But if you’re still unsure about how to help them navigate those endless bowls of candy, our Bee Cave Orthodontics team is always here to help. We’ll be happy to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you have about how to keep your child’s treatment on the right track. Whatever your family is up to this Halloween, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday, full of healthy smiles!

Dr. Adriana with a patient

How to Protect Your Braces While Playing Sports

Fall is a favorite season for many of us, and it’s not hard to see why. We finally get a break from some of this lingering summer heat, the trees are changing colors, PSL dominates the drink menu, and it’s the absolute best time of year to be a sports fan! All the major sports in America are in full swing, and whether you’re part of the action or cheering it on from the stands, it’s an exciting few months. If you’re a regular participant in one or more sports and have braces on the horizon, you may be worried that orthodontic treatment will keep you stuck on the sidelines. Here at Bee Cave Orthodontics, we’ve found this is a common concern for the athletes we treat, but fortunately, it’s completely unfounded!

From Dwight Howard, Brett Favre, Venus Williams, and Cristiano Ronaldo, there are quite a few professional athletes who have shown that straightening your smile doesn’t have to mean giving up your game. When you have braces put on, you’ll still be able to participate in any athletics you normally would, but you will need to be careful to avoid damaging them, or injuring your teeth or mouth, particularly if you play contact sports. To learn how to successfully protect your braces – and smile! – while on the track, field, or court, keep reading below.

Sports-related injuries

It’s not uncommon for athletes to experience injuries to the mouth and jaw area. As a matter of fact, this is one of the most common areas for injury among those who play sports regularly, something you may have already experienced firsthand! It becomes extra important to protect your smile if you’re participating in physical activities while in braces. A fixed orthodontic appliance like braces increases the risk of oral injuries, especially those that come about from being hit by a ball or another player. While these injuries may not be life-threatening, they can be very painful, cause serious damage, and may be costly to fix. Some of the injuries we’ve seen in braces patients who play sports include:

  • lacerations to the cheeks, lips and tongue
  • chipped or broken teeth
  • dislocation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • root fractures

The brackets and wires that your braces are constructed of add another element to these types of injuries. It’s not unusual to see bent wires or broken brackets, and these can cut or otherwise injure the inside of your mouth during a collision. When it comes to avoiding injury and protecting your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports, the absolute best option is a mouthguard. Here at Bee Cave Orthodontics, we recommend our braces patients invest in an orthodontic model, but even a basic mouthguard will provide some level of protection.

Dr. Adriana talking with a patient about treatment

More about orthodontic mouthguards

Mouthguards are the #1 way to prevent damage to your braces and injury to your mouth or teeth. Easy to find, easier to use, and proven to be highly effective, mouthguards are an excellent option for all athletes, and are especially useful for high-contact sports like football or hockey. However, we recommend you wear one even if you only participate in light contact or low-impact sports, too. That’s because it only takes a small amount of pressure on your braces to irritate your mouth, or to cause small cuts and abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks.

If you plan to continue playing sports throughout your orthodontic journey, an orthodontic mouthguard is a true investment in your overall oral health. Designed to be used with braces, these models are made from a high-grade silicone that will help cushion your lips from any blows, and also protect the brackets from any impact-related damage. They even stop your lips from getting caught in your braces (which is exactly as painful as it sounds!) Orthodontic mouthguards are generally a little bit larger than non-orthodontic models, in order to fit over the brackets, but the silicone makes them just as comfortable to wear.

There are some orthodontic mouthguards, including Shock Doctor and Tapout, that are designed to adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment. These models will re-mold to your teeth multiple times as they begin to shift into their new positions, adjusting themselves based on your current bite. This is helpful for athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment as the mouthguard follows the curve of the treatment process. Most orthodontic mouthguards will come in affordable strapped or unstrapped styles, and can often be found in major sporting goods stores. However, Dr. Da Silveira is happy to recommend one for you based on your specific needs, and we can order one for you as well if you’d prefer going through our practice.

Dr. Adriana working with a patient

Keep your braces on the safe side with Bee Cave Orthodontics

If you’re one of our sports-playing braces patients, we encourage you to invest in an orthodontic mouthguard to keep your braces and mouth protected throughout the fall season – and the rest of the year, too! Not only will an orthodontic mouthguard shield your teeth as they move into their new permanent positions, it will also protect the orthodontic process itself. Although an orthodontic mouthguard is optimal, wearing any mouthguard is better than not wearing any mouthguard at all.

Whether you’re wearing a mouthguard or not, should you happen to receive an injury to your teeth or mouth, we suggest getting in touch with your general dentist’s office ASAP. He or she will be able to diagnose any tooth damage, including root or jaw bone fractures. Once you’ve been assessed by your dentist, get in touch with our office so Dr. Da Silveira can determine if any part of your braces needs to be replaced or repaired as well.

Getting braces doesn’t have to mean giving up on the sports you love! We’re committed to helping you continue to participate in any athletics you normally would as we work towards your BEE HAPPY smile. If you have any questions or concerns about navigating sports as a braces patient, our team is here to talk them through with you. Get in touch with us anytime you need further information or even just an extra little bit of encouragement!

Doctor talking with a patient

The 3 BEE’s Of Going Back To School With Braces

Here in Austin, the weather may feel like summer for another month or two, but the kids are heading back to school and before you know it, we’ll be Christmas shopping! We have a few more weeks before the official first day of fall, but before we drag our jackets from the back of the closet, this is the perfect time to discuss dental care during the school day with our patients who are in braces. This is an especially helpful overview for kids who are returning to school for the first time since beginning orthodontic treatment.

We’re sure you’ll be happy to know that wearing braces at school doesn’t have to be a hardship! Like any new adventure, it does come with its own set of learning curves, but with a little effort, patience, and care, it will quickly become just another part of your child’s daily routine. Bee Cave Orthodontics is excited about a new school year, and we want our patients to look forward to it, too. We’re here to help your student get back into the swing of things smoothly! Keep reading below to learn more about the 3 BEE’s of going back to school with braces.

BEE prepared

Every student in braces should have a basic care kit handy, especially those who haven’t been wearing them for very long. Keeping a few common items in their backpack or locker will ensure your child is prepared for any braces-related dilemma that might pop up at school. Your child may want to consider including the following: 

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • fluoride toothpaste
  • dental floss
  • orthodontic wax
  • lip balm
  • an unsharpened pencil

These items have proven to be useful in a number of ways. Wires and brackets can sometimes cause mild irritation to the lips, gums, and cheeks. By placing a pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax over the area causing a problem, your child should find some immediate relief. For wires that are poking out and into the cheeks, the eraser end of a pencil can be used to nudge them back into place. Last but not least, lip balm is a must-have for lips that are dry and irritated due to braces-wearing.

Bee Cave staff talking about braces

Be careful

If you have a child in braces who is also a student-athlete, or one that regularly has gym or P.E. classes, an orthodontic mouthguard can be a sound investment in their overall oral health. Sports and other physical activity increase the risk of braces being damaged and the cheeks, gums, or mouth being injured. Because orthodontic mouthguards are designed specifically to be used with braces, they are one of the easiest ways to prevent any breakage or injury. These mouthguards, as well as non-orthodontic models, can generally be found at most major sporting goods stores. However, Dr. Da Silveira is happy to recommend one or order one for your child based on their specific needs.

Be smart

Whether your child is at home, at school, or somewhere in between, all the same rules apply when it comes to caring for their braces, including food restrictions. Although these can be one of the biggest challenges braces patients face, it’s important to void anything crunchy, sticky, or chewy in order to protect brackets and wires. This is easy enough to manage at home where you’re in control of the menu, but the school can make things a little more complicated, particularly if your child normally buys school lunches or uses a vending machine for snacks.

To keep treatment progressing as scheduled, check the school’s lunch menu ahead of time for braces-friendly options. Look for things like lean meat, mashed potatoes, spaghetti, mac and cheese, and cooked vegetables. If you find choices tend to be limited, packing a lunch can sometimes make things simpler for your student. Invest in a Thermos and pack pasta, soups, and other soft options, or cut sandwiches into smaller bites the night before to keep things gentle on braces and easy on your child’s mouth. Yogurt and applesauce can be soothing snacks, and will help keep your child feeling full and satisfied throughout the school day.

What your child chooses to drink at school can also affect their braces. Drinking water is an easy way to keep stray food particles from sticking to the teeth and braces. Have your child carry a full water bottle to school with them in the morning and drink it throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep their teeth clean! Encourage them to stick to plain water instead of soda, fruit juices, or other sugary drinks, as these can stain the teeth and increase the risk for cavities. For the occasional treat, have your child use a straw to keep sugars as far away from their teeth as possible. 

Doctor talking with a patient

Send your child back to school with a BEE-autiful smile from Bee Cave Orthodontics

The idea of going back to school with braces on for the first time can feel a little intimidating. Even patients who have been in braces for a while can struggle with feeling slightly more stressed than usual about going back to school. These are perfectly normal reactions to the unknown, but the good news is, being prepared, safe, and smart with their braces will help make your child’s transition from summer to school much smoother! 

At Bee Cave Orthodontics, we love creating beautiful smiles for families in Austin and the surrounding communities. Dr. Da Silveira and the rest of our team are committed to providing top-quality orthodontic care to every patient we see, and we work hard to make your experience with us as rewarding and stress-free as possible. If you or your child have any questions or concerns about how to successfully navigate the new school year while undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces, please get in touch with us. We’ll do everything we can to set your minds at ease and keep your student’s smile on the honor roll!

Dr. Adriana with a patient

Summer Survival Guide To Braces

In case the scorching sun and soaring temps hadn’t clued you in, summer is officially upon us here in Austin. Pool parties, backyard BBQ’s, live music, maybe a day trip or two – however you’re spending these long, hot days, we’re here to remind you of how important it is to keep your orthodontic treatment on track wherever you may be. Whether you’re kicking it by the pool or setting off an adventure with your family, you can keep your smile in great shape this summer with a little planning ahead. Bee Cave Orthodontics is here to help your treatment succeed, so we’ve put together this quick guide on how to survive summer with braces

Keep our details on speed dial

With no early mornings or homework to worry about, summer is the perfect time for traveling.  Whether it’s by car, boat, train, or plane, be sure you have all the Bee Cave Orthodontics info you need beforehand. You may not anticipate running into any orthodontic emergencies on vacation, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Keeping our number on speed dial means that if anything does happen you need assistance with, we’ll be able to talk you through any immediate issues. We’ll also be able to tell you what steps you can take if you need to find some relief. Most of the time, it will be fine to wait until you are back home to follow up with us. However, if we feel as though any immediate treatment is indicated, we can direct you to an orthodontist near you.

If you hit a snag and need to call us, it’s a good idea to try and take a photo of the problem before you do. Use good light or the flash on your camera or phone to capture it clearly. By texting or emailing this photo to us before you get in touch, you can cut down on the time needed to assess the issue. We’ll be able to diagnose what’s going on much more quickly and accurately so you can get back to your summer fun as soon as possible.

DIY care for the road

Although orthodontic emergencies can and do happen (thankfully infrequently!), there are many common minor issues that can be treated easily with a little bit of know-how and a few things you probably have lying around the house. If you find yourself having a problem with any of the following while you’re out and about this summer, try these simple solutions for relief.

Irritated cheeks, lips, or gums

It’s common to experience some mild irritation in your mouth from time to time when you are wearing braces. The most common culprits tend to be is loose brackets or protruding wires, and can usually be taken care of with a small piece of orthodontic wax. To use this method, first be sure the bracket or wire is completely dry. Next, pinch a small piece of wax off, roll it into a ball, then flatten it completely. You can place this over any source of irritation to help relieve discomfort. 

Protruding wire

If a wire has come loose and is irritating your mouth, all you need is a pencil! Use the eraser end to nudge the wire back against the teeth gently until it flattens out.  If the wire is poking around the very back teeth, you can often use a pair of nail clippers to trim the wire back. For extra stability, a piece of orthodontic wax can be placed over the wire. 

Dr. Adriana talking with a patient

Loose bracket

If a brace comes off while you’re out of town, try not to worry too much. Loose brackets aren’t usually an emergency that requires immediate attention, though you should give our Austin office a call so we can set up an appointment to get your brace put back on. In the meantime, you can slide the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth, then use wax over the bracket to add some stability.  If it’s a brace on your back molar tooth, you can slide the brace off the wire and use a nail clipper to trim the wire next to the closest tooth. 

Travel kits are the way to go when you’re on the go

It’s always a good idea to keep a small bag of essentials with you wherever you go to easily maintain your regular oral hygiene routine. Close to home or halfway around the world, your smile will benefit from having a handful of braces basics on hand. Besides a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and floss, be sure to include a few other helpful items like:

  • Orthodontic wax
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever for any swelling or soreness related to your braces (though we recommend always checking with Dr. Da Silveira before taking any medication for orthodontic issues)
  • A couple of unsharpened pencils, so you’ll have the erasers nearby if you need them
  • Nail clippers

Keep this bag in your purse, backpack, or suitcase so it’s close by just in case! Being prepared for anything is one of the best things you can do while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Seek out braces-friendly summertime treats

Summer is full of opportunities to indulge in delicious snacks and sweets. Making smart choices even in the face of temptation will pay off when we’re able to unveil your beautiful brand new smile on time! Stick to the rules of eating with braces by avoiding anything crunchy, chewy, or sticky, and don’t forget to brush after every meal and snack! Although you may have to give goodies like popcorn and ribs a miss, you’ll still have plenty of classics to dig into, like coleslaw, potato salad, jello, grilled hot dogs, and ice cream! 

Don’t skip your oral hygiene routine this summer

When school is out, most schedules go out the window. Late nights and late mornings are no big deal when there aren’t any early alarms to set, but one thing you shouldn’t let fall by the wayside is your usual brushing and flossing routine. Brush your teeth after every meal and snack, and brush and floss thoroughly before bed. If you have an oral irrigator, use it at least a couple of times a day to get rid of pesky bacteria and food debris. We totally expect and even encourage slacking off during summer break, but for the sake of your smile, keep your oral hygiene routine on track.

Bee Cave staff with a patient

Keep smiling this summer with Bee Cave Orthodontics

Whatever you have planned for the rest of your summer, we hope it’s full of fun with your friends and family, making new memories, and lots of smiles! If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment over summer break, feel free to call us any time, or drop by our Austin office. Dr. Da Silveira and the whole Bee Cave team are dedicated to inspiring, encouraging, and engaging you on your way to orthodontic success! We’re here to help you in any way we can. Enjoy your summer and we’ll see you soon!

girl smiling with retainer

Why Retainers Are Important After Braces

Here at Bee Cave Orthodontics, we know exactly the kind of time, effort, and dedication our patients put into their own orthodontic treatment. It does not matter if you have been wearing clear aligners for a few months or traditional metal braces for a few years – creating a beautiful, functional smile requires some hard work on your part! It is exciting when you are nearing the finish line of getting your braces off or putting in your last aligner, but before you get too caught up in all the celebrating, remember that you are only completing the first step of orthodontic treatment.

The second step begins after your teeth have been straightened, and it is every bit as important as the first in maintaining your beautiful smile! Regular retainer use will round out the treatment process and is an integral part of keeping your teeth in their new and improved positions. Keep reading to find out more about why this second phase of orthodontic treatment is so essential, and how retainers prevent your teeth from drifting back to their original placements.

So, what exactly is a retainer?

Simply put, a retainer is an orthodontic appliance that is molded and designed to fit the mouth of each individual patient. Our talented Bee Cave team will take an impression of your newly straightened teeth, then create a custom retainer with a clear plastic material (for an Essix retainer) or from wire and an acrylic material (for a Hawley retainer).

Modern orthodontic wisdom tells us that the most successful smiles will wear some type of retainer part-time for the rest of their life after the teeth have been straightened. Do not let that knowledge overwhelm you, though! With just a little patience and practice, your retainer will become just another part of your daily routine. Eventually, wearing it a few nights a week while you are sleeping will be all you need to keep your teeth in the desired positions permanently.

Your retainer may feel a little strange at first, but any initial discomfort should not last long, so do not let it keep you from wearing your retainer properly. Failure to use this appliance as directed keeps it from being able to do its job, resulting in the teeth shifting back to where they once were, leaving your smile exactly where it started.

What do retainers do?

Retainers are used after orthodontic treatment is complete to hold your teeth in the proper alignment while the surrounding gums, bone, and muscle adjust to this new positioning. When your braces come off, your teeth are not the only things we want to stay put in their new, preferred position. The teeth are not just fixtures in the jaw – each one is held in its socket by elastic ligaments that attach the roots to the bone. These ligaments are living tissue that is affected by the movement of the teeth. This attachment is actually what allows for the small movements of the teeth during treatment.

When tension is placed in and around the teeth through braces, new ligaments, and sometimes even bone, are formed. Once the first phase of treatment, the remodeling phase, is complete, those tissues, ligaments, and bone will need time to stabilize. Without the help of a retainer to hold the new positions as they stabilize, the teeth will almost always migrate back to their old positions. This will undo all the hard work that goes into straightening your teeth in the first place, and who has time for that?

Image of teeth retainer

Are there different types of retainers?

There are two different types of retainers: fixed and removable. Dr. Da Silveira will take a number of factors into consideration before recommending a retainer for you, including your specific case, your preferences, your lifestyle, and your expected compliance.

Fixed retainers

Fixed retainers consist of a thin wire bonded behind the bottom or top teeth, or sometimes both. The wire will stretch across several teeth, so dental care is similar to braces care, particularly when it comes to flossing. Although a fixed retainer can take a little more work to keep clean, it does tend to have the best outcome overall, because the bonded wire is able to hold the newly straightened teeth in the ideal alignment over a long period of time.

Removable Retainers

There are a couple different options when it comes to removable retainers. Traditional removable retainers will typically include a metal wire that surrounds the front teeth and is attached to an acrylic arch that sits in the roof of the mouth. The metal wires can be adjusted to continue minor movement of the front teeth if needed. This is sometimes referred to as Hawley retainers, and they are probably the most recognizable retainer.

There is another type of removable retainer that looks very similar to an Invisalign aligner, which is often called an Essix retainer. This clear retainer may fit over the entire arch of your teeth, or only from canine to canine. Cleaning your teeth is easier with these retainers, but you will have to remember to wear it daily. At the beginning of this second step of treatment, it is likely that you will need to wear it all day and all night for at least three months. At the end of this period, your teeth will be assessed. If no movement is detected, then you may be able to wear the retainer less often, like overnight, or for just a few hours during the day. These retainers are a lot easier to misplace or damage, so it is important to be mindful of where they are at all times, and to be careful with them.

hands holding retainer for teeth and tooth tray

Keep your smile on the straight and narrow with Bee Cave Orthodontics

Have you been daydreaming about the day your braces come off or deciding how to celebrate your last clear aligner? Whether you are unfamiliar with the concept of orthodontic retention or need nothing more than a refresher course on the importance of retainers, the Bee Cave team is here for you and happy to help with all your questions and concerns. If you are in the Austin area and want more information on the role retainers play after orthodontic treatment, get in touch with us today. Dr. Da Silveira and the rest of our skilled staff will help keep your teeth in place year after year, through braces, retainers, and beyond! 

Girl at doctors office

Why Summer is the Best Time to Start Orthodontic Treatment

The summer season gives us many good reasons to smile! The days are longer, the sun is warm and kids are outside having fun instead of sitting in the classroom. Summertime is also a great time of the year to start your treatment with Bee Cave Orthodontics! Since kids are out of school and many parents have vacations, it is easy to schedule and keep appointments, which we know can be very challenging at other times of the year. Most kids believe there is never a good time to get braces. But, if it is time to schedule that trip to the orthodontist, summer may be your best bet. Aside from the fact that everything is just a little more fun in the summertime, here are a few more great reasons why getting braces is better when school is out!

Treatment Can Begin Faster

Without the need to rush back to school, many times we can start orthodontic treatment on the day of your child’s first appointment. This saves you an extra trip and helps streamline the treatment process. Plus, the quicker treatment starts, the faster your  child will be done with wearing braces, which is something most people appreciate! No homework, no projects, and fewer sports commitments can make scheduling appointments a lot easier for kids— and a lot easier for moms and dads. Plus, with the classrooms closed, missing school is not an issue. During the school year, it is often necessary for parents to make arrangements with their child’s school so they can keep their orthodontic appointments. But during the summer time, this is not necessary which makes starting treatment during the summer months convenient for both parents and kids. It is far easier to make orthodontic appointments when there are no scheduling conflicts with school, athletics, work, meetings, clubs, and other activities. You will not have to pull your kids out of school to make dental appointments. During the summer, there are several weeks free to get yourself and your kids the treatment that they need. It is easier to make arrangements to get them started with treatments such as metal braces or Invisalign.

Easier to Get Used to Wearing Braces

Getting used to braces can take some time, so what better time than summer to get acclimated. Less responsibilities, flexible schedules, and the ability to be at home gives kids a chance to get used to their braces. Plus, it will be easier for them to deal with any initial discomfort, establish hygiene routines, and have easy access to brace-friendly foods. Sometimes it takes children several days or longer to become comfortable and confident with their new braces. When treatment begins during the summer months, kids can make this adjustment more easily. Your kids will need time to adjust to their traditional braces or Invisalign aligners. They may be more stressed if school is in session. During the summer, they can spend time getting to know their orthodontic appliances and will be free to explore a life with a perfect smile. If you have had braces, you know that the days following adjustments can be painful as teeth are tender and you are a little bit uncomfortable. Summer offers time for your child to adjust to the discomfort while at home and not in the classroom. While resting at home, your child will have access to the things they need to remedy this transition, such as Tylenol and soft snacks. During this time, your child will be able to determine which foods to eat and which to avoid. Though you will receive guidelines for eating, everyone is different, so eating habits will vary.

Fresh fruit popsicles

Summer is the Season for Cool Refreshing Treats

We can all agree that summertime foods tend to be the best. Ice cream, popsicles, watermelon, fresh corn (off the cob), hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta salads and apple pie are the staples of summertime barbeques— and are all brace-friendly! Just remember to avoid sticky, crunchy or hard foods. Summer is the best season for ice cream, smoothies and other cool and refreshing treats. And there is nothing more soothing after a braces adjustment than a scoop of ice cream or a big frosty smoothie. Need we say more?

Growth Spurts Commonly Occur in the Summer

This may or may not be surprising to you, but a child will most likely have a growth spurt during the summer. This has a positive impact on orthodontics for the same reason as why adolescence is the optimal time for orthodontic treatment – when a patient is growing, orthodontic treatment becomes simpler and more efficient. By performing orthodontics on a patient who is going through their maximum growth rate, we can help ensure that the patient’s teeth will be moving into their desired positions in a quicker and more convenient manner.

Group of friends taking selfie

Back to School Smiles

By the time schools starts in the fall, kids will be pros at having braces. The adjustment period will be over and appointments will be already set. For those playing sports, we can get kids fitted for a brace-friendly mouth guard so they can spend some time getting comfortable with it.

If you get your child started on Invisalign after they leave school, they will be able to share the results with their peers by the time school starts back up again. Allowing your kids to take the summer as an opportunity to start orthodontic treatment will give them the confidence they need to start the new school year right.

Is it time for your kid’s braces? Then contact Bee Cave Orthodontics today! We offer flexible payment options and accept most major insurance plans. We wish our patients and their families a fun-filled and safe summer season! We are excited to get your kids ready for summer and show them what a perfect smile can be. If you are in the Austin area, stop by our office or give us a call. We cannot wait to hear from you and help give you a straighter and healthier smile!

Brothers smiling for a photo

Two-Phase Treatment (We All Know Smiles Take Work!)

After an orthodontic evaluation, Dr. Da Silveira may talk to you and your child about two-phase treatment. You may have never heard of this type of treatment before, but there is actually no reason to feel apprehensive or intimidated by it. Two-phase treatment is actually quite ordinary when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Dr. Da Silveira and Bee Cave Orthodontics are here to put you at ease and give your child the healthiest smile possible. Two-phase treatment is actually a straightforward process and nowhere near as daunting as it sounds. It is a simple orthodontic procedure that is completed in two separate phases. The first phase is centered around correcting issues such as crossbites, harmful habits or jaw issues, while the second stage is dedicated to the physical changes of the face and straightening the teeth. Dividing a treatment into two phases allows us at Bee Cave Orthodontics to give our patients long-lasting, healthy and beautiful smiles!

Phase I

The first phase begins with a process called interceptive orthodontic treatment. In this phase, orthodontic issues that are still in their early stages are dealt with to prevent them from becoming more severe issues in the future. We start interceptive treatment when patients are between six and ten years of age because they still have permanent teeth coming in. When treatment is delayed, it results in crooked or misaligned teeth and jaws, which is why this sort of treatment is used early on to prevent these types of serious orthodontic problems from becoming worse over time. This phase includes the use of orthodontic devices— partial braces or retainer-like devices such as expanders— to correct the current problem, prevent future potential problems, and adjust the child’s growth and dental development.

boy smiling with braces

During the first phase, patients generally still have some of their baby teeth while they are getting their permanents in at the same time, which is why Phase I treatment is only recommended when there is a dental development or jaw development issue which would considerably worsen if left untreated.

Parents should be relieved to know that at this point in children’s early lives, the majority of them do not require orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontics and our Dr. Da Silveira recommend children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by age seven so your child’s dental development is known to a professional. Having this early consultation with our experienced, friendly staff at Bee Cave Orthodontics is the most certain way of ensuring that your child’s growth and dental development are progressing as planned too.

The most common dental issues that require Phase I treatments are jaw development, gum or periodontal health, tooth alignment, or crowding and spacing issues. Dr. Da Silveira would also recommend it for the following dental issues:

  • jaw growth or jaws that are not in proportion to each other
  • severely protruding teeth
  • dental crossbites
  • skeletal crossbites
  • underbites
  • open bites (situations in which the front teeth do not contact or overlap)
  • severe crowding or spacing of the teeth
  • disproportionately overlapping or deep bites
  • the instance of unhealthy oral habits, such as extended thumb-sucking, bottle, or pacifier use

An additional treatment phase will be necessary after Phase I for some special cases. Because it is doing an early intervention, Phase I is longer than Phase II, which is usually much shorter. Treating a dental difficulty proactively makes the issue more manageable and less time consuming later on. Because teeth are not yet in their final positions after Phase I, we take a period of rest in between the two phases to let the remaining adult teeth erupt so in Phase II they can be aligned to their permanent positions.

Phase II

The second phase begins as soon as the resting phase is done and all permanent teeth have arrived. Because this stage of treatment is used to perfect tooth alignment, it cannot be done if baby teeth are still present. This phase involves installing braces on the upper and lower teeth and in general, seems more familiar to patients and parents when thinking of orthodontic treatment. Not all tooth and bite-related problems can often be attended to in the first phase, in this second phase Dr. Da Silveira properly aligns the jaw and straightens the teeth with braces. To be sure that each tooth has a dedicated, optimum place in the mouth so that it can live peacefully among the lips, tongue, cheeks, and other teeth— we pay extra close attention during this phase.

Once your two-phase treatment is finished, Dr. Da Silveira recommends wearing retainers to maintain your results. Wearing your retainers as directed will hold your teeth in their new, straight positions. Bee Cave Orthodontics is here to ensure that your teeth have the optimum environment in which to look, feel, and operate their best!

Teen girl with braces and windblown hair

A common concern regarding two-phase treatment is that it is a clever way to apply two sets of braces. Rest assured this is not the case. Nor does it take twice as long or cost twice as much. Here at Bee Cave Orthodontics, we try to avoid two-phase treatment whenever possible. Some patients, however, genuinely need it for long-lasting results.

Two-phase treatment can prevent the need for more aggressive orthodontic treatment later in life. Proactive, preliminary treatment is the best way to achieve a life-long, healthy smile.

If you are in the Austin area, call or come visit us at our convenient office location today! Our team at Bee Cave Orthodontics is ready to help you on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile! A Bee Happy Smile!

Young woman with clear braces

Wisdom Teeth And Braces

When you begin orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child at Bee Cave Orthodontics, you tend to start out with a list of questions a mile long. Will braces hurt? How long will you need to wear them? Can you still play sports? Will there be any foods you can’t have? How often will your appointments be? As time goes on, you’ll grow more familiar with your teeth and all the incredible things they’re capable of, as well as learn more about orthodontics itself.

As you near the big braces-coming-off day, you’ll have quite a bit of knowledge in pocket that goes beyond the basics, but one related subject you might be missing info on is wisdom teeth. They might not seem like a topic that would ever come up in any orthodontics conversation, but wisdom teeth can impact your oral health, and it’s not unusual for patients to wonder if these late arriving molars will have a negative effect on their newly straightened smile. Keep reading to find out why those worries are unfounded, and what you can expect from the eruption of your wisdom teeth during or after braces treatment!

What are wisdom teeth actually for, anyway?

Well, as it turns out….not too much. Your wisdom teeth are the last teeth to make an appearance in your mouth, usually showing in your late teens or early twenties. These are throwbacks to a time when our ancestors needed large and powerful jaws to survive on a diet full of coarse foods like roots, nuts, and meat. As that diet evolved, so did our jaws, shrinking in size to hold three molars in each quadrant instead of four. For many people, even three is too many, and their mouths simply don’t have the space necessary for wisdom teeth to erupt fully without issues. For others, the teeth come through in proper alignment with little more than slight tenderness, and in these cases, further action is generally not required. But because wisdom teeth grow in stages instead of all at once, we want to relieve any pain or discomfort we can so that any unnecessary suffering can be avoided!

The issue of timing

Given the timing, it’s not hard to see why some people jump to the conclusion that wisdom teeth must be responsible for any shifts in the smile that occur in that time span. As we mentioned above, your wisdom teeth will typically make an appearance in your late teen to early adult years. Some patients will also see a slight shifting of their teeth, also known as a relapse, during this time as well. The University of Iowa actually studied this subject, conducting research that involved placing sensors between the teeth of their subjects, then comparing the pressure on them with and without wisdom teeth. There was no difference between the two at all, proving that wisdom teeth themselves can’t exert enough pressure on the teeth in front of them to cause them to shift. But if wisdom teeth coming in aren’t a key factor in any shifting that occurs, what is? 

x-ray image of teeth

It’s pretty simple: the aging process. As we get older, our teeth will begin to show signs of wear and tear. There’s also a natural drifting that occurs, which can cause our teeth to begin overlapping, moving them slightly forward. If the teeth begin to overlap, the upper teeth can press the lower teeth in towards the tongue. Jaws are often still finishing up their growth at this time, too, which can also force the teeth into less than desirable positions.

If you’re a current Bee Cave patient, we’re certain you’ve heard Dr. Da Silveira and our entire team remind you often about how important it is to wear your retainer once your treatment is complete. This is the biggest reason why we stress it so much! Wearing your retainer exactly as directed by Dr. Da Silveira will be the best defense you have against your teeth shifting. It’s a simple yet highly effective way to help your teeth stay as straight as possible once your braces are off.

Will my wisdom teeth need to come out? What if I’m still in braces?

If your mouth doesn’t have enough room for your wisdom teeth, it can put pressure on the surrounding teeth. If the teeth are coming in sideways, they can catch behind the last tooth in your mouth. This is referred to as impaction, and it can lead to swollen, infected, and painful gums. In addition, partially erupted teeth can be difficult to clean effectively, upping your chances for recurrent infections and damage to the adjacent healthy molars.

An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Da Silveira will be able to tell how your wisdom teeth are coming through by taking a detailed x-ray of your mouth. Based on the results together with the impact wisdom teeth are having on the rest of your mouth as they erupt, she may recommend further treatment, including wisdom tooth removal.

If your wisdom teeth happen to start erupting during the course of your orthodontic treatment, you’ll be able to continue easily and without interruption. Wisdom teeth can be removed while wearing braces if necessary, but if yours come through with no apparent problems, it’s unlikely we would need to remove them. Why fix what isn’t broken?

family with braces

Bee Cave Orthodontics has the wisdom to set your mind at ease

Whether you’re scheduling your first appointment or a longtime patient, you’re never just a number on a chart to us, you’re family! We strive to provide you with a practice where you feel welcome and at home the moment you walk through our door. We’ve created an office environment that is safe and supportive, and a whole lot of fun, as well. At Bee Cave Orthodontics, it’s all about you and your smile!

If you’re in Austin or the surrounding area, and would like more information on how your wisdom teeth could impact your orthodontic treatment or overall oral health, get in touch with our office to schedule an appointment. Every member of our talented team goes the extra mile to make you comfortable asking any questions and discussing any concerns you may have. Your Bee Happy smile is important to us, and so are you, so give us a call today!