How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush? The answer to this debate usually depends on who you talk to. The normal assumption is that you should be replacing your toothbrush at least every three months. Toothbrush manufacturers might say every 30 days. But what is the real deal? Is there a “right” answer to this question?

What Toothbrush Manufacturers Say

Most manufacturers recommend changing your toothbrush every three months. While many people may think this is merely to sell more toothbrushes, it is actually based on a variety of good reasons. While exploring this question, we discovered the following reasons for this recommendation:

  • Bristles become frayed and worn
  • Prevents bacteria from developing
  • Brushing is less effective
  • New brushes remove more plaque

Manufacturers of electric toothbrushes offer subscription services through distributors. This service sends members a new electric toothbrush head automatically. By using a service, there is no problem trying to remember how long you’ve been using your brush. You simply change to the new head when it arrives in the mail.

Some toothbrush manufacturers have employed “reminder bristles” in their designs. These special bristles are brightly colored when you buy your new toothbrush. As you use the brush, the color fades. Once the color is gone or significantly faded, it is time to change your brush.

What the American Dental Association Says

Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have guidelines for toothbrushes. The general recommendation is to replace your brush every three to four months. While that is almost the same as the manufacturer’s recommendation, there are additional reasons recommended by both organizations.

 

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In addition to regularly changing your toothbrush, you should also replace it under these conditions:

  • When anyone in your household has been sick, especially bacterial infections such as strep throat
  • For children who sometimes chew on or mash the heads of their toothbrushes
  • If anyone else uses your toothbrush
  • If you drop it on the floor or any other surface

The general rule should be — When in doubt, change it out.

General Care of Your Toothbrush

Your toothbrush can be a collector of all things icky. By developing a few simple habits, you can prevent many issues that can result in bacteria growth.

Don’t share toothbrushes. Even if rinsed well, brushes can have germs.

Rinse your brush thoroughly after use. Make sure you rinse all toothpaste residue from between bristles.

Store your toothbrush upright to air dry. Don’t allow toothbrushes to rest against one another.

Don’t use any of these to “deep clean” your toothbrush — Dishwasher, microwave, ultraviolet devices, disinfecting solutions, or mouthwash. These may damage your brush resulting in less effective brushing.

Avoid covering toothbrushes. If you use a travel container, your toothbrush should be allowed to dry before packing. If you must pack it damp, remove it and rinse it upon arrival at your destination.

Whether you have Invisalign, traditional braces, or no braces, maintaining a clean and healthy smile is important. Part of ensuring that is taking care of your toothbrush and switching it out regularly.

So… How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

At Pitner Orthodontics, we recommend that you replace your toothbrush every three months. We would also stress that replacing it after an illness is important to remove the risk of re-infecting yourself. Whether you use a manual toothbrush, an electric, or a battery-powered brush, changing it more often is the best practice.

For information, updates, and news, check out our orthodontic blog, Instagram, and Facebook.

Best Orthodontist in Columbia SC

When you are searching for the best orthodontist in Columbia, SC, Pitner Orthodontics will cover all your needs. Whether you are an adult seeking Invisalign treatment for yourself or a parent needing braces for a child, Dr. Leslie Pitner, and her dedicated staff will ensure you receive great treatment.

How to Find the Best Orthodontist in Columbia SC

When looking for a new orthodontist, you probably already have a list of requirements that include:

  • Family practice equipped for patients of all ages
  • More than one location
  • Experienced orthodontist and staff
  • Highly respected among peers
  • Offers more than one type of treatment

Although your list may have slightly different items, beginning with a list of what you want is a great place to start. Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry. While all orthodontists are also dentists, they complete an additional two to three years of education centering on orthodontics. A dentist is concerned with the overall care and condition of your teeth, while an orthodontist focuses on the structure of your jaw and the alignment of your teeth.

Pitner Orthodontics is Right for the Whole Family

Perhaps you are an adult seeking Invisalign or clear braces. Pitner Orthodontics has an office specifically for adult patients in downtown Columbia! That’s right — no dodging kids in the waiting room and worrying about a juice box squirting on you from across the room. Whatever your comfort zone, Dr. Pitner has created an environment to keep you at ease during treatment.

Likewise, Pitner Orthodontics has a second office in Columbia and another in Chapin that cater to family treatment. All three Pitner offices have highly-trained staff that will make your treatment as comfortable as possible.

Dr. Pitner is South Carolina’s number one Invisalign orthodontist. As a Diamond-Plus Invisalign provider, she is in the top one percent of all Invisalign providers! She has roots in the Chapin area, so she is also your neighbor. In fact, Dr. Pitner is eager to be your first choice for your family’s orthodontic care.

 

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As part of an introductory offer, she includes a complimentary consultation for all new patients. This comprehensive exam includes a complete smile analysis with digital x-rays. The overall value of the introductory package is $249!

Get a Jump Start on Your Perfect Smile

To schedule your free consultation, click on the button on our website that says “Book Your Free Consult.” Follow the prompts and fill in the necessary information, then submit the form. If you have additional questions you may call any of our offices and our staff will gladly assist you:

Columbia Office: (803) 859-4442
Chapin Office: (803) 859-4377
Downtown Columbia Office: (803) 859-4346 (Adult-only Office)

Whatever your orthodontic needs are, Pitner Orthodontics has earned its rating as the best orthodontist in Columbia, SC. With their generous free initial consultation, you can begin the journey to a new, straight, and healthy smile today!

For more information, visit our orthodontic blog and our social media pages on Instagram and Facebook.

Best Cleaning Practices with Invisalign

When you invest in orthodontic treatment, it is important to learn the best cleaning practices with Invisalign. Although there are many different methods in use, not all are effective. We explored both commercially available products and household items that work well.

Why Cleaning Your Invisalign Trays is Important

Keeping your Invisalign trays clean is vitally important. Bacteria and food particles can collect on the trays causing tooth decay and other potential problems. Not cleaning your trays may also cause staining and lead to bad breath.

Developing a few good habits will help keep your tray aligners cleaner. These practices, in addition to brushing and flossing, will keep your mouth and your trays free of bacteria.

The first habit is to rinse your trays every time you remove them to remove saliva residue. You should place the trays in the carrying case while they are not being worn. This protects them from dust, airborne debris, and damage or loss.

Secondly, you should always brush and floss after a meal before reinserting your aligners. Leaving food particles on your teeth can cause decay. If you are unable to brush, you should rinse thoroughly and brush at your earliest opportunity. When you brush your teeth, you should also gently brush your tray aligner.

These simple practices will help keep your aligners clean. This will protect your teeth, the aligners, and keep bad breath away. You should also deep-clean your trays daily, either at night or first thing in the morning.

Best Cleaning Practices with Invisalign

Brushing: We mentioned brushing your trays every time you brush your teeth. While they don’t require anything except water, you should use soap at least once per day. Most orthodontists recommend a drop of dishwashing liquid, which is gentle and effective. Brush gently and rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Non-abrasive toothpaste is acceptable but can dull the aligners.

 

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Soaking with Cleaning Crystals: Trays should be soaked once daily. Invisalign offers Cleaning Crystals for this task, although there are alternatives. With Cleaning Crystals, the trays should be placed in lukewarm (never hot) water with one package of crystals. Allow the trays to soak for 15-20 minutes. Gently brush and rinse trays after soaking.

Soaking with Denture/Retainer Tablets: Soaking trays using lukewarm water and a regular cleaning tablet is effective also. Do not use colored tablets, as these may stain your trays. Soaking should be at least 15-20 minutes. After soaking, gently brush and rinse your trays.

Baking Soda Soak: Baking soda is a handy cleaning aid. To use this product as a soaking agent, mix one-half cup lukewarm water with one tablespoon of baking soda. Once dissolved, soak your trays for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and brush gently after soaking.

Vinegar Soak: Mix one part white vinegar to three parts lukewarm water. Once well mixed, place your trays into the solution for 20-30 minutes. Rinse, then brush gently.

Call Pitner Orthodontics if You Still Have Questions

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush on your trays to avoid damaging them. Remember to rinse your trays whenever you remove them. Using any of the deep-cleaning processes will be sufficient to keep your trays looking and smelling great. If you have any questions about the care of your trays, please contact Pitner Orthodontics at one of our three offices:

Columbia — (803) 859-4442
Chapin — (803) 859-4377
Downtown (Adults) — (803) 859-4346

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Best Invisalign Around Elgin

To discover the best Invisalign around Elgin, SC, you need to look no further than Pitner Orthodontics in nearby Columbia and Chapin. With three locations, Dr. Leslie Pitner and her staff are ready to guide you on a journey to find your dream smile. As a Diamond+ Invisalign provider, Dr. Pitner is among the top one percent of all providers in the nation.

Finding Invisalign Around Elgin

Whether you have already decided on Invisalign treatment or are just exploring options, Pitner Orthodontics can help. You can begin with a Virtual Consultation — just fill in the form to start right now. Dr. Pitner also offers a complimentary Smile Assessment which includes digital X-rays and a complete examination, valued at $249.

In addition to offering family treatment for all ages, Pitner has a dedicated office for adults. So whether you are a parent seeking treatment for a child or teen, or an adult seeking “grown-up” treatment, Pitner has what you need. Our downtown office, at 1201 Main St, Suite 900 in Columbia is perfect for busy adults. This is the only adult-only orthodontist office in the southeastern United States.

 

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Our two family offices are located at 814 Old Bush River Road in Chapin and 5953 Wescott Road in Columbia. Whether you are in Columbia, Chapin, or nearby in Elgin, one of our locations is near you. Our staff are all highly-trained and continue enhancing their training regularly.

More About Invisalign with Pitner Orthodontics

Invisalign is a popular treatment because of the almost invisible tray aligners. It is a patient-centered treatment, meaning that the patient has more control of treatment than with traditional braces. Tray aligners are available for children in Phase 1 Treatment, teens in Phase 2 Treatment, and adults.

When comparing the cost of Invisalign against traditional metal braces, there is not much difference. Technology has given Invisalign the advantage in ease of treatment, duration, and cost. Using a 3-D scanner, a model of your teeth can be made. Using this and sophisticated computer software, a custom treatment plan is created.

Trays are worn for 20 to 22 hours per day. Patients remove the trays to eat, drink, and perform oral hygiene. Every two weeks, the patient will shift to the next set of trays in the series. Each tray set works to gradually shift the positions of the teeth to create a perfect smile.

The duration of your treatment plan depends on the severity of your beginning alignment problems. While some plans can be as short as six months, the average is between 12 and 18 months.

If you are ready to explore Invisalign in Elgin, please call Pitner Orthodontics to set up an appointment.

Make Your Appointment to Find Your Perfect Smile

New patients can contact us using any of the links on our home page to set up a Virtual Consultation or an in-office Smile Assessment. You may also use the form on our Contact Page. Please be sure to specify which of our three offices you would to visit.

Whether you are a new patient or a current patient, we look forward to hearing from you. Patients can also call any of our offices for questions or to set up appointments.

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Invisalign Braces in Columbia SC

If you are looking for Invisalign Braces in Columbia, SC, Pitner Orthodontics is ready to help. As a Diamond+ Invisalign provider, Dr. Leslie Pitner and her entire staff are experts. In fact, they have earned the title of Number 1 Invisalign provider for the entire state of South Carolina!

What is a Diamond+ Invisalign Provider?

Align Technology, the makers of Invisalign, use a rating system to grade orthodontists who offer Invisalign treatment. For each successful treatment plan, Align Technology awards a point value. Orthodontists accumulate points to reach different levels of service:

  • Bronze = 0 to 4,999 points
  • Silver = 5,000 to 23,999 points
  • Gold = 24,000 to 29,999 points
  • Gold+ = 30,000 to 59,999 points
  • Platinum = 60,000 to 99,999 points
  • Platinum+ = 100,000 to 139,999 points
  • Diamond = 140,000 to 199,999 points
  • Diamond+ = 200,000 points and above

Only one percent of all Invisalign providers reach the Diamond+ level. As you can see by looking at the above scale, the higher up the grading scale, the more difficult it becomes to advance to the next level. Basically speaking, a provider that attains Diamond+ provider status has completed a lot of successful Invisalign treatments. You can be confident that Pitner Orthodontics is very knowledgeable about Invisalign treatment.

Invisalign Braces in Columbia SC

Whether you need minor alignment correction or some major adjustment, Pitner Orthodontics will prescribe the most effective type of treatment for you. The process begins with a virtual consultation. After that, our staff will assist you in setting up an in-office consultation.

The initial consultation (with a treatment plan) is complimentary. This is a $249 value that includes X-rays and digital images of your smile. Dr. Leslie Pitner will meet with you, complete an examination, and discuss your treatment options with you.

 

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Although not everyone is a candidate for Invisalign treatment, technological advances have made the scope of treatment much wider. Invisalign can now treat cases from minor malocclusion to more complex issues. Among some of the problems that can be addressed with Invisalign are overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, overcrowding, and gap teeth.

The entire process for Invisalign treatment is streamlined for efficiency. It begins with the use of integrated 3-D technology that creates a map of your smile and mouth. Each tray is custom and specific to your teeth and jaw structure. They will gently guide your teeth into the correct positions over a period of time. You will switch to a new set of alignment trays about every two weeks.

Although some treatment plans can be as short as six months, the average time is 12 to 18 months. During that time, you will need to wear your trays for 20 to 22 hours each day, only removing them for meals and brushing. While this may seem difficult at first, it will eventually become a habit that will result in the smile of your dreams.

Contact Pitner to Begin Today

Whether you opt for Invisalign or a different treatment method, Pitner Orthodontics will be right there by your side. As a family orthodontic office, we handle all ages. Our early treatment (Phase 1) begins for children who have lost most of their primary teeth and have some of their adult teeth in place. Phase 2 treatment occurs in pre-teen and teen years and includes adults with no previous orthodontic history.

If you are ready to begin exploring treatment options, please contact Pitner Orthodontics. We offer three convenient locations, with our downtown office dedicated to adult orthodontics. Additionally, we understand how important your time is. We make every attempt to keep appointments on time, with minimal waiting periods, and fast, efficient service.

To schedule your initial consultation, you may use the “Book Your Free Consult” button on our site or fill in the information on our contact form. Alternately, you can call any of our three offices to schedule an appointment:

Columbia Office: (803) 859-4442
Chapin Office: (803) 859-4377
Downtown — Orthodontics for Adults: (803) 859-4346

Also, don’t forget to stop by our social media pages on  Facebook and Instagram.

Best Braces near Elgin

When you find out that you or your child needs braces, you begin a search for the best orthodontist. When it comes to your smile, you want the best braces near Elgin. Whether you are thinking about Invisalign or traditional braces, Pitner Orthodontics can help.

Pitner Orthodontics Has the Best Braces near Elgin

Pitner Orthodontics is confident that they can offer you the best braces near Elgin. They offer a complimentary first examination. Valued at $249, this is a comprehensive examination including digital X-rays and complete smile analysis. Treatment options will be discussed following this initial examination.

Dr. Leslie Pitner is South Carolina’s #1 Invisalign orthodontist. She maintains the belief that changing your smile can truly change a person’s life. She is a dedicated professional not only in fixing smiles but in helping people to attain true happiness in life. While she does treat families, Dr. Pitner is a premier orthodontist catering to adults. She even wrote the book, “Improve Your Smile, Transform Your Life: A Guide to Orthodontics for Adults.”

 

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If you’re still not convinced, there is more. Pitner Orthodontics is a Diamond+ Invisalign provider. This puts them in the top one percent of all Invisalign providers.

Options for Orthodontic Treatment

In the world of orthodontics, there are several available options to straighten your smile. The first, and probably most well-known, are traditional metal braces. But that is not the only option anymore.

Invisalign: This almost invisible tray alignment system has gained popularity as a treatment for adults. In recent years, Align Technology has added both Invisalign Teen and Invisalign First to its lineup. Invisalign treatment is effective for almost all malocclusions, from minor to complex. Patients prefer it because it is very discreet. The tray aligners are removable, which makes both eating and oral hygiene easier.

Clear Ceramic Braces: Ceramic braces function exactly like traditional metal braces. Rather than stainless steel, the brackets are ceramic and clear. They blend with natural tooth coloration, making them less visible than traditional metal braces. For patients who wish to make a colorful statement, there is an option to use colored elastics on the brackets to hold the archwires in place.

Lingual Braces: Lingual means toward the tongue. Lingual braces use traditional brackets and wires, but they are mounted on the back of teeth. For adults, this is an option that allows the straightening of their smile with no visible outward appearance. Because the process is more difficult than traditional braces, lingual braces are slightly higher in cost, but comparable to the cost of Invisalign.

As you can see, there are options for braces. Whether you are seeking treatment for a child, teen, or adult, Pitner Orthodontics can help. If you’re ready to begin, the process starts with a complimentary consultation.

Contact Pitner Today for Your Braces

Pitner Orthodontics has three convenient offices. For those with a busy schedule who want in-and-out convenience without being in a noisy waiting room, the downtown, adults-only office is a perfect solution.

To set up your complimentary consultation, click on any of the “Request Appointment” buttons on our website. Fill in the information and submit the form. Yes, it really is that easy.

But if you would rather call, please use one of the numbers below for the office nearest your location:

Columbia Office: (803) 859-4442
Chapin Office: (803) 859-4377
Downtown — Orthodontics for Adults: (803) 859-4346

The staff at Pitner Orthodontics is looking forward to meeting you!

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