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 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

Please check us out on  Facebook and Instagram too!

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.

Braces Near Elgin SC

If you are looking for braces near Elgin, SC, look no further than Pitner Orthodontics. As a full-service orthodontist, Dr. Leslie Pitner has three locations in the Columbia, SC region. Pitner Orthodontics uses the latest Invisalign technology, maintains a Diamond+ Invisalign Provider rating, and offers affordable pricing. There are several types of braces to choose from.

Exploring the Options for Braces

In years past, getting braces meant wearing metal brackets and wires for what seemed like decades. Now there are many options for braces. Traditional metal braces are still available, but Invisalign and clear ceramic braces offer variety.

Traditional braces have evolved slightly over the years. The brackets are affixed to your teeth, and then the archwire is stretched between the brackets. The wires apply the pressure necessary to shift your teeth into new positions to straighten your smile. Small elastic bands hold the archwires in place. Although very effective, traditional braces are losing the popularity contest lately.

Clear braces, or ceramic braces, function the same as traditional braces. Ceramic brackets are affixed to your teeth, with archwires to do the heavy shifting. The difference is that the clear brackets are less noticeable. When used with white archwires, they blend very well within your mouth. Ceramic braces are popular with adults who can’t get or don’t want Invisalign. Clear braces are also a hot commodity on the teen scene. The addition of multi-colored elastic bands can make a statement, show school spirit, or make your smile colorful.

Lingual braces use brackets and wires, but they are installed on the backs of your teeth. This hides your braces, so very few people will ever notice you have them.

Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are the most popular type of corrective appliances. Patients wear the almost invisible alignment trays for 20 to 22 hours per day. Most people you meet won’t even realize you are wearing braces. When you eat and drink, you remove the tray aligners. After brushing and flossing, simply clean and reinsert the trays. Unlike traditional braces, there are no dietary restrictions with Invisalign.

Pitner Orthodontics for Braces Near Elgin SC

As you can see, there are choices when it comes to wearing braces. When you receive your free initial consultation (a $249 value), you will have a chance to ask questions and get more information on each type of braces. Dr. Pitner will discuss which treatment system will be the most effective for you.

With three office locations, Pitner Orthodontics is convenient. The downtown office is for adults only. If you are hesitant to seek orthodontic care because children and teens make you nervous, we have you covered.

Treatment duration will vary depending on your alignment corrections. Each patient receives a custom treatment plan unique to them. For that reason, it is difficult for us to assess the cost and duration of your treatment before your consultation. With a free consultation, you have nothing to lose.

We Are Ready When You Are

When you are ready to schedule your consultation, click on the handy widget on our website and fill out the information. You may also contact any of our offices directly to schedule.

Pitner Orthodontics: Columbia Office
5953 Wescott Rd.
Columbia, SC 29212
Phone: (803) 408-7372

Chapin Office
814 Old Bush River Rd.
Chapin, SC 29036
Phone: (803) 345-6767

Pitner Downtown: Orthodontics for Adults
1201 Main St., Suite 900
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 667-3909

Visit our blog to learn more about orthodontic treatment.

You can also find us on social media on Facebook and Instagram.

Invisalign Braces Columbia SC

Is Invisalign right for you? Your dentist has said that you may need braces and they have referred you to an orthodontist. The one thing you remember from the TV commercial is that the trays are almost invisible. Where do you go to find out more information? If you don’t currently have an orthodontist, or are not happy with them, please consider Dr. Leslie Pitner at Pitner Orthodontics for Invisalign braces in Columbia SC.

Preparing for Invisalign Treatment

The Invisalign alignment tray system first received approval from the FDA in 1998. They became widely available after 2000. Since then, the system has undergone revision and improvement. Today, it is one of the most effective tooth-straightening methods in use.

Although Invisalign can’t fix all alignment problems, it has been successful in straightening the smiles of  over 8 million happy people. That figure includes over 1.4 million teens. If you think Invisalign might be right for you, contact Pitner Orthodontics by completing the virtual consultation form.

After we receive your contact information, we may ask you to submit additional information. During your virtual consultation, we will discuss our initial findings. We may discuss several treatment options so that you can select a plan that fits your needs and your insurance.

If we determine that Invisalign is right for you, you will have an in-person examination. Dr. Pitner will use 3D imaging equipment to make a map of your teeth and mouth. Handy-dandy computer software will configure a series of graduating tray liners. The liners will gently shift your teeth into correct alignment as you wear them.

What to Expect During Treatment

At the beginning of your treatment program, you will receive several sets of tray liners. You will wear each set for approximately two weeks. As you shift into a new set of liners, you may experience minor discomfort that will only last a couple of days.

You will wear your tray aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day. This includes wearing them to sleep. Removing trays for eating and drinking (except for water) can sometimes be inconvenient. One of the best perks of the Invisalign system is that there are no dietary restrictions. Oral hygiene is crucial — remember to brush and floss before reinserting your tray liners. Failure to properly clean your teeth can accelerate tooth decay.

Depending on your treatment plan, you will have periodic appointments for Dr. Pitner to check your progress. Minor adjustments may occur in your tray schedule, and you will receive additional tray sets.

Although some Invisalign programs are as quick as six months, the average treatment period is 12 to 18 months. Because the trays are almost invisible many people won’t even realize that you are wearing braces.

Invisalign Braces in Columbia SC

Invisalign braces are available in Columbia, SC through Pitner Orthodontics which is a Diamond-Plus Invisalign provider. Dr. Pitner and the entire staff in any of our three offices are ready to welcome you.

Our Columbia office:
5953 Wescott Rd.
Columbia, SC 29212
Phone: (803) 408-7372

Downtown Office:
Pitner Orthodontics: Orthodontics for Adults
1201 Main St. Suite 900
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 667-3909

Our Chapin Office:
814 Old Bush River Rd.
Chapin, SC 29036
Phone: (803) 345-6767

We are also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Orthodontist Near Me

An internet search for “orthodontist near me” may deliver a few local suggestions. However, are those the best orthodontists for you? Whether your dentist referred you to an orthodontist, or you are just looking, you might be feeling overwhelmed.

Looking for an orthodontist in the Columbia, SC area? Look no further than Pitner Orthodontics. While many orthodontists require a general dentist referral, Dr. Leslie Pitner does not. Your first consultation is free, so you really have nothing to lose.

Advantages of Invisalign

An orthodontist is a smile specialist. Pitner Orthodontics offers Invisalign for adults and teens, early evaluation for younger children, and an entire office dedicated to serving adult patients.

Dr. Pitner has helped more adults and teens in South Carolina than any other Invisalign provider.

Among the advantages of Invisalign:

  • No emergency visits due to broken wires or braces
  • Less frequent appointments
  • Less discomfort
  • No dietary restrictions
  • No problems with brushing and flossing
  • Almost invisible

If you think you may be a candidate for the Invisalign tray alignment system, sign up for your free initial consultation today.

Free Initial Consultation

At Pitner Orthodontics, we don’t deal in surprises. The New Patient Smile Assessment Pack is absolutely FREE. That’s right – a $249 value – when you sign up for an initial online consultation. The package includes digital x-rays and a complete Smile Assessment.

After your Smile Assessment, Dr. Pitner will develop an orthodontic treatment plan for you. Depending on your individual needs, your treatment plan may vary. You will have a projected treatment period and an approximate cost.

Whether you have misaligned teeth, gap teeth, or other issues, Pitner Orthodontics can improve your smile. It’s free to get more details – just fill out the free assessment contact form.

Check Us out Online

If you want more information about the Pitner Orthodontics offices, please visit our social media pages. Because connecting with you is important, we are available on several platforms. In addition, we have a dedicated website to offer an easy way to contact us.

Our Instagram page features testimonials and interesting information about teeth. Although, we also post uplifting material and general information to keep you up-to-date on current issues.

On Facebook, You will find current information and we’ll even help you clean out your closets.

On Twitter, Buster will entertain you or just keep you company on lonely days.

Orthodontist Near Me -- Buster the dog waiting patiently outside the coffee shop

No matter what your social media vice is, we are there.

Three Locations to Serve You

Pitner Orthodontics first opened in 1973 and now has three local offices for your convenience:

Chapin Office
814 Old Bush River Rd., Chapin, SC 29036
(803) 345-6767

Columbia Office
5953 Wescott Rd., Columbia, SC 29212
(803) 667-3909

Pitner Downtown: Orthodontics for Adults
1201 Main St., Suite 900, Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 408-7372

As an expert with Invisalign, Dr. Pitner is ready to help you get your smile on. Contact us today for your free initial consultation.