What's the Spookiest thing about Halloween for Orthodontists??

October 1st, 2018

It's the candy, of course!  We love your favorite candies too (because, duh... they're delicious), but the abundance of candy present at Halloween is a good reason for us to take a moment to discuss why we should be extra careful with it while wearing braces.

There are two reasons that patients wearing braces should be extra careful with their Halloween candy.

  1. If you're a candy-lover, then you already know that many of your delicious sweet treats can be hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy.  Biting hard onto candies like this can cause braces to become loosened or break.  As you know, broken braces can be uncomfortable and may even cause your treatment to take longer!
  2. Sugar!!  Candy is full of delicious sugar!  EEK!  Sugar has a way of finding its way into the nooks and crannies of your braces, and it gives you extra work to do to keep things nice and clean.  Sticky sugar is especially insidious since it really wants to stay put.

Ok, so what can you do?  Is Halloween ruined?  No!!  Don't be silly.  There are plenty of candies that you can eat - just remember these tricks:

  • Choose softer candies, and eat them gently.
  • Never bite and crunch on hard candies
  • Always brush and floss well after eating anything with sugar!

Is My Dentist Also an Orthodontist?

September 24th, 2018

The American Association of Orthodontists posts lots of useful content on their website, and once again, they've provided some answers to common questions we frequently hear.  To learn what makes an orthodontists a specialist in straightening your teeth, check out this link to the AAO Article, Is My Dentist Also an Orthodontist?

Hilliard Fall Festival

September 17th, 2018

One of our favorite parts of being in Hilliard is the FANTASTIC Recreation and Parks Department!  They are responsible for producing incredibly fun and family-friendly events all year long.  We have been privileged to be able to participate as sponsors in the Hilliard Fall Festival for two consecutive years, and we want to thank you for coming to visit our table!

Once again this year, we offered face painting for kids (or adults... we don't discriminate!) and made ourselves available to answer questions about orthodontics, braces, smiles, Invisalign ... anything!

Thanks Hilliard!! We hope you'll join us again next year!!

Fall Food!!

September 4th, 2018

With Labor Day ever so slightly in the rear view mirror, it's time to start thinking about fall, right?  Pumpkin Spice and soups and stews?  Ok, maybe it's still a little bit warm, but we can plan ahead!

Fortunately lots of delicious fall foods go great with braces.  Soups and stews are some of our favorites to recommend for those first few days after braces have been adjusted.  And can you ever really have too much soup when the weather turns cool??

Here's a link to one of our favorites, Ina Garten's 16 Bean Pasta e Fagioli!

Thanks for a Great Summer

August 20th, 2018

Today, I simply want to thank each and every one of you - patients, parents, referring dentists, for a wonderful summer!  It's hard to believe that schools are in session this week (or even last week as in a few cases!) and we'll soon be discussing pumpkin spice lattes and then gingerbread men. It's strange to notice the sun rising a little later and setting a little earlier.  It's more typical these days to hear people talking about the vacations they took instead of the ones they're planning.  The end of summer can be a little sad, but I've always loved the feeling of getting a fresh start when fall rolls around!

This year, we are celebrating the completion of our first full summer in the new office, and we're celebrating the upcoming beginning of our second year.  It seems appropriate that we opened our office in September because the beginning of the school year always seems like a great time for a fresh start.  This coming year we're looking forward to being even better than we were last year.  We hope to continue to improve our level of service every day, and we'll keep working hard to make you happy!

We're sending you our best wishes for a happy, healthy, and productive school year!  Thanks for a great summer, Hilliard!

AAO Guide: What to Look for in Erupting Permanent Teeth

August 13th, 2018

By the time your child is about 6 years old, they will likely start to lose some baby teeth and begin to get new permanent teeth erupting.  At this time, it's wise to start paying closer attention to how they bite in order to identify developing orthodontic problems.

This week's AAO article discusses what to look for in the developing dentition especially the inability to bite all the way together or difficulty chewing.

Check it out to learn more!  AAO Guide to What to Look For

Join Us at the Taste of Hilliard!

August 6th, 2018

We're excited to be participating again this year in the Taste of Hilliard event at the Makoy Center on August 8th!  Last year, the Taste of Hilliard was the first ever community event that we participated in before opening our office in September, and it continues to hold a special place in our hearts!

We loved meeting members of the community - hearing stories from parents about their own experiences with braces and meeting little ones with eyes wide as they checked out our orthodontic treatment models and started proactively choosing what colors they would choose on their own braces.

We'll be ready for the crowd again this year, with coupons and giveaways, and one lucky raffle winner will receive a WaterPik, perfect for keeping braces clean!

The Taste of Hilliard will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on August 8th at the Makoy Center 5462 Center Street, Hilliard, OH  43026.  For $15, you can plan to come hungry and enjoy TONS of amazing food from some of Hilliard's finest restaurants. See you there!!

AAO Guide to What to Look For in Baby Teeth

July 30th, 2018

Many parents are eager to start figuring out how their child's dental development is likely to proceed, and sure enough, there are clues even in the primary dentition (baby teeth) that can help deduce what orthodontic needs a child may have.

This week we are sharing an AAO article that discusses what you should be looking for in your child's baby teeth and why these things are important.  The article discusses spacing and crowding of the primary teeth, the importance of hygiene and proper care, the purpose of maintaining the baby teeth for space preservation, and thumb/finger and pacifier habits.

Check out the AAO article here, and look for the follow-up post on what to look for in the permanent dentition soon!

AAO Resource on How Orthodontic Treatment Works

July 23rd, 2018

Have you ever wondered how the magic of tooth movement happens?  Sure you've seen the before and after pictures, but how do they do it?

Well, in this week's edition of the American Association of Orthodontists resource, we're referring you to a fantastic page that discusses the "how" of orthodontic treatment.

This resource covers types of appliances that are used to move teeth.  (It's not just all "braces," folks!)  It also covers strategies like extracting primary or permanent teeth versus expansion.

This resource touches on so many topics that it's likely to raise even more questions than it answers, and that's what we're here for.  Please take a look at this website to begin learning, and as always, please feel free to contact our office with any additional questions you can think of.  We're here for you!!

AAO Guide: How Orthodontic Treatment Works

AAO Guide to Choosing an Orthodontist

July 9th, 2018

Many factors come into play when it's time to choose an orthodontist.  You're looking for someone who is not only an expert clinician capable of delivering a great result, but likely also someone who makes you feel comfortable, treats you kindly, and ideally is conveniently located so that you can make it to the appointments easily.

While it's easy to decide whether you like the office location or your doctor's personality, trying to navigate the waters when it comes to their special qualifications to treat you or your child is a little bit more confusing.

This AAO article emphasizes the importance of choosing a specialist in orthodontics and explains the additional education that specialists complete in order to become orthodontists.  In addition, it shows how you can use the American Association of Orthodontists website to find an AAO member orthodontist.  By choosing an orthodontist who is a member of this professional association, you can be sure that they are someone who is committed to participating fully in the specialty and continuing their education.

In addition to the tips in the AAO article, we also recommend using a few more strategies to select your orthodontist.  Visit their website to learn more about the doctor and to determine whether they offer the services you're seeking and/or to see if their treatment philosophy sounds like it's harmonious with your goals.  In addition, when you're considering treatment, it's a good idea to ask friends and family members about their experiences at the orthodontist.

Most importantly, when you visit the office, make sure you feel that the doctor has spent adequate time listening to your concerns and has provided you with a clear explanation of their proposed treatment and the reasons for this treatment.  When in doubt, you can seek a second opinion, usually at no cost!

Check out the AAO's article: Choose an Orthodontist and feel free to browse our website for more information!

AAO Guide to Understanding Early Treatment

July 2nd, 2018

Last week I mentioned an important resource, the AAO Guide for Parents.  It discusses so many detailed aspects of orthodontic treatment and asks all the right questions.

This week and in coming weeks, I'm going to highlight specific sections from this guide.  Today I'd like to direct your attention to the topic of "Understanding Early Treatment."  Early orthodontic treatment is something that we get TONS of questions about.  Many parents remember having braces around age 11 or 12, and when the dentist recommends a visit to the orthodontist around age 7 or 8, their first thought is, "Isn't this a little early?"

The answer?  In some cases, yes.  However, in other cases, some level of orthodontic intervention at this age may reduce the risk of requiring more invasive treatment later and may facilitate a more successful result by influencing growth and development at just the right time.

If you have questions about early treatment, check out this amazing resource!

Understanding Early Check-Ups

Three Reasons Summer is the Perfect Time to Start Braces!

June 18th, 2018

As with many things in life (going back to school, having a baby, etc.), lots of people feel like it's never the right time to get braces.  Well, my friends, good news!  Treatment with braces has gotten easier and less invasive than ever.  And with so many esthetic options available, you might say there's really no wrong time to begin!  However, today I'd like to make a case that summertime is the perfect time to get started!  Why?

  1. For kids, school is out and schedules are more flexible than ever! Having braces or clear aligners requires a few appointments.  Why not try to accomplish these appointments during the summer when the calendar is less full of other obligations?
  2. It's a perfect opportunity to take your time learning a new hygiene routine.  Learning to brush and floss effectively with braces take a little bit more time, and you should be patient with yourself and make an effort to master the new system.  A couple extra hours of daylight before bedtime make this process way more tolerable!
  3. You can show off the beginnings of your new smile by the time school's back in session!  Braces start to work very quickly.  If you're starting right now, you'll already be able to see some exciting changes in your teeth by the fall.  And you can enter the school year with a "New Year, New You" attitude!

We're here all summer!  Give us a call, and we'll help you get started!

Sports Drinks and Braces

May 28th, 2018

Today I thought we could chat about one of the common challenges for patients with braces and clear aligners - sports drinks!
Many of our patients are in middle and high school. Not surprisingly, at this age, they’re often becoming increasingly competitive in their favorite sports and taking their competition more seriously. This usually means more time spent training, and often, the use of sports drinks for hydration.
Sports drinks serve an important purpose. They replenish electrolytes and provide energy for continued exercise. However, due to their sugar content, they present some risks to be aware of. Many children and teens think of sports drinks as “healthy” because they go hand-in-hand with sporting events, but as far as your teeth and your blood sugar are concerned, they essentially behave no differently than soda!
Our advice when using sports drinks can be summed up in three key points:
1. Use them only during sports. It isn’t necessary to drink sports drinks throughout the day. They’re meant to get sugar and electrolytes into your bloodstream quickly for use during activity. When used at other times of day, they provide empty calories and no advantages compared to fueling and hydrating with healthy foods and water.
2. Perform good dental hygiene after using sports drinks just like you would with any other sugary foods. After use, it can be helpful to swish with water if brushing isn’t an immediate option. And, of course, never head to bed without brushing thoroughly!! (Even if you’re exhausted from the big game!)
3. Never use sports drinks while wearing clear aligners. The fluid can get trapped against your teeth under the aligner and result in prolonged exposure of your teeth to the sugar. The worst part is that your saliva can’t reach the teeth to rinse them off, and the result is much worse than simply sipping the beverage with an empty mouth.
If you keep these tips in mind, you should be able to use sports drinks AND enjoy a healthy smile!!

At Home Solutions Part 2: Loose Brace

May 21st, 2018

Another common concern that can be addressed at home is a brace coming loose.  You'll be able to tell that a brace is loose by feeling it.  When you push on the brace, it will move up and down.  It may even come completely unattached and fall out of your mouth.

Why do braces come loose?  There are a number of reasons, but the most common is related to eating.  Eating foods that are especially hard, crunchy, or chewy can easily result in broken/loose braces.  Patients often tell me that a brace came loose spontaneously.  Odds are, the brace was loosened while eating and not noticed until later.  No matter what the case is, don't panic!

While we almost always need to eventually repair the loose brace, it usually isn't urgent enough to require a special trip to the office unless it's causing substantial discomfort.  Here's what we recommend:

  • Call the office to let us know that the brace is loose, and we can help you decide if we should make a special appointment to repair the brace or if it can wait until your next visit.
  • If the brace is detached, you can remove it from your mouth.
  • If there is a remnant of wire sticking out where the brace came loose, you can treat this as you would any other poking wire.  (See my post from two weeks ago.) In other words, use wax to protect it, or clip the wire if you're able.

How do we decide whether the brace needs to be replaced as soon as possible?  It depends on several factors including which part of the mouth is affected and how close you are to completing your treatment.

If you've had a brace come loose, don't feel bad!  While the goal is always to complete treatment without any loose braces, it isn't uncommon to have one or two become unattached during your time in treatment.  If you're able to pinpoint the reason, then it can be a learning experience that can help you avoid more loose braces in the future!

At Home Solutions Part 1: Poking Wire

May 7th, 2018

I've decided to write a short series on at-home solutions for common orthodontic problems, and today I'm starting with the most common - the poking wire!  Sometimes wires can shift inside the mouth for various reasons, and often this results in discomfort if the end of the wire can catch the lips or cheeks.

First, let's talk about why wires might start to shift after your appointment.  A common reason is space closure.  When space closes between your teeth, the wire that supported them may be too long for the new position of your teeth.  This is very normal and to be expected. Sometimes it's minor and doesn't result in discomfort, but in other cases, the space closure is substantial and the wire may poke.  Another common reason is improved alignment of the teeth. As the teeth (and thus the brackets) get straighter, the wire can slide more passively within the brackets and may shift to one side or the other.  Another common cause of poking wires is breaking or bending.  Wires can be broken or bent by chewing on foods that are a little too hard, or using hands and fingers to manipulate the wires.

No matter how your wire has gotten out of place, the solution is usually the same!  First, we suggest using the strips of wax that we gave you when you started treatment with your braces. If you've run out, you're always welcome to visit the office to receive more. You can also normally find orthodontic wax in most drug stores.  Take a small piece of the wax and warm it between your fingers before "smashing" it onto the sharp end of the wire.  If you find that this is ineffective or you desire a more permanent solution, you may use a small wire clipper (or as is more commonly found in homes, a pair of nail clippers) to cut the end of the wire shorter.  Don't worry about ruining the wire - it can be repaired at your  next visit!

We always work hard to provide you with useful solutions that help you avoid extra trips to the office, but if these fixes don't work for you, you are always welcome to schedule a quick appointment and get our help to take care of the issue!  Your comfort is our top priority!

Problems to Look for at Age 7-8: Anterior Crossbite (Underbite)

April 9th, 2018

Many parents are surprised to learn that their child might need braces as early as age 7 or 8.  Lots of these parents remember getting braces themselves around age 12 or 13, and their initial reaction is, "That seems really young for braces.  I didn't need them that young.  We're going to wait."  Waiting until 12 or 13 is still the right choice in lots of cases, but there are a few problems that require intervention sooner.  We only recommend early treatment in cases where we know we're likely to get a better long-term result by taking action sooner rather than later.

Today we're going to discuss one of these types of problems, the anterior crossbite or underbite.

Anterior crossbites can be caused by a couple of different problems.  Sometimes they result from disparities in jaw growth between the upper and lower jaws.  This is significant because at age 7 or 8, we have the greatest likelihood of being capable of influencing the patient's jaw growth.  As they get older, it becomes increasingly difficult and the results are less robust.  In severe cases, early intervention may be able to help the child avoid requiring a surgical correction later in life.

Anterior Crossbite


Another possible cause of an anterior crossbite is the misalignment of teeth in jawbones that are growing normally.  If upper teeth erupt into the mouth but are tipped too far back or lower teeth erupt that are tipped too far forward, an underbite can result.  Once the teeth have come in with this relationship, they will not self-correct.  In fact, they will only get increasingly "set in their ways" if you will as time goes by. This means that they will become increasingly difficult to correct.  In addition, leaving these teeth in the wrong positions for too long can lead to other unrelated problems.  For example, lower teeth that are trapped in a forward position are more likely to experience recession of the gums or mobility.

Anterior Crossbite

If your child is experiencing any of these problems, it's a wise choice to speak with an orthodontist.  In our office, like most offices, consultations are free, and you will at least leave armed with the knowledge you need to know whether you want to proceed with treatment or allow more time.  As always, we welcome your calls and emails if you have any questions!

Braces and Sports

April 2nd, 2018

Orthodontic Mouth Guard

Spring sports season is in full swing these days, and we get lots of questions about how braces will influence playing sports.  These questions usually surround concerns regarding 1) injury, and 2) time spent wearing elastics and retainers.

In the case of many sports, especially those involving lots of contact like basketball and wrestling, or those involving balls and/or equipment that could accidentally contact a player's face, parents are wise to seek extra protection for their child's teeth.  Generally we advise that any sport that recommends a mouthguard, even if it isn't a requirement, is a sport in which the player should definitely be proactive about protecting his or  her teeth.  Certainly, you want to be cautious even without braces.  Any patient can experience an injury that leads to the loss of or damage to a tooth or teeth.  With braces on, the risk of injury to the lips and gums are also increased because of the extra appliances in the mouth.  Wearing a mouthguard can reduce the risk of teeth being broken or knocked out.  In addition, the plastic from the mouthguard separates the braces from the lips, helping to avoid cuts and soft-tissue injury.

Sometimes wearing a mouthguard can be more challenging with braces.  There are ready-made orthodontic mouthguards available that you can invest in with special grooves where the braces fit.  You can also use a traditional boil-and-bite mouthguard with braces.  The way you fabricate your guard will simply be a little bit different.  Before biting into the warm mouthguard, take a strip of wax and lay it across your braces.  This will prevent the plastic from flowing into the grooves around the braces and wires and becoming difficult to remove.  Finally, there are some appliances that we use in conjunction with braces (like the Forsus appliance, for example) which make it difficult to wear a full-length mouthguard.  We advise, in these cases, that you cut the back portion of the mouthguard off to shorten it slightly and make it possible to fit in with your appliance.

If an injury does occur, your first call should be to your general or pediatric dentist who is the expert in assessing damage to and repairing the teeth.  They may take an x-ray to ensure that no teeth or bones have been broken.  If a tooth has broken or knocked out, they will recommend the proper course of action.  In many cases, the orthodontist may be involved in the recovery as well.  Sometimes if a tooth has loosened due to injury, the braces can be used to stabilize the tooth, and your dentist can advise you if they'd like you to see us to assist with this stabilization.  In addition, once the risks to the teeth, lips, and bones have been addressed with your dentist, you should also evaluate to see if any braces or other appliances are broken or loose.  If so, as with any other broken appliances, you should give our office a call, and we can advise you on whether you need to come in right away or if the breakage is minor enough and can wait until your next visit for an easy repair.

As I mentioned, another concern that often arises during sports seasons is finding time to wear things like elastics and retainers.  If a mouthguard is required for your sport, then this takes precedence over the use of any special appliances!  We always give permission to leave rubber bands and retainers out while you're engaged in playing your sport.  (If you play a non-contact sport (like track and field) and feel comfortable wearing your rubber bands or retainers, it's ok to go ahead and keep them in, but we do not require it.)  Often, especially for serious athletes, there can be many hours spent each day on practices, games, and meets.  It's can be challenging to find enough time to wear your appliances, but rest assured that it can be done!  We suggest keeping extra bags of rubber bands around at all times and putting a fresh pair in every time you have an opportunity.  At a tournament all weekend?  Make sure the rubber bands are in between games.  Even if you only have half an hour, it's important to put them back in and let them keep working.  By making the effort, you can still make progress during your sports season, or at least avoid taking a step backwards!

Keep smiling, friends!

Preventing White Spot Lesions During Orthodontic Treatment

March 26th, 2018

One of the challenges we deal with during orthodontic treatment is maintaining excellent oral hygiene.  This is a challenge for a couple of reasons.  First, many of our patients are young and still struggle with the necessary motor skills necessary to be truly effective at achieving great hygiene.  And second, whether using braces or aligners, while in orthodontic treatment, there are often more places for plaque and bacteria to hide out which means that getting a good result from brushing might take a little more time and effort than usual.  Why is this so important?  Poor hygiene can lead to cavities and gum disease, or white spot lesions.  Not familiar?  Here's a picture of white spots that were seen on someone's teeth after braces were removed:

White Spot Lesions

So what should we do about this?  Well, the best defense is a good offense!  In other words, I'm saying that prevention is key.  White spots are difficult to treat once they've occurred, so avoiding them in the first place is your best bet.  Here are some tips for avoiding white spots!

  1. Parents should help, especially for very young patients. I meet lots of parents who are eager to put all the responsibility for brushing in their child's hands.  In some cases, however, the child isn't interested in being compliant, or doesn't yet have the necessary skills to do a good job.  In these cases, it's important to remember that as the parent, it will be your responsibility to monitor their brushing and flossing routines and help them if needed.
  2. Avoid excessive sugary foods and drinks. Sugar contributes to plaque and bacteria formation on the surface of the teeth.  It's ok to enjoy as a treat here and there, but you should avoid consuming sugar continuously throughout the day, and you should always brush (or rinse with water if you can't brush right away) after enjoying sugary treats.
  3. Try using the special toothbrush we offer when you start braces! We use a special toothbrush when starting treatment with braces.  It's specially designed to make it easier to brush under the wires and around the brackets so that you can be more effective at removing plaque.
  4. Watch for bleeding or puffy gums. These can be indications of inflammation which often means that brushing and flossing aren't being done effectively enough.  If you're trying your hardest and still seeing results like this, please let us know.  We'd be happy to review instructions as many times as you need us to!
  5. A Waterpik might be your new best friend. Waterpiks are gaining increasing popularity for good reason.  They're fun for kids, and they do a great job of irrigating in hard to reach places!
  6. Feel free to ask for feedback on your brushing. We are here to help you.  If you aren't sure how you're doing, let us know!  We'll be happy to check and point out areas for improvement!

With a little effort, you can finish your braces treatment with beautiful stain-free teeth!!  As always, you can find more information on our website at  Keep smiling, friends! :)

What to Expect at Your First Visit to the Orthodontist

February 26th, 2018

What to Expect at Your First Visit to the Orthodontist

Knowing what to expect at your first visit to the orthodontist can go a long way towards calming the anxiety of patients (children and adults) and even parents!  Young patients may not know what an orthodontist is or does.  They have often heard scary stories from friends about braces hurting or being "tightened," and they may be worried that they'll get braces right away and that the process will hurt.  Adult patients are often nervous because they're still not sure what options they'll have, and they're still wondering whether they want to wear braces as an adult.  "Why am I here? Am I really going to go through with this? Is it weird for an adult to wear braces?" (Spoiler alert - it's not!)  And parents are frequently nervous about having sticker shock because of their preconceived ideas about braces being expensive.

Rest assured that most of these concerns aren't worth the anxiety they cause, and I'm  hopeful that learning about the new patient process in our office will help!  When you attend your first orthodontic visit, here's what you can expect:

  • You'll be greeted by one of our staff members! One of our staff members will welcome you to the office and give you a tour.  We'll show you everything you need to know to feel comfortable in the office.  Once you've started treatment, often the orthodontist's office can start to feel like home!  Once you've gotten settled, we'll be sure that you have completed all the new patient paperwork necessary.  If you've printed this in advance or filled it out online, you may already be done!
  • Our treatment coordinator will take photographs and x-rays of your teeth.  We take a series of photographs of your teeth and face to be used by the doctor during diagnosis and also as a visual aid for you to use when discussing your treatment options.  Sometimes it's much easier for you to see and identify problems with your teeth in pictures when compared to simply viewing them in the mirror.  In addition, we always use a panoramic x-ray (one large view that shows all your teeth).
  • One of the doctors will examine your teeth and bite and discuss your treatment options with you. Dr. Bethany or Dr. Liz will sit down with you and discuss your treatment needs, answer questions, and give you options for treatment, explaining the pros and cons of each option and giving you time to decide what's right for you.
  • Our treatment coordinator will explain scheduling and financing treatment.  Our treatment coordinator is here to do exactly that - to help you coordinate the details involved in starting treatment!  She will review the total amount of your investment in treatment, help you understand how much your insurance will assist, and give you plenty of payment plan options.  We are extremely flexible when it comes to financing your treatment because we know that everyone's budget is different, and we don't want that to get in between you and the smile of your dreams!!  Next, she'll help you schedule any appointments needed to start your treatment.  Sometimes, if time permits, you may have the option to start your braces the same day!

One of our primary goals is to make your experience with orthodontic treatment comfortable and enjoyable!  We're here for you along the way and we're always available to answer questions.  We're looking forward to your first visit - and we hope you are too!!

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