Sappington Orthodontics Blog

As Halloween approaches, we wanted to share some suggestions to make this one a braces success story. Halloween can still be a lot of fun since there are some braces-friendly Halloween treats.

We suggest looking for candies (and foods in general) that are soft, not sticky, chewy, hard or crunchy. Some examples are M&Ms which can "melt in your mouth...”. Just be sure to avoid the ones with the nuts in the center. Plain chocolate candy is fine, as well as peanut butter cups. Please just be sure that you remember to brush and floss afterwards.

Bobbing for apples and biting into caramel apples are not recommended for orthodontic patients (unless you’re into broken brackets and jaw joint pain!). However, patients can enjoy thinly sliced apples, dipped in yogurt or creamy chocolate sauce.

‘Wishing everyone a Spook-tacular holiday!

Now that summer is in full swing, it might be important to think about starting treatment. Summertime starts offer significant advantages, including:

(1) Appointment flexibility - The longer appointment when braces go on occurs without worry about missing any school. Also there is a better chance to have the appointment of your choice since many of our already establshed patients have "taken their braces on vacation". ;)

(2) More time to adjust - The summertime is great for flexibility in food choices so that any adjustment issues do not interfere with school. Also your tissue has time to adjust to the presence of the brackets outside of school so there are no concerns about interfering with concentration.

(3) More time to master great hygiene techniques - It may take a little while to get used to brushing and flossing with your treatment underway. Please take a look at our patient education pages for a review of the proper techniques that we provide during your start visit and throughout your treatment.

(4) Wow everyone when school starts again - We have noticed over and over throughout the years in practice that just the act of starting treatment tends to boost self-confidence. Possessing enhanced self-esteem is a great way to start the new school year!

Early (or interceptive) orthodontic treatment questions come up quite a lot at the office. We thought that which follows is a good explanation of why our practice  tends to prefer the conservative approach for the most common type of malocclusion (Class II or buck teeth), while at the same recommending that certain issues be treated early to allow for normal growth and development or to diminish teasing at school. Please let us know if you have any questions.

"Some children who start too early can end up in a second phase of treatment, with braces into their preteen or teenage years despite having started at a younger age.

Research (University of Florida) has shown that Class II malocclusion, commonly known as overbite or buck teeth, is probably better treated at a later age. Starting early can lengthen the overall treatment time and overall treatment costs. The research indicated that there was no discernable advantage to early treatments...

It may be best to treat severe overcrowding or protruding teeth problems early to help with adjustment issues that may arise in social environments...

Early treatment for other conditions, however, is recommended. Class III malocclusion, or underbite, is best treated at earlier ages, e.g., 7 years old, to influence ongoing growth patterns before the age of 10.

No definitive studies have demonstrated statistically significant correlations between length of treatment with the age at which treatment was started."

Adapted from the Editorial Staff at If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


By Sappington Orthodontics
February 12, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   retainer  

A lot of time and effort goes into straightening your smile. But there’s a possibility it might not stay that way—and all that hard work could be lost. The same natural mechanism that enables your teeth to move with braces could cause them to revert to their old, undesirable positions.

So you will need to wear a retainer, an appliance designed to keep or “retain” your teeth where they are now. And while the removable type is perhaps the best known, there’s another choice to discuss with us: a bonded retainer.

Just as its name implies, this retainer consists of a thin metal wire bonded to the back of the teeth with a composite material. Unlike the removable appliance, a bonded retainer is fixed and can only be removed by an orthodontist.

Bonded retainers have some advantages; since it’s fixed in place, it might be helpful with some younger patients who need reminding about keeping their retainer in their mouth.

There are, however, disadvantages. It’s much harder to floss with a bonded retainer, which could increase the risks of dental disease. It’s also possible for it to break, in which case it will need to be repaired by an orthodontist and as soon as possible. Without it in place for any length of time the teeth could move out of alignment. We have found that with bonded retainers present, a patient sometimes decides on their own that they need not wear the removable. This sets up the very real possibility of tooth movement and additional treatment.

If you or a family member is about to have braces removed, you’ll soon need to make a decision on which retainer to use. We’ll discuss these options with you and help you choose the one—removable or bonded—that’s right for you.

If you would like more information on bonded retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Bonded Retainers: What are the Pros and Cons?

By Sappington Orthodontics
February 04, 2018
Category: Oral Health

It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.

“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”

While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)

When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.

Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.

But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.

Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”

This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.