Treatment Tips

7 Things To Know Before Getting Braces

November 8th, 2022

Getting braces soon? Here are 7 Things to know before getting your braces: 

 

 

  1. Bring lip balm.

 

You definitely want to bring lip balm or chapstick to your appointment just because using a cheek retractor can make your lips feel dry. A cheap retractor is a plastic piece that’s used to pull your lips and cheeks away from the surface of your teeth to help keep your teeth dry and ready for the application of braces.

 

  1. While it won’t hurt, the application of braces can be uncomfortable. 

 

Between having your lips and cheeks held back with a retractor and just the process of having your mouth open for a long time can cause some discomfort while having your braces applied. Just remember that it doesn’t actually hurt your teeth to have the braces put on! No shots or medicines need to be applied since we are dealing only with the surface of your teeth. Sometimes people say that our materials can create a sour taste in your mouth, but we promise it does not last for long!

 

  1. Food will get stuck in your braces.

 

Despite your best efforts with brushing and flossing, food will sometimes get stuck in your braces. We recommend brushing after meals, even on the go, or using a small proxy brush to help get out that sandwich or salad left behind!

 

  1. You will need a few days to get used to having braces. 

 

While it’s true that getting braces on is not particularly painful, sometimes our patients do say that you will experience soreness and tenderness in the days after the braces go on. This can be helped by using an over-the-counter pain reliever and eating soft foods. Your lips may also probably feel a little funny when speaking for the first few days as your lips adjust to your braces. But we assure you once you’re used to the look and feel of your braces, nothing will slow you down!

 

  1. Your bite is this important as your teeth! 

 

Orthodontists don’t just use braces to straighten teeth, they are also very invested in ensuring you have a functional jaw relationship. It’s very important to us that the way your teeth fit together is healthy because if it’s not, it can lead to problems down the road. If you’ve ever had to wear rubber bands or have a bite appliance applied with your braces, then you know just how important we think your bite is!

 

  1. Setbacks will happen.

 

A wire may start poking or slip out in the back. Or and bracket may pop off when eating something you shouldn’t be eating. Setbacks will happen, and that’s OK, as long as it’s not often and you come to see us quickly to have it repaired.

 

  1. Braces are expensive, but they are worth the investment. 

 

The overall cost of braces includes the supplies needed throughout your treatment, the visits to the orthodontist's office, your doctor's expertise and experience, and the retainers you will receive following your completed treatment. It can seem like a lot of money but remember you are making an investment in your smile that can last a lifetime if taken care of properly.

What other things should people know before starting braces? Leave us a comment below and let us know! If you’re interested in seeing if braces are the right option, click on our request appointment, and one of our new patient coordinators will be happy to discuss your options.

Sugary drinks and your smile: Myth busting what causes those "white scars".

September 27th, 2022

We've all heard how the food industry has increasingly saturated our packaged food and drinks over the last decade with sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners. And, of course, it's no secret that sugar causes dental cavities.

High-sugar products like sports drinks, energy drinks, sodas, and even the drinks that are advertised with health benefits are easily accessible and enjoyed by so many of us. Popping into convenience stores and grabbing a drink can be an everyday occurrence.

But if you or your child are doing Invisalign treatment instead of traditional braces, why should that matter so much? Most of us have heard how "braces can cause white scars" over the years.

I'm here to debunk that myth!

Yes, with traditional braces, food can easily get wedged in between the braces and wires. If you're unable to brush immediately after eating, that food (with its high sugar content) will start to damage the tooth enamel.

 

But let's say you don't have braces. You have Invisalign. That means you're taking your Invisalign aligners out while enjoying those high-sugar drinks and snacks. So, no food traps. What's there to be concerned about?

Yes, Invisalign aligners are removed before eating. This takes a big obstacle out of the way when it comes to keeping food off your teeth. They should also be removed if you're drinking anything other than water.

However, if you put your Invisalign aligners back in after enjoying your snack and drink, then go 4-8 hours without brushing, you'll get the same effect as braces. Food and sugar are trapped in your teeth, leading to cavities and scarring.

The big message here is that if you're not brushing your teeth at least twice a day, then even with removable aligners, the sugar from your food and drinks will stay on your teeth. This will lead to plaque and permanent white scars on the surface of your teeth.

So, it's not braces or Invisalign aligners that are causing the plaque buildup and white scars, it's the lack of brushing.

Wearing Invisalign aligners isn't a free pass not to brush your teeth. It just makes it so much easier to brush and floss when you don't have braces and wires to maneuver your toothbrush around.

So whether you're in braces or Invisalign, make that effort to limit the sugary snacks and drinks and always brush after meals. Your beautiful results at the end of your orthodontic treatment will be so worth the extra effort!

Our Favorite Movie Snacks For Braces

September 13th, 2022

our favorite snacks for braces title graphic

Braces & going to the movies.

Eating at the movie theater can be a daunting task. What should you eat? There are so many choices! But when you have braces, it can be a bit more complicated.

If you have braces, here are a few things you should avoid when eating at the movies.

Popcorn:

This is a classic movie go-to for most people. But when you have braces, it's not so simple.
When you eat popcorn with your braces on, the kernels can get caught in the brackets and cause damage. This can easily lead to gum irritation when kernels cannot be quickly brushed out.
Plus, who wants to see a braces smile that's full of popcorn?

Nachos:

This is another classic movie food full of cheesy goodness, but also one to watch out for if you are wearing braces.
The tortilla chips can get caught in the braces and cause the brackets to break loose from the wire. Even if you're careful, mistakes can happen! That's why we just recommend avoiding nachos altogether.

SweeTarts:

This sour-sweet candy has been around since the 1960s but is way too hard to bite down on when you have braces. Leave a comment if you've ever been unfortunate enough to try one... Much too dry, even without braces!
 

Skittles, Milk Duds, & Sour Patch Kids:

Are you a sweet or sour candy person? If you're like us, there's room for both! Either way -- Beware of these extra chewy candies that can suction to braces.

 

So... What can you eat at the movies while you have braces?

The good news is that there are still options for snacks that are not off-limits for braces patients. Here are a few of our favorites.
  • Cookie dough bites
  • Raisinets
  • Reese's Pieces and M&M's (without nuts)
  • Junior Mints
  • Soft Pretzels
  • Pizza (without the crust)
  • Slushies
 
We love these movie snack options because they're easy to grab and don't have any significant risk factors when it comes to braces.

What happens if I break a bracket on my braces?

Trust us; we see it all the time. Mistakes happen, or even with our best efforts, a bracket could come loose while eating movie snacks.
If you break a bracket, the Hester & Morris team can help repair your braces at a time that is convenient for you. You can always call or send a message HERE.
Broken brackets can cause delays in your orthodontic treatment, and so for that reason, we will always encourage our patients to stay away from any foods that can cause breakage. Better safe than sorry! Want more info about braces? Check this out!
Put your favorite movie snack in the comments!

Eating with braces!

August 31st, 2022

No more starburst? Goodbye popcorn and nuts?

If you recently got braces or you’re thinking about getting braces to help improve your smile, you’ve likely wondered about the foods you can or cannot eat with orthodontic braces.
While it’s true that some foods must be avoided when having braces, the good news is that many foods are considered Braces Friendly and can be enjoyed throughout your treatment. When you consider the result of having a beautiful confident smile, we believe that it’s worth temporarily giving up a few of those favorite foods!

Read more to learn what you can eat and drink with braces and a list of things to avoid.

Happy Braces Day!!!
When you first get your braces, it can be an adjustment that takes a few days to get used to. For some patients, you will likely have some sensitivity the first few days after your bonding appointment, and that’s why we recommend soft foods during this transition time.
Here are some great food options for the day you get braces and the first few days after:
Soft cheeses
pudding
soft tortillas
pancakes
muffins
pasta
rice
lunch
meats
eggs
mashed potatoes
fruits
ice cream
milkshakes
Jell-O
soups
applesauce
But as you know, there are some foods we ask patients with braces to avoid. This is to help protect the brackets and wires from breakage. Any breakage or damage to your braces can result in extra appointments and delayed treatment progress; we know you don’t want that to happen!
Here is a list of foods we recommend you avoid during your braces treatment:
Gummy bears
hard candy
sticky candy such as jellybeans or taffy
nuts
hard pretzels
kettle cooked
chips
popcorn
raw crunchy vegetables
pizza crusts
ice
 
A few other food tips for your smile success:
Try cutting sandwiches and any fruits and vegetables into small bite-size pieces.
Cut off your pizza crust before eating.
Avoid eating meat off the bone.
Beware of the super sugary drinks! Shakes, smoothies, and even ice cream are great alternatives for people with braces, just be sure to limit your consumption of these drinks and treats to cut down on plaque buildup. Brushing your teeth after drinking sodas and energy drinks is so very good for your teeth, but with braces, it is necessary!
A sweet surprise!
A common misconception of Braces is that people can’t eat candy at all. This is simply not true! We are happy to announce that sweet treats like peanut butter cups, Three Musketeers, Kit-Kat‘s, and chocolate bars without nuts are all A-OK!... Just don’t forget to brush!
Have more questions about caring for your braces? Our Hester and Morris website is full of resources about home care and how treatment works. And don’t hesitate to contact a Hester and Morris orthodontic team member with your questions or concerns. We’re here to help!

Back to school… for your smile!

July 28th, 2022

Back to school… for your smile!

Advertisements are popping up everywhere, and school supplies are hitting the shelves. As you prepare your child to head back to school, you likely have a list of needed supplies from schools and teachers. But, did you know that if your child wears Invisalign or braces, they need to help their smiles head back to school?

 

5 things your child needs for heading back to school for their smile!

 

1. A travel-sized dental care kit

 

Most students won’t have time to brush their teeth after meals, so a small kit of home care items can be kept in a child’s backpack or locker.

 

For example, small toothbrush floss can help braces patients when food gets trapped underneath the wires of the races.

 

Invisalign patients can also benefit from a travel toothbrush to clean their aligners and ensure the food does not get trapped underneath them.

 

2. A “Christmas tree” or proxy brush

 

This tiny brush with a shape like a Christmas tree has soft bristles and is meant to go underneath the wire between the brackets for hard-to-reach cleaning.

 

 Parents can pick these up from our office, and many drugstores also have them.

 

3. Orthodontic Wax

 

Try wax for poking wires or brackets that irritate the gums.

 

This braces' classic can be handy in a pinch when braces are irritating the inside cheeks or gums, causing a mouth sore.

 

Also, if you have a loose wire, you can use wax to help stabilize it until you can come to see us for repair.

 

Be sure to ask us for extra wax next time you come to see us; school nurses will also occasionally have someone in stock.

 

4. A backup case for your Invisalign

 

So many parents fear that their child may accidentally throw away their Invisalign aligners during lunch at school.

 

Unfortunately, we’ve seen this all too often! As many lunchroom workers and teachers will tell you, digging aligners out of the trash is no fun. 

 

For this reason, we often recommend a backup case for school.

 

 It keeps the main Invisalign case safe and has less risk of losing, but your child will always have a place to put aligners at lunch. It does not have to be an official Invisalign trademark case; a simple retainer case will do. Some patients decorate the outside of their cases, making them cute and custom works of art. The lunchbox or backpack is an excellent place for this item.

 

5. A mouthguard, if your child plays sports! 

 

With that, the school season also brings fall sports.

 

Some contact sports, like football and soccer, pose the risk of injury to your teeth, so mouthguards are often recommended. 

 

If your child wears braces, they will need a specific type of mouthguard. We have these available in our office for you at no additional cost.

 

Bonus tips:

 

Be sure to talk with your child about their braces or Invisalign care at school. For example, some patients are self-conscious about taking out their Invisalign aligners to eat lunch. You can help them by talking about solutions that would work for them. You can also assure them that Invisalign treatment is more popular than ever before, so they likely will not be the only ones wearing Invisalign.

 

Be sure to grab great face photos for your back-to-school pics that can serve as timestamps of your child’s orthodontic treatment. You will love looking back over the school year and seeing how much their smile has improved!

 

What other tips can you suggest for orthodontic patients heading back to school? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Two Invisalign Tips for teens that will help make Invisalign successful: ???

July 11th, 2022

Two Invisalign Tips for teens that will help make Invisalign successful: ???

 

☑️ Use your chewies!

 

Every time you change your Invisalign aligners, use the chewies we provide to help make sure your aligners are seating over the teeth the very best they can, making for more efficient movements. 

 

Aligner feeling a bit tight after slacking on wear time? USE YOUR CHEWIES!

 

☑️ Don‘t take out your aligners!

 

Those first few hours of a new set of aligners can cause slight discomfort, and it's tempting to just take them out until "later". 

 

However, constant snacking and gum chewing can cause patients not to get the amount of wear time needed for the most successful results.

 

 Teen hack: Some patients find it easier to leave them in, even while eating.

 

If you follow these tips, you will be on your way to a successful experience with Invisalign! Let us know how we can help, by sending us an email or reaching out over social media!

Tips for traveling with braces!

July 4th, 2022

african american teen with braces smiling in the grass holding an American flag

Tips for traveling with braces!

Summertime means a lot of busy people are on the go! So whether you’re getting out of town for a quick weekend trip or taking a full-fledged vacation, if you or your child wears braces, you definitely want to be prepared!

 

Here are a few tips to help make your next adventure easy on your braces and full of smiles.

 

  1. Make sure you keep any scheduled orthodontic appointments close to your time going out of town.

 

In orthodontics, these days, patients don’t have to come in for check-ups as often. 

 

However, giving your braces a quick once-over is good to ensure no loose brackets or long wires are present. These issues tend to worsen and cause discomfort.

 

 So if you have an appointment close to your vacation, make every effort to keep it just in case of minor repairs or tweaking.

 

  1. Have your braces-friendly travel essentials!

 

When you’re going on a trip out of town, be sure to have a basic travel kit that will keep all the supplies you may need for your braces. It should include:

  • Travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra rubber bands
  • Proxy or Christmas tree brush
  • Floss and floss threader,
  • Orthodontic wax
  • A small mirror
  • Nail clippers and tweezers
  • And over-the-counter pain relievers

Be sure to refer to our page on how to treat orthodontic emergencies at home or on the go!

 

  1. Continue with your home care routine, away from home!

 

Vacation is a fun time to relax and get away from everything physically and mentally, but it’s not a time to slack on your dental home care routine

Make sure you brush and floss regularly, and steer clear of any foods to avoid with braces. We give lists of these foods to all our patients when they get their braces on, but more information can also be found on our website.

Also, be sure to check out this fun TikTok as a reminder.

 

A few extra tips!

 

In the absence of a mirror, a cell phone camera works great!

 

 You can also use your phone to remind yourself about wearing your rubber bands and ensuring that you have brushed.

 

 Finally, Contrary to popular belief, your braces will not set off a metal detector - so you can relax when getting ready to board transportation.

 

Have you ever had a braces-related mishap while traveling? Leave us a comment and share your experiences and tips for traveling with braces

3 Tips for Better Invisalign Compliance

June 29th, 2022

5 Tips for Better Invisalign Compliance

Invisalign aligners are invisible braces that come custom fit to your teeth. The Invisalign system allows you to continuously wear your removable "braces" for about 22 hours a day, which is why many people choose Invisalign over traditional braces. However, it's important to remember to wear your Invisalign braces every day for the entire duration of your treatment to get the best results.

If you don't wear your Invisalign the recommended amount of time each day, you will not get the best results. Wearing your aligners for the recommended time is essential for your Invisalign treatment. When you miss an appointment or don't wear your aligners for a day, your treatment is affected. For example, if you don't wear your Invisalign for a week, your teeth will move back to where they were before, which will cause your next set of aligners not to fit correctly. You should wear your Invisalign continuously for 22 hours a day. This means that you should wear your Invisalign braces while awake and sleeping and remove them only for eating and drinking or brushing your teeth.

It can be hard to get used to wearing your Invisalign, so we asked our patients what tips they had. Here is what we learned.

1. Stop snacking! We don't recommend that you eat with your liners in, as this can cause breakage and allow bacteria to form underneath your aligners. Water is OK, but we recommend taking your aligners out before enjoying other liquids. This sometimes means that people who snack a lot are constantly taking their aligners in and out. While occasionally, this is not a problem, all-day grazing can mean that you're not really wearing your aligners for as long as you think you are. For example, if you're taking your aligners out every two hours, you're not getting the optimal wear that comes from consistent use, which means you won't get optimal movement. Try to limit your snacking to specific times a day to have longer wear time in between meals and snacks.

2. Set Reminders. Some of our patients mentioned that it was beneficial for them at first to set a few reminders during today the day to hold them accountable for their aligner wear. Sometimes we forget to put aligners in after meals, but setting a reminder can help. Pretty soon, it will become a habit, we promise!

3. Take advantage of the DM App. Hester Morris Orthodontics is proud to offer weekly check-ins with our patients through the Dental Monitoring app on your smartphone. This is the additional way between appointments for us to check your consistency and alert you of any issues we see along the way. In addition, through the DM app, our team offers feedback on your progress which can be very helpful for compliance.

4. Use your chewies. Chewies are those little squishy packets that come with your initial Invisalign box and are used to help make sure that your aligners are seating correctly on your teeth. At the start of each new aligner, we recommend that you use chewies a few times during the day. The better your aligners fit, the more movement can be made. Some of our patients feel like it's chewing gum. You can do it easily while reading or watching TV. Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for videos about chewies.

5. Keep your case with you... And get a backup! It can be hard to take your aligners in and out for meals when you're out and about, especially if you don't have a place to put them. So resist the urge to temporarily place your aligners in a napkin, which often leads to accidentally throwing your aligners away. Instead, we usually recommend having an aligner case for the house and an aligner case that stays with you on the go.

Invisalign is a great way to achieve the smile you've always wanted, but it won't work if you don't wear it the right way.

We hope these simple tips will help you stay motivated and remember that the result will be worth it... Your beautiful smile!

Which one of these tips would work best for you?

If you're interested in Invisalign treatment, we're here to help! So please send us a message, and let's get started.

[caption id="attachment_12" align="alignnone" width="200"]Local orthodontists in Valdosta, GA standing outside of their location. Dr. J Gregory Morris and Dr. Wayne Hester are here to help you live life smiling![/caption]

3 Reasons to Love Your Smile With Dental Monitoring

June 21st, 2022

Are you or your child looking to start treatment with Invisalign but finding it hard to say yes because of a busy schedule? Then, you’re in the right place – because we have a solution for you! Dental Monitoring is one of the latest technological advances in the Orthodontic field. Hester and Morris Orthodontics have used DM with our patients for over two years.

So what is Dental Monitoring?

Dental Monitoring is an app on your smartphone that we use to help check your Invisalign progress remotely. The patient simply takes a quick weekly scan using their cell phone camera and uploads it to the app. Then that scan is examined with a combination of AI technology and a Hester and Morris team member for correct aligner wear. If everything looks good, our team will follow up with you, letting you know that you’re ready to proceed with the next aligner.

Here are three reasons why our patients love Dental Monitoring:

1. Continual support from the Hester and Morris team.

Our Invisalign patients love hearing weekly updates from the office on their treatment. When you’re new to Invisalign, you want to ensure that you’re doing everything correctly, so having this weekly feedback assures the patient. It also makes communication to our office very convenient. All you have to do is message us through the app!

2. Convenience and flexibility.

We get it – people are busy! But, the great thing about Dental Monitoring for your Invisalign treatment is that you can be successful even with life on the go. Weekly scans can be done anywhere since most people always have their smartphones with them. Going on vacation? You don’t have to worry about missing an appointment or having to reschedule because you can capture your weekly scan at the moment that makes the most sense for you. Have a question about treatment? A quick message through the app, and our team is happy to help!

3. It teaches responsibility and accountability.

Do you have a teen in Invisalign? Not a problem! A great thing about the Dental Monitoring app is that it allows your teen to take more ownership of their aligner wear. Parents can be assured that we are checking behind their teens weekly, not only on the amount of time that the aligner is worn, but we’re also pointing out any problems that we see along the way. We can even communicate with you about wearing elastics and even check up on their oral hygiene. The overall results are successful treatment and time efficiency!

Sometimes people wonder if Dental Monitoring replaces in-office visits? At Hester Morris Orthodontics, we see Dental Monitoring as an additional way to provide the most inclusive patient care. But, of course, you still come into the office for visits, though not as often, because Invisalign treatment takes much less time than patients who have braces. But our patients are never on their own with her treatment, and we are here every step of the way!

If you’ve been thinking about starting treatment with Invisalign, but a busy life has been getting in the way – let us help you get started on that journey to a new smile! So give us a call today or click the link to schedule your consultation appointment and speak with our staff about how easy it can be to get the smile you’ve always wanted.

[caption id="attachment_80" align="alignnone" width="200"] Dental Monitoring is a tool we use to give our patients the best experience possible![/caption]

 

Why Summertime is a great time to start orthodontic treatment!

June 9th, 2022

[caption id="attachment_68" align="alignnone" width="200"] Beautiful summertime smiles thanks to Hester & Morris![/caption]

The weather is warm and school is out… summer is here!

Most people automatically think of vacations and activities to keep the kiddos busy, but in the middle of all the fun is the best opportunity in the entire year for kids and teens to begin their braces or Invisalign journey.

Here’s why:

Scheduling is easy!

Summer brings a more relaxed routine for many families with breaks from sports and activities, AND SCHOOL - which frees parents up for making needed appointments.

Time to get used to the process!

Starting with braces over the summer means your child or teen will have those first couple of weeks to get comfortable with the look and feel of brackets. Summertime also gives them the extra time needed to get good at knowing which foods to avoid before heading back to the cafeteria.

Invisalign takes a few weeks from scan to delivery since each set of aligners is custom-designed by our doctors to your child’s unique treatment goals (thank you, 3D technology!!). Starting early in the summer gives your teen a chance to get into a good aligner-wear routine, which will set them up for the best possible outcome overall.

Start the new school year, with a smile!

We know you love taking the first day of school pics of your kids! What better way to capture their smile progress as well than to show off their cute brace faces or cool aligner cases. Consider it dual milestones for you to look back on!

While it’s always a great time for children and teens to begin with Invisalign or braces, we think summertime is the best time! Watch their confidence soar as they prepare for the next school year with their daily improving smile!

What time of year did your child begin their smile journey? Share your experiences!

How To Avoid The Summer Slump W/ Your Invisalign Treatment

May 17th, 2022

Finish strong!!!

Summer is coming, and with that is the opportunity to relax and let things slide a bit. Just make sure that when it comes to your smile, you don’t slack on those treatment goals! Here are a few ways to avoid the summer slump!
• Keep your scheduled appointments to keep your treatment time on track! For every missed or rescheduled appointment, you are delaying your completion date. Miss a few appointments, and you can soon find yourself several weeks and even months behind in your estimated treatment time!
• Stay consistent with your aligners and elastic wear! Set reminders if you have to!! Getting out of that school day routine can mean you're at home more and not always wearing your aligners or elastic bands for their recommended time each day.
• Sending us those weekly check-ins are SO important to your overall Invisalign success. We provide support when you need it… That’s why we’re here! In the event that we see something to be concerned about, we will let you know right away and try to prevent a problem from developing. Read more about our digital appointments here!

What are your tips for staying on track this Summer?

Your smile day is coming! It will be worth it in the end. So meanwhile... Stay Summer strong!

PC: Ava Rothrock courtesy of mom and Captured by Colson Photography.

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