Treatment Tips

Holiday Time and Orthodontic Care

December 6th, 2023

Holiday Time and Orthodontic Care

The Holiday season is here, and it's a busy time for everyone.

Schedules change, vacations start, and everyday daily routines will be paused while you celebrate and visit with your loved ones.

It's sometimes too easy to get out of the habit of wearing your Invisalign aligners and orthodontic rubber bands, avoiding hard or sticky snacks, or keeping a twice-a-day brushing routine with so much going on.

Here are 3 tips you can use that will help keep you on track with orthodontic treatment during this fun and busy time of year.

1. Keep reminders around your home to wear aligners or rubber bands.

You can tape a bag of rubber bands or a bag of aligners to your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, or even the bedroom door to remind you to put them back in after snacking or brushing. You can even make fun and creative notes to put up if you're spending time at another home or in a hotel room during vacations.

2. Prepare to have food and snacks that are braces-friendly.

There will be certain foods or snacks around during the holidays that are not recommended for patients with braces. It's hard to resist certain treats, we get it! But remember that loose braces will interrupt your orthodontic progress, causing your treatment time to take longer. It can also cause a lot of discomfort. Make sure to have easy access to soft snacks and break up other treats into smaller pieces to avoid popping your braces loose.

3. Set an alarm on your phone to brush at night.

Most of us get out of our everyday routines during the holidays, and it's a nice relief. But you don't want to get out of the routine of brushing your teeth every night. Going to bed later, or even sleeping in a different place can easily affect the normal habit of nighttime brushing. And all those yummy holiday snacks left on your teeth overnight will cause decay. So set a "brush teeth" alarm on your phone and commit yourself that you'll stop what you're doing to go brush when it goes off.

With all the hustle of the holidays and the change in daily routines, it's best to plan with these tips to keep yourself on track toward your beautiful new smile!

Invisalign Tips You Should Know About

November 21st, 2023

Invisalign is an excellent option for patients who want to straighten their teeth without the look and feel of traditional braces.

At Hester and Morris Orthodontics, we have seen a shift where teens and adults are interested in Invisalign treatment. We see Invisalign as a great alternative to traditional braces because it is easier to clean and maintain over braces. And you have fewer appointments than with braces.

Besides the convenience, patients love being able to freely eat foods they love because you remove the aligners to eat.

Here are a few things we've seen from Invisalign, and we want you to know whether you're considering Invisalign or have been wearing aligners for a while.

1. The first week is the hardest. You have to get used to the feeling of the aligners in your mouth. And for many patients, that first aligner is going to cause discomfort. Power through the pain, and you'll get used to the feel of Invisalign. We promise it gets better! Plan by taking Tylenol prior to your appointment. You may want to opt for soft foods for the first few days.

2. Buy a cheap nail file. Some weeks, the aligners may feel a little rough on the edges, which can irritate your gums and tongue. Use the nail file to smooth down the ragged edge of the aligner that is bothering you. If you have a rough edge on your aligner that can't be smoothed out with a nail file, we'll be happy to trim it down for you at the office.

3. Eat larger meals to prevent snacking. When you wear Invisalign, you must take them out to eat and drink anything. If you're a snacker, this can be a hard adjustment. Constantly taking your aligners out to eat will end up slowing your treatment. Remember that Invisalign is successful because you wear them full-time. You remove them to eat and to brush your teeth. The less amount of time they are out of your mouth, the faster you'll get the movement and results you want. Try eating more at mealtimes so you won't be tempted to snack in between.

4. Take your aligners out to brush your teeth; when you do, don't forget to brush your aligners, too! You should brush your aligners after each meal before you put them back in to prevent bacteria from building up. We know this isn't always ideal, so at least a quick rinse of your aligners before you put them back in helps!

5. Don't drink coffee or tea while wearing Invisalign. Coffee and tea can stain your aligners, and their sugars can also damage your teeth underneath the aligners. If you must, use a straw.

6. Take advantage of the technology that's been designed to help you! The Invisalign App is designed to help you stay on track with your aligner wear. There are also links for purchasing cool add-ons like colored cases and cleaning tools!

Our office is a proud participant in the Dental Monitoring program. This app gives you better access to our team and your treatment progress. You can also easily share your progress by scans with us with your very own ScanBox each week to help ensure your treatment is on track. If we see any issues, we can quickly address them to ensure your treatment is progressing as planned. That's a real person on the other end of your phone, by the way! Our Dental Monitoring Coordinator will happily answer any questions and help you get started!

We could add many other tips to this list, but we want to hear from you... What are your top tips for keeping your Invisalign treatment on track? Please leave a comment below and share it with us!

Traveling With Braces

November 7th, 2023

Thanksgiving is coming! While this means food, fun, and family, for some, this means hopping on a plane or piling up in the car for a long road trip.

Traveling with braces can be a unique challenge, especially during the holidays. Many people may be concerned about caring for their braces properly while on vacation or visiting loved ones.

Fortunately, with some planning and preparation, it is possible to enjoy your holiday travels without compromising the health or appearance of your braces.

In this blog, we will discuss some helpful tips and advice for traveling with braces so you can have a stress-free holiday season and maintain your beautiful smile.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are traveling with braces:

Dr. Wayne Hester and Dr. Hester Morris

1. Tell your orthodontist you're planning to travel... Especially if it's for an extended amount of time. At Hester and Morris Orthodontics, we are glad to load you up with extra wax and elastics to take with you on your journey!

Our team can also advise you on what to do if your braces get damaged while you are away from the area. We want you to enjoy your travels and not worry about your braces.

2. Keep a check on your diet. If you are planning on traveling, there is a good chance that you will be eating out a lot more than you usually would, and especially at the Holidays, there are more gatherings and events that involve food.

We understand that it can be difficult to control food options at events. However, we kindly ask that you consider the well-being of your teeth and braces when selecting your food choices.

Please note that it's best to avoid hard or sticky foods and exercise caution when indulging in food that requires extensive chewing. We want you to enjoy your meals while taking good care of your braces. You've worked hard to make that progress and don't need any setbacks! Try eating food in smaller bites.

Don't worry; Turkey, Dressing, and Pumpkin Pie are all fine to eat!

3. Use your phone to check your teeth! This simple but oh-so-good hack can save you a lot of embarrassment around the dining table!

Since you are traveling, you may not have access to a mirror. But you do have your phone in your pocket or purse!

Use the selfie mode of your camera app for a quick check to ensure that your braces are clear of food. Thankfully, this can be done very discreetly!

4. Pack some trip-worthy smile accessories! You can find these at your local drugstore or even online.

* A travel toothbrush and floss w/ threader.

* A water bottle -- Collapsible ones are great for long trips.

* A proxy or "Christmas Tree" brush for getting in hard-to-reach places in your braces. Ask us for this!

* Nail clippers... Just in case you need to trim some wires because of breakage or pain while away from us! But hopefully not

Drs. Hester and Morris and our entire team want you to have a fun and safe Thanksgiving! If you have any questions regarding your treatment, please don't hesitate to call us or message us on social media. We are here for you!

When should my child visit the orthodontist?

October 18th, 2023

We are often asked, 'At what age should I bring my child in to be evaluated for braces?". We treat all ages: children, teens, and adults. But some indicators might help you decide whether your child is ready to visit our office.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children should be going to see an orthodontist around age 7.

Why is it important for kids to visit the Orthodontist at Age 7? At this age, Drs. Hester and Morris can conduct a thorough orthodontic evaluation, identify potential dental issues that may arise, and recommend appropriate solutions.

Because there is a mix of primary and permanent teeth in a child's mouth at this stage, the orthodontist can determine if there is or will be a need for early treatment. Early treatment may be recommended to avoid more invasive treatments in the future.

Even if early treatment is not indicated, the orthodontist can monitor the child to give you an estimation of when it will be time for braces or Invisalign. At Hester and Morris Orthodontics, we have a six-month check-up plan that continues to monitor your child's growth and development. These visits allow us to assess your child's bite and eruption patterns and determine the best time to begin treatment. This is done at no cost to the patient.

If you have questions about your child's development or if your child is having social concerns at school over their smile, please don't hesitate to call us. We are always here to help!

So what should parents look for in their child's smile? Here are a few common concerns that we see in our office:

1. Early or late loss of their baby teeth.

2. Mouth breathing.

3. Speech impediments due to teeth placement or jaw alignment.

4. Protruding upper front teeth that could risk injury to the child.

5. Difficulty chewing or biting. Including cheek biting.

6. Jaw clicking, popping, or pain.

7. Oral habits such as tongue thrusting or finger/thumb sucking.

8. Social concerns for the child include teasing or embarrassment due to their smile.

Patients do not require a dental referral to see an orthodontist.

However, with younger patients, your child's dentist is a great resource to help determine if a visit to the orthodontist is necessary.

There is no cost for our consultation appointments. We do everything at our office at your child's first visit to determine if your child is a candidate for treatment. We take X-ray panoramic images, photographs, and digital scans of their teeth and do a comprehensive exam. Parents are always invited to join us for the appointment; we encourage it!

After gathering all the information, the doctor will sit down with you to discuss the findings. If treatment is recommended, we will discuss the plan, financial options, and any treatment concerns you may have.

We treat younger patients with braces and Invisalign First at Hester and Morris Orthodontics. Treating your child with space maintainers or expanders may also be possible. The doctor will discuss all treatment options with you and your child.

If your child is not quite ready for treatment, we will give you an idea of what to expect when they are ready and will continue to monitor their growth and development. Having your child come to see us and become comfortable in our office is helpful.

Thank you for considering Hester and Morris Orthodontics for your child's smile needs! For more information on orthodontic treatment, please check out our website.

Straight Teeth & Health Smiles -- They go together!

October 3rd, 2023

Some people want a smile that looks good in photos, while others care only about the health of their smiles.

We care about both!

braces patient at a dental cleaning

Did you know that orthodontics helps to straighten or move your teeth to improve their appearance and function and keep them clean and healthy?

Evenly distributing pressure over your teeth helps maintain healthy teeth, gums, and joints in the long run. Plus, you'll love the cosmetic benefits of a great smile!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month. And while we love highlighting the importance of orthodontics and its benefits, we also know that a beautiful smile begins with a healthy mouth.

A healthy smile is more than just a cosmetic benefit; it can improve overall health and well-being. Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to preventing gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.

A healthy smile can also boost your self-confidence, making you feel more comfortable in social situations.

One of the most significant benefits of a healthy smile is the prevention of gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that affects the tissues supporting your teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, which can cause your teeth to become loose and fall out.

Good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, can help prevent gum disease and keep your teeth healthy. This is especially true when a patient has orthodontic treatment.

A healthy smile can also improve your digestion. Your mouth is the first step in the digestive process, and your teeth break down food before it enters your stomach.

If you have missing or damaged teeth, you may have trouble chewing your food, leading to digestive problems. By maintaining a healthy smile, you can ensure that your digestive system is working correctly.

Braces or Invisalign can be beneficial for individuals with very crowded teeth. Crowded teeth can contribute to more cavities. But straight teeth are easier to brush and floss. Bite issues are also corrected with orthodontic treatment.

In our office, we work closely with your family dentist to ensure your dental cleanings are up to date while wearing braces or Invisalign aligners.

In conclusion, a healthy smile is essential to your overall health and well-being. Good oral hygiene can help prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath while improving your digestion and self-confidence.

Taking great care of your smile is essential to that smile being healthy AND beautiful! Caring for your teeth allows you to enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile for years.

Orthodontics plays a crucial role in achieving a healthy and confident smile. Orthodontic treatment can improve oral health and self-esteem by addressing crooked or crowded teeth. With braces or Invisalign aligners, you can achieve a straighter smile that is easier to maintain through proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Let us know if you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment! The Hester and Morris Team is always happy to discuss any of our services with you.

The First Week Of Braces

September 6th, 2023

Getting orthodontic braces can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking time! There are a lot of questions that come up as you prepare to begin your smile journey.

But no worries... The Hester & Morris Team is here to help you navigate the process of getting braces!

We have compiled a list of tips to help you prepare for your first day of braces and what to expect that first week of treatment.

1. Ask a lot of questions.

The first visit in our practice is with one of our Treatment Coordinators, and it is their job to make sure you are as comfortable and knowledgeable with your treatment plan as possible.

They will take a lot of time to explain the process, answer any questions you may have, and also make sure you clearly understand what to expect as you go through braces. But you must ask questions too!

You may be thinking of something the Treatment Coordinator may not have thought of to cover, so don't hesitate to ask.

Same for when you are getting your braces- the staff at Hester & Morris is here to help you get the most out of your orthodontic treatment! We want you to feel comfortable and confident with us to ask questions and understand what's going on.

We'll also send you home with instructions and a list of foods to avoid. Following those instructions closely is important to get the most out of your orthodontic treatment.

2. Take a pre-braces selfie!

Braces will change your smile, so why not document this amazing moment with a photo before the braces are on? We want you to take a selfie of yourself with your new smile, too, with the braces!

Not only will you want to remember this moment, but it is also a great way of tracking your progress as your teeth move. We can't wait to see your smile!

3. You may want to bring chapstick!

Getting braces on is pretty quick, but it can be uncomfortable as they need to stretch your mouth and cheeks a bit. All that extra air can chap your lips and cause dryness.

Your lips may be slightly dry as they adjust in the following days. If you don't have chapstick on hand, we'll gladly provide you with some.

4. You're most likely going to be sore!

It varies for most people, but braces can be uncomfortable for a few days after they are on. It's important to remember that braces are moving your teeth, and that's a good thing!

Your mouth will get used to them in a few days, but you may want to take it easy at first. Stick to eating soft foods to keep your mouth comfortable, and avoid foods that need a lot of chewing.

You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you need it.

5. You're gonna need wax!

As your lips and the insides of your cheeks get used to the feel of your new braces, your mouth will likely have sore spots. This is where the wax comes in!

You can apply some wax to your braces to ease the discomfort. We have wax that we will give you, and most stores carry wax in the dental care aisle.

If you have mouth sores, we also recommend swishing with warm salt water to help promote healing.

Overall, the first week of braces can be an adjustment period, but it's important to remember that it's temporary. Your mouth will adapt to the braces, and discomfort will lessen over time.

Just be patient, follow the guidelines provided by your orthodontist, and soon you'll be on your way to a beautiful, straight smile!

If you have any questions about your treatment, our team is here to help! Call us at (229)245-1800 or send us a message through the chat!

What NOT to do... With Invisalign!

August 22nd, 2023

Invisalign is a popular teeth-straightening treatment that uses clear, removable aligners. They are very popular in our office, and we love recommending Invisalign for our teen and adult patients to help them achieve their dream smiles.

If you're considering Invisalign, following your orthodontist's instructions closely is important for the best results. While the aligners are convenient and discreet, they require your careful attention.

Here's why: Your doctor provides specific instructions for your treatment plan, which you should follow closely to ensure the best possible outcome.

Disregarding their advice can lead to complications and lengthen your treatment time.

You've likely heard before that patients must wear their aligners full-time or at least 22 hours daily. This includes while you sleep and when you're at school or work.

But did you know that there are some other smaller things we recommend you do NOT do with Invisalign aligners? While these may seem minor, they can greatly impact your treatment.

So here are 4 things you should not do with your Invisalign aligners:

1. Don't wrap your Invisalign aligners in a Kleenex (or napkin)!!!

So many people forget their Invisalign aligners are in their napkins.

The problem is, when you do this, you may forget them on the table or someone else may take your aligners, thinking it's trash, and throw them away.

Put them in their case. Keep a back up if you have to!

This is actually a really big and common problem. We see it all the time.

2. Don't put your aligners in your pocket!!!

Along the same lines, don't leave aligners in your pocket. Doing so can cause them to break or get damaged; they could even fall out of your pocket and be lost.

We have found lost aligners in parking lots many times.

3. Don't eat candy or any foods when you're aligners are in!

While we want you to wear your aligners as much as possible, you should not eat food or candy while wearing them. Take out your Invisalign to enjoy a snack or a meal.

Eating food with aligners can bend or break the plastic in the aligners, making them not fit as they should. Which means a longer time overall.

4. Don't drink coffee or sugary drinks with your aligners in!

While Invisalign aligners are designed to fit snuggly around your teeth, sugary drinks can get trapped underneath the aligners and can cause tooth decay.

And who wants a mouth full of cavities?

Water is the best option for drinking when you have your aligners in. But if you must drink something else, we recommend you use a straw. And then rinse your mouth out with water after you drink.

These are just a few simple things we hope you will avoid while you're wearing your Invisalign aligners.

If you happen to have any concerns or questions regarding your Invisalign treatment, please feel free to reach out to our office. We're always here to help and provide any assistance you may need.

We take pride in aiding you throughout your treatment!

Back-to-school Braces Tips

July 19th, 2023

It's that time again!

As the new school year approaches, parents of children with braces have an extra reason to feel the back-to-school jitters.

Fear not, dear parents; we have your back!

This blog post is packed with practical tips and helpful advice to ensure a smooth transition to school life while keeping those braces-wearing kiddos in tip-top shape. Stay tuned as we delve into the world of orthodontic care for students, making this school year one to remember!

As a parent of a child with Invisalign or orthodontic braces, you know the unique challenges and concerns that come with it.

With the school year in full view, planning braces-friendly and appealing meals for your child can be overwhelming. However, rest assured that with some creativity and planning, you can pack delicious and healthy lunches for your child to take to school. One easy option is to switch out hard, crunchy snacks for softer alternatives like sliced fruit, cheese or yogurt. Additionally, meal prep can go a long way in ensuring that your child has access to braces-friendly meals throughout the week.

Heading back to school can be a busy time for families in so many ways, but it's important to remember to prioritize braces or Invisalign care during this transition.

One helpful tip is to ensure your child has a braces care kit in their backpack, complete with a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Encourage your child to use this kit after lunch or snacks to keep their teeth clean and free of food particles.

Many parents send a second backup Invisalign case in the lunchbox to make sure aligners are never stored in a napkin and thrown out!

Another useful strategy is to talk to your child's teacher about their braces and concerns.

If your child is involved in sports, it's important to consider how their braces might affect their safety during games and practices.

One solution to this concern is to have your child wear an orthodontic mouthguard. A properly fitted mouth guard can protect your child's braces and teeth from potential injuries while playing sports. Talk to our Valdosta, GA office about getting a custom-fit mouthguard designed for braces.

Sending your child off to school with a confident and healthy smile is important to overall well-being. At Hester & Morris Orthodontics, we understand the importance of a beautiful smile and offer a variety of treatment options to help achieve one. From traditional braces to Invisalign, our orthodontic specialists work with families to create the perfect treatment plan for each patient. By prioritizing your child's braces or Invisalign care, they can return to school with a beautiful smile that will inspire confidence and success throughout the year.

We can help your child can feel proud to show off their Hester & Morris Orthodontics smile in the classroom and beyond! Email us here or call (229)245-1800 to schedule a consultation with our orthodontic office.

Chicken Nuggets & Braces

July 5th, 2023

Braces can be a major adjustment for anyone, especially when it comes to diet. Many orthodontists recommend avoiding hard, chewy, or sticky foods to prevent broken brackets. However, one common favorite among all ages is chicken nuggets. But can people with braces still indulge in these crispy, breaded delights?

In this blog, we will look at a few of our favorite chicken nuggets from area restaurants and see how they fare in the world of braces.

Generally, chicken nuggets are good food for patients with braces. But which ones are considered the best for braces? We recently went around town buying up chicken nuggets (for science!), and we found that some are more suitable than others when you have braces.

The restaurants we visited include Wendy's, Chick-fil-a, Sonic, Zacadoo's, and Mcdonald's. We bought these nuggets from each restaurant and brought them back to test on our own braces model.

We decided not to include chicken strips in our test because we feel chicken strips are entirely something else. Still delicious, just not nugs!

And please remember that this is strictly based on crunchiness and toughness, not taste.

Here are our findings:

1. Wendy's Chicken Nuggets

These are the middle of the road in our braces test. The soft interior makes it very easy to eat, but depending on the crunchiness of the outside, it could be difficult to bite into. Side note: Not good cold. They became tough and dry.

2. Chick-fil-a Chicken Nuggets

The Lord's Chicken Nuggets are some of the most popular in our area, so we had high hopes for them. And we were not disappointed. These nuggets were tender and juicy and had a light batter on the outside, making them easy to bite into, even with brackets. The only thing to watch for may be the denseness of the chicken itself since it's real chicken breast.

3. Sonic Drive-In Chicken Nuggets... AKA Popcorn Chicken

So while technically not a chicken nugget, these small bite-sized chicken pieces were their equivalent. Unfortunately, these did not fare well in our braces test, and we recommend caution with these while you have braces on your teeth. Or better yet, avoid them altogether and opt for other options at Sonic to prevent possible bent wires or broken brackets. We love their burgers and tots! And their milkshakes!

4. Zacadoo's Chicken Nuggets

This is a local place in our area, and it's well-known for its chicken fingers. On the day we tried them, they were overcooked and chewy, making them difficult for the braces model to bite into. The batter was much too hard to eat without possibly bending wires or breaking off brackets. Maybe these would be a good option on a better day, but we can't recommend them for our test.

5. McDonald's Chicken Nuggets

The classic! These are the nuggets that started it all, the ones we all grew up on. McDonald's chicken nuggets are known for their crispy coating, but our study found that the ones we received were surprisingly easy to bite into and even easier to eat. The coating was not too hard and would not be a problem to eat with braces on, as long as the nuggets were not too old or overcooked.

Mostly, all chicken nuggets are the same, a great food option for patients with braces. While we recommend avoiding popcorn chicken varieties due to the extreme crispness and chewiness, the classic nuggets are a great choice! Just be mindful of how your nuggets are prepared, and always be careful eating nuggets with extra heavy coating or breading. Also, watch out for overcooked nuggets, as these can be harder to bite into.

And as always -- Don't forget to brush your teeth!

So... Which is your favorite chicken nugget? Let us know in the comments below!

Pass the sauce and happy eating!

Invisalign Made Easy: 3 Tips to Help!

June 6th, 2023

Invisalign aligner with it's case

If you're reading this blog post, there's a good chance you're heard of Invisalign. Invisalign clear aligners are the world's first and best clear aligner system that is clinically proven to straighten your teeth and improve your smile without the need for metal braces.

Maybe you’re curious about starting Invisalign treatment. Or you are already on your Invisalign journey! We have found some things you can do to get the most out of your treatment and make your Invisalign experience as easy and convenient as possible.

Invisalign made easy: Here are three tips to help!

1. Take a pain reliever before your appointment to receive your aligners.

For some patients, the first few days of that first set of aligners can be a little uncomfortable. Not only are you adjusting to a new appliance in your mouth, but there is also a new feeling of pressure on your teeth.

RESIST THE URGE TO TAKE OUT YOUR ALIGNERS.

It's essential to wear them as directed by your orthodontist to ensure you get used to them and so that the aligners can work their magic.

To help with discomfort, we encourage you to take a pain reliever before that first aligner. And some even find it helpful to take a pain reliever for each future aligner as well.

At Hester and Morris Orthodontics, we recommend that most of our patients wear each set of aligners for one week at a time. But always follow the instructions of your orthodontist.

2. Change your aligners at night.

This tip is beneficial for patients getting used to their Invisalign aligners, much like in tip #1.

On the day you change out your clear aligners, you can change them out at night, right before you go to bed.

This means you will power through the first several hours of your aligners while sleeping, making that next day more comfortable for you.

Pretty genius, right?

3. Swish the soreness away!

One complaint many patients have with Invisalign aligners, in the beginning, is mouth sores. This happens because the new aligners are introduced and can rub your gums and cheeks. Your tongue also has to get used to the new aligners.

Some patients will get small sores on their gums and cheeks, which can be painful for them. In these instances, we recommend a simple solution: swishing some warm salt in your mouth a few times daily. It sounds weird, but it works great!

Invisalign is a fantastic solution for straightening your teeth in a faster, less noticeable way than traditional metal braces. While the first few weeks can be an adjustment period, these tips can help you quickly get used to your aligners. Remember always to follow your orthodontist's instructions for the best results! By following these simple additional tricks, you can make your Invisalign journey a breeze and have a beautiful, straight smile in no time!

The #1 Dental Monitoring Provider In Georgia!

May 23rd, 2023

In South Georgia, one Invisalign provider stands above the rest: Dr. Morris. His commitment to providing top-quality dental care is unparalleled in our region. Patients rave about his compassionate and knowledgeable approach, and it's no wonder that he's earned a reputation as one of the best providers in the state.

That's why we are excited to share with you that Dr. Morris was recently named the #1 Dental Monitoring Provider in Georgia!

Dental Monitoring is an additional layer of care we provide to our Invisalign patients that goes home with them and into their everyday lives. We use the Dental Monitoring app to help our patients maintain their aligners and track their progress in real-time. It's simple and easy to use, and in our area, it's only available through Hester and Morris Orthodontics.

Dr. Morris has been using Dental Monitoring to help his patients achieve greater smile success since 2020, when many providers struggled to stay open and could not see their patients. We saw the benefits of Dental Monitoring for our patients and have worked to integrate it into how we treat our Invisalign patients.

Dental Monitoring has been an excellent tool to help keep our patients on track with their Invisalign compliance and to let patients and parents know how they're doing. It does not replace the need for check-ins here in the office, but it has been an enormous help in our efforts to keep our patients from having fewer inconvenient appointments and more successful outcomes.

We are proud to be able to offer Dental Monitoring to our patients. And we're incredibly proud of Dr. Morris for his commitment to his patients and to providing the best orthodontic care possible. We are always looking for ways to improve our patient care and patient outcomes, and we're proud to be able to be the top DM provider in Georgia!

Making The Switch: From Invisalign to Braces

April 25th, 2023

Blog title graphic that reads, "Making the switch from Invisalign to Braces"

If you're in treatment with Invisalign and wonder if switching to braces would be easier, this post is for you!  Let's talk!

Requests to switch to braces often come from the frustrated parents of a child that is in Invisalign treatment and just not wearing the aligners as they should. Some adult patients ask to switch because they don't think they have what it takes to wear their aligners full-time.

But, we here at Hester & Morris Orthodontics have done our homework and are prepared to help parents and patients decide if switching to braces is right for them.

We're going to answer two questions:

Can I switch to braces?

And Should I switch to braces?

Orthodontic treatment, whether Invisalign or braces, requires new habits and some specific lifestyle changes from our patients. 

Mostly, these new habits and lifestyle changes are not disruptive to normal everyday life.  It's a lot like making new choices to support a healthier body.  You add in the new habits to create the new you!

Can I switch to braces?

Yes.  The most significant requirement that must be met before switching to braces is to have excellent oral hygiene. 

You have to brush at least twice a day every single day if you're in braces. 

The second requirement is to commit to avoiding certain foods (like popcorn, nuts, hard taco shells, potato chips, and gum).  These types of foods will bend and break wires and braces.

Should I switch to braces?

Well...There are a few things we think you need to consider before switching.

If you switch, you'll be adding more months that you'll be in treatment. 

Braces can add up to 1 year of treatment time.  That also means there will be twice as many in-office visits to come to.  So consider how busy you are and when you'd like to be done with treatment before you switch.

Will you be able to tolerate braces?  Braces can often cause check and gum irritation, mouth sores, difficulty biting all the way down, and very sore teeth for days after wires are changed.

One of my favorite adult patients who switched from Invisalign to braces (she was going through a major life event and couldn't stay consistent with wearing her aligners) called me a few weeks ago, asking me to please let her go back to Invisalign.

She told me that after two months of being unable to bite down all the way when she's eating and having constant mouth sores, she couldn't do it anymore.

She was so honest with me about how difficult it was to create the habit of wearing Invisalign aligners all day and night and that she got annoyed with trying to remember to put them back in after meals, but now that she had the comparison of wearing braces, aligners were a better choice for her.

For her, the adjustments she needed to make for Invisalign treatment were way more tolerable than the adjustments she had to make for braces. 

So really consider your level of tolerance for being uncomfortable.

There are going to be minor little adjustments needed for any orthodontic treatment.  We are here to assist you in your most successful journey, whether that be with Invisalign or braces. 

If you have questions, we are here for you! Call our Valdosta, GA office at 229-245-1800 or email us here. You can also contact us via web chat or through your Dental Monitoring App.

The bottom line is that the Hester & Morris team wants to see you live life smiling!

Braces Approved Foods For Easter

March 30th, 2023

purple marshmallow peep candies
Finding braces-friendly foods can be tricky, especially at Easter.

Easter is a time for celebrating and spending time with family, but for those who wear braces, it can also be a time of anxiety about what foods to eat.

Many things plentiful during this time of year are not recommended for braces, such as nuts, licorice, and chewy and gummy candies.

Thankfully, plenty of brace-approved foods are also perfect for Easter. From roasted vegetables to soft fruits and even mashed potatoes and sweet treats, there are plenty of great options to choose from that won't harm your braces. By being mindful of the types of foods you eat this holiday, you can enjoy all of your favorite Easter treats without any added stress or damage to your braces. Be good to your smile!

Here are a few of our favorite braces-friendly foods for Easter.

1. Veggies

Good for you nutritionally and orthodontically; we are big veggie fans here! Veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals; when they are roasted, they become easier to chew. Mashed veggies, like potatoes or squash, are also an excellent option for those eating softer foods due to braces on their teeth. Avoid eating raw veggies or those with hard skins, as they can break brackets or wires.

2. Fruit

Most fruits are safe to eat when you have braces, and with the warmer spring weather, many of our favorites are in season! Strawberries and blueberries are excellent options and often make up many Easter desserts. We recommend caution when eating apples and pears and suggest that these fruits be enjoyed cut up into smaller pieces.

3. Deviled Eggs or Whole Hard Boiled Eggs

A plate of deviled eggs

Is it even Easter in the south if you don't have deviled eggs? I mean, who would want to pass on such a classic Easter food? Also, many people still color traditional hard-boiled eggs to hide on Easter. Eggs of all varieties are safe to eat and enjoy while you are wearing braces.

4. Ham

Another Easter staple for many families, ham can be eaten when you have braces. If the outside texture is a bit chewy, you can dice it up into small pieces to make for safer eating. We love ham with brown sugar glaze or pineapple!

5. Chocolate Bunnies

The star of every Easter basket! These hollowed or solid chocolate bunnies are perfectly safe to enjoy while wearing braces. Just be sure to keep your teeth brushed soon after to avoid any cavities!

A brown chocolate Easter bunny

6. Chocolate Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs, PB Cup Eggs

The classics that people love to enjoy! These favorites of many people are not only delicious but okay with your braces. Just be careful anytime you are biting directly into any kind of candy, especially those with a candy-coated shell.

7. Peeps and other marshmallow treats

Marshmallow bunnies and chicks are a delicious treat to enjoy while wearing braces; just be sure to keep your bites small to avoid any potential damage to your teeth or braces. Since this treat is loaded with sugar, you will want to brush your teeth soon after eating it.

What other treats can you enjoy while wearing braces? Leave them in the comments below! We hope you all have a very blessed Easter season! Live Life Smiling!

An Easter basket decorated with colorful hard boiled eggs.

5 Tips for Not Losing Your Retainer

November 22nd, 2022

5 Tips for Not Losing Your Retainer

Retainers are what you receive at the end of your treatment with braces or Invisalign. Think of them as extra insurance that keeps your smile straight and looking beautiful!

Unfortunately, keeping up with your retainer tends to be an issue with many of our patients. Here are some tips on how not to lose your retainer:

 

  1. Start with good habits. Wear your retainer every night! if you’re already in the habit of wearing it consistently, you will be much less likely not to know where your retainer is.

 

  1. Only keep your retainer in your case or your mouth. Never lay it on a bedside table or the bathroom counter because it’s very likely to be overlooked and accidentally thrown away or lost.

 

  1. If you have a dog, keep your retainer case out of reach! It is proven that dogs are attracted to retainers, and the old excuse of my dog eating my retainer happens. Reduce their temptation by keeping your retainer case and its contents out of reach of your favorite fluffy friend.

 

  1. If you travel, use a backup case! Sometimes when patients travel or live in multiple residences having a backup retainer case is very helpful. That way, it can never be forgotten or lost, tempting you to wrap your retainer in a napkin or leave it on the bedside table.

 

  1. Routine, routine, routine! There is no better way to stay consistent with habits than having a routine. This is so true even when it comes to your nightly home care, including wearing your retainer! Set a timer nightly of when you want to put your retainer in to help you remember until it is automatic.

 

Do you have any tips for wearing your retainer consistently!? Let us know in the comments!

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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