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What is National Orthodontic Health Month?

October 11th, 2022

October is national orthodontic health month! It’s a special time of year when we spend more time educating our patients and the community about the wonderful benefits of a beautiful smile, straight teeth, and perfectly aligned jaws. 

The benefits of orthodontics are not just cosmetic. Straight teeth are much easier to clean and floss, resulting in fewer cavities and healthy gums. Jaw issues can be corrected or even prevented by orthodontic care. And as we age, our teeth tend to shift, so proper alignment of your teeth can help prevent enamel wear over time.

The idea of having well-aligned teeth is not new. As far back as the ancient Egyptians and ancient Roman times, there has been an interest in shifting teeth into new positions.

In the 1700s and 1800s, horseshoe shape devices and wires were used to help move teeth into better alignment. In the early 1900s, dentists began rapping different materials such as wood, ivory, or even gold and would wrap them with bands that would help press the teeth into position.

Using stainless steel wires, the braces we are more familiar with today gained popularity in the 1970s.

Invisible braces and aligners started to become popular in the late 1990s, as well as clear retainers to help hold teeth properly in place after completing orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontists are dentists who, in addition to their dental school training, complete extra years of schooling, specifically in moving teeth and aligning jaws.

The average number of years that an orthodontist attends school is 11.

This extra education time gives them the knowledge and expertise to properly move teeth through bone and create pleasing and well-aligned smiles.

Dr. Wayne Hester and Dr. James Gregory Morris started their careers in south Georgia as dentists and then returned for further training to become orthodontists.

Dr. Hester has treated patients in south Georgia with braces for over 30 years. And Dr. Morris is South Georgia’s number one Invisalign specialist.

Both doctors have the education and experience necessary to give patients the best smile possible. Combining advanced techniques with individualized treatment plans, the doctors ensure each person achieves the beautifully healthy, confident smile they deserve!

Check out our other blog posts and social media during October for more tips and information about national orthodontic health.

Invisalign Providers: Finding The Perfect Fit For Your New Smile

October 6th, 2022

The decision to start orthodontic treatment with Invisalign is an exciting one!

However, before you google where the closest Invisalign provider is to your home, you should be aware of an essential piece of information.

To ensure you get the best smile possible, you have to choose the right provider, but you’ll find that you can get Invisalign from both dental and orthodontic providers. So which will provide better smile results?

South Georgia's #1 Orthodontic provider is ready to help you understand and find the perfect fit!

When looking into Invisalign treatment, one of the most important factors is who has the best tools for the job.

While both dentists and orthodontists work with teeth, the technology you would find in their respective offices would be pretty different because dentists offer a wider range of services than an orthodontist.

To offer general or cosmetic dental services, dentists need many tools and equipment to create crowns, veneers, fillings, and more. When it comes to an orthodontic office, the focus is on a select few services, such as braces or Invisalign, so you’ll only find the technology necessary to provide the best results for those treatment options.

X-rays and digital scans are essential to dental and orthodontic care.

Dentists use them to spot problems, chart progress, and plan treatments. Orthodontists use them to assess the positioning of teeth and jaws so they can plan orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontic offices will often have technology designed to ensure that treatment creates the perfect smile, such as the iTero digital impression system, which creates a detailed 3D image of your smile so the orthodontist can plan the ideal path for your teeth to move.

Who Has More Training And Experience With Invisalign?

Regarding training and education, it is important to know that every orthodontist is a dentist, but every dentist is not an orthodontist.

This is because becoming an orthodontist requires one to complete dental school and then undergo years of additional education and training specializing in the field of orthodontics, including practice and courses dedicated specifically to Invisalign.

An orthodontist is a medical professional specializing in diagnosing, preventing, and correcting misaligning teeth or jaws. They use a variety of techniques and methods to help patients achieve a straighter smile, including the use of Invisalign clear aligners.

Dentists who have only taken a single training course to become certified Invisalign providers will not be able to compare to orthodontists in terms of experience.

Dr. Morris has been a long-time Invisalign provider and is in the Top 1% of providers in the United States! His years of Invisalign experience and patient success make him the highest-qualified provider in our area.

   

Which provider offers a better price for Invisalign?

When it comes to price, this can vary on a practice-to-practice basis.

Compared to the price we offer here at Hester & Morris Orthodontics, the orthodontic office down the street can be completely different, and the same can be said about dental practices.

However, dentists sometimes offer Invisalign treatment at a lower price than an orthodontist, typically incentivizing a patient to choose them over an orthodontist who has more specialized experience and could provide better results.

At the end of the day, which is the “better” price is really up to you, but just remember that your new smile is something that will be with you for the rest of your life. To save money, you could go with your local dentist or choose an expert like Dr. Morris to get the best results.

Should You Choose A Dentist Or Orthodontist For Invisalign?

If you want your new smile to be as perfect as possible, the quality of care you would get from an orthodontist is second to none. However, if you want to save some money or it's more convenient for you to go to the dentist you already see for other dental work, then maybe Invisalign from your dentist is right for you.

The best choice for you depends on what you’re looking to get out of your Invisalign treatment, so once you have those figured out, the decision should be easy.

Get Invisalign With South Georgia's #1 Invisalign Provider!

At Hester & Morris Orthodontics, we want to help you get started on your journey to the perfect smile as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule your appointment in our Valdosta, GA office, or use our online appointment request form.

We can’t wait to hear from you and help you achieve the smile of your dreams! If you have any questions about Invisalign care or the difference between choosing a dentist or orthodontist for your treatment, just reach out to us, and a member of our fantastic team will be able to provide you with the answers and information that you need.

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!
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