braces

SMILEOWEEN is coming soon!

October 18th, 2022

October is here, and that means Halloween is on the way! 

The Hester and Morris team hopes you will join us on Thursday, October 27, from 4:30 to 6:00, as we partner with our neighbors from Southland Children’s Dentistry for our annual Smile-O-Ween event!

What is Smile-O-Ween?

Started in 2020, Smile-O-Ween is a drive-through Halloween event in Valdosta, Georgia, started by a collaboration between Hester Morris Orthodontics and Southland Children’s Dentistry. 

During the pandemic, options for children during Halloween were limited, and we wanted to give back to our community and provide a fun little outing for our younger patients. We gave out a lot of candy and put smiles on many faces!

Smile-O-Ween has been such a success these past two years that we’ve decided to continue it again this October! 

Simply drive through the parking lot between our two offices, and our team will be dressed in costume and handing out candy bags. No getting out of the car is needed! Our neighbors from Southland Children’s Dentistry will join in on the fun.

While they last, we'll have candy, kids' coloring books, and a toothbrush in trick-or-treats bags for children in attendance.

Costumes are not required but are encouraged! 

Check our Facebook Event Page for more info.

Enjoy these photos from past events, and make plans to join us on October 27 for Smileoween!

 

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.

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!

Getting Braces? What You Need To Know.

August 2nd, 2022

If you're thinking about getting braces, there are probably a lot of questions running through your mind...

Where will my teeth be adjusted?

Will my bite be corrected?

How long will the process take?

How much will it cost?

When it comes to getting braces, there are many things to consider.  Like, what kind of braces will you get? What will your orthodontist tell you about them? And, most importantly, are you sure you want to get them?

We're here to help answer all of those questions and more. We'll give you the low down on everything you need to know about getting braces.

 

What to expect?

First of all, Orthodontists are specialists in braces. They're the ones who perform the initial evaluation, planning, and treatment of braces. They also prescribe the braces and other gear, like retainers and elastic bands. Most orthodontists also provide the initial and ongoing care and maintenance of your braces and teeth. You will want to see an orthodontist for information and treatment planning for your smile.

We'll talk about your smile and address your concerns during this appointment at no cost to you. After taking X-rays and scans of your teeth, our doctors can determine what kind of braces you will most benefit from.

There are many types of braces. For example, traditional braces are metal brackets cemented to the tooth. The use of gentle force to cause movement over time. Braces have come a long way over the years and are no longer seen as the embarrassing rite of passage they once were.
In addition to metal braces, we also offer an option with clear top braces that help to minimize the look of braces.

The fastest-growing orthodontic option in recent years in our practice is Invisalign. Because Invisalign aligners are clear and virtually invisible, it not only looks great, but it is also an incredibly efficient way to get straight, straight teeth without bracing. It is a new, computer-based way to straighten your teeth. It is invisible, removable, and comfortable. Using advanced 3-D technology, Invisalign takes clear, personalized digital impressions of your teeth and uses those impressions to make custom-made aligners. The process is completely safe, comfortable, and discreet. Invisalign aligners are a clear, removable, and comfortable way to straighten your teeth. You wear them just like you would your regular teeth. During treatment, you wear them 22 hours each day. You can take them out to eat, brush your teeth, floss, and still have a beautiful smile.

How long will braces last?

The length of your treatment will depend on the treatment option your orthodontist recommends and the severity of the dental issues needing correction.
At Hester & Morris, the financial arrangements can be worked out once a treatment plan and length are determined. You can use dental insurance to help reduce the cost of treatment, but it is not at all required. Nor do you have to pay the entirety of your treatment fee at once. Our helpful Treatment Coordinators are experts at working numbers and payment plans to help make the investment as affordable as possible.
It's also helpful to have a dental checkup close to starting treatment so your dentist can check for any cavities or areas of concern that could delay getting your braces on. Pending dental work needs to be completed before starting orthodontics.

Will braces hurt?

Many people are concerned about the pain that may be involved with Invisalign or braces. While it varies from patient to patient, you can expect slight soreness the first two days after having braces on your teeth. It's OK to take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help with this discomfort. Eating softer foods will be helpful, too, until you get used to the feel of your new braces.

With Invisalign, discomfort can happen the first day of each new aligner, but if you keep them on your teeth and resist the temptation to remove them, it will soon get much better and more manageable.

Getting braces or Invisalign is a big deal. It is also a big commitment. It is often difficult to make financial and emotional investments, so we hope we have helped you know what to expect ahead!

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

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!

Introducing The All New HM Ortho Website

May 27th, 2022

Have you seen our newly revamped website???

Our Hester & Morris Team has been hard at work to keep up-to-date with the latest technology in the office AND online!

Here are a few fun features we hope that you will check out!

  • New Invisalign Content!!! Including videos about life with wearing your aligners, and a whole section devoted to younger patient needs with Invisalign First.
  • Smile Transformations that will wow you!
  • Meet The Team -- We had a lot of fun showing off our personalities!
  • Our Home Page has a lot of fun and interactive features now, too! Be sure to scroll all the way down!
  • And of course, the Blog!

The docs got new photos, too! We think they look pretty great! Do you know which one is Dr. Hester and which one is Dr. Morris? You'd be surprised how often we get asked that;)

Sending us an email, requesting an appointment, or recommending us to a friend is easier than ever before. You'll also find all the patient forms available here.

We are excited about more ways for us to connect with our patients! What is your favorite feature of the new site? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Why Orthodontics Is A Game Changer

April 19th, 2022

Local orthodontists in Valdosta, GA standing outside of their location.

You’ve probably noticed that people who have great smiles often seem to be happier than those who don’t. But what you might not realize is that orthodontics can do even more than that – it can improve your life in ways you might not even realize. For example, orthodontics can improve your self-confidence, which can have a positive impact on your relationships and your career. It can also improve your oral health, which has far-reaching health implications.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of orthodontics, though, is that it makes getting that beautiful smile much easier than it used to be. Invisalign is one of the most common forms of orthodontics, and it uses clear plastic aligners to help you straighten your teeth without any metal wires or brackets. Invisalign is a great option for people who want to get straight teeth but don’t want to wear metal braces every day. It’s also a great option for keeping your oral health in great condition because patients take aligners in and out for brushing and flossing. Parents of children also are choosing Invisalign because it means fewer trips to the orthodontist and no need for emergency visits, like so many of our patients with braces.
Our practice is fortunate to have one of the leading Invisalign providers in the state of Georgia, Dr. Greg Morris! In fact, Dr. Morris is the most experienced orthodontist in all of South Georgia when it comes to treating kids, teens, and adults with Invisalign. Of course, whether Invisalign or braces are recommended for you or your child, you can be assured that they will receive the highest quality of care with the most dedicated team. We look forward to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams!

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