Hester & Morris Orthodontics

Three Steps To Take Before Starting Orthodontics

February 6th, 2024

Three Steps to Take Before Starting Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment can be an exciting step towards achieving the smile you've always dreamed of! A new smile creates confidence and can help people feel better about presenting themselves. However, preparing yourself adequately is essential before you embark on this journey. Here are three vital steps you should take before starting your orthodontic journey.

clinical chair at Hester and Morris Orthodontics

1. Comprehensive Dental Check-Up

Before starting any orthodontic treatment, ensuring your oral health is in tip-top condition is crucial. This involves a comprehensive dental check-up to identify potential issues that may interfere with orthodontic procedures. Our office checks with your dental provider for any concerns we should watch out for. Your dentist will check for cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems that should be addressed beforehand. For instance, tooth decay and gum disease can slow orthodontic processes, which means more extended time in braces! Patients must also continue to see their dentist for routine cleanings while in braces or Invisalign. That partnership between the dentist and orthodontist is essential for giving you straight teeth and a healthy smile.

2. Understand Your Treatment Options

Orthodontics has evolved significantly over the years, and a vast range of treatment options are available. Each has pros and cons, from traditional braces to Invisalign and ceramic braces. Before starting your treatment, take time to understand these options. Discuss each treatment type's cost, duration, aesthetic concerns, and maintenance with your orthodontic team. By doing so, you will make an informed decision that suits your lifestyle and preferences. At Hester and Morris Orthodontics, all of our new patients receive a complimentary consultation, which is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your treatment options. It’s important to us that you feel confident and comfortable!

3. Planning Your Budget

Orthodontic treatment can be quite an investment. After all, a smile can last you a lifetime! Therefore, it's essential to understand the financial implications before starting your treatment. Our practice offers flexible payment plans to help spread the cost. It's also essential to check what your dental insurance covers and what you'll be expected to pay out-of-pocket. Our new patient team will happily verify this information for you before your first appointment.  A well-planned budget will ensure that your orthodontic journey is smooth and stress-free. Our financial team works closely with patients to ensure they can afford their needed treatment.

To sum up, getting ready for orthodontic treatment is more than just deciding to enhance your smile. It involves a thorough dental examination, familiarizing yourself with the available treatment options, and budget planning. By taking these steps, you can ensure a successful treatment outcome and make your orthodontic journey a smooth and confident one.

Setting up a no-cost consultation with the Hester and Morris Orthodontics team is easy! Call our office at (229)245-1800 to schedule your appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Your Super-Busy Teen Might Just Love Invisalign

January 23rd, 2024

Hey there, parents of teens!

We know you're always looking out for your kiddos, including their pearly whites. Their dentist has recommended orthodontic treatment. What should you do next?

Now, traditional braces have been doing their thing for ages, but let's be honest, they can be a bit of a drag - ouchie adjustments, food getting stuck, and all that jazz. Braces are great, but it can be a lot.

Given the hectic schedules of teenagers juggling sports, music, part-time jobs, and let's not forget, academics… There's simply no time for that!

Got a teen that's always going from one activity to the next? Enter Invisalign.

Here’s why Invisalign might just be what you're looking for:

  1. Easy-Peasy

Invisalign aligners are custom-made for fitting over your teen's teeth. They pop right off when it's time to eat or drink. That means no awkward lettuce-in-braces moments in the cafeteria or during a post-game snack. It’s a win-win for your busy bee!

  1. No-Fuss Fix

With traditional braces, you're looking at regular pit stops at the orthodontist for adjustments, not to mention those "brace-mergencies" when something breaks. But with Invisalign, your teen gets a bunch of aligners that they will learn to swap out every week. That means fewer detours to the orthodontist, saving you and your teen loads of time.

  1. They're Totally Chill

Let's be real, teens can be a little image-conscious (okay, a lot). Old-school braces can be a bit of a spotlight. But Invisalign? They're clear and super low-key, so your teen can keep flashing their fantastic smile without feeling self-conscious.

So, there you have it. If your teen's schedule is jam-packed and you're considering braces, Invisalign could be the ultimate way to go. It's a good idea to consult with your orthodontist to plan your teen's teeth treatment.

The Hester & Morris Team is South GA's #1 Provider of Invisalign. We have been the experts in creating beautiful smiles for over 35 years. The first visit with us is complementary and we can go over the best treatment recommendations for your busy teen!

With fewer visits and remote care through Dental Monitoring, we are all about straight teeth, confident smiles, and your convenience!

Click the link to request an appointment. Learn more about Invisalign from this blog post.

Live Life Smiling!

Why Your Smile Matters: Understanding the Importance

January 9th, 2024

Pretty girl with beautiful confident smile.

Ever thought about the power of a radiant smile?

It's more than just a curve that sets everything straight. A dazzling smile can do wonders for your health and life in more ways than one.

In this new year, you can decide to improve your smile and Hester & Morris Orthodontics is here to help! We're big believers in the importance of beautiful, healthy smiles. The confidence displayed by patients during Invisalign or braces treatment is inspiring.

Here are 12 compelling reasons why investing in a beautiful smile is worth it:

  1. The Confidence Booster: Picture this: You're about to step into a new challenge, and you're armed with a stunning smile. That's an instant confidence booster right there, prepping you to take on the world!
  2. The Attraction Magnet: Who can resist a charming smile? It's a surefire way to make you irresistible, amplifying your magnetism in both social and professional arenas.
  3. The Mood Lifter: Did you know? Smiling triggers a rush of feel-good endorphins, instantly lifting your mood and zapping stress away.
  4. The Communication Enhancer: A beaming smile is like a universal language of friendliness. It breaks barriers, making it more straightforward to connect and communicate with others.
  5. The Success Symbol: A radiant smile is often seen as a sign of success and achievement. It's like wearing your accomplishments on your face, making you all the more appealing to potential employers or clients.
  6. The Oral Health Champion: Striving for a beautiful smile means taking good care of your teeth and gums. That's a direct ticket to improved oral health and fewer dental issues in the future.
  7. The Longevity Booster: Believe it or not, research suggests people who smile more often tend to live longer. So, flash that beautiful smile and add years to your life!
  8. The Immunity Fortifier: Here's a fun fact: Smiling can boost your immune system by ramping up the production of antibodies and white blood cells.
  9. The Natural Painkiller: Thanks to the endorphins released while smiling, it can act as a natural painkiller, easing pain and discomfort.
  10. The Brain Booster: Smiling doesn't just make us feel good; it can also sharpen our minds and improve our brain function.
  11. The Positive Energy Attractor: A radiant smile is a magnet for positive vibes. It can help you manifest your goals and desires by attracting the right energy.
  12. The Relationship Builder: A beautiful smile can work wonders in improving your relationships. It's a universal symbol of warmth and affection, strengthening bonds with loved ones.

In a nutshell, a beautiful smile is a powerful tool with countless benefits. Investing in your oral health earns you a stunning smile and opens up a world of benefits that might surprise you.

Going to the dentist ensures that your smile stays healthy! Our orthodontic team can help you improve the way your teeth and jaws fit together, giving you that beautiful smile you've always wanted.

Let 2024 be the year you get your confidence back! Reach out to us here to start your smile journey!

Holiday Season Smiles

December 20th, 2023

The Christmas season has a special magic that brings joy and happiness to people's lives. It could be the warmth of holiday lights, the excitement of exchanging gifts, or the anticipation of spending time with loved ones.

Smiling is important for our well-being and those around us. During the holiday season, it can be especially helpful to boost our mood and the mood of others. When we smile, our brain releases "feel-good" hormones called endorphins which make us feel happier. Smiling is also contagious and can brighten the day of those who may be feeling down or stressed.

So, let's make an effort to smile more often and spread positivity wherever we go!

The many traditions associated with Christmas, such as baking cookies, decorating the tree, or singing carols, make the season more enjoyable, especially when done with friends and family.

However, Christmas is not only about presents and parties but also about reflection and gratitude. It's a time to appreciate the blessings in our lives and help those who are less fortunate.

Many people volunteer at a local soup kitchen or donate toys to a children's hospital to spread joy during the holidays. Our team participates in a Tree of Giving with our local schools to help provide gifts to deserving boys and girls.

A smile is a powerful tool that can brighten someone's day and spread joy during the holiday season. Whether you're posing for festive photos or simply enjoying the company of loved ones, a confident smile can help you feel more connected and uplifted.

Our team of smile experts is here to help you achieve the perfect smile so that you can fully enjoy all the magic that the holiday season has to offer. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation.

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.

12 Reasons To Put a Smile on Your Face

September 20th, 2023

Smiling has a positive impact on our well-being and others. It can brighten someone's day and bring many benefits, whether a small grin or a full-blown smile. Let's explore why a smile is important and how it can make a difference in our lives.

There are numerous reasons why smiling is important, and here are twelve of them:

  1. Smiling can improve your mood and make you feel happier. When you smile, your brain releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins and serotonin.
  2. Smiling can reduce stress levels. It has been shown to lower cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.
  3. Smiling can help you build stronger relationships. People are naturally drawn to those who smile and are likelier to approach and engage with them.
  4. Smiling can boost your immune system. When you smile, your body produces more white blood cells that help fight off illness.
  5. Smiling can make you look more attractive. It's a natural way to enhance your appearance and make you appear more approachable and friendly.
  6. Smiling can make you more confident. When you smile, you project positivity and confidence, which can help you feel more self-assured.
  7. Smiling is contagious. When you smile, others are likelier to smile back, creating a positive feedback loop.
  8. Smiling can help you appear more trustworthy. People are likelier to trust those who smile, as it conveys honesty and sincerity.
  9. Smiling can improve your communication skills. Smiling can help you convey friendliness, openness, and approachability, making it easier to connect with others.
  10. Smiling can help you cope with difficult situations. When you smile, you project a positive attitude, which can help you deal with stress and adversity.
  11. Smiling can improve your overall well-being. Smiling can boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve your well-being.
  12. Smiling is free and easy! It doesn't cost anything to smile, and it's a simple way to improve your mood and spread positivity to those around you.

Dr. Hester and Dr. Morris are orthodontists in Valdosta who help patients feel more confident about their smiles. By correcting the alignment and appearance of their teeth, orthodontists can transform a person's smile and boost their self-esteem. We've been doing this for 35 years!

Dr. Wayne Hester and Dr. Hester Morris

Whether it's through braces, Invisalign aligners, or other orthodontic treatments, Drs. Hester and Morris have the expertise to create beautiful smiles that radiate confidence.

Patients who receive orthodontic treatment often feel more confident in social situations and are satisfied with their overall appearance. So what are you waiting for? We'd love to help you achieve the smile of your dreams!

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!

3 Reasons Why We Love Invisalign!

August 8th, 2023

Orthodontic treatments have come a long way in recent years, with several options available to patients who want to improve their smiles. Both options are effective and have advantages, and at Hester and Morris Orthodontics, we can help you decide which is best for your individual needs.

However, in a few key areas, Invisalign sets itself apart from traditional braces because of the benefits they provide.

Here are 3 things we love about Invisalign.

1. The look of Invisalign.

For one thing, Invisalign aligners are clear, making them virtually invisible and allowing patients to straighten their teeth without feeling self-conscious.

Not everyone wants to be seen in braces, so this is an excellent option for them. Many young adults are also choosing Invisalign due to their professional appearance.

They can straighten their teeth without the stigma of metal braces.

Teenagers also choose Invisalign because they like the look of a more natural smile.

For numerous teenagers involved in cheerleading, modeling, or pageants, possessing a stunning smile is a significant aspect of their self-assurance and individuality.

And with proms and homecomings quickly approaching, there are many photo opportunities in which braces might be seen. But not with Invisalign.

2. The dental benefits of Invisalign.

Another thing we love is that Invisalign aligners can be removed for cleaning, making them a more convenient option for many patients.

Patients with braces must adhere to a specific brushing routine to ensure that their teeth and gums remain healthy.

Even with brushing and flossing, some patients with braces can still have issues with decalcifications and cavities. The brackets and wires can make it difficult to get to certain areas of the mouth. Often patients with braces must go to the dentist more frequently to have their teeth cleaned and cavities treated.

The benefit of Invisalign is that patients can take them out for brushing and flossing because they are removable. This is a big advantage over traditional braces.

The dental hygienist also usually likes to see patients with Invisalign for the same reasons. Maintaining a clean mouth with Invisalign is easier, so there is a better chance for fewer cavities!

3. The eating is better with Invisalign.

Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners allow patients to enjoy their favorite foods without limitations or restrictions.

This is because the aligners can be removed before meals and put back in once the meal is finished.

For patients with braces, sticky, hard, or chewy foods are off-limits during treatment.

With Invisalign, there are no such restrictions, which can make the treatment process much less restrictive and more enjoyable.

And with Invisalign, there are no wires or brackets to pop off because of the patient's food choices. So bring on all of the Takis, the Skittles, and the chicken wings!

These are just three reasons why we love Invisalign at our office. If you would like to learn more, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, don't hesitate to get in touch with our office today.

We'd love to help you get started with Invisalign!

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!

Is it possible to recycle Invisalign® aligners?

June 20th, 2023

recycling bins of different colors

“Look after the land and the land will look after you, destroy the land and it will destroy you.” —Aboriginal Prover

Recycling is becoming more important in our world today as we seek to reduce waste and increase sustainability.

With the growing concern for the environment, it is no surprise that people are interested in finding new ways to recycle and reuse materials.

Whether through traditional recycling methods or innovative ideas such as recycling Invisalign materials, we can all do our part to make a difference.

Due to the increasing worry about the environment, numerous individuals seek methods to diminish waste and contribute to improving the environment.

The Hester and Morris Team is committed to helping in this endeavor. That's why we are excited to announce that we are partnering with a recycling program called Terracycle.

TerraCycle is a company that specializes in recycling hard-to-recycle materials. With their help, Align Technology, the makers of Invisalign, is working with TerraCycle to recycle the specially made SmartTrack ® Invisalign material.

As you know, the plastic of Invisalign is different than the regular plastic or even of other clear aligners. That's one of the ways Invisalign is set apart. Previously we could not recycle the Invisalign and advised patients to throw old aligners in the trash.

With this new partnership with TerraCycle, our patients can recycle their old aligners and help the environment simply by bringing them to the office.

TerraCycle can recycle both the aligners and the little bags they come in.

Just bring them into our office any time you're close by or at your next appointment and put them into the recycling bin. We'll take care of the rest.

As a reminder, we always encourage our patients to keep their previous set of aligners to use as a backup in case an aligner doesn't fit or gets lost. This advice does not change with this new recycling program.

At this time, the Invisalign boxes or cases are not accepted.

We're excited to be able to offer this recycling program! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out by phone or email.

Get ready to save your smile AND the environment!
Live Life Smiling!

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!

3 Invisalign Benefits That May Surprise You

May 9th, 2023

If you're looking for a way to straighten your teeth without the hassle and appearance of traditional metal braces, Invisalign braces may be the solution you've been searching for.

Teenage boy holding out a black Invisalign Aligner case

Invisalign is a modern solution to teeth alignment that uses clear plastic aligners instead of traditional brackets and wires. These aligners are custom-made to fit your teeth and gradually shift them into place over time. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, so you can go about your daily life without feeling self-conscious. Additionally, they're removable, which means you can eat and drink whatever you like and properly clean your teeth without having to work around brackets and wires. You can read more about life with Invisalign here.

Invisalign has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for a good reason – there are many benefits to choosing this option over traditional braces. At Hester and Morris Orthodontics, we often highlight the fact that you have fewer in-office visits with Invisalign, but did you know that's just the beginning of the benefits, especially for adults? Keep reading to learn about the three surprising benefits of Invisalign.

1. Invisalign Can Cause You To Make Healthier Choices

For some, choosing Invisalign aligners has been a way to make better lifestyle choices. Because you wear the clear aligners at all times, except when you're eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth, patients find that they snack much less than before.

Every time you eat, you must remove the aligners; some get tired of that hassle and skip the snack. And while we encourage our Invisalign patients to brush after every meal, before putting the aligners back in, when eating out, it's just not always possible. With this in mind, patients are much more mindful of their food choices, knowing they'll have to remove the aligners to eat and place them back in after.

Water intake is often increased once a patient begins Invisalign treatment. We see patients who drink more water because they don't want to have to remove the aligners to drink as you would with coffee, tea, or soda.

For many patients, this is a huge benefit! Some of our patients even report losing weight while wearing their aligners, thanks to their healthier eating habits.

2. Invisalign May Mean Fewer Cavities

One common benefit of Invisalign over braces is that there are no brackets or wires, which makes it easier to keep your teeth clean. But even more, it can lead to better dental checkups too!

Because it can be hard to floss and brush around brackets, it's not uncommon for patients to with braces to have the occasional cavity. With Invisalign, because of the ease of home care, patients are less likely to have cavities compared to braces patients.

Additionally, as your teeth move into their new positions, brushing and flossing your teeth at home will become even more accessible. Straighter teeth are easier to take care of! Your dentist will thank you!

3. You Can Whiten Your Teeth With Invisalign

Patients often ask Drs. Hester and Morris if they can whiten their teeth while in the process of straightening them. While we do not recommend whitening your teeth while you're wearing braces, if you have Invisalign, you can whiten your teeth along your journey to a straighter smile.

Patients may choose to use over-the-counter kinds of toothpaste, white strips, bleaching pens, and gels. Many dentists offer in-office whitening treatments to their patients. In our practice, we give a more convenient alternative to our patients by using the Invisalign alignment tray with the Pola Advanced Tooth Whitening System.

This optional treatment uses your existing Invisalign trays to hold the whitening gel, giving you the benefit of a bright smile overnight! This is an excellent option for patients at the point of their treatment when their teeth are beginning to show noticeable movement, making the whitening process more effective. If you're interested in this option, be sure to ask us on your next visit!

Invisalign aligner with it's case

What other benefits does Invisalign have over traditional braces? Share them in the comments below. We can't wait to hear from you!

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!

Your Invisalign Questions, Answered!

March 13th, 2023

Are you considering Invisalign? If so, you're on the right track.

Outside scene with woman holding out Invisalign Aligner

Congrats on taking steps to improve your smile! If you're new to Invisalign, it's important to know that the aligners are made of BPA-free clear plastic, which makes them virtually invisible. They work by shifting your teeth into their desired position gradually and comfortably.

Whether you're a teen or a parent researching Invisalign aligners, you should know a few things before starting your smile journey. In this post, we will answer 10 of the most asked questions asked when considering diving into Invisalign. Let's get started.

Is it painful to wear Invisalign?

If you're thinking about getting Invisalign aligners, one thing to remember is that they require some discipline to wear. Additionally, be prepared for some discomfort or soreness as your teeth adjust to the aligners. This is normal and should go away after the first day or two. It's also normal for some patients not to experience any discomfort or soreness at all. It may help to change your aligners at nighttime so that you sleep in them when they are the hardest to get used to. But always ask and follow your orthodontist's instructions.

How often should I wear them?

Your orthodontist will give you specific instructions on how to wear your new aligners and how often to switch them out for new ones. Generally, you will need to wear your aligners full-time. While they are removable, you must wear them for 22 hours daily to achieve the desired results. If you don't wear them for the optimal time, you won't get the desired results. At Hester and Morris, most of our Invisalign patients wear their aligners for one week at a time and then switch them out for the next set of aligners. The average length of treatment for Invisalign is 12-24 months.

Will I have a lisp with Invisalign?

The plastic material used for Invisalign is very thin, and so many patients do not experience a lisp. It can be temporary; as your tongue gets used to the aligners, any lisp will disappear.

Can I drink coffee and tea while having Invisalign on? Water is the best option for drinking while having Invisalign in your mouth. Coffee and teas can stain your aligners and teeth, so removing the aligners when you drink them is best.

What is IPR, and is it necessary?

IPR stands for Interproximal Reduction. Sometimes when you have Invisalign, and mainly when you have crowded teeth, this method is used to help create tiny spaces between your teeth so that your teeth can shift more quickly and ultimately into the proper position. It's not done in every treatment case; when it is done, it is for a specific reason. Ex. To eliminate dark triangles in the smile.

What if I lose an aligner?

Hopefully, you will not lose any of your Invisalign aligners, but occasionally it happens. If you happen to lose one of your aligners, contact our office for instructions. Most of the time, you may be able to progress on to the next set of aligners, but since each treatment case is unique, it's best to let us know what's happening so we can advise you accordingly. We also recommend keeping your last set of previously worn aligners in case you need to return to them temporarily. We would hate for you to lose any progress!

How do I keep my aligners safe?

The best way to keep your Invisalign safe is by keeping them in their case or your mouth! Never, never, never wrap your aligners in a napkin or leave them out. Someone could very quickly come along and throw them away accidentally. Also, be sure to keep your aligners in a safe place when you are not wearing them, where pets cannot reach them. Our aligners smell like us, which attracts pets to them and can lead to the loss of your aligners! In our Valdosta, GA, orthodontic office, we often suggest patients have a backup case for their backpacks.

What are attachments, and why do I need them?

Invisalign are aligners that you place on your teeth, and to help the aligners fit as snugly as possible, attachments are added to specific teeth. They are clear and bonded when you get your aligners. This gives the aligners extra leverage in moving your teeth.

How should I clean my aligners?

When it comes to cleaning your aligners, nothing fancy is required. A good old toothbrush and toothpaste will work just fine. If you want to take it a step further, try using an Invisalign cleaner like the cleaning crystals that come with your Invisalign starter kit. This will remove all the bacteria from the aligners and keep them fresh and clean.

What happens after my Invisalign treatment is finished?

After your Invisalign treatment is finished, you'll want to keep and maintain that beautiful smile with a retainer. Retainers are used to hold the teeth in their new positions, so they do not shift. At Hester and Morris Orthodontics, our Invisalign patients are now being given a Vivera retainer to wear after treatment to hold their teeth in place. Vivera is the next generation of retainers, made by the same company that makes Invisalign.

Invisalign is an excellent treatment option if you want a straighter smile. Read more about why we think Invisalign is the clear winner here! Dr. Morris is South Georgia's premier Invisalign provider. His experience and commitment to superior patient care will ensure that you or your child will receive the highest quality orthodontic treatment with the convenience of Invisalign and the confidence that comes from knowing you are in the trusted hands of an orthodontic expert.

Photo of Dr. James Gregory Morris
Dr. James Gregory Morris

5 Reasons to love your smile!

February 23rd, 2023

A smile. Everyone has one! And it's a great way to show your personality.

At Hester & Morris Orthodontics, we believe in the power of smiles and strive to help patients of all ages achieve a more beautiful, confident smile that they will love!

orthodontic team smiles for the camera
Our team is here the help you love your smile!

Because February is National Children's Dental Health Month and LOVE month -- we've put together five reasons to love your smile this month and all year long!

1. Smiles are contagious!

Smiles are hard to resist and easy to give. When you smile at someone, they will likely smile back at you. It's a universal language that doesn't need words. Who will you share your smile with this week?

2. Smiles can make you look younger!

Give yourself an automatic "facelift" by smiling more often. Smiling can increase cortisol levels while reducing your blood pressure. And as the old saying goes, it takes more muscles to frown than to smile! So smile more often, and you may be able to slow down the aging process!

3. Smiles are a great way to express yourself!

You look more approachable and confident when you're smiling. Smiles that lead to laughter show you as fun and humorous. Smiles can show you're friendly and can offer encouragement to others when needed.

4. Smiles can help you feel better about yourself!

Smiling is a mood booster that can make you feel better about yourself. The more you smile, the more you'll begin to see yourself as the happy person you are. Not only does smiling make you feel better physically, but it can also make you feel better mentally. It's hard to be in a bad mood when you're smiling! One of the most significant benefits of orthodontics is the self-esteem that comes with a great-looking smile!

We really have the best job!

5. Smiles can be a great way to connect with others!

Show people, you are interested in them by smiling. Smiling shows you're friendly and can help them feel more comfortable around you. Your smile can make a huge difference in how people see you and respond to you. Imagine being in a room full of people and not smiling at anyone. That's not an excellent way to make friends! Be the person who is always smiling, and you will attract the right kind of attention.

What other reasons can you think of to love your smile? Let us know in the comments below!

And if you want to love your smile a little bit more, we can help! Call us at 229-245-1800 or click here to schedule an appointment to see about braces or Invisalign aligners.

Live Life Smiling!

Saving Money On Braces

February 9th, 2023

Are you thinking about starting Braces or Invisalign?

Both are a significant investments and will ensure you have a beautiful, healthy smile for years to come.

Orthodontic treatment can also provide many other benefits, such as protecting the teeth from additional wear caused by misaligned teeth, reducing the risk of cavities, and improving speech and chewing. Not to mention, a beautiful smile boosts confidence!

Orthodontic treatment can help you or your child in the long run, providing an aesthetically pleasing and functional smile. Not only that, but undergoing orthodontic treatment can also reduce the chances of future dental issues, such as crooked teeth or gum disease.

Braces can be expensive, but it's important to remember that proper orthodontic care is an investment in your long-term health. Braces are a complex medical process, and the cost reflects the amount of time and expertise that goes into ensuring that the work is done correctly.

Orthodontists must undergo extensive education and years of training to provide the best possible care for their patients. The braces cost also includes purchasing materials and equipment needed to perform the procedure and additional office visits and follow-up care.

It's important to remember that the cost of braces is an investment in your oral health, which can positively impact your overall well-being.

Getting Invisalign or braces can be expensive for any family, but there are ways to save money on your child's braces. With careful planning, you can ensure your child gets the best orthodontic care without breaking the bank.

If you're worried about the cost of braces, there are a few simple steps you can take to save money possibly.

1. Take advantage of our Complimentary Consultation.

Many orthodontic offices, offer a complimentary consultation before starting treatment. At Hester Morris Orthodontics, we encourage our parents and patients to come in and get the specific information for their unique treatment needs. This visit includes photos, x-rays, and time with our doctors -- All of this comes at no cost to you.

Come ready to ask questions! We encourage it!

This is the appointment where you get all the details for you or your child, some specific treatment, including time of treatment, length of treatment, and financial costs; our treatment coordinator’s goal is to help get you ready to begin braces or Invisalign and set you up with a payment option that is best for your budget. So ask away. That's why we are here!

2. Use the dental insurance.

If your dental plan has an orthodontic benefit, then a portion of your treatment may be paid through your insurance coverage.

Our office is happy to verify any orthodontic benefits you may have, so when you come in for your complementary consultation, you already have that information available.

Every insurance policy is different, so be sure to check with your HR person if you have questions about age limits or lifetime maximum of your orthodontic benefit; it’s essential to review the terms of your plan to understand if there is a benefit and whether the orthodontist you choose is in the network of your insurance provider.

3. FSA may be an option.

Many companies and corporations offer Flex Spending Accounts or healthcare accounts for their employees. Check with your orthodontist to see if this may be an option for covering the cost of treatment.

In many cases, this is money already designated for your use, so it would be a shame to not take advantage of that opportunity to help lower the cost of orthodontic treatment. Often, people with monthly payment plans have the money deducted through their flex spending accounts.

4. Pay for your braces with cash.

Like many orthodontic offices, Hester Morris Orthodontics offers pay-in-full discounts off the cost of treatment. In our office, we give a discount of 10% for those paying in full with cash or card.

Check with your office to see if you can save money by paying for the entirety of your treatment upfront.

5. Ask about our in-house discounts.

Many orthodontics practices offer discounts or run promotions. Our office provides a family discount to thank you for your continued support.

If someone in your immediate family has been treated by our office in the past, following future patients will receive 5% off the cost of their treatment.

Additionally, as a thank you to the many who serve our community, we offer a teacher discount and a 10% discount for our active duty military.

6. Enroll in our in office no interest financing.

Most people choose to set up monthly payments through our office to make the cost of orthodontic treatment more manageable.

Patients who do not choose to pay in full, will put down an initial investment at the onset of their braces or Invisalign treatment. The remainder of the fee that is owed can be divided up monthly during the entirety of the months our office is treating you.

Our treatment coordinators, who you will meet at the complimentary consultation, are experts at navigating the monthly payment process. They can also factor in any insurance, spending account information, and discounts that may apply.

7. Start early.

As it is with many situations in the medical and dental field, early intervention is essential.

This is true, especially for children with a mix of permanent and primary teeth, because sometimes early intervention can be helpful to both the patient and your pocketbook.

For example: Don’t wait for those permanent canines to become impacted before seeking treatment if braces for crowding could be accomplished with early intervention.

Your orthodontist will go over their findings of your smile and can help guide the conversation on when the best time to begin treatment is.

In conclusion.

We know that deciding to begin braces, or Invisalign, is significant. We’re hopeful that by having these tips to help guide the process along financially, you’ll be more prepared as you decide when the time to start treatment is right for you, and as always, if you have any questions about costs or treatment, finances, please give our office a call, or send us a message here. Our goal is to try to make having braces or Invisalign as affordable as possible for as many people who can.

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.

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!

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!

Welcome to Our Blog

April 19th, 2022

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about orthodontics and the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.

Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctors and staff - we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!

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