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What does a great smile do for a teenager?

September 17th, 2020

What does a great smile do for a teenager?

As parents, you often wonder if it’s worth it to straighten your child’s teeth. New research has uncovered 3 main themes from interviewing teens post orthodontic treatment:

  1. Improved health related behavioral changes- as an example; teens felt it was easier to maintain good oral hygiene (keep their teeth clean!)
  2. Improved dental health- teens felt their smile was more attractive and it was easier to chew and clean their teeth
  3. Improved psycho-social effects- teens felt they had improved self-confidence and self-esteem

When you place a value on a great smile, I think these extremely positive benefits as seen through the eyes of teenagers, will increase your support of and confidence in, your decision to have them undergo Orthodontic treatment.

Smart shopping with the ADA Seal of Acceptance

August 18th, 2020


Smart shopping with the ADA Seal of Acceptance

Looking for a dental product to help keep your mouth healthy and your smile bright? The store shelves are stocked with options. How do you know which to try?


How Do I Know Which Products Really Work?

The American Dental Association (ADA) can help. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance (Seal) (Figure). The Seal says that a dental product is safe and effective. Also, visit MouthHealthy.org or follow the ADA on social media. The ADA provides information on the science behind dental health claims. Through these outlets the ADA also identifies ideas and trends that are not supported by science. And listen to your dental professionals. They are familiar with your needs and can point you in the right direction.

How Do I Know What A Product Is Supposed To Do?

Products with the Seal make it easy to identify what benefits have been scientifically proven according to Seal program requirements. Companies clearly state, in a bulleted list alongside the Seal, which benefits are supported by science. For example, if a toothpaste says that it helps with cavity prevention, dental sensitivity, enamel erosion, or whitening, the company has provided research showing that it does just that.

And toothpastes are not the only products that carry the Seal. More than 200 over-the-counter products have the Seal, including toothbrushes (both powered and manual), mouth rinses, products that clean between your teeth, and products that help relieve oral pain or dry mouth. The Seal program even has categories for water filters, sports mouth guards and sugar-free chewing gum.

How Do Products Earn The Seal?

Companies cannot use the Seal without permission from the American Dental Association (ADA), and the ADA will not give that permission without sufficient proof that the product does what the manufacture says it will do, safely and effectively.

What qualifies as proof? Science. Companies must provide results from laboratory tests and clinical studies supporting each oral health claim made for a product. These studies have to be performed by laboratories and researchers who are not associated with the company.

The ADA even has a voluntary program to make sure laboratories that conduct independent research in support of products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance can provide reliable results. In addition to reviewing study results and research sites, the ADA conducts its own research on products such as tooth brushes, toothpastes and mouth rinses.

Look For The Seal

The number of dental products in stores and online that make all kinds of promises seems almost limitless. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance to be sure that the claims made by the dental product you choose are backed by science.

Tongue Thrust

June 10th, 2020

Tongue Thrust

What is a tongue thrust?

A tongue thrust occurs during swallowing. The tongue should normally move forward and upward compressing against the roof of the mouth to create a seal so swallowing can occur. Instead, it moves forward between the upper and lower front teeth. The pressure every time a swallow occurs exacerbates a front teeth open bite and will often deform the shape of the upper jaw from U-shaped to more V-shaped.

(Pretreatment with front teeth open bite)

                               (U Shape)                                                    (V Shape)

So, a tongue thrust is functional in that the patient can swallow fine but, it is detrimental to the shape of the upper jaw, the bite and tooth alignment.

Why does a tongue thrust develop?

In many instances, tongue thrusting is the response to a front teeth open bite which was there to begin with. In other words, the patient develops the tongue thrust to compensate for the front teeth open bite. So it is very important in these patients to correct the open bite so the tongue can develop a normal swallowing pattern.

A limited number of people have a tongue thrust without a front teeth open bite. If so, unless there is an associated speech issue then there is no reason to treat. The speech issues are with the “th” and “s” sounds. Have the patient say “there, that, sixty six and sixty seven.” The words will sound slightly slurred, if so, refer to a Speech Therapist.

There are many causative factors for tongue thrusting such as:

  • Hereditary
  • Thumb or finger sucking
  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Allergies/nasal congestion
  • Tongue tied
  • Macroglossia (large tongue)

-Heredity and thumb or finger sucking are similar since both result in “V” shaped upper arch which makes it impossible for the tongue to fit in the correct position. A specifically designed upper expander with thumb/finger guard works great.

-Enlarged tonsils or adenoids cause the tongue to position forward. This occurs because the upper airway in constricted due to the size of the tonsils so the tongue will have to move forward to open the airway for breathing. Large adenoids make it harder to breathe through the nose so the patient will position the tongue low and forward for airway. The same is true for allergies/nasal congestion. A upper expander with tongue trainer along with removal of the tonsils/adenoids or allergy treatment is the treatment of choice.

-With a tongue tied patient, the lack of tongue mobility makes it impossible for the tongue to move to the correct position. A upper expander with a removal of the frenum is the correct treatment.

-With marcoglossia the size of the tongue prohibits correct positioning. You can’t reduce the size of tongue very often so have to expand the upper jaw as much as possible to accommodate the tongue.

(After treatment with our specially designed upper expander with tongue guard of patient in initial photos)

Now you understand tongue thrust. Let us know if we can be of help!

What it's like to get an upper jaw expander

March 5th, 2020

What it’s like to get an upper jaw expander


Joey needed an upper jaw expander to correct his crowding but he was afraid it would hurt and he wouldn’t be able to eat.

Becky, a team member at the office of Dr. Michael Sebastian could tell Joey was nervous so she made a point of explaining about the expander to help Joey understand what was going on, because you’re usually scared of the unknown.

The first step was to place separators between his back upper teeth (these are small round elastic pieces). She showed them to Joey and explained they would feel like having those teeth flossed when they are placed.


            The separators would stay in until the next week. Becky took Joey’s arm and pressed on it, she asked Joey, “Does this hurt, or does it feel like pressure?” Joey said “it feels like pressure.” Becky assured Joey that the separators would feel like that. She also gave Joey some grape Advil to reduce any possible soreness which might develop.

What a relief! It wasn’t hard at all. Joey could eat whatever he wanted except sticky candy. At Becky’s direction, Joey’s mom would give him some Advil 30 minutes before the next appointment.

Next week, Joey came in to fit for the expander. Becky again was there to make sure Joey had a great experience. As before, she explained what was going to happen that day. They would first remove the separators which had opened a small space for the bands to easily slip on the teeth.


            Like fitting a pair of new shoes, she would have to try on a couple of different bands to get the size perfect. Bands are rings which fit around the two upper six year molars and are attached to the expander. With a gentle touch and Joey’s help, they used a bite stick to push the bands into the correct position.

Bite Stick

With the right bands in position, a scan of Joey’s mouth was done. Becky showed Joey that the scanner is like a very small camera which takes thousands of pictures. You move it slowly around the mouth and on the video screen an exact copy of Joey’s teeth appeared. It only takes about 5 minutes. The orthodontic lab would use this scan and the bands to make Joey’s expander. This was so easy, Joey couldn’t believe how quick and painless it was.

Becky put new separators in so next week the expander could be placed on Thursday at 3:30 pm.

Joey left school for the big day. When he got to the office, Becky gave him Advil. Joey was nervous, it hadn’t hurt so far but he was sure it would today. Becky eased his fear by explaining that today would be just like the last appointment except the two bands they fit would be attached by the expander. They would go through the same process except a special glue would be used to hold the expander in place, nothing like any glue Joey had used before. It was a special glue made for using only in the mouth.

Dr. Sebastian, Becky and Joey worked together to put in the expander. It was just like fitting the bands at the last appointment except for the glue. Joey got to hold “Mr. Thirsty” to remove the flavor of the glue. It took 3 minutes for the glue to set then Becky removed the excess glue and Joey was done! Wow, all the worry and he was fine.

Mr. Thirsty

            Becky gave Joey and his mom instructions on care and cleaning of the appliance. She also recommended that Joey take Advil every 4 to 6 hours for the next 24 hours as research has shown that this reduces any discomfort by up to 90%. Becky suggested Joey stay on a soft diet for 5 days until his tongue got used to moving food around the appliance.

Joey and his mom followed these instructions and his first 5 days were nothing like he imagined. He was sore but was able to do all his school work and after school activities. At his next appointment, Dr. Sebastian showed Joey and his mom the change which had occurred over this first 6 weeks, they couldn’t believe it, Joey knew the right thing was being done.