Who is a Candidate for Braces, Invisalign or Otherwise

It’s been a number of days since my last post… I guess I am still recovering from my experience at Cowboy Stadium with the likes of Rocket Ismail and Bill Bates, former Dallas Cowboy stars.  Once again, it was a real treat for me to be invited to participate in the festivities.  See my previous post for details.

Today I would like to discuss a topic that should have interest to all.  I’d like to visit about, who really is a candidate for orthodontics and who is not.  Statistics show that virtually 80% of the population need some sort of orthodontic treatment, whether it is through traditional braces, Invisalign, or some other sort of orthodontic procedure, while only a small percentage of those 80% are actually receiving care. 

It is true that the orthodontic business has become more and more popular as techniques and mechanics have been enhanced over the years.  The question becomes, “who is eligible to have orthodontic treatment and who is not?”  The vast majority of orthodontic patients are still young pre-teens or teenagers.  The reason?  The age of pre-teens and teenagers is when natural maturing of the bones and facial structures is occurring and therefore orthodontics is a natural aid to guide and manipulate some of that growth into proper occlusion and profile for the face.  Mother Nature has a strong hand in this process so the orthodontist works with Nature to maximize the benefits of what he/she has to work with.  But orthodontics is not just for young kids.  With Invisalign and other techniques available, more and more adults are patients of the orthodontist.

Good candidates for braces are individuals who have good oral hygiene and healthy gums and teeth.  Therefore it is imperative that patients be seeing their general dentist on a regular basis. 

Poor candidates are those individuals who do NOT have good oral hygiene and healthy teeth and  whose gums are red, puffy, and may bleed when brushed or bumped.  When calculus and tartar build-up are present, the teeth and gums are inhibited and therefore orthodontic procedures are compromised.  A good cleaning is always preferred prior to orthodontic treatment and an “all systems go” from the general dentist can help in determining if you are a candidate or not for any orthodontic treatment, whether that be for regular braces or Invisalign treatment.  For further information, please feel free to contact us at info@appleortho.com where we can answer any and all of your pertinent orthodontic questions or concerns.




Today’s post will be just a little, well actually, a lot off the subject of braces or Invisalign, or even orthodontics in general for that matter.  I just have to let you know what a grand opportunity I had yesterday as the CEO of Apple Orthodontix and a customer of Bank of America, the nations largest corporate bank.

I was invited, along with 50+ other B of A and Merrill Lynch guests to participate in a Fantasy Football Camp held at the new Cowboys Stadium!   I, along with these other old men and a few women, had a great time getting the royal treatment, as we were escorted down into the Dallas Cowboys locker room where the current NFL stars dress and prepare for Monday Night Football and the other games.  We shared the locker space with the likes of Tony Romo, Roy Williams, DeMarcus Ware, and my two favorite Cowboys, Orlando Scandrick and Jay Ratilff (They are the two Cowboy players that have their braces on with Apple Orthodontix in our Coppell, TX office.).



From the locker room, we dressed in our Tony Romo shirts and headed off to the media room where we were introduced to our two Fantasy Football Coaches, former NFL Cowboys themselves, Bill Bates and Rocket Ismail!  They talked to all of us about being careful and taking care of our bodies.  I mean think about it, a bunch of 40+ and some 50+ men and women out there trying to live their glory days!, watch out!  Once that was finished, we were put in alphabetical order and marched into the tunnell ready to run onto the field.  Yep, they let us do that too!  As they called out our names, we were shown on the now, world famous HD Jumbo Tron, manufactured by Mitsubishi, the largest of its kind in the world!


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Then we had a singing of the National Anthem by one of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders (Sarah, the blonde), and after that, we split up into 4 teams and began our stretching and warm-ups.  We went through all the basic football drills to warm our old muscles up and prepare for the games to begin.  Bill Bates was our Defensive Coach while Rocket Ismail was the Offensive Coach.  We had a great time, with coaches, media, cheerleaders and even Referees!  They even took pictures of us too! 

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Each team played two games of flag football at the same time.  Each game was played from the 40 yard line to the end zone.  What a treat it was to watch some these old kodgers stumble as they tried to run and catch a ball.  I am sure they said the same about me.  We had a few injuries occur during the games, nothing that a little needle and thread, Ben-Gay, or a Swedish Massage couldn’t remedy.


One of the highlights I had personally was to ask Rocket Ismail to a foot race.  For those of you who don’t know, he was one of the fastest men in football during his NFL days.  I made one fatal mistake in asking though….Not only did he say “yes” but I asked to run at the end of the event and not at the first.  What was left of my muscles was definitely not enough, and my ego was not enough to keep up with this young 40 yr-old speedster.  I am confident that even if my ego and muscles were at their peak… he still would beat me handily.

It was a fabulous event.  The luncheon afterward was tremendous and the enitire day was blissful.  Today is another day though… does anyone out there have a couple of Advil I could use?



Thumb Sucking, Is It a Problem? Cont’d

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Sorry it’s been a few days everyone….  It has been crazy around here in my little world.  (Monday’s are always tough days to get anything done.  Too many fires to put out).   I am not going to talk about braces or Invisalign today…. Nope, just Thumb-Sucking, and you are going to like this post!

I was so excited to hear from some of you that have had experience with thumb-sucking success stories, as well as those of you looking for help to get you kids or your spouse to stop!

As mentioned previously, thumb-sucking is not a huge problem unless it persists beyond the toddler years into the age when permanent teeth begin erupting into the mouth.  Mother Nature has her way of taking care of many problems with growth but if we get in her way by putting things in our mouths that don’t belong (like thumbs or fingers), then the cavalry is called in to help.

As many of you know, there are a myriad of techniques and devises created to help in the quest to stop this somewhat challenging habit.  They range from story books, appliances to wear on the thumb, appliances to wear in the mouth such as retainers with fences, wire spurs, or rakes, pepper, Tabasco sauce, soap, and the list goes on and on. 


At Apple Orthodontix our approach is simple and straight forward.  We have been very successful at treating patients who have a severe thumb-sucking habit.  In fact, we have NOT failed in this approach.  Here is our secret.

When a patient presents his/herself in the office (with the parent, usually the mom), with a thumb-sucking issue, we converse with the patient to see what their position is on the so-called problem.  In their mind, it may not be a problem, so we find out which side of the fence they are on.  With that taken care of, we tell them that as part of their orthodontic treatment to get the buck teeth back into alignment, they will need to wear a retainer to help accomplish this malocclusion (bad bite) correction.  They agree and the process starts.  Along with the braces, the orthodontist has his/her lab fabricate a retainer that is almost identical to traditional retainers in every way but one.  This retainer is made so that the plastic that normally covers a small portion of the upper palate, is extended to cover the entire palate


 It can be the patients favorite color, with glitter, whatever!  But, no fences, no sharp spurs, no cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce.  In fact we have only one request of the patient.  All we ask them to do is to wear the retainer day and night.  Take it out to eat and brush their teeth and then put it back in.  We even tell them that we don’t care if they suck their thumb or not during this period and that is the absolute truth, we don’t mind it one bit!

The reason that we don’t care is because the reason for sucking of the thumb is the delicate sensations that come from placing the skin of the thumb onto the skin of the palate.  There is a satisfaction that comes from that process and therefore, like smoking, biting of the nails, or grinding and clinching, it can become habit-forming.  When we place a barrier, in this case, the full palate retainer, that barrier precludes the patient from attaining that sensation of the skin of the thumb touching the skin of the palate.  Therefore, over time, since there is no satisfaction, the desire to suck the thumb naturally goes away.  This is why we don’t care if they suck their thumb or not.  We know that within a short period of time, they will just naturally quit on their own.  Now, parents who want to praise this new behavior can be a great help in the speed of this new behavior, but the patient will do it on his/her own. 

The Key?  The patient must wear the retainer!

Let us know what we can do for you at Apple Orthodontix.  Give us a call.  We are here to help.

Thumb Sucking, Is It a Problem?


For almost all of us, we know infants and young children who suck their thumbs.  We see them with their blankie’s or snugglie’s… you know the look, it’s cute, and it’s adorable.  Parents constantly are pulling the child’s thumb out of their mouth when they take them up to bed and tuck them in at night.  We want to be the best parents and worry about the damaging effects of Thumb Sucking.  We have all heard horror stories and we visualize into the future as we contemplate what our beautiful young child will look like with “buck teeth!”  We cringe at the thought because we know what we thought of those kids in grade school and junior high who were made fun of because of how far their teeth stuck out!  None of that for our child, no way!  So, we continuously remind our kids to keep their thumbs out of their mouths to no avail.


Is it really a problem to worry about?  Or, is it just another thing that, “they will grow out of?”

Approximately 80%+ of infants and children suck their thumb and, while it is a bad habit that is not fun to try and break, it is not life threatening.  Sucking the thumb can alter the natural shape of the arches where teeth form and ultimately can even create undesirable speech patterns.  A gentle reminder is all that needs to be done during the toddler phase of growth. 

If the child continues to suck their thumb as permanent teeth are erupting into the mouth, then that is another story.  Gentle reminders need to change slightly.  At Apple Orthodontix we have seen hundreds, even thousands of patients over the years who have had a thumb-sucking problem.  In fact, at one point, our orthodontic offices advertised, looking for thumb suckers.  We got all kinds of kids, teens, and yes, a number of adults!

Tune in next week as we discuss what we do for all of our patients who have a thumb-sucking problem.  We have been extremely successful in treating this simple vice.

Retainers! Retainers! Retainers!

Today I wanted to visit with you about the final phase of orthodontic treatment, it is called the “Retention Phase” or the third phase of treatment. 

Although every step in the orthodontic process is critical and vitally important, it is my opinion that the final phase of treatment, the Retention (Retainers) Phase is critical because what you see is what you get!  Too often, and I mean way too often, patients feel that “since my braces are off, all is done!”  That is completely untrue.  Retainers should be worn religiously, just as your braces were worn.  Whether you have had Invisalign treatment or traditional braces, retainers are what make your teeth stay where your orthodontist wants them to stay.  You should make sure that you come to your varied visits with your orthodontist during this phase of care.  You may not be coming in for your visits as often as you did with braces, but these last few appointments in this phase will let the orthodontist know how your teeth are settling.

A question often comes which is a legitimate question.  It is, “How long do I wear my retainer?”  The answer is simple, “as long as you want your teeth to stay in the same place when the braces were removed.”  Most often this means that you wear your retainers 3-6 months full-time with the next 6 months part-time or just at night when you sleep.  Depending upon your case, the doctor may request that you wear your retainers for the balance of your life.  The reason for this is that teeth will shift over the years as we age or because of swallowing, biting, or tongue habits.  Retainers can maintain your beautiful smile for as long as you wear them.  Be careful with them and guard them with your life.  Your retainers are yours and yours alone.  No one else can  use them.  Always follow the directions of your orthodontist and wear them the recommended time.

Am I a Candidate for Braces or Invisalign?

This will be a follow-up to yesterday’s post about how to know if you are a candidate or not for orthodontics whether it be traditional metal or aesthetic brackets, or the ever popular Invisalign.

As mentioned in previous posts, virtually 80% of the entire population have some sort of malocclusion (bad bite), that can cause pain or food traps which can cause cavities in even the healthiest mouth.  Traditionally, braces were placed to correct these malocclusions and solve functional issues while eating or chewing food.  Today, a good orthodontist still has the goal of creating a healthy environment in the oral cavity to make it so the individual can keep his/her teeth for as long as possible while having form and function.  More and more people are looking for the Hollywood Smile that was only available for the few “elite’s”  in our society.  With the advent of better ceramics and porcelain’s, cosmetic dentistry has  flourished!  The same has been created in the orthodontic industry.  Invisalign, (an almost invisible form of orthodontic treatment), has taken the profession by storm.  Unfortunately, unlike traditional methods of orthodontic treatment, Invisalign has many more limitations.  Therefore, when going to see your dental professional or your specialist in orthodontics, make sure you are a candidate for Invisalign before getting your heart set on it.  If you have a simple case where teeth don’t have to be moved to far, or your front teeth are the only ones that need to be straightened, you may be a very good candidate for Invisalign. 

Oh, another thing, just because the trays are all but invisible, it doesn’t mean that there will not be some discomfort involved.  Remember working out in the gym?, ” No pain, no gain!”  Anytime teeth are being moved through the jaw bone, you may want to keep your acetomeniphine or ibuprofin close by.

Am I a Candidate for Braces?

Whether you see people in traditional braces or Invisalign, if you have been out lately, you’ll notice that having braces has been a norm in our society. You see them on pre-teens to the grandmas. Gone are the days when people called you “metal mouth”. Wearing braces is cool and a positive sign of self-improvement. You may ask yourself, “Since everyone is having them, should I have them? Am I a candidate for braces or am I too old or too young for them? Is my case too simple or too complicated?” Thanks to research-based science and technology most of us can be candidates for braces. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends having a child come in for his/her first orthodontic visit at the age of 7. This does not necessarily mean that we start treatment at this age. We don’t normally start them that young unless they have a severe malocclusion (misalignment of teeth and/or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches). Some of the examples are severe overjet where the upper front teeth are sticking out too far. With most kids in sports nowadays, this type of malocclusion can cause trauma to the teeth when hit in the face. Another example is when the patient’s upper jaw is too narrow that it causes misalignment of teeth and incorrect relation of upper jaw to lower jaw. Another case would be an “underbite” where the patient’s jaw is sticking out further than the upper jaw. In some cases the lower jaw prevents the upper jaw from growing forward. These are just some examples of an early treatment, or what we call Phase I. Ideally, we want to start the patient when the child is growing and most of their baby teeth are gone. The proper timing is best decided by your orthodontist. That is why we recommend seeing them at a young age. For adults, age is not the determining factor in having braces. What really matters is the health of the teeth, gums, bone and other surrounding tissues. Adult patients receive orthodontic treatment for different reasons. Most of them come for cosmetic corrections. However, unbeknownst to them, they can also benefit from correction of their malocclusion. Patients who should see an orthodontist are those who are experiencing the following conditions: complaints about not biting evenly on both sides, a tendency to bite the cheeks due to crossbites, tension in the jaw when biting, uprighting of teeth in preparation for dental restorations, correction of deep bite, overjet and underbite, impacted teeth, missing teeth, supernumerary (extra) teeth, and correction of misaligned jaw. As you can see from the list, almost everyone with a malocclusion is a candidate for braces. The key is you need to keep your teeth and its supporting structures healthy and clean. A periodic visit to the dentist is a must to maintain a healthy oral cavity. Ask your dentist if you will benefit from orthodontic treatment.

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