Find Your Beautiful Smile and Help End Bullying at the Same Time

October is National Orthodontic Health Month! It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the dedication of our hard-working orthodontic team while educating about the benefits of orthodontic treatment. At the same time, it gives us a chance to partner with the American Academy of Orthodontics (AAO) on a very important issue in our communities. Keep reading to learn more!

Why ortho?

Did you know that orthodontic treatment provides benefits beyond aesthetics? Orthodontic problems such as misaligned teeth, bite issues and jaw abnormalities can cause serious oral health issues like tooth decay, gum disease, abnormal wearing of tooth enamel, and more. Orthodontic treatment can help patients bite and chew their food with ease, improve the alignment of their teeth and jaws, improve their oral hygiene and lower their risk of gum disease. And, of course, it also provides a beautiful smile! For many patients, the results are life changing!

Bullying Bites

The AAO is observing National Orthodontic Health Month alongside National Bullying Prevention Month through their #BullyingBites campaign. Our teams will be partnering with the AAO all month long to help influence young people to commit to eliminating bullying. When you visit one of our practices in October, you’ll have the option to sign a pledge card to indicate you are committed to eliminating bullying. Our teams will also go orange on Wednesday, October 18, in honor of Unity Day! Unity Day, started by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, is the signature event of National Bullying Prevention Month. Supporters wear orange to unite for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion to send a visible message that no child should ever experience bullying.

Considering ortho treatment?

National Orthodontic Health Month is a great opportunity to consider what orthodontic treatment can do for you while supporting the end of bullying. If you would like to discuss whether orthodontic treatment is right for you, schedule a free consultation today.

How Braces Support Your Smile beyond Your Looks

When considering orthodontic treatment, many people think about the cosmetic improvements gained by a straighter smile. It’s certainly true that braces or clear aligners will make you look great, but did you know that there are even more benefits? Here are just a few ways that orthodontic treatment can make you healthier and improve your quality of life.

Decreases Cavities

Straightening your teeth can make a difference in your oral health. In fact, studies have shown that those who have received orthodontic treatment are less likely to have cavities. As the American Academy of Orthodontists (AAO) notes, straighter teeth are simply easier to keep clean. Crowded or crooked teeth that are harder to clean can leave you at risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease, which can potentially lead to more — sometimes costly — treatment down the road. 

Improves Speech

Those with orthodontic problems sometimes experience difficulties with speech articulation. As one study notes, bite issues such as overbites and overjets can often interfere with the positioning of the tongue or lips needed to form certain letter sounds. Braces or clear aligners may help to alleviate these issues.

Supports Eating Habits

When your teeth are not properly aligned, it can affect how you eat. For example, with open bites, your front or back teeth do not properly come together like they should, which can make it hard to bite and chew your food. As the AAO tells us, the goal of orthodontic treatment is to ensure the teeth and jaws line up in the right way. When that is the case, the force created to bite or chew food is evenly distributed, making it much easier to eat.

Supports Jaw Growth

According to the AAO, certain types of bites, such as crossbites, can lead to abnormal jaw growth, including a lopsided jaw or a jaw that shifts to one side. Beyond cosmetic concerns, such issues can cause jaw pain and wear on the tooth enamel. The AAO recommends taking care of crossbites at a younger age, while the face and jaw are still developing.

As you can see, orthodontic treatment is more than simply a cosmetic concern. Have more questions? Schedule a free consultation today to chat with one of our orthodontists.

Kick Off the New Year with a Straighter Smile

Happy teenage girl with pink braids wearing white t-shirt and colorful shorts dancing among colorful confetti. Studio shot, yellow background.

Another year is upon us, and what better way to kick off 2022 than with a new smile? Straightening your smile can boost your confidence while supporting your oral health — there are even a few financial benefits! A straighter smile is actually more accessible than you think.

Insurance Coverage

Many dental insurance providers include orthodontic treatment as part of their plans. As Cigna explains, some plans offer discounts on orthodontic treatment while others include a lifetime maximum amount. Unlike an annual maximum, which resets every year, a lifetime maximum is the total amount of money you can use toward orthodontic treatment for the life of the plan. Many patients do not use their orthodontic coverage, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of the benefits available to you! It’s always a good idea to ask your insurance provider for all the specifics on what your plan covers to make sure you are fully informed. 


Another option for covering orthodontic treatment is through a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Patients can contribute earnings to HSAs or FSAs and then use that money for healthcare expenses. We are pleased to offer both types of payment options.

Other Ways to Pay

For patients without insurance, savings are still possible with our Smiles360 Dental Savings Club. Members receive 10% off orthodontic treatment. As well, preventative care at our Mortenson Family Dental, Kid’s Dentistree and Gentle Dentist sister practices is included at no additional cost. There are also generous discounts on a variety of dental treatments. 

In addition to Smiles360, we also offer in-office financing options and accept CareCredit. Visit our payment options page for more information.

Contact Us Today

Make your smile a priority in 2022! If you have any questions about treatment options available or would like to schedule a free consultation, contact us any time.

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

October is both National Orthodontic Health Month and National Dental Hygiene Month! Dental hygiene refers to the ways in which we keep our mouth, teeth and gums clean and healthy. Oral health maintenance can sometimes fall by the wayside as the year winds down and the holidays add more busyness to our daily lives. However, particularly for those undergoing orthodontic treatment, keeping up with your oral health routine remains vitally important. Here are a few tips for keeping your smile healthy while wearing braces or aligners.

Be selective with your treats.

It’s important to be mindful of your diet when wearing braces or aligners. If you do choose to indulge in sweets, be selective. Sticky, hard candy can become trapped in the grooves of your teeth, allowing bacteria to thrive, and can also increase the likelihood of your braces breaking. On the other hand, a soft bar of chocolate or peanut butter cups will be much easier to rinse off your teeth. offers additional tips on what foods you can eat, and what to avoid, while wearing braces. Remember, minimizing sugar intake is essential during your orthodontic treatment, so moderation is key to enjoying any treat! 

Follow the AAO’s suggestions for a healthy smile. 

Orthodontic patients should be cleaning their teeth multiple times a day. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) provides these suggestions for maintaining your healthy smile: 

  • Rinse with a glass of water after eating to wash away the cavity-causing sugars.
  • Use a toothbrush to help remove stuck-on food and plaque.
  • Use an interproximal brush to clean around brackets, between wires and teeth. 
  • Floss in between the archwire and teeth to clean under the gumline. 

Maintain regular hygiene checkups.

The AAO suggests maintaining a regular routine of seeing your general dentist every 4-6 months for cleanings and check-ups. If you are due for a cleaning or dental work, be sure to schedule and keep your appointment. Achieving optimal oral health is a partnership between you, your dentist and your orthodontist. 

Why do you need to wear a retainer after your braces come off?

Many patients wonder why they are told to wear a retainer after their braces have been removed. After all, weren’t the braces there to straighten your teeth? That’s why it’s important to understand the purpose and benefits of retainers, and how the success of your overall treatment depends on your commitment to wearing one. 

What are retainers?

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) explains that a retainer is a fixed or removable appliance worn after braces are removed or aligner therapy is complete. Removable retainers can be made out of wire or a clear, plastic-like material. Fixed retainers stay on your teeth until they are removed by your orthodontist. You and your orthodontist will discuss the type of retainer that works best for your particular situation.

According to the AAO, retainers allow the bone surrounding your teeth to rebuild while keeping them from shifting out of position after braces are removed. Many people wear removable retainers nightly for the rest of their lives. That’s why here at American Family Orthodontics, we say nighttime for a lifetime!

What’s the best way to care for my retainers?

The AAO offers several tips for how you can take care of your retainers. Importantly, always keep a removable retainer in its case when you are not wearing it. Never leave it loose in a purse, on a heat source, or within a dog’s reach. Both fixed and removable retainers should also be kept clean. Your orthodontist will give you instructions on the best ways to do this, which may include using an interproximal brush or avoiding certain foods or drinks.

Questions? Contact us today!

Retainers will help to preserve the beautiful smile you achieved with your braces or aligners, so it is important to wear them as prescribed. If you have any questions or concerns about wearing a retainer, or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Celebrate National Dentist’s Day this Saturday!

Saturday, March 6 is National Dentist’s Day! Celebrated annually, National Dentist’s Day is an opportunity to show appreciation for the dentists and dental specialists who keep our mouths healthy, including general dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons and prosthodontists. As part of our celebration, we’ve combed history to recognize a few of the very first dentists and dental specialists.

First Dentist of Ancient History

The first recorded dentist, Hesy-Ra, lived and worked in Ancient Egypt around 2600 BC. He was known as the “Chief of Dentists” and was a person of high distinction under the pharaoh. According to New World Encyclopedia, the inscription on Hesy-Ra’s tomb reads, “The greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.”

First Women Dentists 

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? Women have played a vital role in dentistry. Emeline Roberts Jones was the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. Since women were not allowed to enter dental school at the time, Jones secretly provided dental services until her husband allowed her to join his dental practice in 1855. Lucy Hobbs Taylor was the first woman to actually graduate from a dental school, earning her degree from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in 1866.

First Pediatric Dentist

Another noteworthy woman in dental history is M. Evangeline Jordon, the first dentist to specialize in pediatric patients. Jordon began her career as a teacher and worked summers as a dental assistant, but eventually devoted herself to dentistry full-time, limiting her practice entirely to children in 1909. Jordon aimed to find methods for reducing children’s fear of going to the dentist. She also wrote and lectured on the importance of proper oral hygiene habits for kids.

First Orthodontists

While there is evidence that orthodontics has been around since ancient times, two French dentists are credited with progressing the field to where it is today. Pierre Fauchard developed a device called the “blandeau” in 1728, which helped to expand the mouth arch. Later, Louis Bourdet, who was dentist to the King of France, perfected the blandeau and was the first dentist to recommend extracting premolar teeth to ease crowding and to improve jaw growth. A century later, American Edward Hartley Angle developed the first classification system of malocclusion and the first school of orthodontia, establishing orthodontics as a specialty distinct from general dentistry.

First Oral Surgeon

Simon P. Hullihen is regarded as the “father” of oral surgery. Graduating as a medical doctor, he specialized in treating problems of the mouth and head, performing over 1,100 operations using instruments he invented himself.

First Prosthodontist

The practice of prosthodontics goes back to ancient times, when ancient Egyptians used gold wire to stabilize and replace missing teeth. However, the birth of modern implantology is often credited to Italian Manilo Formiggini, who developed a spiral stainless steel implant that allowed bone to grow onto the metal.

This National Dentist’s Day, give thanks to dental specialists for the important work they do to help keep our mouths healthy. If it’s time for your check-up, be sure to contact us.

American Family Orthodontics is a part of Mortenson Dental Partners.

Find Your Beautiful Smile and Help End Bullying at the Same Time

October is National Orthodontic Health Month! It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the dedication of our hard-working orthodontic team while educating about the benefits of orthodontic treatment. At the same time, it gives us a chance to partner with the American Academy of Orthodontics (AAO) on a very important issue in our communities. Keep reading […]

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