Tag Archives: Orthodontist

Why does my child need to see an orthodontist so young?

IMG_4715     Our office, along with the American Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontists and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommends every child see an orthodontist by age seven! That doesn’t mean your child will need braces that young – but if treatment is called for, it’s important not to wait.

These appointments are essential to screen for potential issues during the growth phase, and there are many reasons why you should not skip them. First, the initial consultation is F-R-E-E, and in the best case you will be reassured your child’s bite is on the right track. This first visit is a great time to get to know your child and to introduce them to our office. In most cases we are able to bypass treatment at this time and monitor your child as they grow and develop. If we do determine treatment is needed, the interceptive treatment may save you time and money in the long run. More important, we will be able to catch severe problems before it’s too late!

By age seven, your child is mature enough that we can identify structural and developmental issues but still young enough for us to correct them at the optimal time. Once the mouth has grown to maturity, some treatments, especially relating to jaw development, can be difficult and painful, and may even require surgery. Never fixing these problems could mean a lifetime of dental issues and pain.

Not all dentists refer children this young, but you don’t need a referral to see an orthodontist. The following behaviors are some that indicate your child would benefit from an early visit, but keep in mind there are others only an orthodontist will be able to spot:

  • Thumb-sucking
  • Crowded or misplaced teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • A bite that is too far forward or back
  • Tooth-grinding
  • Cheek-biting
  • Tongue-thrusting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • An unbalanced facial appearance

If immediate treatment isn’t necessary after this initial visit, we will monitor your child’s growth and development for a couple of years before determining if orthodontics is right for your family.




One final comment: Many of the dental and orthodontic conditions that are present in our young patients are passed on via genetics from one or both parents to their children. A common finding is missing teeth, impacted teeth and extra teeth. It is wise to have an early evaluation to screen for these and other conditions.

Thank you and we look forward to creating beautiful, confident smiles for you and your family!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Retention – Keeping your beautiful, confident smile for life! 


Teeth are supported by bone, elastic fibers and gum tissue which surround the roots. Braces and orthodontic forces move teeth to a new more ideal and healthier location. As teeth move, the bone is slowly dissolved and the elastic fibers are stretched. In order for the teeth to “retain” their new location a retention phase of orthodontic treatment is essential. Once the teeth are in their final position, time is needed for regeneration. New bone must grow and firm up around the teeth, stretched fibers dissolve, and new fibers regenerate to support the new location.

Note: Typical regeneration takes 9 months to complete and will occur when teeth are not allowed to roam. Thus, it is necessary that the retainers be worn day and night constantly. In other words, twenty-three hours a day. Taking them out for meals is permitted.

When retainers are not worn correctly, there may be an unavoidable relapse and shifting of teeth. We think you will agree that you have worked too hard, spent to much energy and money for your new healthier beautiful smile to have this happen to you.

On an individual basis, we start a process where the stability of the teeth is tested by cutting back from full time to night time retainer wear in a calculated and controlled process. Your ability to cut back will be related to several factors, such as, severity of the original problem, your cooperation during the first few months of retainer wear, the precis and position of wisdom teeth, tongue thrusting, clenching/grinding habits and continued commitment of retainer wear.

At the end of the active retention phase of orthodontic treatment, we encourage patients to wear their retainers indefinitely at least on a part-time basis to ensure long-term stability. Any time teeth move, the retainers become tight. This is your signal that you have gone too long without wearing them. As long as the retainers are fitting comfortably, teeth are remaining stable. The body is dynamic and just as we age, our skin tends to wrinkle, our hair turns grey, out teeth tend to wander and move. Fortunately, the movement is usually subtle and slow but nevertheless can occur. The more sever the original problem, the greater the tendency some degree of relapse will occur. Wearing your retainers on an every night basis indenfinitley  is the best guarantee possible to keep your teeth in their proper position.

If for any reason retainers cannot be worn, call for an appointment immediately. Don’t adjust or tamper with the retainer. Anytime the retainer is out of your mouth, it is to be kept in the retainer case we provided. Your continued cooperation in this last phase of orthodontic treatment is very important.

Removable Retainer Instructions

  • Wear your retainers full time unless the doctor instructs otherwise.
  • Take your retainers out when eating, and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
  • Remove retainers when swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
  • Do not boil or microwave retainers!
  • Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque and eliminates odors. Efferdent and other denture cleaners may discolor your retainer so do not use this type of product. Instead, try to find Retainer Brite. It can be purchased online and will not stain or discolor your retainer.
  • When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself!
  • Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacement is expensive; with proper care they will last for years!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Retention Phase of Treatment


Good news! Braces aren’t just for kids any more! Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy.  An improved appearance through orthodontic treatment can greatly enhance a person’s self esteem, young or old, creating new opportunities both personally and professionally. This beautiful, adult smile was achieved through expansion in just under two years!


Leave a Comment

Filed under Transformation Tuesday

The iTero® Digital Experience

The iTero® digital scanning system creates a fast and precise 3D digital scan of your teeth, without the messy putty in your mouth, for comfort and precise-fitting aligners and appliances.  We are saying goodbye to goopy, messy, gagging impressions and good riddance! Coming soon…3D printing…isn’t technology grand? 


Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Your smile is unique!


Your smile, like your fingerprint, is unique. We believe your treatment plan should be, too! Through comprehensive records and measurements, our doctors provide our patients with a customized treatment plan which not only straightens the teeth but engineers facial structures, smile lines and profiles, taking into account how each patient’s smile will develop over their own unique lifetime. Go forth and Live Life Smiling! :)

Leave a Comment

Filed under Transformation Tuesday

See an orthodontist when permanent teeth begin erupting


The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children see a certified orthodontist when their permanent teeth begin erupting (around age seven). An orthodontist can guide the formation of the bite and time treatment with growth for optimal results. If your child exhibits any of the symptoms illustrated or mentioned above, see your orthodontic specialist for a full evaluation.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Transformation Tuesday – 4/21/15


How can seeing an orthodontic specialist save you money? We know the choice you make for you or your family is a big one. It is an investment of time and money and a one-time shot at a beautiful smile result.

Our orthodontists each have specialty training that allows the majority of our patients to benefit from having only one phase of treatment. In fact, we find that following our patients through our free growth and guidance program allows us to perfectly time treatment and get the same result often without “interceptive” or early treatment.

While there are a few cases where early treatment is ideal, over 95% of our patients only need braces one time. Not two phases, not re-treatment. Once. This means thousands of dollars, hours of appointment time and months of time in braces saved.

We know you want to make the best decision for you and your family so we never charge for our initial exams and no referral is necessary to receive the opinion of our board certified orthodontists. We welcome your family to ours!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Transformation Tuesday

The Evolvement of Brackets

evolvement of braces-vanlaecken-brookings

I am sure many of you are wondering what braces looked like in the early 1900’s. They were composed of a variety of materials such as, gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber, vulcanite and occasionally wood, ivory, zinc, copper and brass. These materials were used to form loops, hooks, spurs, and ligatures. Gold was the most common material used for wires and bands. Unfortunately, it was quite expensive and only a small number of individuals could afford treatment.

In the 1960’s, stainless steel began being the material of choice for orthodontic appliances. This greatly reduced the cost and made orthodontics more obtainable for a greater number of individuals. Most of the appliances consisted of bands being placed around every tooth and aligned with wires. Bends were placed in the wire in order to move each tooth to its correct position. This was extremely time consuming.

As you can see from the pictures above, bands were placed around every tooth until the mid 1970’s. Although brackets had been around since the late 1960’s, there was no way to attach them to the teeth. That was until the discovery of dental adhesives which allowed for the brackets to be placed directly on the teeth instead of using bands or wires wrapped around each tooth.


Visit our website to schedule an appointment at VanLaecken Orthodontics!

Follow us on Facebook!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Father of Orthodontics

Father of Orthodontics

Edward Hartley Angle


Many individuals have made contributions to the field of orthodontics but one individual stands above the rest when considering who has had the greatest influence in this field of study. Edward H. Angle is thought to be “The Father of Orthodontics”. In 1887 he published the first classification of bite abnormalities in his “Notes on Orthodontia” with occlusion being his primary focus on diagnosis. His classification was dependent on the position of the maxillary first molar in relation to the mandibular first molar. This classification system is still used today (Class I, Class II, Class III). This classification allowed dentists to describe how misaligned teeth are aligned, what way teeth are pointing, and how they fit together.

In 1899 he established the first school of orthodontics in St. Louis. He introduced photography into orthodontics, organized the beginnings of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and founded the first orthodontic journal in 1907. He is credited with making many recommendations and changes to the first orthodontic appliances used in the United States. He also played a part in the first specialty board in dentistry. In 1929 the American Board of Orthodontics was established.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Birth of Contemporary Orthodontics

early orthodontic braces

In 1819, Christophe-Francois Delabarre introduced the wire crib, which marked the birth of contemporary orthodontics. This appliance was the precursor of several of today’s appliances. Before the 1830’s there was no dental degree in the United States. All work in the mouth was done by physicians, barbers, or worse.

For all of you headgear fans, J.S. Gunnell in 1822 invented the first headgear appliance. It was crude in its appearance and he referred to it as occipital anchorage. The headgear appliance has undergone many changes over the years but the basic concept is still the same as you can see from the photo above.

In 1841 Joachim Lefoulon was the first to coin the term, orthodontoise which roughly translates to orthodontia. Which lead to the term used to day which is orthodontics.

In 1846, E.M. Tucker was the first to take advantage of Charles Goodyear’s invention of rubber by cutting small bands from rubber tubes and incorporating them in orthodontic treatment. So for all of you who have had the pleasure of wearing rubber bands during your orthodontic treatment, you now know who to thank.

Two individuals in the dental field who contributed significantly in the last half of the 19th century were Norman W. Kingsley and John Nutting Farrar. Kingsley had several innovations such as extracting teeth and retracting the upper anterior teeth into their place with headgear and being the first one to discuss the treatment of patients with cleft palate. He also wrote a text describing modern orthodontics titled “A Treatise on Oral Deformities”, in which he describes in detail that the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment plan should be the foundation for orthodontics. Farrar was the first to discuss the biology of tooth movement and the limits of the movement. He laid the foundation for “scientific” orthodontics. His Treatise on Irregualrities of Teeth and their Corrections in 1888 was considered the first great work exclusively in the field of orthodontics.

Click here to like us on Facebook!

Visit our website!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized