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Halloween Is Coming!

October 20th, 2021

You know I love sweets—take a look around my pantry and you would see a who’s who of the candy world! :)  But it is all about moderation, especially with braces in place.

Worried your braces might ruin your Halloween fun? Spooky thought – but never fear! Enjoying good candy with braces is still an option. But first, avoid damaging your braces and risking your successful orthodontic treatment by learning which candy might loosen the brackets attached to your teeth.

Candies to avoid with braces

These candies may damage orthodontic appliances and can really set your orthodontic treatment back. Steer clear of:

  • Caramels
  • Taffy
  • Hard candy
  • Chewy candy
  • Jellybeans
  • Licorice
  • Bubble gum
  • Suckers
  • Sour candy
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts

Candies you can eat with braces

Softer, melt-in-your-mouth candies tend to be less risky when it comes to keeping your braces intact. Enjoy these treats in moderation:

  • Chocolate (without caramel or nuts)
  • Peanut butter cups
  • KitKats
  • 3 Musketeers
  • Marshmallows
  • Cookies

Be mindful, that in excess, candy of any kind can accumulate around your braces and lead to permanent white marks (decalcification), cavities or gum disease (gingivitis). Make sure to brush thoroughly around your braces especially after indulging in sugary snacks!

No need to miss out on the trick-or-treating fun but enjoy candy in moderation and snack wisely! If you do find a bracket not attached to the tooth, call me (Dr Holt)  as soon as possible to make an appointment to repair the loose bracket so your treatment is not delayed.  Now get out there and have a spooktacular Halloween! :)

Using Your Health Savings Account or Flex Plan for Braces!

October 4th, 2021

As Fall approaches we get a lot of people asking if they can use their HSA / FSA account for orthodontic treatment at Holt Orthodontics.  The short answer is yes . . . so get on your way to a better smile!

What is an HSA or FSA account?

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), often offered by your employer, allow you to set aside money for qualifying health care expenses for yourself, your spouse and eligible dependents.

Can I use my HSA or FSA for orthodontic treatment? 

In most cases, yes, you can use your HSA or FSA for eligible orthodontic treatment. Only the portion of your orthodontic payments(s) not paid by your dental insurance or any other plan may be considered an eligible expense.

How can my HSA or FSA help save me money?

HSA and FSAs are types of savings account that let you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. By using untaxed dollars in an HSA or FSA to pay for your orthodontic treatment, you save money.

Contact your HSA or FSA provider or your HR specialist for specific details.

Trust Holt Orthodontics

You can work with Dr Holt to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile at any age. Orthodontists are experts in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics – properly aligned teeth and jaws – and possess the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Start smiling now! 

The Benefits of Seeing an Orthodontist by Age 8

September 2nd, 2021

Much like laundry, orthodontic health can be more manageable if you get ahead of it.

You wouldn’t skip a well-check at the pediatrician, and you shouldn’t skip an early trip to the orthodontist either. A visit to your orthodontist by age 8 will help keep your child’s oral health in check. And it may help you avoid more costly or more invasive treatments down the road.

How so?

Palatal expander – Your child may be a good candidate for palatal expansion, which can make the upper jaw wider and help to reduce crowding in abnormally narrow arches. Ideally, a palatal expander is used when a patient is still growing. Expansion occurs when the growth plate or suture in the middle of the palate is stretched and the two halves are pushed apart. As the two halves are spread, new bone is added.

In younger patients, palatal expansion may reduce the need for extractions or prevent impacted teeth. Cases not corrected in growing patients may require surgery for correction in adulthood and may lead to abnormal wear or bite problems if not corrected at all.

Early interceptive treatment–Sometimes a short time in braces can correct problems early on to prevent larger problems later.  An example of interceptive treatment is correcting an anterior cross bite or severe crowding or severe buck teeth.

Tooth removal – Sometimes removing baby or impacted teeth can help permanent teeth emerge better and encourage them to come in closer to their ideal position even without an orthodontic appliance. Dr. Holt will suggest the best time for extractions to take advantage of your child’s growth and development. Getting them into the orthodontist early allows you to receive the optimum treatment for them.

Not all early visits result in orthodontic treatment

One of three things could happen following your child’s first appointment at Holt Orthodontics. 

  • There may be no need for treatment at that time. We are thrilled when we can pat the kiddo on the back and tell them they will go on observation for another year or so. 
  • Treatment may be necessary in the future, so the child will be followed periodically while the face and jaws continue to develop.
  • A problem already exists that would benefit by early treatment, and you are in the right spot to get started!

Holt orthodontics offers free consultations, so there’s no reason to wait. We are very conservative and ONLY recommends treatment when it is clinically indicated and when it is the best time for your child.  Hope to meet you soon! :)

Where Should You Go for Braces – Your Dentist or Orthodontist?

May 4th, 2021

People may think that orthodontists are for kids, but orthodontists are actually specialists in straightening teeth and correcting the bite in patients of all ages. Today, many dentists offer some kind of treatment for better aligning and straightening the teeth. So, with both dentists and orthodontists offering tooth alignment how do you know where to go?  It is important to understand the differences in care or treatment you may receive by a dentist versus an orthodontist.

What is the difference in training for a dentist and an orthodontist?

Dentists and orthodontists specialize in different things. Dentists are experts at keeping the mouth clean and the gums healthy. They are experts in providing restorative care such as fillings and crowns and even some cosmetic dental procedures such as bonding or veneers.  An orthodontist is a specialist in straightening teeth and aligning the bite.

It’s like many other areas of medicine, the patient has the choice to go to a generalist or a specialist. If you think you have skin cancer – do you want to see your family medicine doctor or do you seek out a dermatologist, someone who is a doctor first and then had specialty training in the skin?  If you have a heart issue, do you want to see a generalist or a cardiologist who has trained for many years in specific, accredited residencies, fellowships, etc.

Orthodontists first become dentists by attending four years of dental school and then go on to complete another two and a half to three years of specialty training in a recognized and accredited residency.  During that training they look at orthodontic cases every day – working with mentors and faculty to learn the best techniques to align teeth in a comfortable, efficient, and esthetic manner.  They also study journal articles, conduct research projects, and read literature reviews on straightening and aligning teeth and improving bites. Through this training, that takes place both in a classroom setting and in a clinic setting, orthodontists learn to treatment plan the best outcome for each individual patient.  Only orthdontists can say they have been trained specifically to obtain the most ideal esthetics and bite for each patient.

Through this extra specialty training an orthodontist hones their skills and ability to diagnose and treatment plan the complex issues associated with bite fit and tooth alignment. That expert skill comes from the repetition of treating only orthodontic cases plus the expertise from large amounts of research and literature study.  The thought is, do you want a doctor that does 5 knee repairs a year or a doctor that does 5 knee repairs a week operating on your knee?  The same is true in orthodontics—they only do braces and Invisalign and retainers so they are the experts at tooth alignment.

General dentists, on the other hand, do not have any formal orthodontic training. They are usually trained on using clear aligners to straighten the teeth through a weekend course or by a sales rep for the product they are selling. They do not have detailed training in smile design or bite alignment and the techniques necessary to get the teeth to come together properly, whereas an orthodontist has gone through rigorous training and testing as a part of their education.

What is the difference in treatment?

While all patients expect the end product of orthodontic treatment, whether by a dentist or an orthodontist to be a beautiful, confident smile and straight teeth, they do not always understand or value the importance of treating those things that are not seen outwardly. Ultimately the alignment of the bite is important for the longevity of that beautiful smile and helps to prevent uneven wear or cracking or chipping teeth as you age.  An orthodontist is an expert in assessing and correcting bite issues and the way the teeth fit together, and treating issues such as a crossbite, overbite or underbite, this helps to keep teeth healthy for years to come.

Orthodontists are also true experts in what is known as the “detailing phase” of treatment - the last six months of treatment. At this point they are working on the micro level – fine tuning and detailing each tooth in this finishing phase. They look at each tooth three dimensionally and make sure it has the very best placement. They assess the tip, torque, and angulation, of every tooth and insure it is positioned correctly next to its neighboring teeth as well as the opposing tooth.

An orthodontist has several types of braces available to them -  metal braces, ceramic braces, and Invisalign, also known as clear aligners.  An orthodontist assesses each patient individually and recommends the type of braces necessary to achieve both the bite corrections and have a great looking smile. Dentists, on the other hand, primarily stick to the Invisalign or a generic version even if the patient would benefit from traditional braces. While many patients are good candidates for clear aligners, there are certain cases where it is not the right product and will not provide the proper correction of the teeth. Only an orthodontist who is specialty trained is  able to offer all options and decipher which treatment modality is best for the individual patient.

Understand Your Insurance Coverage for Braces

One thing that is often misunderstood is how dental insurance companies help to pay for orthodontic treatment. Insurance companies usually have a lifetime maximum benefit for orthodontic treatment. So once you use that benefit for orthodontic treatment, it does not renew. For most other dental benefits you have a preset amount for the year and that renews with each year. For orthodontic treatment insurance companies consider it a one-time benefit, regardless of where you seek care.

Orthodontists commonly see patients in their office who have started by seeking treatment from their family dentist or even have tried ordering clear aligners on-line for a discount, who come to realize that they are not happy with the end result.  These patients usually need additional treatment. In these cases, their insurance benefit for orthodontics has already been used and these patients then need to pay out-of-pocket for any additional treatment necessary to straighten or correct their teeth.  So, it is always  more economical for the patient to start with a specialist and get the right result the first time.

If you are interested in straightening your teeth and want an excellent result, start with an orthodontist. Dr Holt and his team offer a complimentary visit (worth $300) that includes a set of 8 photos, a digital panoramic x-ray, and a personal consultation with Dr. Holt.