Fluoride and Your Orthodontic Treatment

fluoride and braces

Most children and adults have experienced a fluoride treatment many times at their dentist’s office prior to their first visit to an orthodontist. Fluoride helps protect teeth from tooth decay. It is most effective when it is used prior to decay forming, but it can also repair decay in the beginning stages.

Fluoride continues to be beneficial to your teeth while your are in orthodontic treatment. It is one element, that in addition to brushing and flossing after every meal will make that smile of yours even more beautiful when your braces are removed. Fluoride treatments continue to protect against tooth decay while you are in braces and can also aid in preventing white spots, or decalcification, from forming around your braces. While in treatment fluoride mouthwashes, antibacterial rinses and toothpastes may also be added to add additional protection.

At Reagin Orthodontics, your complete dental health is important us. We will talk to you about how to care for your teeth and braces at each appointment and will recommend additional fluoride and other items as needed along the way.

Learn more about the benefits of fluoride in our previous posts here and here. You can also find out facts about fluoride from the American Dental Assoication.

Is Wearing Your Retainers Really Important?

wearing retainers

You have diligently cared for your teeth and braces the entire time you have worn your braces. You are excited that today is the day they will be removed! What’s next you wonder. Now you need to maintain that beautiful smile and that involves wearing retainers.

Impressions are taken to make molds specifically for your mouth, then retainers are made from those molds to keep your teeth in place. Wearing your retainers and taking care of them is just as important as caring for your braces.

Follow these guidelines to care for your teeth and retainers:

Wear your retainers all the time, unless you are told differently by Dr. Reagin

When you eat, remove your retainers and put them in their case. Do not put them on a lunch tray or in a napkin, that is the way most retainers are lost because they get thrown away!

Brush your retainers with warm water and toothpaste. Take them out and really brush them. Plaque builds up on them. You want to remove the plaque which will also help to eliminate odors.

Retainers are breakable so always place them in your retainer case when they are not in your mouth.

Retainers should not be worn when swimming, should not be put in hot water, left in hot cars or on car dashboards or stuffed in your pockets.

Caring for your retainers and wearing them regularly will keep you proud of your smile for years to come. If something does happen and you need new retainers, Dr. Reagin can make you a new set, but it is expensive. If you are worried about losing or breaking your retainers it is a good idea to take advantage of the discount we offer all our patients at debonding. You can buy a second set at the same time as your first set for half price. This offer is only available at debonding because the same mold can be used and a new mold does not have to be made.

To learn more about retainers and caring for them visit our website 

What Should You Ask At Your Consultation

orthodontic consultation

You scheduled the consultation and today is the day you meet with Dr. Reagin for the exam and evaluation. We’ve talked about what happens at a consultation here, but are you wondering what questions you might want to ask?

Dr. Reagin and his staff will cover these top five questions during your initial visit.

Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?

What must be done to correct the problem?

Will any teeth need to be removed?

How long will the treatment take to complete?

How much will the treatment cost?

You may want to ask a few additional questions to put you or your child at ease about starting orthodontic treatment. Here are a few questions and answers that you may want to to talk to the team at Reagin Orthodontics about.

How much discomfort? Everyone always wonders how much it will hurt and that is completely understandable! There is typically not a great deal of pain involved in orthodontic treatment, but there is discomfort. The team at Reagin Orthodontics will suggest ways to minimize discomfort including using wax, pain relievers such as Tylenol and Advil,  and more found here.

How do I brush? It is very important that you brush after each time you have a snack or meal. It is very easy for food to get trapped around braces. Dr. Reagin will show you how to brush and floss with your braces. There are even special brushes and flossers to help.

How often do adjustments happen?  While it is difficult to say exactly, visits typically happen every 4-8 weeks.

Are there foods I should avoid during treatment? Yes there are some foods that are better left alone until after you have completed your orthodontic treatment. These include sticky foods, hard raw vegetables and chewing ice. Once you have begun your treatment plan, we will go over this with you in more detail.

Will my speech change?  Some patients experience a little bit of change to their speech when they first receive braces, but this is typically gone as soon as they adjust to having braces. Which is much quicker than you think it will be!

We look forward to seeing you at your consultation and will be happy to answer any questions you have!

Help, I Have A Braces Emergency!

braces emergency

You are having a great evening with you friends and suddenly something doesn’t feel right with your braces. What do you do now? Believe it or not there are lots of things you can do to temporarily relieve any discomfort you may be having until you can get to the office.

Poking Wire – Use an eraser from a pencil to push the wire down so it isn’t poking into your cheek, gums or lips. Then cover it with wax so it won’t hurt you again until you can see Dr. Reagin.

Loose Bracket or Band – If the bracket or band is still attached do not pull it off. Put wax over it and call the office. If the bracket comes completely off wrap it in a tissue.

Loose Wire – Using a tweezer, try to put your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.

Loose or Damaged Appliance – If you appliance is bothering you, use wax to cover the part that is bothering you.

It is important that even if you have relieved the pain from a loose wire or bracket that you call and make an appointment as soon as possible. Delaying repair can interfere with the changes Dr. Reagin is making with your treatment. Orthodontic emergencies that require immediate attention are trauma to your mouth or face or loose teeth. Please do not hesitate to call the office if one of these things happens or if you feel you have an emergency.

Steps to Preventing Tooth Decay

Adult Braces

You have your braces on and you are looking forward to your beautiful smile that is in the not so distant future! You are dreaming of straight teeth and a bright smile! Dr. Reagin and the staff at Reagin Orthodontics will do the work on your straightening your teeth and bite, but you play an integral role in the bright part of your smile.

Caring for your teeth and preventing tooth decay with braces does take a little bit of extra effort. It is not insurmountable though!  Here are Dr. Reagin’s recommendations for healthy teeth and gums:

1-  Brush morning and night and after every meal.

2- Use a cone shaped brush called a proxa brush to get to hard to reach areas that your toothbrush cannot reach. Some orthodontic toothbrushes have a regular head on one end and a proxa brush on the other.

2- Floss with special flossers made just for braces wearers. These will allow you to get around the wires and pick up anything that may have been missed.

3- Use a fluoride rinse

4 – Avoid overindulging in sweets.

5- Continue to visit your dentist for regular check-ups.

If you do these five things you should have a great smile that you will want to show off when you braces are removed!

Herbst Appliance & Airways

What do you need to know about the Herbst appliance?

Using a cephalometric x-ray (the one that takes images from the side of the head (see fig 1), an orthodontist can properly diagnose whether the orthodontic issue is skeletal or dental in nature. If the issue is skeletal, the only way to properly address and correct such is by way of a growth modification appliance such as the Herbst. This growth modification should be performed at an “ideal” time to be effective. If done too early, it will not last. If done too late, it will not be effective and jaw surgery will be required to correct the problem.
Therefore, if an orthodontist has diagnosed your child’s orthodontic issue as being skeletal in nature, treatment with rubber bands will not provide a solution.

Benefits of the Herbst?

Upper airway narrowing is connected to several breathing problems which include obstructive sleep apnea. Upper airway narrowing most commonly occurs in the space directly behind the tongue called the oropharynx. A small or narrow oropharynx is often linked to a retrusive (posterior) lower jaw position. It is worth noting that approximately 25% of the children that visit an orthodontist have a lower jaw that is positioned too far posteriorly which puts them at risk for either having or developing airway problems later in life.
In the simplest of terms, the Herbst appliance positions the lower jaw into a more forward position. In clinical research, Iwasaki verified that orthodontic treatment with a Herbst appliance can significantly enlarge the oropharynx, thereby opening the upper airway and minimizing the risk of developing airway issues later in life (see figure 2). Further research by Shutz showed that the Herbst appliance, used in conjunction with expansion of the upper jaw, will increase the volume of the pharyngeal airway and relieve the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Lastly, Pancherz showed thorough additional clinical research that the Herbst appliance is most effective when used near the pubertal growth spurt. It is for the reason that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have a screening, performed by an orthodontist, at age 7.

Therefore, as one can glean, proper diagnose and efficient timing of treatment is essential to effectively treat a child with orthodontic issues of a skeletal nature using growth modification. The answer of “what should we do” in such a case that one orthodontist has recommended a Herbst while a second recommends rubber bands comes squarely down to the doctors’ diagnosis. If, in fact, the problem is skeletal, rubber bands are not a viable solution.

Dr. K Britt Reagin has been educated in orthodontic and dento-facial orthopedics and can monitor your child using radiographs to determine if and when your child will benefit the most from growth modification such as the Herbst.

Figure 1. An example of a cephalometric x ray used by orthodontist to determine if your orthodontic problem is dental or skeletal in nature. This radiograph can also be used to determine if you child is near the pubertal growth spurt.

Figure 2. Courtesy of Iwasaki. A. Shows a child with an obstructed airway prior to growth modification. B. Shows the same patient after the Herbst appliance. Notice then enlargement of the red cavity which is the airway.

How Do You Care For Your Braces

brushing with braces

Congrats! You have your braces and you are on your way to a great smile! At first your mouth may be a little sore and eating softer foods is advised. Once the tenderness is gone you can get back to eating most of your favorite foods. You just need to make a couple of adjustments.

If you love crunchy foods such as apples and carrots, it is best to cut them into smaller pieces and avoid biting into them with your front teeth. Using your front teeth on hard foods can cause a wire or bracket to break. Sweets can still be enjoyed occasionally, but don’t overindulge because sugar from sweets and sodas can get trapped under the brackets and cause tooth decay. Sticky and chewy foods such as caramel and taffy are best avoided altogether because they can be very difficult to remove from your braces. Those are the only changes you need to make in your diet! That doesn’t sound too hard does it?

Now what about brushing your teeth with braces? Brushing is very important and you will need to do this more often than you did before braces. Dr. Reagin recommends you brush after every meal and snack to avoid food particles and sugar from getting trapped in your braces and causing problems down the road. Carry a travel toothbrush with you in your book bag, gym bag or purse so you can brush your teeth at school or wherever you are after eating. If you cannot brush make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.

At least once a day, preferably at night, you need to floss with special flossers called a floss threader. These allow you to get between your teeth and around the brackets and wires to ensure that there are no food particles remaining that you missed with brushing.

Not brushing and flossing well can cause tooth decay, gum disease and even staining of the teeth under the braces. These things are easy to prevent with adding a couple of steps to your daily routine. It is well worth it in the long run!

Orthodontic Pain Relief With Chewing Gum

braces and chewing gum

No one denies that the first week you have your braces on that there is some discomfort. Most studies agree that pain peaks at 24 hours and resolves around day seven. Orthodontic pain comes from a restriction in blood supply, inflammation, and swelling in the compressed periodontal ligament. Histamine, bradykinin, prostaglandins, serotonin, and substance P are released and irritate the nerve endings of the pain receptors, thus causing pain. Bottom line for someone who has new braces, their mouth is sore!

For years most patients have relied on NSAids, such as ibuprofen, to relieve mouth pain in the first week after braces are placed. The American Journal of Orthodontics published a study in 2012 that provided additional options for pain relief. The potential side effects associated with NSAids in young patients have become a concern  so many orthodontists are looking for alternatives. Chewing gum and plastic wafers have been suggested as possible options.

There are various types of mouth pain associated with the placement of braces including chewing, biting bringing front teeth together and bringing back teeth together. The study results showed that both chewing gum and plastic wafers both were good alternatives to NSAids. Chewing gum was especially beneficial in reducing chewing pain.

So how do you use chewing gum to relieve chewing pain?  First, Dr. Reagin only recommends sugar-free gum. The study suggests chewing gum for 5 minutes immediately after braces placement and at 8-hour intervals for 1 week if pain is experienced.

Note: The published study was performed by Fahimeh Farzanegan, Seyed Mojtaba Zebarjad, Sanaz Alizadeh, and Farzaneh Ahraria Mashhad, Iran.

What Is Invisalign and Is It For You


You have probably heard of Invisalign, but do you know what it is?

Invisalign is a series of custom made aligners used to gradually and gently move your teeth into place. Typically aligners are changed approximately every two weeks. You will receive several sets of custom made aligners at each of your visits, which occur every four to six weeks.

The are many advantages of Invisalign for adults and teens. They are clear, so the go virtually unnoticed. You can remove them when you eat and brush your teeth. This means your diet is not limited by them nor does your dental hygiene routine need to change at all. You can brush and floss just as you always have. There is also a huge benefit to individuals that play musical instruments, especially woodwinds. It is easier to play the instrument with Invisaglin and there is no possibility of cutting your lip with Invisalign as there is with traditional metal braces.

Not everyone is a candidate for Invisalign. The best way to determine if it is right for you is to visit Dr. Reagin for a free consultation. If Invisalign is an option, he will develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Oh and another benefit of Invisalign over traditional braces is you will most likely get to use iTero for your impressions over the goop in the trays! That is certainly one for the plus column! Call us today!

Tricks for Hosting a Braces Friendly Halloween Party


Halloween is a week away and on a Friday this year, making it a perfect time to host a Halloween party for your middle and high school age child and their friends. Hosting a crowd of 12-15 year old children will inevitably bring a bunch of kiddos with braces to your house. Reagin Orthodontics has some Halloween party food ideas that are braces friendly and shouldn’t leave your guests with loose wires and brackets.

Click on each the pictures to be taken to the recipe.





spider brownies

Have a happy and safe weekend!