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Brandon Bice here, dentist and adBice blogger for Grand Dental. Did you know that Grand Dental has an orthodontic team? I did. However, I’ve been avoiding them, even though I have minor crowding of my lower teeth that I’ve always wanted to straighten. Like many of you, I pushed off orthodontic treatment for years. Why you may ask? The reason was that naughty four letter word – FEAR.

What was I afraid of? Well quite simply, I thought it would hurt. However, as a dentist, I felt bad that I frequently recommend orthodontic solutions to my patients, yet I wasn’t willing to undergo treatment myself. In other words, I needed to “walk the walk” if I was going to “talk the talk”.

So I channeled my tough-guy, football player alter ego and finally scheduled my consultation with our Grand Dental Orthodontist, Dr. Kenneth Sandler. After discussing my goals, expectations and FEAR, together we developed a plan that was perfect for me. I was also nervous about looking like a teenager in traditional braces so we decided that Invisalign aligners were a good choice for me. In my case, my crowding was minor and Dr. Sandler assured me that I could achieve the results I was looking for in just 28 weeks. He even showed me a virtual model of how my teeth will move. Seeing the projected results trumped any fear I was having!

I have had the aligners for a few months now, and I can report that Invisalign has been an amazing choice! Honestly, its easy peasy! While I did experience some mild discomfort the first day of wearing my aligners, it was nothing a little ibuprofen couldn’t handle. Soon my teeth seemed to adjust more easily to each new set of custom aligners. I have grown accustomed to wearing the aligners day and night; having them on has become second nature. Starting orthodontic treatment with Dr. Sandler has given me the opportunity to share my experience with patients. Orthodontic treatment is truly nothing to fear!

So take some adBice from me – if you are unhappy with your smile, schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Sandler and our Grand Dental Orthodontic Team. They will help you find a solution that is perfect for you.

Have you heard of Six Month Smiles?

Grand Dental Group boasts approved dental providers for Six Month Smiles care at their locations. Six Month Smiles allows patients, from older teens through adulthood, the opportunity to cosmetically change their smiles and the appearance of their teeth without traditional wire braces.

The duration of treatment, the cost of treatment, and concerns about becoming self-conscious with metal orthodontic appliances are common deterrents from braces. Most adults do not consider minor flaws such as crowding or gaps between their teeth to be worthy of the expense and time of full braces care. But, many people would still love the opportunity to have a beautiful, straight smile. Six Month Smiles offers that chance.

Not every patient is appropriate for Six Month Smiles. In some cases patients, such as children and younger teens, require comprehensive orthodontic care to correct long-term structural issues. In those situations, our dentists will refer patients to an orthodontist for an evaluation and assessment. But, for the patient that is a candidate, and looking to improve the cosmetic appearance of their teeth, Six Month Smiles is an option. Treatment lasts typically four to nine months, with six months being the average length of treatment time. The actual appliances are more cosmetic in color and size than traditional braces, brackets, and wires. Additionally, the cost of treatment can be significantly less than comprehensive care. These benefits are just the beginning. The real wow factor of this treatment is the end result of a more cosmetically-improved smile.

Patients who are interested in learning more about this alternative cosmetic treatment should contact a certified Six Month Smiles dentist. Dentists must undergo additional training and education to become certified in the Six Month Smiles technique.  At Grand Dental Group, our approved doctors have treated numerous patients with success and satisfaction. A couple of our most recent satisfied patients with successful end-results were happy to provide testimonials about their care:

Patient Testimonial: “I would definitely recommend the 6 Month Smiles. I got amazing results- faster than I ever expected. (I am) so glad Dr. Mark offered this! For me it was totally pain-free.”  Diane C.

Patient Testimonial: “I personally LOVED them (Six Month Smiles). At first getting used to the way my mouth felt was so weird, but like anything, you get use to it. When it came to eating, I became really careful with everything I ate. Mainly because I didn’t want to sit in front of a mirror picking my teeth. I can eat a lot more stuff now that I more used to them, but still miss eating certain things. (I just wish) to avoid breaking off brackets.I love that when it comes to taking pictures you can’t see them, and most people didn’t even realize I had braces until I pointed them out. That was a big thing for me when it came to getting orthodontic treatment. I didn’t want to be in traditional silver braces.” Maritza F.

Are you interested in learning more? Do you have additional questions about how the process works or if you are a candidate?  Contact one of our Grand Dental Group locations at: 866-330-0007 or at www.granddentalgroup.com

Congratulations! You have had your braces placed recently by your orthodontist and that is great news! Although getting braces is common and many of your friends and family members may have them, it is common to wonder, Now what do I do?, after they are placed.  Taking care of your teeth and having good oral hygiene habits with braces is different than before you had braces. The teams at Grand Dental Group and Aim Orthodontics have provided tips that answer the most common questions regarding braces care.

Steps for taking care of your braces

Questions such as: How do I clean my teeth with braces, Do I still have to floss, and Can I get my teeth professionally cleaned while I have braces are all common questions that our dental team hears from patients. Excellent oral hygiene and home care is very important in general and more so when patients have braces or orthodontic appliances covering part of their teeth.

These steps will reduce any chance of cavities, white areas of decalcifications, and gum disease throughout your orthodontic treatment. Following these tips will make your treatment more comfortable and provide you with the optimum outcome!

Soft foods for braces

What can I eat, now that I have braces? This is a common question and one that your orthodontist and dentist are used to hearing. It is often one of the first things patients are concerned about once their braces are placed. Although they are given the job of moving teeth and changing your bite, braces are delicately attached to your teeth and quite fragile. It is important that special care be taken while eating to ensure that you do not accidentally loosen a bracket or bend your wires. Our staff at Aim Orthodontics and Grand Dental Group share the do’s and don’ts of eating with braces and orthodontic appliances. Wearing braces can be challenging, but avoiding emergencies and damage will certainly allow for a better experience, a shorter duration of treatment, and a more satisfying outcome.

In the event that you do cause inadvertent damage to your braces or orthodontic appliance, an additional appointment may necessary to correct the problem. If the problems are not fixed immediately, this may delay your treatment and success. It is imperative that you exercise caution when eating. What you eat and how you eat it are important to the success and longevity of your appliance.

Foods to avoid with braces

Generally speaking, there are two types of foods that patients with braces or orthodontic appliances should avoid. These two categories include: Hard, brittle foods and soft, sugary, sticky foods.

Hard, brittle foods include such things as ice, popcorn, hard breads and buns, peanut brittle, crispy french fries, pizza crust, hard candy, nuts, sub sandwiches, whole hard fruits and veggies, and corn chips and hard-shelled tacos. When eating fruits and vegetables that are crunchy or hard, such as apples, carrots, etc., cut up the items first to avoid biting into the food. In addition, chewing or biting on fingernails, pen caps, or pencils also pose a risk of damage.

Soft, sticky foods that are unsafe for eating while in braces include sugary chewing or bubble gum and sticky candies, such as caramels, gummy bears, laffy taffy, etc. Gummy and sticky foods should be avoided at all costs. Not only do they cause potential damage to the brackets and wires, but they cling to orthodontic appliances and contribute to a higher incidence of dental cavities during and after treatment.

In many cases, patients with braces can enjoy foods on the “unsafe” list, provided that the patient can modify how they are eating the foods. For example, sub sandwiches, hoagies, and bagels can be enjoyed as long as the patient cuts or breaks up the breads and eats it in small pieces. Corn can be enjoyed if it is sliced off the cob. As mentioned before, fruits and veggies are safer if eaten in cut up pieces as well.

The dentists and orthodontists at Grand Dental and Aim Orthodontics know that orthodontic success depends on the care taken by the patient while in braces. Practicing good oral hygiene, seeing your dentist regularly, protecting your teeth and braces while playing sports, and practicing smart eating habits will help make your braces experience more enjoyable.

Orthodontic emergencies are generally uncommon, but occasionally appliances or wires can become damaged and cause discomfort for patients.  If a patient experiences a dental emergency while in orthodontic treatment, he or she should contact their dental office immediately. This can involve an injury that knocks out a tooth, fractures or displaces a tooth, or even a jaw fracture. Severe emergencies that result in head trauma, vomiting or nausea should be assessed by emergency staff in a hospital before proceeding to a dental office.

Orthodontic emergencies differ in that they generally consist of loose, broken, or bent appliances or orthodontic wires.  Many situations will require that the patient is seen in the office by their orthodontist. Other less critical instances can be handled at home and without an office visit. Most importantly, patients should know that injuries or emergencies that result in pain, discomfort, bleeding or swelling warrant an immediate call to your dental or orthodontic office. Answering services are in place at Grand Dental Group offices and Aim Orthodontics to manage calls received during non-business hours. At no time does your dentist or orthodontist want you to be in discomfort. When in doubt, call!

There are some tips to help patients experiencing mild problems, while they are waiting to be seen in their oral health care office:

At Grand Dental Group and Aim Orthodontics, we want your orthodontic experience to be comfortable and efficient! When problems arise, emergency related or not, please contact our offices and speak to a member of our team for assistance.

Straight teeth in six months

Is it really possible to get straight teeth in just six months? Yes, it is! Six Month Smiles allows patients to smile with confidence in a very short period of time. Six Month Smiles is program that offers “Short Term Orthodontics“(STO). It is cosmetically-focused orthodontic treatment program that takes 4-9 months. The average patient case takes six months. In traditional orthodontics, treatment can last anywhere from 18-36 months.

Who offers Six Month Smiles?

At Grand Dental Group, we have providers that offer Six Month Smiles as an option for teens or adults who are interested in braces. For the most part, patients do not typically complain about the alignment of the teeth that don’t show when they smile. The teeth that people are concerned about are almost always the very visible front teeth. For this reason, the thought of having full mouth metal braces for a couple of years is not appealing to many patients. The duration of treatment, the out of pocket costs, and the aesthetic appearance of full braces deters many older teens and adults from considering orthodontic care.

The philosophy at Grand Dental is that patients should not be held back by these factors. With that in mind, some of the Grand Dental Group general dentists have taken the educational and clinical courses to become certified in short term orthodontics.

Six Month Smiles is an effective gateway to help patients access more comprehensive cosmetic dental care. It allows dental providers to tap into a large part of the population that currently has limited smile-enhancing options. Cosmetically altering smiles with porcelain veneers or crowns is not always a viable option for patients. Veneers and crowns require permanently modifying the natural tooth structure by grinding down the enamel. Six Month Smiles allows patients to improve their smiles without changing the shape of their teeth or adding permanent dental restorations. In addition, short term orthodontics is often much more affordable than the cost of veneers and crowns.

How does Six Month Smiles work?

The objective is not to change the shape, color, or size of the teeth, but to change the alignment of them. The treatment is a new approach to offering cosmetic care to adults who decline on comprehensive traditional orthodontics. Six Month Smiles is not a considered to be a replacement to comprehensive care, it is an alternative to it. The process and treatment results in: straighter teeth, in less time, costing less money and with clear, not metal, braces.

Who makes a good candidate?

There are some patients who are not ideal candidates for Six Month Smiles. Grand Dental Group providers recommend that children and teens seek and receive comprehensive orthodontic treatment from an orthodontist. This will ensure that patients in this age group receive orthodontic care that also takes into consideration their growth spurts, developing teeth, and skeletal structure. Adults who are unhappy with the position of their teeth or those adults who have TMJ disorders should also seek the counsel of an orthodontist for the ideal therapy. However, for adult patients who are not interested in full orthodontic treatment or those who are only concerned about the appearance of their visible teeth, Six Month Smiles is an option. Children need to be treated idealistically but Grand Dental offers an alternative for adults to be treated realistically. In all cases, it is strongly advised that patients see their dentist and orthodontist for a comprehensive consultation before committing to one course of treatment over another.

Oral Hygiene Care for Braces

Wearing orthodontic braces has many benefits such as the end result will give you that perfect, straight smile. The length of time it takes to achieve that perfect straight smile can be discouraging, but the results will be worth the wait! The other difficulty with braces is the time and effort it takes to keep your teeth and gums healthy while in braces.

We all know that we need to brush at least 2 times a day. But it is even more important while in braces to brush after every meal and snack and that may equal brushing up to 3 to 5 times a day.  Patients in braces are encouraged to spend good quality time brushing and to not rush through it. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and use small, circular motions to sweep away food and debris. Angle your toothbrush to clean along the gumline, as well as above and below the orthodontic brackets where food and plaque may stick. Plaque left around brackets can lead to cavities only visible once braces are removed.

Equally important to brushing is flossing.  We all know that flossing is everyone’s least favorite thing to do with or without braces, but it is a very important and necessary part of one’s oral hygiene to keep your teeth and gum tissue healthy.  Flossing with braces takes a bit of time and patience due to the orthodontic wires. Floss threaders will help you get the floss under the wire so you can properly floss around each tooth.  Floss in front of a mirror so you can see exactly what you are doing. With time and practice flossing will not seem to take so long.  Don’t let the amount of time is takes to floss with braces discourage you from doing it! This one simple habit will keep your gum tissue from becoming puffy, red, inflamed and bleeding.

As long as you take the time to brush and floss properly while you are in braces you should have all you need to keep your teeth and gum tissue healthy! But there are other dental aids that you can use to help with your oral hygiene such as an electric toothbrush, proxybrushes, a waterpik, and mouth rinses to name a few.

So although brushing and flossing may take more time while you are in braces-just remember that it will all be worth it once the braces come off and you have that perfect straight smile!


Have you ever considered getting braces?  Do you think you are too old to get braces?  Well,  think again. It is never too late to get braces and get that perfect straight smile you have always dreamed of having.

Braces are not just for teenagers.   It is a very common misconception that braces can only be done as a child or as a teenager.  Well that misconception is very WRONG.  Many adults may choose not to get braces later in life because they may not like the way traditional braces look but braces can be done later in life.

Nowadays many adults are choosing to get braces for many reasons.  One may be because they are able to afford it now as adults when their parents may not have been able to afford it when they were younger.  Another reason may be that as adults they are more conscious and aware of the way their teeth look and would like to achieve a straight smile. Also another reason may be because there are more options as to the type of braces one can get.

There are traditional braces which are what is most commonly seen and are the metal brackets and metal wires.  There are other options besides the traditional braces that are making braces more appealing to adults who are concerned with esthetic looks. There is the option of ceramic/clear brackets instead of the metal brackets as well as the option of Invisalign.  Many adults may like the option of Invisalign because it is a series of clear, removable aligners that adjust and straighten teeth without the use of metal or wires.

So no matter what the age remember that a straight smile is obtainable through braces even if you are no longer a young child or teenager.

Monica C., Dental Hygienist

Athletic Mouthguards

Athletic mouthguards are a flexible appliance designed to protect the mouth from trauma.   They cover the teeth and gums to help reduce and prevent injury to the teeth and other areas around the mouth.  Sports trauma without wearing a properly designed mouthguard can result in many types of serious mouth injuries.  These injuries can range from chipped teeth to loss of teeth.  Depending on the type of injury, it can result in months or even years of treatment.  Costs for treatment can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.  Some studies also suggest that mouthguards help to prevent concussions and neck injuries.  However the scientific evidence supporting these claims is not conclusive.

 It is commonly known that mouthguards are worn for football, boxing and hockey.  It is also recommended that they be worn for numerous other sports as well.  The ADA recommends that mouthguards be used in 29 sports:  acrobatics, basketball, bicycling, boxing, equestrian, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, inline skating, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.  As you can see there are many sports recommended that we all take for granted.

There are several different types of mouthguards.  Stock mouthguards offer some protection, but are not adjustable and are difficult to keep in place, because they don’t grip the teeth.  They are also the least expensive.  Boil and bite mouthguards are prefabricated but can be heated and formed around the teeth.  The biggest problem with these mouthguards is improper placement in the mouth when fitting them.  Custom mouthguards are the most expensive, but provide the best protection and fit.  A dental professional fabricates them by taking an impression of the mouth and having a lab make the appliance.  A custom mouthguard can also be made for someone wearing braces.

As you can see, mouthguards are a smart investment in helping to prevent injuries that could cost much more in the long run.  Although certain types of mouthguards are better than others, any mouthguard is better than none at all.  Enjoy the upcoming season of fall sports, and stay safe.


Dr. J. Ward Crown