Monday, August 12, 2013

Are You Forgetting Something??

As the summer winds down and everyone is trying to soak up the last of the precious sun, we find it necessary to ask- When applying sunscreen, are you forgetting something?  The something we are referring to is one area that is commonly missed when slathering on the 'screen-- YOUR LIPS!  Even though they are on the face that you (better be) generously suncreening, they are commonly forgotten.  Your skin on your lips is just as susceptible to cancer as the rest of the skin on your body. (read here)  
Further, the skin on your lips is much thinner than elsewhere on your body.  So, forgetting to apply sunscreen to them can quickly make them dry out or can even cause Actinic cheilitis.  Worth looking up- it is very common and becoming moreso.

Sun damage to the skin and lips is so common that doctors and dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen and lip protection everyday, even non-sunny days.  AND DON'T EVEN GET US STARTED ON TANNING!  
: )

Please just be aware and protect your pretty pout.  It's the only one you got- and it contributes to your beautiful smiles!

PS if putting stuff on your lips is not your thing, you can always wear a big hat!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Soda Addiction
 Do you love your sugary liquid and just cannot find a way to break the soda habit?  We have some information that might help you change your mind.  Don't get us wrong, soda is good... SOMETIMES.  Its when it is an everyday habit that it can be a problem. 
We are learning, sadly, that diet soda can be just as bad as regular soda when it is consumed in excess.
It is hard to look at, but:
Yes, that says that the mouth on the left is that of a methamphetamine user and the one on the right, a DIET soda abuser.  
As stated above, a soda (even non-diet), every once in a while is fine, but when it becomes a habit, it shows. This is because the sugar in the soda is not the only damaging ingredient. The citric acid in regular and diet soda erodes the enamel on your teeth.  
The individual of interest in this article abuses soda to the extent of drinking 2 liters daily for three to five years.  Whoa.  Sounds crazy, right?  But, unfortunately, it is more common than one would think.  Just ask your dentist.  Need more convincing?  This one has a crazy comparison of soda drinker to drug user and the facts are staggering. 
As with anything, moderation is always key.  But, if water is not helping to kick your soda habit, check out this article with tons of soda alternatives.  Your teeth and your body will thank you (and so will your orthodontist and dentist). : )

Friday, June 21, 2013

Our Social Following

Today will be a brief post about networking of the social kind.  We just wanted to let our friendly followers know that our Heintz Orthodontics Facebook fan Page is super duper close to reaching 300 likes and we are really pushing to get it there!  

Please visit our page and give us a like.  While you are at it, we just wanted to let you all know that we are on twitter @heintzortho and Instagram @heintzortho.  Last, and surely not least, we are on Pinterest.   This might be our favorite because we post braces-friendly recipes, proper care for your braces, jokes, neat articles and other things that help us share smiles; because smiling's our favorite! 
: )

We hope you are already following This blog and we look forward to some fan love on our other sites.  Thanks... our fans and patients mean the world to us!!  

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Benefits of Straight Teeth

The Benefits of Straight Teeth
Straight teeth give you a pretty smile and that is it, right?  So, so very wrong.  Yes, straight teeth can make anybody smile prettier:

But, the aesthetic benefits of Orthodontic treatment are only a small portion of the many health benefits of having straight teeth.  

The most important of these health benefits to discuss is cleaner teeth.  When teeth are misaligned and crowded, it is more difficult to brush and floss them.  And, as we all know, poor brushing and flossing contributes to tooth decay and gum disease.  

A bite that is misaligned can also lead to uneven tooth wear and put extra pressure on your jaw joint or TMJ (which we talked about here).  An improper bite can also inhibit your ability to chew properly and can cause speech impediments as well. 
So, while 50% of Americans agree that having crooked teeth makes a poor impression (see this article about an Invisalign sponsored survey), the health benefits are what make Orthodontic treatment truly worth it. If you are one of the 74% of adults suffering from malocclusion, or bad bite, you may consider the benefits that it may have on your overall health. 
For a more in depth look and to see the long term risks of having crooked teeth, you should watch this short video by Invisalign:
So, figure out if Orthodontics can help to create a healthier you!
Oh, and check out some of our before and afters here and here 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


What is TMJ?  TMJ stands for Temporo-Mandibular Joint. Seen here:
 As you may have inferred from the name, the Temporo-Mandibular Joint is the joint that exists where your temporal bone meets your mandible, or lower jaw.  If someone is experiencing pain in this area they may or may not have TMD, or Temporo-Mandibular Disorder. 
Generally speaking, most people who do experience pain in this area automatically jump to the conclusion that they are experiencing TMD pain.  However, the symptoms of TMD are rather broad and can be a signal for many other issues.  Because of this reason, it is important to visit your dentist for a diagnosis, to rule out the possibility of other, more serious dental problems.  
TMD is generally more common in females than in males and it generally occurs between the ages of 20 and 40.  Just like any other joint in the body, the TMJ is subject to wear and tear, which is one of many causes of TMD.  
There are many household remedies or therapies to alleviate the pain that is caused by TMD.  And extreme cases may need to be fitted for a mouthguard to prevent clenching, grinding, etc.  But, TMD has been known to cause misaligned jaws, unevenly worn teeth, and other problems that may be fixed or lessened with adult orthodontic treatment.
So, if you experience pain and you suspect that it may be caused by TMD, it is important to get a diagnosis from your dentist to assess what steps and treatment may help you in the future.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Adults and Braces: Why Should You Take the Plunge??  
 The first, and most important reason: (and feel free to be done reading this posting, because you really need no other reasons) YOU DESERVE IT!
If you are still with us and would like to continue reading (thank you) let us provide you with some more reasons for pursuing orthodontic treatment. 
If, when thinking about Orthodontic treatment, a picture similar to this:

comes to mind... its time to re-think your brace face.  
Yes there are many many kids in orthodontic treatment.  This is mainly due to the fact that The AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) recommends that children see an orthodontist no later than age 7, even if there are no problems. Because the jaw is still developing and it’s best to catch issues early.  
And, bless their hearts, parents are usually so good about doing this.  So good, in fact, that more often than not parents put aside their own need for Orthodontic care to make sure their kids are taken care of.  If this is you... please stand, take a bow, pat yourself on the back... reward yourself.  Because you are amazing. (please see our Pinterest board for two examples of parents who did just this).

No, it is not too late for you.  Re-thinking your brace face yet?  Maybe we can help.  Take a look at these (very real and very famous) brace faces:

I'm seeing a trend in them.  Are you?  Oh yes- they are all adults!  And if these famous people cannot convince you.  Maybe this AMAZING website (we might be a little biased) can.  Or maybe this one can.
The truth is that braces are not the same as they used to be. There are so many different types of braces, that you have options.  And might we add that there are some new very discrete options (ahem Invisalign did we mention that we are premier preferred providers??). 
So, the choice is yours.  And boy do you have a lot of them.  But you no longer have any excuses.  You deserve to look and feel your best, no matter what age you are.  Take the plunge and call us today so we can get you on your way to your new, life-changing smile!! 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Flooding in Alton

Remember the Alton flood of 1973?  Most of you probably do not.  For Alton natives there is a constant reminder of how high these waters got on one of our downtown buildings.  This week, the flood waters in Alton are creeping closer and closer to that high water mark. 
They are not projected to come close to the 1993 water line ( 42.72 feet - in red), which is great, but according to The Alton Telegraph, the water is predicted to crest in the afternoon of June 4th, 2013 at 36 feet. 
What does this mean for Alton?  So far, this flooding has closed most of the riverfront, the Clark Bridge, the river road and many local businesses.  Also, at 8pm last night, sirens sounded in our neighboring city of West Alton, MO ordering the residents to evacuate.  
Also, here are some other photos to show the effects of the flooding:

This is a scary situation.  Which can bring about that old feeling of helplessness that we mentioned here.  And unfortunately, at this time we have no information on volunteering opportunities, as the city will be using a sandbagging machine equipped with 4,000 sandbags to stave off the water.  However, we would like to provide you with this link to show which areas are at risk of flooding and this link which provides information about road closures. 
We are urging all to be safe and to try to help those in need.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Do you recognize...
This type of Bite?
 If you answered "yes" then you or someone you know might be a 
Infants and toddlers are generally prone to thumb-sucking because, due to breastfeeding or bottle feeding, the sucking motion elicits a feeling of pleasure, comfort and warmth.  So, it is instinctive.  Most children learn to stop sucking their thumbs on their own usually by age 2-4.  But, when it becomes a habit and extends past that, it can severely effect your dentition (or type, number, and arrangement of a set of teeth). 
Because children are still developing, their jaws and palates are very soft and flexible.  The constant pressure of thumbs or fingers in their mouths can easily deform the teeth and/or jaws. 
It is EXTREMELY important to stop the habit early in order to avoid open bite, horrible tooth alignmentspeech difficulties, and more rigorous orthodontic treatment.  In addition to these problems, thumb-sucking will train certain mouth muscles to be stronger than others which can lead to swallowing difficulties. 
Sometimes, the habit can be stopped on your own at home.  However,  It is not an easy thing to fix.  But, here are some tips or remedies to try at home.  Or, if it proves to be a job that cannot be fixed by home remedies, there is an orthodontic appliance that is called a "habit appliance."  It generally looks something like this:
 If you or someone you know has a thumb-sucking habit and you feel like you have tried everything and nothing works, come see us today about a habit appliance.  We have cured even the worst of thumb-suckers... so we can help!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Brush Those Pearly Whites

...correctly.  Most people think "well, I may not be the best brusher there is, but at least I am doing it."  Which, yes, if you are brushing regularly you can consider yourself a member of "the good side" of about half the population.  (check out these stats on tooth brushing... crazy).  However, if you are not doing it properly, you may need to work on your technique. That's right, there is a right and wrong way of brushing.  So, not only do you have to do it multiple times a day, you have to do it correctly to be effective.  Teeth are high maintenance! 
Take a look at this infographic. In it, you will see there there is a perfect number of times a day to brush, a certain angle for your toothbrush, a certain motion, a certain strength, a certain type of brush... and flossing is even brought into the routine. Braces or not, these techniques are standard to everyone. WHEW!  Seems like a lot to remember, right? Well, just like anything else that you practice, after a while these techniques will be a habit and you won't even have to think about them.   
So, take a look and if your technique mirrors any of these you may need a little game-changing.  Truth is, improper brushing has been known to cause long-term problems including gum recession, chronic bad breath, and staining, just to name a few from the long list of problems that can result.
Long story short, if you are a habitual brusher, then good for you.  Give yourself a pat on the back for doing what almost half of the population has trouble doing.  But, before you give yourself a full-on back rub, just take a look at your technique.  Because even though teeth can be high maintenance, they are pretty worth it because without them, we might look a little funny...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Devastating Tornadoes= Helplessness
As severe weather wrecks havoc on OK, TX, IL and many other states in the mid-midwestern United States, the normal feeling which overwhelms most is: helplessness.  Those directly affected by the tornadoes feel helpless because some have lost everything.  Those who are lucky enough to be safe from the destruction feel helpless because it is out of their reach to be there and offer help.   But, there are many ways to send your help to those who need it.   
If you are sitting there today wondering "how can I help?" There are a number of things that you can do.  Of all of the suggestions of ways to help, we found this one  to be most helpful.  It contains information for several different volunteer organizations, ways to text donations to certain relief funds, and also ways to donate food.  Coming together in times of need is what helps us, as a country, remain strong in the face of adversity. 
As the news continues to unfold about this, it is also important to start to look for glimmers of hope, like this to get us through.  Everyone be safe...

Friday, May 17, 2013


You may be asking yourself: "what is 2MIN2X?"  GREAT!  Then our plan has worked! 2MIN2X is a Children's Oral Health campaign.  You can read more about them here but basically their aim is to motivate parents to take action against children's poor oral health by encouraging proper and frequent brushing. 

We are in full support of this campaign! Yes, parents, we know that the responsibility of proper oral hygiene, by the time kids are old enough to know better, rests in their hands. And we know that most of the poor oral hygiene that we see in our office everyday is on older aged children.  But, our support for the campaign comes from the fact that proper dental hygiene is a good habit that can be taught as young as age 2.  (if you have doubts, here's how)

2MIN2X written in its full form is two minutes, two times a day.  That means that out of all the 24 hours in a day, if only four minutes of it were dedicated to great tooth brushing, children could experience healthier teeth, good breath, fewer cavities, and avoid painful dental problems.  4 minutes is nothing!  And, websites like this one make it super easy by providing 2 minute videos to watch while brushing!

Remember this video from this blog?  In this video, one mother says "my four year old hates brushing" and "its a battle."  But, as the news reporter says, "its a battle worth winning."  At this point, you may be asking yourself "why is an orthodontic office so concerned about whether or not 4 year olds are brushing... 4 year olds don't have braces?"  You are right, but soon those same 4 year olds will be the 7 year olds that come to us for their first orthodontic evaluation.  And, if these healthy oral practices are already a habit, then once braces are on oral hygiene would not be the issue that it often is. 

If we have not convinced you of the importance of early oral health concerns, we invite you to take a look at this infographic: 

Just 4 minutes is all it takes to set healthy habits in motion.  Let's do it!

Monday, May 13, 2013

'Tis the Season for Mouthguards

As summer makes its debut, so does warmer weather (hopefully).  Which, in turn, kicks off the season of summer sports and sports practices.  This is FANTASTIC!  We are always in support of living healthy and active lifestyles.  But, from an orthodontic point of view, all of these sports bring a major concern to mind; MOUTHGUARDS  
We know that mouthguards are not the most comfortable things to wear during sports.  But, as the article above points out, there are several different types of guards; you just have to find the one that works best for you.  If you are a patient with braces, we highly recommend the "boil and bite" type, as they will then fit comfortably over your braces.  
You may be thinking to yourself "I know that if I were a boxer or if I played football I would need a mouthguard, but my sport is not that rough.  So, I'm good, right??"  WRONG! 
That article contains a list of fairly low-impact sports that are better off played with a mouthguard.  Just because you are not getting physically hit in the face, most sports have the potential of causing harm to your mouth due to falls, head-to-head contact, tooth clenching, or blows to the face.  
This link can educate you on different types of mouth injuries and will hopefully show you why a mouthguard is a seriously essential piece of equipment for sports.  
So, even though they may not be the most comfortable thing to wear, 1) you can choose one that works best for you, 2) you can choose one that works best for the sport that you are involved in, 3) it can prevent all types of serious mouth injuries and, most importantly, 4) It can make you look seriously intimidating...


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mother's Day is This Sunday

May 12...

and let's face it, you still have no ideas what to get for her for Mother's dayAnd that is where we come in!  We have already thought this through for you.  And, with our idea you win either way!!!

So, let's recap... 

1) you submit a story to us (either by email: or facebook or bring it in) about how your real life superhero, mom, saved your day.

2) Be sure to include your mom's email address on this story, and don't tell mom. Otherwise when we send it to her it will not be a surprise. 

3) Once we receive your story, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a beautiful bouquet of flowers that will be delivered to your mom one day before Mother's day. 

4) if you don't win, your mom will still get a surprise email about a story that lets her know that you think she is your real life superhero.   

Both of these options are enough to make any mom feel like she's #1!!

She does a lot for you... DO SOMETHING FOR HER FOR A CHANGE!!


Tuesday, April 30, 2013


These days, with cavities and obesity on the rise, it is easy for one to turn to the food that is eaten for immediate blame of this situation.  But, also on the rise is the emergence of newer, sweeter, calorie packed sodas, soft drinks, juices and energy drinks that easily get dismissed for causing cavities and weight gain because "its only a drink."  With this infographic and information in the links, we encourage people to be mindful of what you (and your children) are consuming daily... not just in your food, but also in your drinks. 

 Changing your foods, drinks and habits can help combat the issue of cavities and weight gain.  For example, eating fruits and vegetables provides great nutrition and helps to keep your teeth clean.  In addition, drinking regular tap water replaces the sugary, high calorie drinks, and has fluoride in it which helps clean your teeth (double whammy!!) And, most importantly, make sure that you are brushing at least twice a day and flossing once everyday.  You only get one set of adult teeth in your one body... You should try to take care of both!!!
(PS The inforgraphic is AWESOME, you should blow it up and read it)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Waffling of Hope

Isn't is strange how a horrible event like Marathon Monday bombing can trigger us to wonder "Where are we safe?" and "Should I be nervous at any major event that I go to?"   Its even stranger that, these days we have to have these thoughts. Period.   With these recent tragic and evil events it always takes a while for us to get back to normal thinking and for us to realize that we cannot live our lives in constant fear because, the reality is, there is evil in this world.  That is why, following recent stories such as these, we like to take time to remind everyone that, while there is evil, the good definitely outweighs the evil.  Yes, it is horrible and tragic that these people trained for months, even years, to qualify for this prestigious race and invited their closest friends and family to watch them race, not knowing that they were being put in harm's way.  But, it is important that we grieve for these people and we try to focus on the good that this has brought about.  It is hard to do that, but without doing so, life cannot go on.  So, while our hearts are with all of those in Boston, all of those who were injured, affected, or scarred by this recent event... we invite everyone to take a second to read this article about some of the good people.  And since we are in the business of smiles, try to smile... and spread it on.  #heintzorthodontics #sharingsmiles #beautifulsmiles #boston