Monday, December 15, 2014

Family, Turkey, Football & Braces!!

When you look at this title you may think wow where is this blog going. Like most of my fellow football fanatics Thanksgiving is like hitting the jackpot. Not only do you get to have a great meal with your family, but it’s a football feast too, with all the games being broadcast.   Many of you may not know this but I am an avid football fan and actually play football (well fantasy football does count right?).  As we embark on this joyous time of year, I am taking a minute to reflect on some of the things I am thankful for.  One of those is the career path of orthodontics.  It has afforded me the opportunity to create beautiful smiles, and change people’s lives.  Working together with dentists in the community and building relationships with them, their patients and families is one that makes it enjoyable to go to work every day. Basically the title explains it all. I am thankful for Family, Turkey, Football and our great patients at Aleman, Sternstien & McDaniel Orthodontics.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Mystery Behind What Moves Teeth!!!

How many of you have sat around on a Friday or Saturday night and wondered the great mystery of what moves teeth?  Well never fear, Tuthmvr Orthodontics is here to shed some light on the Mystery.  If you have ever been a patient or worked in the office you may have heard Dr. Sternstein ask the staff (especially the newly hired staff) “what moves teeth?”. The answer of course is… Light Continuous Force.  Ok, so now you are thinking what does that mean?  Teeth are attached to the bone with ligaments that are kind of like little rubber bands, which allow your teeth some movement when you eat and chew.  These ligaments have a little space between the tooth and the bone(periodontal ligament space). When you apply the right amount of pressure (force) to one side of the tooth it stretches the ligaments on one side and squishes them on the other side. This causes the bone to move on one side of the tooth, while adding it to the other side (basically allowing the tooth to move through the bone).
We use braces to allow us to deliver these forces to the teeth.  With the braces we use many different techniques to achieve light, continuous force. Often we will ask patients to wear rubber bands. When patients are asked to wear elastics, the braces are set up to deliver light continuous force to the teeth with the added help of the rubber bands.   If patients are not compliant, the affect can be the opposite and treatment time could be extended.   Believe it or not some patients do not wear their rubber bands and try to “cram” (double up) their wear a day or two before their appointment to make up for missed time.  However, this isn’t the best solution because you have to be careful if you apply too much pressure (force) the movement will stop.

So now you know the orthodontist secret to moving teeth….. sshh don’t tell anyone!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Back to School Back to Braces!!

So summer is over, and it is time to get back to reality. For many that usually means having to get back into some form of a routine.  It usually involves creating specific times for extracurricular activities, homework and personal grooming.  Sometimes it may feel like you are meeting yourself coming and going.  To think that you have to add the orthodontic maintenance and visits on top of everything else that you juggle can be a little overwhelming.  But what most don’t realize is that the brackets and wires used at Aleman, Sternstein & McDaniel Orthodontics are the most advanced systems Patients that are in orthodontic treatment will visit the office about once every 6 weeks.  Appointment times generally will be less than an hour in length.  Typically a student will miss about a class a quarter for an orthodontic appointment.

Another thing that patients think may be more difficult to manage while time is at a premium is the “dry brushing” Dr. Aleman asks his patients to do this every day for a ½ hour.   There are a couple solutions to doing this.  The first solution is to do it while you are on your way to and from activities. You can get a good 10-15 minutes while you are riding to your destination. There is no toothpaste needed so there is no need to rinse.  Also, you can do dry brushing while you study for that history test or read that English novel.

One other thing that I often hear students concerned about is brushing their teeth while at school.  Since this is something that really should be done, for a couple of reasons 1) your buddies are not going to want to see what you had for lunch, and 2) left over pizza in the brackets isn’t very attractive.  An easy fix for this is to grab your traveling kit (the one you received the day you began your treatment with Aleman, Sternstein & McDaniel Orthodontics). Next, run the toothbrush under the water and then if you don’t want anyone to see you brush, pop into the stall real quick and get the junk off your teeth.  When you get home that evening you can do a thorough cleaning with toothpaste and floss. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bond Another Day!

Did you know that Orthodontists have been successfully bonding braces to teeth for over 45 years!! Before 1970 braces actually wrapped around every tooth, I bet some of you or your parents probably remember having braces like that.  Some probably even remember the “TAPPER”. We have parents that come into the office and say how they hated the “TAPPER”, and when I tell them that we don’t use that anymore they look at their child and say you are lucky.  Braces and the field of orthodontics have made great advancements since then. Direct bonding to teeth became a reality.  And today here at Aleman, Sternstein and McDaniel Orthodontics we have been bonding brackets to teeth for over 35 years. During those 35 years we have worked to perfect the bonding experience and set up a protocol for each bonding appointment.  We have found that the bonding success or failure starts with the tooth surface. The proper conditioning of the tooth’s surface is a variable that must be controlled when bonding a bracket with adhesive. A surface that is not conditioned properly or one that becomes contaminated will not produce satisfactory bond strength regardless of the materials used. We have also found that sometimes the bonding appointment can be a little intimidating to patients for the “fear of the unknown”.   In order to calm some of these fears and alleviate some unanswered questions the following is a list of the steps involved in a bonding procedure:
·         Preparation
o   Teeth must be free of all plaque, calculus & food debris.
·         Isolation
o   Use of lip retractors & cotton rolls to keep the lips and tongue from contaminating the etched surfaces.
·         Etch
o   An etching agent is brushed or dabbed for 15 seconds onto the enamel surface of each tooth to be bracketed.
o   The etch will be then rinsed away.
o   The etched surface will have a chalky appearance.
·         Sealant
o   A thin layer of Pro Seal should be uniformly applied over the etched surface.
·         Bonding
o   A small amount of adhesive will be applied to the back of the bracket and the bracket will be placed on the tooth surface.  The doctor will position it properly and shine an LED light for 20 seconds per tooth to cure the bracket to the tooth surface.
o   Once all brackets are in place wires will be placed to begin the movement of the teeth. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


 Recently at our staff meeting our facilitator asked the staff to do an exercise on the top 10 Signs McDaniel, Sternstein & Aleman Orthodontics is Top Notch!!!  The overwhelming results for the #1 reason basically can be summed up by the golden rule we all learned in kindergarten.  We Treat others they way we want to be treated. That along with the remaining 9 reasons help us to create an overall patient experience that we hope makes our patients agree that their orthodontist is top notch! 

If you are wondering what we consider it takes to make McDaniel, Sternstein & Aleman Orthodontics Top 
Notch here are the top 10 Reasons:

10.          Expectations Plus – Not only meeting but exceeding patients expectations with treatment      results.  Flexibility & understanding of payment plans, flex accounts and payment options.

9.            Cleanliness – High Tech sterilization process. An organized, clean & updated modern            office.

8.           Hygiene Control – Continuous monitoring of patient oral hygiene. We keep the teeth in as      good, if not better condition after orthodontic treatment than when they first began.

7.            Lab – In house lab which offers quick service, very close communication between Dr. and    lab for customized appliances and models.

6.            Positive, Professional Atmosphere – highly trained staff that works together as a team to        create an upbeat fun, caring place you enjoy coming to, and from time to time can win          some cool prizes.
5.            Technology, Experience– 50+ years of combined experience along with the latest in              technological advancements such as laser capabilities, digital x-rays and self ligating                brackets.

4.            Communication – open lines of communications not only between Dr, staff and patients but    also we are a liaison between patients and other offices with coordination of appointments    and treatment follow up.

3.            Healthy Functioning Bite - Not only straight teeth, but a correct bite with centric stops and    cuspid protection.

2.            Stability – A perfect smile for life, retention follow up, stable                                                  results.

1.            GOLDEN RULE – Treat others the way you want to be treated, strive to work with          patients along the entire treatment to ensure the best patient experience.

Monday, July 14, 2014

To Brace Or Not To Brace That Is The Question!

When people think braces they picture a teenager, as many assume the two go together.  However, that is not necessarily the case; today it is common to see children of all ages and even adults with braces.
Some may question why braces are necessary.  Braces are used to correct many problems.  Some of these problems being rotated or crowded teeth, missing teeth, underbites, overbites, deepbites, openbites and crossbites.  Braces are also used to correct jaw positions and dysfunction of the jaw joints.  If left untreated these bites may result in extreme wear of teeth, bone loss and gum disease.  Patients with these bites may also experience difficulty in speaking, biting and chewing.
One of the most frequently asked questions is when to begin orthodontic treatment.  It is almost never too late to benefit from orthodontic treatment, as many orthodontic problems can be treated at any age.  Although the American Association of Orthodontics and the American Dental Association does suggest that children should see an orthodontist no later than age 7.  Treating patients between the ages of 8-14 is the most optimal time while the face and jaws are still growing.
While the majority of orthodontic problems are best corrected on one phase of treatment and usually started after the eruption of most of the permanent teeth, there are some cases in which early intervention is needed.  This may require the patient to have their treatment in two phases.  If two phases are needed the 1st phase is usually when the patient has both permanent and baby teeth and the treatment time is typically 12-18 months. The goal of the first phase of treatment is to get the patients teeth where they should be for this stage of their dental development.
Having a balanced and beautiful bite is not only good for your health; it can improve your self-esteem.  Often people who are not happy with their smile will shield it with their hands or tight lips.   Correcting your smile may give you a boost of self confidence; it is the most striking part of your face. 

The benefits of a healthy bite are endless!  So it appears the answer to the question above to brace or not brace is obvious! You have nothing to lose and all to gain so BRACE it is!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Incredibles and Braces

As you read this title The Incredibles and Braces you are probably asking yourself now how do these two things tie together?  Well, who doesn’t love a good animated movie?  And, I am sure that everyone thinks of braces or orthodontics when they are watching one right?  Well maybe not unless you are an orthodontist or watching “Mater” on the Cars movies.  But, the other day while watching “Elastagirl” on The Incredibles it made me think of rubber bands which in turn lead me to my next thought.  How elastics are used in the office daily for many different reasons.  Which then lead me to think that I am sure not many people fully understand why an orthodontist uses rubber bands.
While in braces rubber bands along with arch wires are used to aide in the correction of many different orthodontic problems.  One patient may be wearing a rubber band to correct an overbite, and the next one could be using it to correct an underbite.  Rubber bands are also used to help correct openbites, crossbites, midline alignment and can even be used after Oral Surgery.
Often at the beginning of treatment patients are extremely anxious to begin rubber bands and ask if they are going to get them at their first appointment.  Generally rubber bands will happen a little later in the treatment.  Sometimes during the course of treatment patients may be asked to wear their rubber bands intermittently; it is not uncommon to start and stop rubber bands or to even wear rubber bands more than 1 way during the treatment.
At McDaniel, Sternstein & Aleman Orthodontics we try to keep rubber band wear fun and easy to follow.  We offer different colors of elastics and have fun names such as Kangaroo, Foxes and Penguins.  The staff makes sure each patient knows how to hook the bands up and exactly how they are to be worn.  It is extremely important to wear the elastics as instructed.  The wires are made to work with the rubber band and if they are not being worn the teeth may move a different direction or not at all.  If they are not worn properly the braces will have to stay on longer. 

So if it’s starting to sound like you are visiting a zoo,….rubber bands could possibly be in your future.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Braces When & Why!

Often when I am out I am asked the question “When should my child get braces?” And, in most case the child is not with them for me to check and there for my answer is this.  Orthodontic treatment will often begin between the ages of 8 & 14.  Treatment that begins while a child is growing helps produce optimal results.  Our office, McDaniel, Sternstein & Aleman along with the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have an orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of 7.  By this age, most children will have a mix of permanent and baby teeth.

While orthodontic care ultimately is a team effort establishing a relationship with the patient at an early age is the first step to a healthy and beautiful smile.  During the first visit the orthodontist will be getting to know the patient while looking for a few of the following:
  •        Position of the first permanent molars
  •              Position of the upper and lower jaws
  •             Spacing and room for erupting permanent teeth
  •             Facial Appearance/symmetry


Why it is important to see an Orthodontist for your Orthodontic Treatment: 

An orthodontist is a dentist who has spent 2-3 years in a specialty residency program focused on tooth movement, facial development, and how teeth fit together to provide optimal function and aesthetics.  
For example if you had a heart condition, you would not see your general physician you would see a cardiologist.  Just the same, if you needed your teeth straight you would go to an orthodontist.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Get the straight on braces myths from McDaniel, Sternstein & Aleman Orthodontics

While watching Myth Busters on the Discovery Channel the other night, it made me think of the many myths and misconceptions there are out there about braces.  Hopefully after reading this blog, the confusion and fears of some will be alleviated. 

Myth # 1 – If I get braces I will beep when I go thru a metal detector.
Myth-Buster – Braces do not set off metal detectors so go ahead and book that next vacation.

Myth #2 – I am too old for braces, they are for young kids.
Myth-Buster – You are never TOO old for braces, in reality about 25% of our practice are adult patients.

Myth# 3 – Braces are big, ugly and very noticeable.
Myth-Buster – With the advancements in technology braces have become smaller, more efficient and there are even options for a clear bracket.

Myth#4 – Any dentist can put braces on and straighten teeth

Myth-Buster – Sure anyone can put a bracket on a tooth and straighten that tooth out.  However, an orthodontist has studied not only how to straighten teeth, but also how to make sure they stay that way.  They have taken courses on facial growth and development and how to make your teeth fit and function together properly.  An orthodontist will straighten teeth while taking facial profiles and jaw joints into consideration when they treat a case. Only an orthodontist can be accredited by the American Association of Orthodontist. 

Monday, February 10, 2014


Have you made your resolution list for 2014? Many people have or will be soon.  Some of the top resolutions year after year are:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Exercise more
  3. Get a new/better job
  4. Eat Healthy
  5. Quit Smoking
  6. Improve a relationship
  7. Stop procrastinating
  8. Set aside time for your self

  So after looking over these we wanted to share how we think getting braces can help achieve these resolutions!

  1. Lose weight – While in braces there is a food list that should be followed which in turn will eliminate some candies from your diet that can cause weight gain.
  2. Exercise more – when craving something that is on the food list work out instead
  3. Get a new/better job – having more confidence because you are happy with your appearance will help get you a new or better job
  4. Eat Healthy – since you have to follow the food list while in braces it’s easier to grab a healthy snack as to grabbing a chewy candy bar
  5. Quit Smoking – smoking can cause gum disease and bone loss. Having braces on while smoking  can exacerbate these issues so its best just to quit now
  6. Improve a relationship – since you will be visiting your orthodontist on a regular basis that relationship will definitely improve
  7. Stop procrastinating – by making the decision to start orthodontics you already have resolved that resolution
  8. Set aside time for your self – every 6-10wks you will set aside time for yourself to visit your orthodontist