Dietrich & Hilliard Orthodontics

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Celebrate Labor Day by Getting Away

September 1st, 2015

Labor Day honors the contributions that workers have made to this country, and for many Americans, the holiday is a great time to relax at home with family and friends. But there are quite a few people who celebrate the holiday by getting out of town, with an estimated 33 million people traveling more than 50 miles over Labor Day weekend each year. If you’re dreaming of a great Labor Day escape but you’re not quite sure where to go, here are a few ideas from our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics to give you some travel inspiration.

Explore a National Park

On a national holiday like Labor Day, it’s only fitting to experience the beauty of America’s landscapes by heading to the nearest national park. If you’re confined to an office most days of the year, national parks can provide a relaxing and scenic escape, whether you’re by yourself, traveling with a group of friends, or bringing the whole family along. Depending on how close you live to the nearest park, you can stay for an afternoon or for longer than a week. With 58 parks located in 27 states, there are plenty of beautiful areas to choose from.

Chow Down in a BBQ Haven

Barbecuing is a popular Labor Day activity, but instead of sweating over your own grill or oven, try visiting one of the country’s BBQ capitals. U.S. News and World Report names Memphis as the top BBQ destination, with more than 80 BBQ restaurants in the city, most notably Corky’s BBQ and Central BBQ. Kansas City is also known for the sweet taste of its sauces, while central Texas is said to have perfected the technique of smoking tender and flavorful brisket.

Relax on the Beach

Many people think of Labor Day as the unofficial start of fall, which brings cooler temperatures, more rain, and for many people, an end to lazy days at the beach. End your beach days with a bang by taking a trip to one of the coasts or to a lakeside beach. For an added dose of festivity, find a city or town that celebrates the occasion with a fireworks display over the water.

Whether you’re looking to turn your getaway into a full week affair or you simply want to experience a quick escape, make the most of your holiday by changing your surrounding scenery. Happy Labor Day from the orthodontic practice of Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich!

Are braces right for me?

August 25th, 2015

According to Preferred Consumer, it's estimated that 50 percent of people around the world have teeth that are crooked, not aligned properly, or irregular. Fortunately today, orthodontics has advanced to the point where corrective devices, such as braces and retainers, are less obvious, more comfortable, and can be worn for shorter periods of time.

So, with that being said, how do you know if braces are right for you? Typically your dentist will be able to point out any issues with your teeth at your regular six-month cleanings and recommend you to an orthodontist. But here are some other things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not braces could be in your future:

Crooked Teeth

As children grow, so do their teeth. And more often than not, certain teeth will grow in crooked. This isn't uncommon, as the majority of children will require some sort of teeth correction, whether that’s braces or retainers. Retainers are custom-made devices that either work to hold teeth in place or correct tooth alignment. They're often worn all day, aside from meals, at the start of the treatment period and then eventually are rolled back so they're just worn at night. Braces on the other hand are worn for at least a year and work to help straighten or position teeth.

Overbite or Underbite

The other main oral issue that orthodontics helps correct is uneven alignment, such as an underbite or an overbite. You might hear Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich refer to this as a "malocclusion," which means "bad bite." Braces can help rearrange your alignment so an overbite or underbite is less of a problem. Typically after the braces come off for this sort of treatment, patients need to wear a retainer from Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics to finish the treatment.

While braces are typically associated with dental issues in children, more adults are wearing the devices as well. About one in every five braces wearers are adults; a sign that it's never too late to correct any oral issues. Part of this is due to the technological advancements in orthodontics. For instance, new braces feel much better and come in a variety of styles — including clear — so they're far less obvious. Plus, the wires on braces are now made from advanced metals, which are stronger and lighter, so they get the job done much more efficiently. With so many people wearing braces these days, nicknames like "metal mouth" and "brace face" are almost a thing of the past. What's more, is that insurance plans are increasingly covering orthodontic treatment, making braces a much more feasible option for families on a budget.

When weighing whether or not braces are in your future, it's important to study all of your options about the styles of braces and what treatment option is best for you. Also be sure to contact your insurance provider to see what is covered and what will have to be paid out of pocket. It might take a few years of treatment, but braces can give you that winning smile for the rest of your life. Call our Lakeland, FL office with any questions you might have!

Invisalign Teen® Benefits

August 18th, 2015

You can probably see how teeth straightening can make your smile more attractive, but you might be wary of how Invisalign Teen treatment works. If you’re like most teens at our Lakeland, FL office, you love hanging out with your friends, and you don’t want to be different, watch what you eat, or worry about how you look. Invisalign Teen has several benefits over traditional metal braces that can make your treatment easier.

People won’t know you’re wearing them.

Invisalign Teen consists of clear trays that are virtual impossible for others to see. Chances are, the only people who know that you are getting your teeth straightened will be your family and any of your friends whom you choose to tell. You won’t need to answer to “Tinsel Teeth” and “Metal Mouth” as some of your classmates with metal braces do.

You can eat what your friends eat.

You take your Invisalign Teen aligners out of your mouth for meals and snacks, so you can eat just like you normally would. You don’t need to worry about food getting stuck in your braces or leading to a bracket popping off. Unlike with braces, you can enjoy the following foods with your friends during Invisalign Teen straightening treatment:

  • Popcorn at the movies
  • Trail mix with dried fruit when you’re hanging out together
  • Ribs and chicken wings at a party
  • Eating a peanut butter sandwich, apple, and carrot sticks for lunch

You can take care of your teeth more easily.

It would be a shame if you took the trouble to straighten your teeth and then found out that you had developed tooth decay while wearing braces. This is less of a problem with Invisalign Teen aligners because they are removable. You can brush and floss your teeth as normal just by taking the trays out of your mouth.

Getting straighter teeth can be a serious confidence-booster in the long run, and with Invisalign Teen, the treatment isn’t that bad. You can wear these clear aligners without letting people know that you’re straightening your teeth, and they won’t interfere with your diet or dental hygiene.

In-Ovation® Vs. Traditional Braces

August 11th, 2015

At our office, we say it's never too late to improve the beauty of your smile. We suggest to patients of all ages that braces can lead the way to a healthier, happier smile. Orthodontic technology has made many advancements over the past decade. Today, we compare In-Ovation braces to traditional braces to help you decide which is best for your smile needs.

Choosing In-Ovation or Traditional Braces

There are many significant differences between these two styles of braces that often make one more attractive than the other to patients. Overall, the In-Ovation treatment process is far shorter from start to finish than the traditional braces approach.

The In-Ovation treatment process has been gaining vast popularity among patients because it offers superior comfort over traditional braces. Unlike the traditional approach that can be painful and cause continued friction and irritation, In-Ovation braces operate on what is called a self-ligating system. This free-sliding system straightens teeth with gentle, low pressure.

Traditional braces exert their teeth-aligning effects with pressure. They are cemented to teeth, connected by rubber bands, and require much more of a time commitment than newer technology. For some, traditional braces are a more affordable approach and time is not a concern. It's also important to understand that a balanced diet is more important than ever when choosing any type of braces, but especially with traditional braces because of their size. Sugary foods can cause plaque to buildup on the tooth and should be kept minimal.

In-Ovation braces have been reported to shift teeth in a way that causes less irritation. Patients opt for this style because of its overall lower need for maintenance. You will spend far less time visiting our Lakeland, FL if you choose In-Ovation braces over traditional braces.

With fewer components and no elastic bands, there is less of a chance of food debris being left behind with In-Ovation braces. They are easier to clean and when a balanced diet is followed, and much less of a plaque buildup. In-Ovation even offers clear brackets for improved aesthetics.

Still have questions about which braces system is right for you or your child? We encourage you to ask Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich at your next appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon!

At what age should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?

August 4th, 2015

You may have noticed that kids seem to be getting braces and other orthodontic care a lot earlier these days. There was a time, only a decade or two ago, when braces were mainly seen on teenagers, but that is beginning to change. If you’re wondering when to bring your child to our Lakeland, FL office for an orthodontic evaluation, the answer actually has several parts.

The Telltale Signs

If your child has a very crowded set of adult teeth coming in, or if the permanent front teeth came in very early, these are signs that your child should see Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, regardless of age.

The Dental Age

Barring signs of trouble or early adult teeth as mentioned above, the time that your child needs to be seen for initial orthodontic evaluation depends not so much upon your child’s actual age, but on what is known as a “dental age.”

The dental age of the patient might be entirely different from his or her actual chronological age; for example, an eight-year-old could have a dental age of 13. It is part of Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our staff’s job to determine the dental age and then make appropriate recommendations for the resolution of orthodontic issues if they are emerging.

The Official Recommended Age

The American Association of Orthodontists officially recommends that kids should see an orthodontist for the first time between the ages of seven and nine. Even if the child does not have all his or her permanent teeth, the teeth growth pattern can usually be predicted quite effectively by an orthodontist.

This allows for a proactive response to emerging problems, and this is the reason that some younger children are now getting orthodontic devices earlier in life. If a young child has serious orthodontic issues emerging, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich can usually address the problems immediately and then follow up with another round of treatment when the child has all the adult teeth.

In-Ovation® Benefits

July 28th, 2015

In-Ovation braces are much smaller than traditional braces, are less noticeable on your teeth, and use the method of self-ligation. This type of braces doesn’t require the use of the elastic bands to keep the wires in the correct place, which makes your orthodontic experience more convenient and comfortable.

There are two types of In-Ovation braces: In-Ovation R and In-Ovation C, both of which supply the same benefits of less pain than traditional braces, shorter treatment time, and a beautiful smile!

In-Ovation R Braces

This impressive orthodontic treatment is specifically aimed to provide you with a better hygienic and aesthetically favorable treatment procedure while moving your misaligned and crooked teeth into a better more attractive position.

In addition, the distinctive method of In-Ovation R braces provides less discomfort because there is nearly no pressure applied to your teeth. Another benefit of In-Ovation R braces is you do not require as many visits with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich during your treatment process.

Other benefits include:

  • Quicker treatment time: About four months shorter than the traditional braces
  • More comfortable
  • Fewer visits to our Lakeland, FL office
  • Enhanced facial aesthetics
  • Shorter orthodontic appointments with no uncomfortable adjustments
  • No elastic bands or metal allows for easy care of your dental health and a reduction in the risk of developing cavities

With traditional metal braces, elastic bands are used to keep the wires in place. In-Ovation R braces use a free-sliding technology that gently moves your teeth while implementing minimal to no pressure. The procedure can also make the entire progress quicker and completed without all the discomfort and inconvenience.

In-Ovation C

In-Ovation C braces offer all same the benefits of In-Ovation R, with one small difference: this type of braces is clear in color. Rhodium (a silvery-white metallic element) covers the clips making the In-Ovation C braces appear less visible. In-Ovation C braces offer a more inconspicuous way to straighten your teeth, and give you that beautiful smile you always wanted.

The Invisalign® Treatment Process

July 21st, 2015

Invisalign is gaining traction as a sought-after solution for orthodontic problems. Unlike traditional braces, which require the placement of brackets on teeth and the connection of unsightly wires, Invisalign works nearly invisibly (as its name suggests). Particularly for those who do not wish to draw attention to their orthodontic work, Invisalign provides an attractive solution.

Consultation with a Treatment Provider

Our practice has received specialized training to work with Invisalign. During your consultation appointment, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich will assess your smile needs. In some cases, the type of problem may not lend itself to correction through Invisalign, and we may offer an alternative solution.

Creation of a Custom Treatment Plan

Invisalign works using a series of customized clear trays that fit almost perfectly over the teeth. To create these trays, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich will take X-rays and impressions of your teeth. These are submitted to a specialized laboratory that makes a 3D image of your smile. This is used to create a specialized treatment plan that provides an estimate of how long treatment will take.

Arrival of Custom Trays

Once your customized trays have arrived, the treatment begins. For Invisalign to work properly, you must wear the aligners 20 to 22 hours per day, removing them only to eat, drink, and brush your teeth. The trays gently draw your teeth into proper alignment, correcting your orthodontic problems as you go about your everyday life.

In general, you will replace your aligners with a new set every two weeks. This is to encourage your teeth to continue moving throughout the treatment process. You’ll need to check in with our Lakeland, FL office every six weeks or so to ensure treatment progresses smoothly.

Beautiful Smile: Complete!

Once you complete your individualized treatment plan, you’ll have the smile you’ve always dreamed of. Like with traditional braces, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich may recommend that you wear a retainer to ensure that your teeth remain in their new positions.

Five Fun Ways to Count Down Your Braces Time

July 14th, 2015

Braces can straighten your teeth to give you a more attractive smile for life. The process can take 18 months to two years or more, and this amount of time can seem unending when you first get your braces. Counting down your brace time can help the time pass more quickly and build the excitement for when you finally get your braces removed.

Make a Wall Calendar

Crossing out each day on a calendar is a standard way of counting down time. You can make this more personal by designing your own calendar to help you count down. Use an online customization service to upload photos or designs for each month. Each month’s picture can also display the number of months remaining until you expect your braces to come off.

Schedule Rewards

When you receive regular rewards for continuing to wear your braces, they can seem less burdensome. Plan to buy yourself a reward every month that you wear your braces for the duration of the treatment. The time will pass much faster when you feel you are earning rewards for your patience.

Lengthen a Paper Chain

Use strips of paper to make the links of your chain, and add a new link each week to lengthen the chain. Before sealing each new strip of paper into a circle, write on it a reason why you are getting your teeth straightened, or an event in the future when you will appreciate your straight teeth as you smile.

Use a Wall Hanging

Purchase a large pad of blank white paper. Write a “0” on the bottom sheet and a “1” on the next, and continue until you reach the number of days remaining in your treatment. Rip off the top sheet each day to see how many days are left and remind yourself of the progress you are making.

Find a Buddy

If any of your friends get braces around the same time as you, share the experience. Make a pact to celebrate each trip to Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics when one of you receives news about your progress.

Tell us about your summer!

July 7th, 2015

The dog days of summer are upon us, and what better time for Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team to ask our patients about their summer!

Whether you visited our nation’s capital, went on a camping trip, or just stayed in Lakeland, FL and relaxed, we want to know how you’re all spending your summer! Please feel free to share your summer plans and experiences with us below or on our Facebook page as summer rolls on!

Happy Fourth of July!

June 30th, 2015

Happy Independence Day from Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and team! The Fourth of July celebrations in America may have changed a lot over the years, but there is no doubt that we Americans love to celebrate the anniversary of our country's independence! Today we're devoting the Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics blog to some fun facts about the Fourth!

  • My, how we have grown! This year the United States Census Bureau estimates that our country has 313.9 million residents celebrating the Fourth of July this year, but back in 1776 there were just 2.5 million members of the country.
  • Our country loves to show how proud that we are of our independence. Did you know that there are 31 United States places with the word “Liberty” in their names? The state of Iowa actually has four towns with the word Liberty in the name: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty, and West Liberty.
  • The United States loves Fourth of July food! It is expected that around 150 million hot dogs are eaten on the Fourth each year. One of the Fourth's most popular sides, potato salad, goes just perfectly with the hotdogs and hamburgers that are standard Fourth of July fare. Some people choose potato chips instead, but we wouldn't have such a plethora of potatoes if not for the prodigious production of the states of Idaho and Washington -- they provide about half of all the potatoes in the United States today!
  • Americans love celebrating the Fourth outdoors: About 74 million Americans fire up their BBQ grill every Fourth of July.
  • The Chinese contribution: Did you know that Americans have spent more than $211 million on fireworks that were imported from China?

No matter how your family chooses to celebrate the Fourth, stay safe, take precautions, and don't forget to brush after your fabulous Fourth feast!

How NOT to Forget Your Retainer

June 23rd, 2015

The alarm sounds in the morning, you wake up and realize "I forgot to wear my retainer!"

If this only happened once, don't panic. Missing one night with a retainer is unlikely to cause significant teeth movement. However, if it has happened often, give our Lakeland, FL office a call to make sure your teeth haven’t shifted position.

Here are some tips from Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich to help you remember your retainer:

1. Write down the instructions we give you for wearing the retainer, whether you should wear it all day or at night, or just a few times a week. Writing things out like this helps set the schedule in your memory.

2. Clean the retainer when you take it out each time. If you don’t you may not have time when you’re rushing to get to work or school to clean it properly and may be tempted not to wear it.

3. Put a note on your mirror or in your purse or wallet reminding you to wear your retainer.

4. Set an alarm on your mobile phone to remind you when it’s time to put the retainer in. If you have email with a calendar you can set up daily reminders, too.

5. Always put the retainer in its case when you take it out to eat or sleep. You’ll reduce your risk for losing it or accidentally throwing it away.

6. If you don’t have to wear the retainer every day, you can use some recurring events to help you remember. With this system for example, watching your favorite weekly TV show, laundry day, or family pizza night can all serve as reminders that you should put in your retainer.

7. Don’t be shy about asking for help if you’re forgetful. Assure your spouse, parents, siblings, or roommates that you won’t consider if nagging if they remind you to wear your retainer.

8. Surf online for examples of how teeth can shift when retainers are not properly used. Those stories can serve as timely warning not to let the same thing happen to you!

Remember, you can always call our Lakeland, FL office if you feel your retainer is uncomfortable or painful. We'll work with you to protect your smile!

Eating and Invisalign®

June 16th, 2015

One of the greatest advantages to using Invisalign is that it provides maximum results with minimal impact on your everyday life. Invisalign is comfortable, easy to insert, and simple to remove. Because you can remove Invisalign aligners, you can enjoy all your favorite foods and beverages without worries about getting food stuck in the wires and brackets of traditional braces.

Eating and Invisalign

While the aligner is durable and strong, you should remove it before you eat or drink beverages, as the chewing action inside your mouth can break, crack, or distort the aligner. Even minute damage to the Invisalign tray will prevent it from aligning your teeth properly. Furthermore, eating with Invisalign in your mouth can be quite messy.

Beverages and Invisalign

Repeated exposure to hot liquids may also cause the Invisalign aligner to distort. This distortion changes the shape of your aligner in a way that will affect how it straightens your teeth. Contact our Lakeland, FL office if your Invisalign aligner has distorted after consuming a hot beverage.

Fluids can settle inside the aligner to “bathe” the teeth. Bathing teeth in acidic fluids can be especially problematic, as the acids can wear away tooth enamel. Exposure to acidic fluids is not normally a problem, as saliva neutralizes and buffers the acid then washes it away. Wearing an aligner, however, prevents the saliva from doing those jobs, increasing your risk for tooth decay.

Colored drinks may also change the color of your teeth. Most discoloration is temporary but stubborn stains may occur.

To prevent discoloration and tooth decay, brush your teeth after every meal or beverage before putting in your Invisalign aligners. If you do not have access to clean water, chew sugar-free gum to remove bacteria, acid, and food particles from your teeth. As a last resort, you may leave your aligners out for an hour or two until you can brush and floss properly. Before inserting Invisalign, rinse the aligner in lukewarm water or use the Invisalign cleaning kit.

Contact our Lakeland, FL office for more information about eating and Invisalign.

Top Things to do BEFORE You Get Braces

June 9th, 2015

So you’re about to get braces. Congratulations! You are taking a very smart step to improve the health of your teeth as well as get that killer smile in shape. But, as with anything that is good for you, there are a few things you will have to avoid while you “do your time.”

Some foods don’t do so great with braces. The foods listed below should be avoided while you are wearing your braces because they can pop the brackets and bend the wires. In other words, these foods can really ruin your day, and send you back to Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics to get your braces repaired.

So before you hit the chair, hit the grocery and candy store – one last time – for:

  • Beef jerky
  • Raw carrots
  • Taffy
  • Pizza crust
  • Bagels and other crusty bread
  • Popcorn
  • Hard candy
  • Nuts and seeds

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our staff will give you more information about eating with braces. Some foods, such as apples, are okay as long as you cut them in pieces first. Others, like pudding and pasta, are fine just as they are. But then there is “the list”: the foods that are a big no-no and should be avoided. It won’t be forever, so hang in there.

Your braces time will pass before you know it and you can resume more normal eating. But before the braces go on, enjoy these tasty treats. Go ahead and indulge!

Tips to Help You Beat the Heat This Summer

June 2nd, 2015

The dog days of summer are upon us, and with the temperatures soaring, our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics wants you to be extra careful about sun safety when you’re out and about. Check out this incredibly helpful article on the Ten Summer Safety Tips for Kids, courtesy of Discovery.

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team also encourage you to always have a bottle of water handy when heading out into the sun.

We hope you’re having a great summer! Let us know what you're up to below or on our Facebook page!

The In-Ovation® Treatment Process

May 26th, 2015

The advancement of orthodontic procedures has a come a long way. Today, there is always a way to meet each individual's personal smile needs in a relaxing, stress-free, and pain-free way. In-Ovation technology is no different. With its free-sliding system, many patients report positive experiences. Let's take a look at how the In-Ovation treatment process takes place.

What You'll Experience When You Choose In-Ovation

In-Ovation helps your teeth shift gently over time without added pressure. The process has been designed for you to spend less time in our Lakeland, FL office at long appointments having braces checkups, while still achieving a beautiful smile.

Our patients share that there are many advantages to selecting In-Ovation braces. Your visit with us will be shorter, and the overall time from when you begin the treatment process to finishing with a new smile is much shorter than traditional braces. Patients also tell us that far less irritation occurs when selecting these braces.

In-Ovation braces are referred to as self-ligating braces. We find that the free-slide technology that makes them unique also results with improved facial proportion and appearance. Another noteworthy characteristic is the small size of these braces. This means that patients can perform efficient teeth cleaning, leading to less plaque buildup.

Many of our patients are surprised to hear that braces are not simply for children. We assure our patients that there is no better time than now to achieve your best dental health. Because the In-Ovation system requires far less time and maintenance from start to finish, they are very ideal for busy adults. At your visit, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich will discuss which In-Ovation style best reflects your needs depending on how much overall movement will be necessary to achieve long-term results.

Trying to decide if the In-Ovation dental procedure is right for you? Our highly trained team invites you to call us for an appointment. We look forward to seeing you at a visit soon.

Memorial Day: Parades, remembrance, and the unofficial start of summer!

May 19th, 2015

“The purpose of all war is peace.” - Saint Augustine

Fire truck sirens, baton twirlers, marching bands covering patriotic tunes, colorful floats, costumes, and millions of red, white, and blue American flags being waved in the air on a beautiful day in late May, that is what Memorial Day is all about. It is a federal holiday celebrated with town parades, remembrance, and a sense of unity and community togetherness.

Our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics wants to take this time to wish you and your family a happy Memorial Day, as well as pause for a moment to reflect on what this holiday means and how it has changed over time. No, this is not a history lesson, but just a couple of thoughts and observances for you to take with you on your way to the next barbecue.

On the last Monday in May, America observes Memorial Day as a time to remember and celebrate the men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country in the Armed Forces. The holiday originated after the Civil War; at that time it was known as Decoration Day. While holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter remain the same from year to year, Memorial Day has changed over time, and in the 21st century we observe a far different holiday than what Americans did after the Civil War, or even the World Wars.

While many people place flags at cemeteries and visit national memorials in order to honor those who have passed away serving the country, Memorial Day is also a time for family barbecues, pool parties, trips to the beach, blockbuster movies, long weekend getaways, and fireworks. In America, Memorial Day has come to represent the unofficial start of the summer – a long, sunny, warm weekend devoted to family togetherness, outdoor events, and community.

It is time to load up the potato salad and the apple pie and head over to the neighbor’s house for their annual barbecue. And yes, contrary to popular belief, we do eat sweets, especially homemade apple pie! Everything in moderation, of course.

So whether you’re in the Lakeland, FL area or beyond, Happy Memorial Day to you and yours from Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich!

How to Protect Your Braces During Sports Activities

May 12th, 2015

Proper mouth protection is recommended by Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics when you participate in any sports activities. If you wear braces, this protection becomes essential. Injuries to your mouth can not only damage your teeth, but your braces could break and cut open your lip.

Full Facial Guards

Full facial guards are often used in football and offer protection to your mouth from most injuries. Even with full facial protection, you may benefit from additional mouth protection. While your face is protected from outside impact, you could still suffer from cuts or damage to your braces from internal impact.

Mouthguards

Mouthguards referred to as boil-and-bites can be purchased at many retail stores. As the name implies, these guards are boiled in water to heat and soften the material. While the guard is still warm, you place it in your mouth and bite down gently. This causes the guard to form to the shape of your mouth. Unfortunately, these guards do not necessarily offer the best protection or fit.

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich can make custom mouthguards specifically for you. The custom fitting ensures you of better protection and a comfortable fit. Custom guards are also built in layers for durability. The American Dental Association recommends custom guards for orthodontic patients. Your mouthguard will be designed to provide proper protection for both your teeth and your braces.

No matter what type of sport you participate in, a mouthguard can protect your braces. Even an activity as seemingly harmless as table tennis can result in a contact injury. The Academy for Sports Dentistry states that a properly fitted mouthguard should not interfere with any athletic activity.

Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics will provide you with properly-fitting mouth protection to ensure the safety of your braces and your teeth. We will be glad to answer any questions you have so you can continue the activities you enjoy with little concern. If you do suffer any injuries to your mouth or braces during sporting activities, please contact us immediately. The sooner we can care for your mouth, the better the results will be.

Summer is Almost Here: Tips for a bright, white smile!

May 5th, 2015

Summer is almost here, which means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories is just around the corner for our patients at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics.

Everyone wants a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over the summer! Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks, or dark colored juices. Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile you're working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth; everyone knows that when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to rinse your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after. Your teeth, inside and out, will benefit!

And remember, whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to below or on our Facebook page! We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!

Tips for Handling and Avoiding Orthodontic Emergencies

April 28th, 2015

The best way to avoid orthodontic emergencies is to know how to take care of your braces properly throughout your entire treatment. However, emergencies are … well, emergencies, and sometimes no matter how cautious you are or how well you take care of your braces, the wires loosen, the bands pop, or you experience orthodontic discomfort.

Common orthodontic emergencies include broken braces, poking wires, lost or broken retainers, mouth sores, and mouth injuries sustained playing sports, which often happens when you don’t wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliance.

Food

It’s important to avoid foods that can damage your braces. Most people wear braces for about two years. All chewy, sticky, crunchy, and hard foods should be avoided during that time. While this may seem like a long time to go without popcorn or bubble gum, hard foods can break the brackets of your braces and sticky foods can bend the wires. If you have a loose wire, don’t try to fix it yourself. Call Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics. In the meantime, if a wire is poking into your cheek or lip and causing irritation, put wax or a wet cotton ball over it to dull the sharp edge.

Pain and Discomfort

Some discomfort is a normal part of orthodontic treatment, especially in the hours after the braces are placed on your teeth or after a recent tightening or adjustment. However, if the pain doesn’t subside in three to five days, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics. Until then, try dissolving a teaspoon of salt in an eight-ounce glass of water and gargling with the solution. Over-the-counter pain medication will relieve discomfort, too.

Playing Sports

Just because you wear braces doesn’t mean you can’t play sports. You just need to take some extra precautions. Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are common. The best way to protect your mouth and your appliance is to wear a mouthguard. There are several different types of mouthguards available, so be sure to ask Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich what’s best for you.

Brushing and Flossing

In order to keep your braces in good condition and avoid orthodontic emergencies, it’s important to brush and floss thoroughly after every meal. It’s easy for small particles of food to get trapped in your braces, and if the food isn’t removed, it gets wedged between the teeth and gums and causes plaque.

Need more tips on how to avoid orthodontic emergencies? Just ask any member of our Lakeland, FL team.

Myths of Orthodontics

April 21st, 2015

The stereotypical braces wearer – in middle school, with a mouth full of metal brackets – has led to numerous myths about orthodontics that discourage many people from getting the dental care they need. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our staff would like to put some of these myths to rest.

Myth 1: Orthodontic treatment is for kids. Although teenagers often visit the orthodontist to get braces, adults represent a growing proportion of orthodontic patients. Whether you’re eight or 80, a consultation with an orthodontist can identify problems with your teeth, jaws, or bite that can be corrected by orthodontic interventions.

Myth 2: Traditional, metal braces are my only option. Advances in orthodontic technology have rendered improved braces and other orthodontic appliances that are much less noticeable than the braces of yesteryear. Ask Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich about Invisalign® braces and other options that make sense for your situation.

Myth 3: Orthodontic treatment is only helpful for crooked teeth. Sure, a crooked smile is a common reason that patients seek orthodontic care. However, orthodontic interventions help with a range of dental health problems. From missing teeth to overbite to jaw misalignment, your orthodontist can help with many problems associated with the teeth, gums, and jaws.

Myth 4: Orthodontic treatment is too expensive. As with any medical procedure, orthodontics can be pricey. However, our Lakeland, FL team works with patients to find payment plans, insurance coverage, or other payment options that reduce the financial burden.

Should I use a water pick during my treatment?

April 14th, 2015

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics know that for some of our patients wearing braces, it can be difficult to weave through those wires and brackets as you brush and floss during your treatment.

Some of our patients use a water pick to flush out food and other particles and bacteria stuck between their teeth as the water can reach behind the metal wires and hit spots where your floss simply cannot reach. People suffering from gum disease also find water picks quite effective because of their ability to flush out bacteria from inside the deep pockets.

Water picks are friendly to braces and are also gentle on the gums. They are less likely to cause bleeding for people with sensitive teeth or gums. But as many benefits as they may have, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team want you to know that water picks should never be used as a substitute for flossing. Though they are great tools for helping improve oral health while you are in treatment, they are just not a good enough tool on their own to keep your mouth and gums gingivitis- and decay-free. Water picks are also incapable of removing plaque from teeth as effectively as floss can. While water picks rinse the sticky bacteria off your teeth, flossing is actually more effective as it actually scrapes the bacteria off of your pearly whites.

If you have any questions about water picks or any general questions or concerns about your orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to please ask us below or give us a call!

Eating and In-Ovation®

April 7th, 2015

You want a beautiful smile that you feel proud of, but you’re not eager to give up your favorite foods for a few years during treatment with braces. If that describes you, In-Ovation self-ligating braces may be worth considering. Since treatment times with In-Ovation are significantly shorter than with traditional braces, you can get back to eating all your favorite foods much faster.

One of the challenging parts about getting braces is not being able to fit in. Traditional metal braces stand out in a crowd, but In-Ovation braces are smaller and have a lower profile, making them much more discreet. While you'll have to give up some foods, especially anything hard or crunchy, it won't be forever.

A Generally Healthy Diet

When life gets hectic, it’s easy to forget about your diet. That’s a mistake you don’t want to make while you’re getting your teeth straightened. Even though you’re working on obtaining a beautiful smile with In-Ovation, you need to eat a healthy diet so that your oral and overall health stay good. For example, consume plenty of calcium, such as from low-fat dairy products, to support strong bones and healthy teeth.

Timing Your Eating

Just like it is when you don’t have braces, it’s important to think about the times that you eat and drink when you have In-Ovation braces. When carbohydrates sit on your teeth for too long, bacteria in your mouth ferment them and produce acid that can wear away at your teeth and eventually cause tooth decay.

The following tips can help you avoid this problem:

  • Don’t eat hard candy or lollipops, since the sugar will be on your teeth for long periods of time.
  • Rinse your mouth out with water after you eat anything.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal.
  • Don’t drink sugary sodas, since the sugar will get all over your teeth.

Getting straighter teeth with In-Ovation is exciting, but you do have to take extra caution when eating, and make sure you take good care of your general oral health while you're at it. At least with In-Ovation's efficient self-ligating technology, you'll be back to eating popcorn and chewing gum in no time!

Helpful Hints for Dealing with Braces Pain

March 31st, 2015

Your first few days with braces will feel rather odd, awkward, and even painful. The day you get your braces you will probably just feel weird, like you have something in your mouth – because you do. You are most likely to feel pain and soreness during the second and third days. After that, you should be fine. If you experience any pain with your braces, there are a few things you can do to get some relief.

Home Remedies

Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will soothe it and promote healing. Rinse several times a day or when your mouth, particularly mouth sores, are hurting. You can also take some Tylenol every four hours. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team advise against products that contain ibuprofen because it slows down the movement of your teeth.

You can also eat cold foods like ice cream or yogurt. The cold of the food will help dull the pain. Ice packs applied to your mouth help as well. You can also swish ice water around your mouth, but DO NOT eat ice!

Cool Products

Products for canker sores can be applied to the mouth sores you develop from your braces. There are also various rinses you can use that act as a shield or barrier in your mouth, and protect your mouth sores from further irritation.

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team may have given you some dental wax to put on the abrasive areas of your braces to protect your mouth. Putting dental wax on the brackets creates a barrier that keeps your mouth from getting scraped and sore.

Bite wafers are another great pain relief too. When you bite down on the wafer, it increases circulation in your gums, which can ease the pain a bit. Just a little pressure will work; you don’t want to bite too hard. And they usually come in cool colors, too!

The pain won’t last forever. One day you will wake up and you won’t have any pain. In fact, you probably won’t even notice the braces in your mouth at all!

Invisalign® vs. Traditional Braces

March 24th, 2015

A great smile can go a long way. Scientific research suggests that people who smile are perceived as more attractive and confident than those who don’t flash their pearly whites. When it comes time to invest in orthodontics to improve your beautiful smile, choosing the best option can be daunting. Comparing Invisalign to traditional braces is a great way to determine what orthodontics make most sense for your unique smile.

How is Invisalign different?

Unlike traditional braces, in which brackets are affixed onto each tooth and connected by wires Invisalign corrects orthodontic problems using a set of clear trays. These trays are specially formed to fit your teeth, allowing you to wear them 24/7.

Aesthetics

One of the primary advantages of Invisalign is that the clear trays are nearly invisible. Particularly for adults self-conscious about appearing professional with traditional braces, Invisalign can correct orthodontic issues without capturing the notice of others. Their nearly invisible appearance is one of the topmost reasons that orthodontic patients choose Invisalign.

Complexity of the Orthodontic Problem

Invisalign works well for people who have relatively minor problems, such as crooked teeth or small gaps between teeth. For more complex problems, particularly issues with bite or vertical problems (i.e., one tooth being significantly higher than another), traditional braces may be better at pulling teeth into alignment.

Eating and Drinking

Invisalign trays are removable, meaning that you cannot eat or drink while wearing them. Unlike traditional braces, however, you are not limited in the foods you may eat. Chewy, sticky, or hard foods may be eaten, provided that you brush your teeth before reinserting the Invisalign trays.

In the end, only you can weigh the pros and cons of Invisalign versus traditional braces. Consult with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich to understand how these orthodontic interventions may work for your unique situation.

St. Patrick's Day: Celtic pride, green shamrocks, and lucky charms!

March 17th, 2015

“St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time -- a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic.” Adrienne Cook

Lucky green shamrocks, leprechauns, and pots of gold – it must be St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re not Irish, how do you go about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? It’s easy: You just put on one of those tall leprechauns hats, dress in green from head to toe, and wear one of those carefree pins that say “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”. On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish, and that is the universal beauty of the holiday. Celtic pride does not discriminate.

Wondering what our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics is doing to celebrate March 17th? Well, we’ve thought about doing everything from handing out lucky gold coins (you know, the fake ones that are made of chocolate) to shamrock stickers. Maybe we’ll even give away green toothbrushes and floss! You’ll never know unless you come in to see Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich !

All kidding aside, St. Patrick’s Day is an important cultural and religious holiday. There are lavish parades and church services across Ireland on March 17th. Over time, however, the holiday has developed into a day to observe Irish culture in general. In places like England and the United States, where there is a large Irish Diaspora, the holiday has greater significance than other countries. From the streets of Boston to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, it is a day of celebration, and many Americans of Irish descent will cook up a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage.

So, to all of you with Irish ancestry, and to all of you who have decided to be Irish for the day, our office wishes you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Good luck looking for a pot of leprechaun gold, which is said to exist at the end of the rainbow. However, keep away from those sugary Lucky Charms; sweet cereals might taste good, but your kids’ teeth might not be feeling too lucky if they eat it for breakfast every day. Have a great St. Paddy’s Day!

How are In-Ovation® self-ligating braces different?

March 10th, 2015

In-Ovation self-ligating braces are becoming a favorite for those who are faced with having to get braces. There are many differences that are making them increasingly popular among dental patients.

What sets In-Ovation apart from the rest?

There are many reasons why patients are choosing In-Ovation when deciding which braces will work best for them. One of the main reasons is that there is a significantly shorter amount of time that you have to wear them. There are also fewer appointments at our Lakeland, FL office, since there are no rubber bands to be replaced.

Since there are no rubber bands, In-Ovation makes brushing and flossing much easier. The brackets are low-profile, making them more comfortable and more aesthetic as well.

Different Styles of In-Ovation

In-Ovation R braces are small, metallic like clips that replace the common metal braces and the elastic bands. This type of braces makes it harder for plaque to build up, so it is easier to keep your teeth clean. Your teeth move quickly and painlessly with the free-sliding treatment technique.

In-Ovation C braces offer all same the benefits of the In-Ovation R, with one small difference: this type of bracket is clear. Rhodium (a silvery-white metallic element) covers the clips making the In-Ovation C braces appear less visible. In-Ovation C braces offer a more inconspicuous way to straighten your teeth, and give you that beautiful smile you always wanted

Rest assured that if you choose In-Ovation self-ligating braces, you will not regret it. You will be able to enjoy looking good and feeling great about your smile during and after your treatment.

How do braces move my teeth?

March 3rd, 2015

Great question! Tooth movement is your body’s natural response to light pressure applied by braces over a period of time (usually two years). Braces work by using brackets that are glued onto your teeth; these brackets have small slots, and that is where Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team insert orthodontic wires. These wires are held in place by small elastic ties that fit around the brackets. As time passes during your treatment, these wires apply pressure on your teeth, which sets in motion the movement of your teeth into their desired positions. Each of your teeth has a different size and shape to them, as do the brackets. Each bracket is custom-made for the particular tooth on which it’s supposed to fit.

Not long ago, orthodontists had stainless steel wires and that was about it. Today, however, we have a number of different high-tech wires at our disposal to move your teeth faster and more comfortably.

When you first get your braces on, the first wire or two will typically be very flexible, but still strong enough to apply a constant force on your teeth. As your teeth straighten out over time, however, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich will use progressively thicker and firmer wires to help move your teeth in place for an ideal bite.

Every time you visit our office for an adjustment, we will swap out the wires in order to keep putting pressure on your teeth, which is why it’s so important for you to keep your adjustment visits during your treatment. Most adjustment appointments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart to give your teeth time to move.

As for rubber bands and elastics, most of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatments. These elastics typically go from one or more of the upper braces to one or more of the lower braces, and pull on your teeth to move them in the direction they need to move in order to achieve an optimal bite.

If you have any questions about wires, brackets, or elastics, or have any general questions about your treatment, please give us a call at our Lakeland, FL office.

Common Issues with Braces: How to avoid bad breath

February 24th, 2015

A bright, beautiful smile is often achieved with braces. The time you spend wearing braces is an investment in the good health and appearance of your smile. However, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our staff know that having braces on your teeth can pose challenges. Many of these challenges are commonly faced by all who wear braces, such as flossing, getting food stuck in your braces, and bad breath.

Today, let’s address bad breath and what to do about it. There’s no reason you have to shy away from conversation for fear that you’ve got bad breath.

Fresh Breath Tips for Braces Wearers

  • Eat a Healthy Diet. Unhealthy foods that are laden with sugar can contribute to bad breath. Stick with healthy produce, protein, grains, and dairy found on the list of foods your orthodontist says are safe to eat with braces.
  • Drink Non-Sugary Beverages. Likewise, steer clear of sugary sodas and juices for the same reason. They contribute to bad breath.
  • Stay Hydrated. A mouth that’s continually dry can lead to bad breath by inhibiting your production of saliva. Regular production of saliva removes bacteria and excess food from your mouth, both of which cause bad breath.
  • Brush Often. Brush your teeth and tongue first thing in the morning, after each meal and snack, and before you go to bed, to remove food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath.
  • Don’t Forget to Floss. Flossing with braces might seem tricky, but it is a necessity. Ask Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich to show you the best way to floss effectively with braces.
  • Mouthwash Use. Use the mouthwash recommended by Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich. For the best results, swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for 30 seconds.
  • Get Regular Cleanings. Regular dental exams and cleanings are more important when you have braces. Cavities can delay your treatment progress, so be sure to visit your dentist every six months.

Practice Good Hygiene Daily

Good oral hygiene practices are important every day, whether you wear braces or not. But they become even more important during the months you wear braces. In addition to your regular orthodontic checkups, see your general dentist for cleanings and exams.

Together, you and our Lakeland, FL team will keep your mouth healthy and fresh during and after your orthodontic treatment.

When is the best age to begin orthodontic treatment?

February 17th, 2015

Most parents know that routine dental care should begin during their child’s toddler years. And many assume they must wait until their child has all of his or her permanent teeth to visit Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich for an initial orthodontic consultation.

The ideal age for an orthodontic evaluation is age seven. At that age, your child will have a mixture of adult and baby teeth for Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics to make a determination about whether any problems are present. Typically the first molars have come in by the time your child turns seven, giving us an opportunity to check for malocclusion, also known as “bad bite.” Also, by the time your child reaches the age of seven, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites, and open bites can be detected.

When Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team perform an evaluation on your child at an early age, you get one of two positive outcomes. Although treatment usually will not begin until one to five years after the initial evaluation, it’s still helpful in determining whether your child has any problems with the jaw and teeth early when they are still easy to treat. Earlier treatment can also cost less to correct a potential problem than delayed treatment.

Early evaluation, of course, may signal a need for early treatment. For some children, early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and are detrimental to good oral hygiene.

If your child is approaching age seven, or has already surpassed his or her seventh birthday, it is time to schedule an appointment for an initial examination at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics.

Valentine's Day History

February 10th, 2015

Valentine’s Day is best known as a celebration of love in all its forms. Pink hearts, red roses, and cute greeting cards adorn every surface you see. What many people don’t realize is that the modern Valentine’s Day celebration arose from a religious holiday.

St. Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated as a religious feast day in honor of early Christian martyrs. Three martyrs named Valentine were honored: a priest in Rome, the persecuted bishop of Interamna (a town in central Italy), and a saint martyred in Africa. This saint’s day was celebrated throughout Christendom, although it was removed from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969.

The origin of Valentine’s Day as a holiday for lovers began with Geoffrey Chaucer in his 1382 poem “Parlement of Foules.” Chaucer wrote, “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate,” and the modern romantic holiday was born. William Shakespeare and other writers mentioned Valentine’s Day as a day of love.

Valentine’s Day as we know it came about in the early 19th century. In Victorian England, printers began manufacturing small numbers of cards with romantic verses, lace, ribbons, and other frills. Anonymous Valentine’s Day card were a popular way for young lovers to exchange romantic sentiments in an otherwise prudish time. As the 19th century progressed, printers began mass manufacturing Valentine’s Day cards. People in the United States give an estimated 190 million valentines every year, and up to one billion if you count children exchanging cards at school! With the rise of the Internet, Valentine’s Day e-cards have become a popular mode of communication, with millions of e-cards sent each year.

The other items associated with Valentine’s Day include chocolate and flowers. The tradition of giving chocolates has been around for decades, and Richard Cadbury created the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates nearly 150 years ago. Today, purchases of chocolate total over $1 billion in the United States alone, with 35 million heart-shaped boxes sold each year. Loved ones also exchange flowers, with red roses being associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. On Valentine’s Day itself, florists sell nearly 200 million stems of roses.

Although many people dismiss Valentine’s Day as a commercialized “Hallmark holiday,” it is beloved to couples and romantics across the United States and other countries. The team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics wants to remind all patients that no matter what your celebratory plans, February 14th can be a wonderful day to celebrate the loved ones in your life. Happy Valentine’s Day!

What is malocclusion?

February 3rd, 2015

The term malocclusion refers to misalignment of teeth. You may have been born with malocclusion, so your teeth simply grew in crooked, or the misalignment and crowding of your teeth occurred over a period of time. Either way, not only can malocclusion pose cosmetic issues, but it can have a negative effect on your speaking and eating abilities as well.

Types of Malocclusion

Malocclusion encompasses multiple types and classifications of misalignment issues, including twisting or rotation of the teeth and molars that do not meet when you bite down. In some cases, the top front teeth are pushed outward in an upper protrusion.

In other cases, a misplaced midline results when the front top teeth don’t meet with the front bottom teeth. Transposition occurs when teeth protrude through the gums in a position where another tooth is supposed to be.

Practically any type of crowding or spacing issues, rotation or twisting of the teeth, or bite problem – including overbite, underbite, open bite, or crossbite – is included under the umbrella of malocclusion.

Malocclusion Classifications

There are three classifications of bite or misalignment problem.

  • Class 1 malocclusion: While the bite may be normal, the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth slightly. This is the most common type.
  • Class 2 malocclusion: Known as overbite or retrognathism, class 2 involves a severe overlap of the upper teeth and jaw over the bottom teeth and jaw.
  • Class 3 malocclusion: Known as underbite or prognathism, class 3 occurs when the lower teeth and jaw overlap the upper teeth and jaw. Thus, the lower jaw juts forward.

Causes of Malocclusion

The most common cause of malocclusion is genetics. However, there may be other causes, including the development of abnormally-shaped teeth, lost teeth, or impacted teeth; thumb sucking or overuse of a pacifier as a small child; having fillings or crowns that do not fit correctly; a serious injury that causes misalignment of the jaw; or developing a tumor of the mouth or jaw.

Treating Malocclusion

Orthodontic care at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich is the main treatment available for malocclusion, which includes getting braces, Invisalign, or other corrective treatments. Treatment is ideal not just to have your smile improved, but because it makes the teeth easier to clean and maintain, lowers the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, and can even take pressure off the jaw and teeth.

Think about orthodontic treatment if you (or your child) display any signs of malocclusion. Early treatment of malocclusion during childhood can lessen expensive treatment later on.

How long after my braces come off should I wear my retainer?

January 27th, 2015

Braces are an investment in your smile. When your teeth reach a desired straightness, you’ll have a beautiful smile, but it’s important to keep it that way! You can accomplish this with a retainer provided by Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics.

A retainer is a small, custom-fit device that reinforces the new position of your teeth after your braces are removed. But for many patients, especially the youngest ones, wearing a retainer may seem like an annoyance. So exactly how long after your braces come off should you wear your retainer?

Graduation of Wear Time

When we remove your braces, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich will evaluate the condition of the bone structure surrounding your teeth and determine how well it is adjusting to the new position of your teeth. For the first few months, we may require you to wear your retainer both day and night, except during meal times and for brushing and flossing.

As the bone and gum tissues adjust to your new smile, we may determine that you need to wear your retainer only at night. After about one year of wearing the retainer every night, you may be able to take a couple of nights off each week.

However, we do not recommend ever stopping permanently. To best secure the position of the teeth, especially through future extractions and oral health changes, wearing your retainer a few nights a week will be necessary for many years.

Considerations

If you are concerned about your appearance when you wear a retainer, there are many that can be worn discreetly. You could choose a clear plastic one that is less obvious during the months immediately following removal of your braces. When you change to night wear only, clear wire retainers are available for minimal visibility as well.

Another option is a lingual retainer. It is placed on the back sides of your teeth so no one will ever know it is there! Lingual retainers are also permanent, so there’s no risk of losing them.

Remember, wearing your retainer is an investment in your smile. If you fail to wear it consistently, the tissues that support your teeth will be unsupported, and you may begin to experience noticeable shifting. You’ve worked hard to get that beautiful smile — your retainer will let you keep it! Remember to call our Lakeland, FL office if you have any questions about your retainer!

Ugh, Not Braces!

January 20th, 2015

Getting your child excited about braces is a lot like: A) convincing a grumpy toddler that it’s time to take a nap? B) convincing a teenager to stop texting during dinner? C) convincing your husband to eat his peas? The answer, obviously, is all of the above.

And that’s why you may need a few thoughtful ways to get your child on board with braces.

  1. Throw a pre-braces party. It can’t be just any party, however, but a Willy Wonka celebration of candy, chips, gum, and all the sticky and sweet foods your child won’t be able to indulge in during the time he or she is wearing braces. Promise a post-braces celebration, too, and watch as your child’s eyes widen at the thought of an all-you-can-eat junk food buffet.
  2. Encouraging phrases like “braces aren’t eternal, but your straight smile will be” can go a long way.
  3. If your daughter is worried about getting picked on because of braces, then name-drop some A-list celebrities who have worn them. The list includes Cameron Diaz, Kelly Clarkson, Dakota Fanning, and Gwen Stefani.
  4. Emphasize that braces today aren’t the same as they were in the Stone Age. From clear ceramic braces to different-colored braces, more options are available. Braces can be cool accessories to express a personal style.
  5. To get your child to embrace braces, you need to sing the praises of beautiful teeth, even if that means pointing out how crooked your teeth are because you never got braces.

How to Floss with Braces

January 13th, 2015

The Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics team knows that oral hygiene is important, whether you have braces on your teeth or not. But if you are a person who wears braces, caring for your teeth and gums can become somewhat challenging. Without daily oral hygiene practices, you may become prone to cavities and tooth decay during your time in braces.

Naturally, you know that brushing your teeth each morning and night, as well as after you eat, will help keep your mouth healthy and clean during the months you wear braces. But flossing is also an important part of your hygiene routine. Flossing with braces can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, your general dentist, or your dental hygienist can help you become more comfortable and adept at flossing your teeth during the months you wear braces.

Flossing Tips for Those with Braces

  • Use Tools Provided by Our Office. A floss threader is a small, plastic needle that will help you floss between the wires and your teeth. Thread a 12-to-18-inch piece of floss onto the needle, and use the needle to get the floss easily behind the wires.
  • Flossing Under the Wires. Once the floss is behind the wires, use your hands to manipulate the floss. Move it up and down along the wires to remove food particles.
  • Flossing Between Your Teeth. Floss between your teeth as you normally would without braces. Move the floss up and down between your teeth, using a clean section of floss for each tooth.
  • After You Finish Flossing. Your orthodontist may have suggested that you use a water pik or proxy brush after you finish brushing. Either of these tools will help remove any loosened food particles to ensure that your teeth and braces are clean.

Continue Good Oral Hygiene Habits

Good oral hygiene habits you use while wearing braces will help you achieve the beautiful smile you and the Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics team have been working toward. Once your braces are off, it may be tempting to slack off on the brushing and flossing. Don’t let yourself fall into any habits that will have a negative impact on your oral health or the attractive smile you waited for throughout the months you wore braces. See your general dentist for regular cleanings, and continue to brush and floss your teeth each day.

Caring for Your Smile While Wearing Invisalign®

January 6th, 2015

Getting your braces off is exciting. You’ve been working on your new smile for months or years, and it’s time for the trips to our Lakeland, FL office to pay off. Can you imagine how bad it would be to discover that your teeth are straight, but that there’s decay?

Caring for your smile while wearing Invisalign goes beyond just waiting for your teeth to get straighter. It involves cleaning your teeth regularly and thoroughly to prevent tooth decay. That way, your smile will be more beautiful than ever when you’re done with your Invisalign treatment.

Take Your Trays Out

The first difference you may notice between Invisalign and traditional metal braces is that Invisalign aligners are invisible, but there’s another important distinction as well. Invisalign braces are removable. You can take the trays out, and you should. Remove the trays while you’re eating so you don’t get food stuck in them. Also, remove them while you’re cleaning your teeth so that you can have full access to all the nooks and crannies in your mouth.

Brush Normally

The guidelines for brushing your teeth with Invisalign don’t change compared to braces. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste, being sure to get all surfaces of your teeth. If possible, brush after each meal.

If you can’t, be sure to drink some water and swish it around in your mouth when you’re done eating to get rid of the extra food on your teeth. Leaving carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch, on your teeth opens the door to tooth decay.

Floss and Wash

Flossing your teeth gets out the bits and pieces stuck between them. It’s a time-consuming task when you need to navigate the wires of traditional metal braces, but thanks to Invisalign’s removable design, flossing is no problem. Rinsing your mouth with a fluoride antibacterial mouthwash also helps clean your teeth because it gets into all of the spaces. Floss and rinse one or two times daily.

Cleaning Your Trays

Cleaning your Invisalign trays keeps them from getting riddled with bacteria, and it helps keep your teeth free from excess food. You can use the Invisalign cleaning system, which involves placing the trays in a tub with cleaning crystals. The plastic trays are clean after 15 minutes. You can also ask Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich for other ways to clean your trays.

New Year's Eve

December 30th, 2014

Watching the clock tick down the final seconds until midnight, many of us- Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics included- feel nostalgic about the passing year and hopeful about the new one to come. New Year’s Eve is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, with over-the-top celebrations taking place in dozens of countries. The Gregorian calendar, which is widely used in Western nations and around the world, was implemented in 1582. Since that time, December 31st has marked the final day of the year, with midnight heralding the beginning of a brand new year. In the United States, New Year’s Day is a public holiday; government offices, schools, public organizations, and many businesses are closed for the day. Ponder the following fun facts as you think about your plans for the holiday:

  • Approximately one billion people watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, New York City. This televised event is one of the most iconic New Year’s celebrations in the world. For many years, watching the ball drop meant tuning in to Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, an iconic television special dear to the hearts of many viewers.
  • The idea for the New Year’s Eve ball came about because of a citywide ban on fireworks. Before 1907, when fireworks became illegal in New York City, celebrations included an elaborate fireworks show. The large, glittering, illuminated ball was developed as an alternative. Although the first ball was heavy at 700 pounds, the modern New Year’s Eve ball is made of Waterford crystal and tips the scale at six tons!
  • The top five New Year’s resolutions are: to lose weight, quit smoking, get a new job, return to school, or increase personal savings. However, approximately 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail. But don’t let that discourage you! Resolutions are most likely to succeed when they are clear, achievable goals. Setting out a concrete plan to achieve your resolution also boosts your chances of success.
  • Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is said to bring good fortune in the new year. Collard greens, cabbage, and ham hocks are also considered lucky foods to enjoy. Just steer clear of the chicken or turkey dinners; eating poultry is a bad omen for the year to come.

Whether you plan to stay in Lakeland, FL, or head out into the crowds to watch the ball drop in Times Square, New Year’s Eve is a time to enjoy friends and family. Send your loved ones well wishes for the New Year, and look for that special someone to share a midnight kiss with for good luck!

Questions, questions…

December 23rd, 2014

When beginning orthodontic treatment, most patients ask Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team a lot of questions about what to expect, while others choose to just "go with the flow" and leave it to us to build for them a beautiful smile. And for our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, that's understandable.

But for those who do ask questions, two of the ones we frequently hear are "Will my braces hurt?" and "How long will these be on?"

We explain to our patients that despite what they've heard, braces do not hurt when they're initially put on. Yes, you will experience soreness after your braces are placed and when your teeth start to move. Too often, our patients hear horror stories about how much it hurts to get the braces on, so they tend to over-worry. The truth is, after their braces are on, almost all patients say "that's it?" because it's actually easy and painless!

At Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, we answer most of your other questions during your initial exam. When a patient visits our office for the first time, we give him or her a time estimate of how long it will take to achieve their ideal smile. All other questions are answered at the bonding appointment when the braces are placed. We cover all the topics, everything from eating to brushing with braces, but we also know that after your initial appointment, it's natural for you to have questions about your or your child's treatment. And we are always here for you; we are thorough and always try to answer any questions or concerns you may have. As a patient, that's one thing you never have to worry about. You will always know what's going on throughout your orthodontic experience.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment?

December 16th, 2014

Parents usually have numerous questions about orthodontic treatment for their children. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment for children should start at around seven years of age. This allows Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich to evaluate the child’s existing and incoming teeth to determine whether or not early treatment might be necessary.

What is early orthodontic treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment, known as Phase One, usually begins when the child is eight or nine years old. The goal is to correct bite problems such as an underbite as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. It also helps to make room in the mouth for the permanent teeth to be properly placed as they come in. This will greatly reduce the risk of the child needing extractions later in life due to his or her teeth getting crowded.

Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?

There are several ways that you can determine whether your child needs early treatment. If you observe any of these characteristics or behaviors, you should talk to Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich.

  • Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
  • Lat loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
  • The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
  • The child is a mouth breather
  • Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
  • Protruding teeth, typically in the front
  • Biting or chewing difficulties
  • A speech impediment
  • The child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
  • The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb

What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?

Early orthodontic treatment is begun while the child’s jaw bones are still soft. They do not harden until the children reach their late teens. Because the bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces work faster than they do for adults.

In short, early treatment at our Lakeland, FL office often allows your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, and surgery in adulthood. Early treatment is an effective preventive measure that lays the foundation for a healthy, stable mouth in adulthood.

Caring for Your Smile after Invisalign® Treatment

December 9th, 2014

You have done a lot of work to get the perfect smile. You wore your Invisalign aligner trays and cared for your teeth, and now your treatment is done. You still need to take care of your teeth to keep your beautiful smile. Keeps these things in mind when you think about your oral care routine.

Retainers

Many patients do require a retainer after Invisalign treatment. This will be based on your unique situation. If a retainer is recommended by Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, use it as directed. Retainers prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original position. You should also avoid hard, crunchy foods for the first couple of weeks as your teeth adjust. For younger patients, retainers are normally used until the wisdom teeth come in or are extracted.

Brushing and Flossing

Brushing and flossing must be part of your daily oral care. Flossing helps remove the plaque, which becomes tartar or calculus. This build up can lead to gingivitis and gum disease. Your gums may be more sensitive for a week or two after your orthodontic work is completed. A warm salt water rinse may relieve discomfort.

Your teeth may be slightly sensitive for a short time. They have been protected by your Invisalign aligner trays and now are fully exposed. You might want to try a sensitive toothpaste to get through the transition. Just ask; we will be glad to recommend the best type for your needs. If your teeth are stained, a professional whitening treatment can be considered.

Regular Dental Checkups

You still need to have regular dental exams. Professional cleanings and X-rays make sure that both your teeth and gums stay healthy so you can keep your teeth for life. If cavities or other problems are found, they can be taken care of quickly.

If you have any questions about how to care for your teeth after your Invisalign program, please ask our Lakeland, FL team. We want you to keep your healthy smile and enjoy the results of your Invisalign treatment.

How do teeth move with braces?

December 2nd, 2014

Although teeth seem to be solidly fixed in their sockets (at least they don’t wobble when we chew!), all teeth can easily be moved if Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our staff attach brackets and wires to them called braces. In the past, all braces were made of stainless steel, but today’s advanced dental technology gives people the option of wearing transparent, acrylic mouth trays called Invisalign®, or relying on traditional metal braces for correcting malocclusions.

Brackets, Slots, and Arch Wires – Oh My!

When light pressure is consistently exerted on teeth, they will gradually move in the direction of the force. For example, affixing brackets to front teeth and threading a flexible, metal wire through tiny slots on the front of the brackets allows the orthodontist to tighten this arch wire enough to initiate desired movement of teeth. Generally, orthodontic patients visit Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics once a month to have this wire tightened to keep teeth moving in the desired direction.

Tissues surrounding the teeth that experience pressure from arch wires will slowly (and, for the most part, painlessly) stretch, and allow the socket to enlarge so the tooth and its root become looser temporarily. This allows the root to move without causing bleeding or pain. Once Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our staff are satisfied with the repositioning of teeth, we will remove the braces and let bone material fill in the socket so that teeth are solidified into their new (and straighter) positions.

Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces

Both types of orthodontic corrective devices move teeth in the same manner: by applying a continual force against teeth. Clear aligners, like Invisalign, are mouth trays made of hard acrylic material that people wear for at least 23 hours a day. Unlike metal braces, Invisalign can be removed for eating and brushing purposes and the aligners are nearly invisible because of their transparency.

Invisalign aligners are usually reserved for people with gaps between their teeth or whose teeth are only slightly crooked. Traditional metal braces are often necessary when severe malocclusion exists and requires more pressure than Invisalign offers.

Thanksgiving Trivia

November 25th, 2014

At Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics we love learning trivia and interesting facts about Thanksgiving! This year, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich wanted to share some trivia that might help you feel a bit smarter at the holiday dinner table and help create some great conversation with friends and family.

The Turkey

There is no historical evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a three-day party shared by the Wamponoag Indians and the pilgrims in 1621. Historians say they likely ate venison and seafood.

According to National Geographic, the dinner at the Plymouth colony was in October and included about 50 English colonists and 90 American Indian men. The first Thanksgiving dinner could have included corn, geese, and pumpkin.

Today, turkey is the meat of choice. According to the National Turkey Association, about 690 million pounds of turkey are consumed during Thanksgiving, or about 46 million turkeys.

The Side Dishes

The green bean casserole became popular about 50 years ago. Created by the Campbell Soup Company, it remains a popular side dish. According to Campbell’s, it was developed when the company was creating an annual holiday cookbook. The company now sells about $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each year, which is a major part of the recipe.

While there were likely plenty of cranberries for the pilgrims and Indians to enjoy, sugar was a luxury. What we know today as cranberry sauce was not around in those early Thanksgiving days. About 750 million pounds of cranberries are produced each year in the US, with about 30 percent consumed on Thanksgiving.

The Parade

Since Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until Lincoln declared it in 1863, the annual parades were not yearly events until much later. The biggest parade that continues to draw crowds is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Beginning in 1924 with about 400 employees, they marched from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. Famous for the huge hot-air balloons today, it was actually live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo that were the stars of the show then.

However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.

What causes crooked teeth?

November 18th, 2014

Teeth erupt crookedly for a number of reasons that range from genetics to mouth deformities and serious oral diseases. When extra teeth or abnormally large teeth create a malocclusion (crookedness or misplacement of teeth), the culprit is usually genetic in nature. Other inherited traits involve jaws that are too small to accommodate a full set of teeth and misaligned jaws that did not form properly in the womb.

Can crooked teeth be prevented?

In most cases, underbites, overbites, and crooked teeth are genetically derived and can’t be avoided. Orthodontic treatment with braces will be necessary to correct the condition once the child is old enough to wear them. However, certain early childhood behaviors may also contribute to the development of crooked teeth that can be avoided. These include:

  • Thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
  • Losing baby teeth to decay before permanent teeth have naturally pushed them out of their sockets
  • Allowing pacifier use to continue after front teeth have erupted

Permanent teeth underneath baby teeth are directly affected by the health of baby teeth. If baby teeth are prematurely lost due to decay or trauma, permanent teeth will shift when they start moving upward. Baby teeth are like anchors for permanent teeth that help guide them as they erupt through the gums.

In addition, excellent care of baby teeth is vital to having healthy permanent teeth free of discoloration or decay. Harmful oral bacteria can spread into the gums and reach permanent teeth still buried in the gums. Once attached to a tooth’s enamel, bacteria will begin eroding the tooth even before it has a chance to take its first bite!

When to Start Orthodontic Treatment for Crooked Teeth

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our staff suggest that parents bring your child to Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics around age seven to rule out potential issues with permanent teeth eruption. If problems are discovered, it is not unusual to begin orthodontic treatment at that age. In fact, specific conditions such as crowding and gaps between teeth are easier to correct at an early age.

Early treatment also benefits from the growth process of the jaw, which helps move teeth to normal positions.

How to Care for Your Invisalign® Aligners

November 11th, 2014

Is it possible to straighten the teeth without braces? Yes, it is. Welcome to the world of Invisalign aligners. Invisalign aligners are made from a clear, thermoplastic material that is custom made to fit your teeth. Unlike conventional braces, Invisalign aligners are removable. More importantly, the clear thermoplastic material makes the aligners invisible, which is ideal if the thought of metal braces and elastics make you self-conscious. For the best results, proper handling and care of your Invisalign aligners is important. Follow these steps to take care of your aligners:

1. Do not eat or drink hot beverages while wearing aligners. It's a good idea to get in the practice of removing the aligners before eating and drinking. Because the aligners are made of plastic resin, heat can distort and damage them. Also, eating while wearing the aligners will cause sugar and other food particles to stay on your teeth, which contributes to plaque and tooth decay.

2. Clean the aligner trays regularly. Invisalign aligners are exposed to the same bacteria and plaque that your mouth is, so you need to clean them as regularly as you clean your teeth. However, avoid cleaning the aligners with harsh chemicals. We recommend using a cleaning kit or some other type of specific solution. When it comes to cleaning Invisalign aligners, carefully follow the instructions given by Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich.

3. Store aligners in a cool, dry, safe place. When you’re not wearing the aligners, store them in the case provided by our office. If you don’t use the case, they can easily be lost. Keeping them out of reach of small children and pets is also a good idea. The last thing you want is for Fido to think your Invisalign aligners are chew toys.

4. Don’t chew gum while wearing aligners. There’s one thing that conventional braces and Invisalign aligners have in common: chewing gum damages both of them.

5. Don’t soak aligners in mouthwash. Many popular mouthwashes contain a color pigment. It’s possible that soaking Invisalign aligners in mouthwash will tint or stain them.

For more tips and tricks for a successful Invisalign experience, contact our Lakeland, FL office!

How Your Pearly Whites Can Help You in Life

November 4th, 2014

At Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our staff have found that patients who like their smiles have better self-esteem. People who don’t like their smiles are often skittish about talking to other people. According to the National Women’s Health Resource Center, when women are asked about what they’d most like to change about themselves, many point to their smile. Despite wanting to change their smiles, quite a few of the people who are unhappy about that part of themselves won’t consider getting braces.

Most Americans Don’t Have Straight Teeth

The American Association of Orthodontics estimates that 4.5 million Americans wear braces or other orthodontic equipment to straighten their teeth and to get a healthier mouth. One in five of those braces wearers are women. The organization’s statistics also show that about 75 percent of the population doesn’t have straight teeth, and those people would benefit from getting braces.

While the main benefit of braces is straight teeth, and to improve the look of your smile, there are other benefits that make braces even more useful, including:

  • Straighter teeth help people chew better.
  • Straighter teeth give people a proper bite.
  • People speak better when they have straighter teeth.
  • When people have straight teeth, they have better overall gum and mouth health. A healthier mouth means flossing and brushing are easier, and that means your entire mouth stays healthy.
  • A healthy mouth is also linked to a healthy body.

When you feel proud of those pearly whites, you feel better about your smile, and that contributes to a better self-image and improved self-esteem. Ultimately, that can lead to greater career success and a more fulfilling social life.

The Intriguing History of Halloween

October 28th, 2014

Halloween is fast approaching, and Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich wanted to be sure to wish our patients a happy day, no matter how you might celebrate this holiday. The Halloween that is familiar to most people today bears little resemblance to the original Halloween; back in the "old days" it wasn't even called Halloween!

Festival of the Dead

Halloween started out as a Celtic festival of the dead that honored departed loved ones and signified a change in the cycle of the seasons. The Celtic people viewed Halloween, then called "Samhain," as a very special day – almost like our New Years day in fact, as their new calendar year began on November 1st. Samhain was the last day of autumn, so it was the time to harvest the last of the season's crops, store food away for winter, and situate livestock comfortably for the upcoming cold weather. The Celts believed that during this day, the last day of winter, the veil between this world and the spirit world is the thinnest, and that the living could communicate with departed loved ones most effectively on Samhain due to this.

Modern Halloween

Halloween as we know it today started because Christian missionaries were working to convert the Celtic people to Christianity. The Celts believed in religious concepts that were not supported by the Christian church, and these practices, which stemmed from Druidism, were perceived by the Christian church as being "devil worship" and dangerous.

When Pope Gregory the First instructed his missionaries to work at converting the Pagan people, he told them to try to incorporate some of the Pagan practices into Christian practices in a limited way. This meant that November 1st became "All Saints Day," which allowed Pagan people to still celebrate a beloved holiday without violating Christian beliefs.

Today, Halloween has evolved into a day devoted purely to fun, candy, and kids. What a change from its origins! We encourage all of our patients to have fun during the holiday, but be safe with the treats. Consider giving apples or fruit roll-ups to the kids instead of candy that is potentially damaging to the teeth and gums.

Remind kids to limit their candy and brush after eating it! Sweets can cause major tooth decay and aggrivate gum disease, so to avoid extra visits to our Lakeland, FL office, make your Halloween a safe one!

Do I really need to wear my rubber bands with my braces?

October 21st, 2014

Most of our patients at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics will need to wear rubber bands at some point during their orthodontic treatment. The main reason our patients are instructed to wear rubber bands is to correct their bite. If your teeth do not fit together properly, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich will recommend that rubber bands be used. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich may also recommend using rubber bands to close or open spaces.

Rubber bands are a critical part of your treatment, and wearing them as Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team recommend will help move your teeth into the desired position. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich may ask you to wear your rubber bands full time, meaning that they should only be taken out when you brush and floss your teeth three times a day. Other times, you may be asked to only wear them part-time, like only during the day or only during sleep.

If you still have any questions about orthodontic rubber bands, we invite you to give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment appointment. Remember, wearing rubber bands as prescribed by Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich is an important step during your treatment, and can reduce the time you have your braces. If you lose your rubber bands or run out, stop by our Lakeland, FL office and pick up more!

Smile with Invisalign Teen®!

October 14th, 2014

Invisalign Teen is designed with today’s youth in mind. These clear, removable orthodontic aligners can straighten your teeth without the need for metal wires and brackets. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign Teen aligners are comfortable, nearly invisible, and removable, which allows you to remove them as you eat your favorite foods and brush and floss your teeth. Invisalign Teen motivates teenagers to enjoy life without restrictions while promoting better overall dental care.

Key features of Invisalign Teen

Teenagers are constantly on the move and require special options when it comes to their braces. Invisalign Teen utilizes the same technology as Invisalign for adults; they consist of a series of clear plastic aligners that gradually move the teeth. Extra features designed especially for teens include:

  • Blue wear-indicators on the aligners that gradually fade from blue to clear to help you, and our team, gauge wear time
  • Aligners designed to compensate for the growth of molars and new teeth
  • Customization to fit your mouth correctly and comfortably
  • Removable and nearly transparent to ensure you can eat with freedom and smile with confidence
  • Six free individual replacement aligners in the event that your aligners become misplaced or lost

Conditions improved by Invisalign Teen

Between 70 and 80 percent of adolescents in the United States require braces, according to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Invisalign Teen uses advanced technology to treat a broad range of orthodontic conditions. These include overbite, underbite, crossbite, widely-spaced teeth, and overly crowded teeth. Injuries and tooth and jaw problems may also require the use of braces to correct jaw and teeth alignment problems.

How does Invisalign Teen work?

Like any orthodontic treatment, Invisalign Teen requires a customized treatment plan created by Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich. Generally, each set of aligners is worn for approximately two weeks and removed when you brush, floss, eat, and drink. Your teeth will gradually move with the series of aligners, which typically ranges from 18 to 30 aligners in total. You’ll visit our Lakeland, FL office every eight to ten weeks to check your progress and make any needed adjustments.

Invisalign Teen introduces a whole new way to make your smile straight without the unappealing look and hassle of traditional metal braces. This revolutionary method of correcting smiles is being used by teens everywhere, including right here at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, to straighten their teeth with confidence.

October is National Orthodontic Health Month

October 7th, 2014

What does the month of October mean to you? For people in the northern hemisphere, October is when the weather starts to get a little chilly: heavy jackets might come out of storage and the summer clothing gets packed away. You might start making plans for the upcoming holidays or looking at the beautiful and changing autumn scenery. October means something a little different to our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics because this is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic clinics all over the country work together to promote their services and inform the community about the important work we do.

National Orthodontic Health Month is an awareness campaign created cooperatively by orthodontists and other dental health professionals. During this month, we make a special effort to promote dental health and orthodontic health in particular. This is a great time to get your questions answered by dental professionals in your community and to learn more about exactly what an orthodontist can do for you and your family. Events held in connection with National Orthodontic Health Month are also an opportunity for us orthodontists to come out and meet community members. If you have never been to an orthodontist before, you might not know what to expect. Meeting one of us in person before your checkup is a great way to find out what kind of person you’ll be seeing during your appointment.

Meeting Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich in a relaxed “meet and greet” atmosphere can be especially helpful for any young orthodontic patients in your family. Kids of all ages–and their parents!–can feel anxiety about going to the dentist. Getting to know the person you have an appointment with can make the experience a lot less stressful for everyone. We don't want anyone to avoid seeing a dental professional for regular checkups just because they don't know who we are. Just meeting and talking with the orthodontist you'll be seeing may be enough to make you feel more comfortable about your upcoming appointment.

Dental health is something that affects everyone; healthy teeth and gums contribute to a healthy smile and a lifetime of comfort and well-being. Orthodontists are just one of the various dental practitioners you could visit at some point in your life, so taking a little time to learn who we are and what we do is certain to be a helpful experience. We look forward to seeing you and your family this October at our Lakeland, FL location!

The Importance of Wearing Your Retainer after Orthodontic Treatment

September 30th, 2014

It's the big day and your braces are finally coming off! Does that mean you are completely done? Not so fast! After you complete your treatment here at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team will recommend you wear a retainer, which must be worn routinely after treatment in order to hold your teeth in their proper, new position while your gums, ligaments and bones adapt. Most patients are required to wear their retainer every night at first, with many also being directed to wear them during the day. It's important to know there are different kinds of retainers, and today we thought we would explain the differences between them.

Hawley Retainers

The Hawley retainer is one of the most common types of retainers. It is a removable retainer made of a combination of a metal wire that typically surrounds the six anterior teeth and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while the wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in an ideal position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors or patterns.

Essix (Clear) Retainers

The Essix retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of your teeth. This clear or transparent retainer fits over the entire arch of teeth and is produced from a mold. Similar to Invisalign’s clear aligner trays, Essix retainers have no metal or wires. They can also be used to produce minor tooth movements and can be helpful in prevention of tooth wear due to tooth grinding at night.

Bonded Retainers

Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower canines. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics encourage our patients with bonded lingual retainers to be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause your teeth to shift. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep your bonded retainers clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your lower teeth, as well as the wire itself.

The retention phase of treatment begins when the patient’s braces are removed. Retainers are worn full time, typically for the first nine months, except while eating. Retainers should also be removed before brushing your teeth.

If you have any questions about the retainers we offer or to learn more about post-orthodontic treatment, please feel free to contact us at our convenient Lakeland, FL office and we will be happy to answer any of your questions!

Permanent or Removable Retainers: Which is right for you?

September 23rd, 2014

When the time comes for Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich to remove your braces, it is very exciting. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat confusing, too, because you are faced with choosing between two kinds of retainers. Should you go with permanent, removable, or a combination of the two? It is always wise to follow Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics recommendations, but knowing more about the two types of retainer beforehand can be helpful.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers offer the advantage of easy use: you will generally put a removable retainer in at night and take it out in the morning. Regardless of your retainer schedule, you'll be able to enjoy some time with no retainer. However, a removable retainer can easily be forgotten at times, and this means you won't be taking full advantage of teeth retention.

Another potential advantage of a removable retainer is that you can take it out and brush and floss your teeth with ease, which is more of a challenge with a permanent retainer. Although removable retainers can be very effective, they don't tend to be as effective as permanent retainers, especially if they are not used as directed.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are the clear choice for patients who want to “get it and forget it.” Once your permanent retainer is placed in your mouth, you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since it is permanently affixed to your teeth.

Because teeth begin to shift naturally as we age, a permanent retainer typically offers better long-term results for teeth straightening than a removable one. You can't forget to put it in — it's already there! Temporary retainers get lost or are forgotten on trips, and often fail to get used as often as they should be.

One drawback to permanent retainers is flossing. Some patients find it more difficult to floss with a permanent retainer, but we can show you effective ways to floss fairly quickly with your permanent retainer.

Some orthodontists may recommend a combination of the two; for example, a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lower ones because the lower teeth are smaller and tend to shift more.

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing your retainer as directed is extremely important. As long as you follow our orthodontist’s advice, you will get the best results from your retainer, regardless of its type. If you’re still not sure whether the choice you’ve made is truly right for you, get in touch with us at our Lakeland, FL location right away!

Proper Diet while Undergoing Orthodontics

September 16th, 2014

Many people undergo orthodontic treatment during childhood, adolescence, and even into adulthood. Wearing orthodontic appliances like braces is sure to produce a beautiful smile. Though orthodontic treatments at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics are designed to accommodate your lifestyle, chances are you will need to make some dietary modifications to prevent damage to your braces and prolong orthodontic treatment.

The First Few Days with Braces

The first few days wearing braces may be the most restrictive. During this time, the adhesive is still curing, which means you will need to consume only soft foods. This probably will not be a problem, however, as your teeth may be tender or sensitive while adjusting to the appliances.

Orthodontic Dietary Restrictions

You can eat most foods normally the way you did without braces. However, some foods can damage orthodontic appliances or cause them to come loose. Examples of foods you will need to avoid include:

  • Chewy foods like taffy, chewing gum, beef jerky, and bagels
  • Hard foods like peanuts, ice chips, and hard candy
  • Crunchy foods like chips, apples, and carrots

How to Continue to Eat the Foods You Love Most

Keep in mind that you may still be able to enjoy some of the foods you love by making certain modifications to the way you eat them. For example, steaming or roasting carrots makes them softer and easier to consume with braces. Similarly, you can remove corn from the cob, or cut up produce like apples and pears to avoid biting into them. Other tips include grinding nuts into your yogurt or dipping hard cookies into milk to soften them. If you must eat hard candies, simply suck on them instead of biting into them.

If you have any question whether a food is safe to eat during your treatment with Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, we encourage you to err on the side of caution. Of course, you can always contact our Lakeland, FL office with any questions you have about your diet and the foods that should be avoided during treatment. By following our dietary instructions and protecting your orthodontic appliances from damage, you will be back to chewing gum in no time.

Electric Toothbrush: How do you choose?

September 9th, 2014

Since the introduction of the power toothbrush in the 1960s, this tool has undergone many technological advances, from design and bristle motions to rotation oscillation and sonic vibration.

What is rotation oscillation? That’s when the head of the toothbrush alternately rotates in one direction and then the other. Power toothbrushes can deliver up to 50,000 strokes per minute, which is much more effective than the average 300 strokes per minute with a manual toothbrush.

A smaller brush head is available for hard-to-reach areas, which is a good alternative for small mouths. The brush heads are replaceable and should be changed every three to six months. Each family member should have his or her own brush head while sharing the base motor. What a great deal! Check the handle size. A large handle is better for members of the household with arthritis, children, or family with other physical disabilities.

A rechargeable toothbrush is ideal. It should deliver enough power on a full charge for one week of brushing.

We recommend you brush for a minimum of two minutes. Some electric toothbrushes include a signal you can hear, such as a beep every 30 seconds, to indicate it's time to switch to a different area of the mouth. Others sound an alert after the full two minutes has elapsed.

Will an electric toothbrush harm the teeth or gums? Studies indicate that people tend to apply more damaging pressure to their teeth and gums during manual brushing than when they use an electric toothbrush. If you experience tooth sensitivity, choose a model with pressure sensors that stop the toothbrush any time you press too hard.

Who would benefit from an electric toothbrush? Everyone! Consumers with a physical disability may have specific needs that power toothbrushes can address. Children also tend to maintain better oral health hygiene when they use an automatic toothbrush. Plus, many of them find it fun to brush!

Automatic toothbrushes really do remove debris better than the old-fashioned way. You may have heard the term “biofilm.” Better known as plaque when it occurs in the mouth, biofilm is the debris and bacteria that cause infections to your teeth. It regenerates quickly, so healthy habits are the best defense for a healthier you! With a healthier mouth, you face a lower risk of gum disease and other conditions like heart disease: mouth health has been linked to heart health.

When you're ready to make your decisions, be a wise comparison shopper. Consult with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics to decide what is best for you!

What was your favorite part of summer?

September 2nd, 2014

It's the end of summer, and fall is just around the corner. Soon the temperatures will cool down, the leaves will start to change, and Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics are sure that you’ll soon be thinking about Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving plans in no time. But wait! First, we want to know about your favorite parts of the summer! Did you go on a wonderful family trip? Did you pick up a new hobby? Did you try to spend as much time outside and in the sun as possible?

Share your favorite memories, stories, or photos with us by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Happy Labor Day!

August 26th, 2014

Labor Day is upon us, and that means the non-official end to summer. Before the kids head back to school and temperatures start to cool down, this is your last chance to barbeque in the beautiful Lakeland, FL community, head to the lake, and wear your favorite pair of white pants.

About Labor Day

Each year, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It is the one day of year Americans celebrate their achievements in work, which the US Department of Labor says has contributed to prosperity and well-being of America as a whole. Americans have been celebrating Labor Day since the 1880s, and today it is an official federal holiday.

Interesting Facts About Labor Day

  • Every year, more than 30 million Americans travel over Labor Day weekend.
  • Canada was the first to celebrate Labor Day, and the US soon followed.
  • President Cleveland made Labor Day and official US holiday in 1894.
  • Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and NCAA sports seasons for fans.
  • Labor Day marks the end of hot dog season, when Americans consume seven billion hot dogs.

Thanks for being a valued patient of our orthodontic office. Our staff would like to wish you a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. Enjoy your time off!

Adults and Braces: Not just for kids anymore

August 19th, 2014

Just hearing the word “braces” can take many of us back to junior high — that painful era when we wore unattractive glasses, endured unflattering haircuts, and carried a mouthful of braces to complete the awkward adolescent look. Despite the common assumption that braces are for kids, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontics to correct their smiles.

Braces for Adults

Perhaps you never had braces as a kid and you are embarrassed by your crooked teeth. Or you went through a round of braces a decade ago and stopped wearing your retainer, which allowed your teeth to shift. Whatever your personal history, wearing braces in adulthood is an excellent way to create the straight, beautiful smile you deserve.

What are my options?

With recent advances in orthodontic medicine, there are numerous options for adults who need braces. The basic option is traditional metal braces. These are best for individuals who have severely crooked teeth or a significant bite problem, or require other major orthodontic changes. Metal braces are typically the least expensive option. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is aesthetics. Many people find them unattractive and distracting.

If you are a professional who is worried about your personal appearance, clear ceramic braces may be a better choice. Clear braces are capable of handling very crooked teeth or bite issues, but they cost more than metal braces. You also have to be careful about smoking or drinking red wine, soda, and other dark beverages while wearing clear braces. These items may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth.

Another popular option for adults who need braces is a clear aligner treatment, such as Invisalign®. This system works in a different way from traditional braces by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners. The series is custom made for your teeth, which makes this option more expensive than either metal or ceramic braces. In general, the Invisalign process takes anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems, teeth that are lower or higher than others, or severely overcrowded teeth.

Although you may be nervous about the prospect of getting braces as an adult, you should not let your fears stop you from talking with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich. A consultation at our Lakeland, FL office will address your concerns and provide information about the best course of treatment for you. No matter what your personal situation, adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and create the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Tips to Avoid Common Problems Associated with Braces

August 12th, 2014

While braces play an important part in helping to create a healthy mouth and teeth, you might experience a few side effects while wearing them that are common and can be easily treated.

Even with the best of care, braces can cause soreness to your mouth. As your teeth begin to move, it is natural for your teeth to feel aches and your jaw to develop soreness.

If there are broken wires or loose bands on your braces, a sore tongue, mouth, or canker sore will occur. Canker sores are a common occurrence when braces rub inside the mouth. There are ointments available to reduce the pain and irritation associated with mouth sores. We urge those who experience a sore mouth or any of the following problems to call our office to schedule an appointment.

  • Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket temporarily. You might also apply a little between the braces and the soft tissue of your mouth.
  • Loose bands: These must be secured in place by your orthodontist. Try to save the band for repair.
  • Protruding or broken wires: The eraser end of a pencil can be used to move the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If you are unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax to the tip. If a mouth sore develops, rinse with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.
  • Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned and sometimes replaced.

Foods to Avoid

Some foods can also help or hurt you while you’re wearing braces. Remember to cut your food into small pieces that can be easily chewed. You will want to avoid hard and chewy foods that can break your hardware. Foods such as corn on the cob, nuts, carrots, apples, ice, and bubble gum should be avoided.

Braces, rubber bands, springs, and other mouth appliances associated with braces will normally attract food particles and plaque. Without the proper care, this could cause staining of your teeth.

Our staff at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics recommends brushing after every meal or snack and carefully removing any food that might be lodged in the braces. A fluoride mouthwash might be helpful as well as flossing. At your next appointment, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich can advise you how to floss with a brush specially designed for braces!

We proudly offer Invisalign Teen®!

August 5th, 2014

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team are excited to offer Invisalign Teen, a clear alternative to braces that’s just for teens! With Invisalign Teen, we are able to straighten your teen’s teeth without the hassle, discomfort, and embarrassment of traditional braces.

Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners are virtually invisible. What's more, they are removable, which means your child is free to eat anything they choose, as well as brush and floss with ease! And best of all, Invisalign Teen uses no wires or metal to straighten your teen's teeth.

Invisalign Teen aligners are made from a lightweight plastic material and fit precisely on the teeth. Invisalign Teen has become a popular treatment here at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics because it helps our younger patients achieve a straight, beautiful smile without their friends noticing.

Our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics is aware that most teens today have a busy lifestyle, and sometimes, they tend to lose things, including their retainers or aligners. But with Invisalign Teen, if your child happens to lose an aligner, let Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team know as soon as possible and we will have the aligner replaced.

For more information on Invisalign Teen, please give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office today!

Five Tips in Caring for Your Braces During Orthodontic Treatment

July 29th, 2014

After getting your braces, it is important to know how to take care of your teeth in order to ensure that your braces stay intact and do their job so that your teeth are in top-notch condition after you complete your orthodontic treatment. Today, our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics thought we would provide you with five tips you need to know to ensure you undergo successful treatment at our Lakeland, FL office.

Flossing
Flossing twice a day or after every meal can help you clean areas between teeth and other places a toothbrush can miss. We also recommend using a floss threader, which can be used to help you navigate safely around your braces and brackets. It is vital to floss twice a day, preferably after lunch and before bedtime to keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay.

Brushing
Teeth and appliances should be brushed after every meal and before bedtime using fluoride toothpaste and gentle, soft strokes. We recommend using an interdental toothbrush, which can help you clean the hard-to-reach areas under wires better than an ordinary toothbrush.

Using Elastics
This phase of orthodontic treatment requires cooperation and consistency on your part. If your orthodontist has prescribed elastics, make sure they are worn at all times, except when eating meals or brushing teeth. It’s important that you wear the correct size elastics and have extras in case they are misplaced. By failing to wear your elastics for even one day, you run the risk your teeth moving back toward their original position.

Addressing Damage to Your Braces
In case your appliances are damaged, we ask that you call our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics immediately to set up an appointment.

Eat Friendly Foods
When undergoing treatment, there are certain foods you must avoid. Foods that are hard, sticky, chewy or sour can add months to your treatment time. These includes gum, caramels, taco shells, nuts, ice, chips or hard candies.

We hope that helps! If you have any questions, please give us a call at our Lakeland, FL office or ask us during your next adjustment appointment!

What makes teeth crooked?

July 22nd, 2014

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team hear this question a lot. Some of the common reasons for crooked teeth include:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Tongue thrusting or improper use of the tongue during speaking and swallowing
  • Premature loss of baby teeth, which causes teeth to drift and shift
  • Poor breathing airway caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils

There are also hereditary factors we get from our parents, like:

  • Extra teeth
  • Large teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Wide spaces between teeth
  • Small jaws

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team know that having crooked teeth isn’t just a cosmetic issue; it can lead to serious health problems as well. Crooked teeth can:

  • Interfere with proper chewing
  • Make keeping teeth clean more of a challenge, increasing the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis
  • Strain the teeth, jaws, and muscles, increasing the risk of breaking a tooth

There are several treatment options we offer at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics that can help correct crooked teeth. Please give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office to learn more or to schedule an initial consultation.

What is orthognathic surgery?

July 15th, 2014

Orthognathic surgery is surgery to correct a wide variety of abnormalities of our patients' jaw and teeth. The surgery is often done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. While the patient’s appearance may be significantly improved as a result, the primary purpose of the surgery is to correct functional problems including but not limited to:

  • Unbalanced facial appearance
  • Protruding jaw
  • Open bite (upper and lower teeth don’t overlap properly
  • Excessive wearing down of the teeth
  • Difficulty with chewing or biting
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleeping problems such as sleep apnea
  • TMJ pain (jaw joint pain)
  • Restoring facial injuries

Knowing when to start the orthodontic treatment in preparation for orthognathic surgery can also be tricky if our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics is treating a teenager. It is important to know when to get started. If orthodontic treatment is initiated too soon and the teenager is still growing, the patient will either need to hold in braces until his or her growth is complete and they are ready for surgery or the braces will have to be removed and then placed again when growth is complete. Neither of these options is attractive since it requires longer time in treatment, which is something all our patients want to avoid. Our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics strives to get all patients finished with treatment as quickly as possible because it is healthier for the teeth and gums and gives them a beautiful smile to enjoy for a lifetime.

If you are considering orthognathic surgery or you have been told that you need jaw surgery, give us a call to schedule your initial consultation today. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics will explain our treatment plan in a way you will understand and we will keep you informed every step of the way.

Fluoride and Your Orthodontic Treatment

July 8th, 2014

Our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics knows that there are many ways you can protect your pearly whites throughout your orthodontic treatment. If you follow the rules and brush your teeth twice a day, floss often, and protect your appliances from damage, you should have a successful treatment.

But did you know there’s another way to keep your teeth sparkling and healthy during your time wearing braces?

Fluoride, the mineral that helps you prevent cavities and tooth decay, can also help keep your teeth strong. Fluoride comes in two varieties: topical and systemic. Depending on your oral health or the recommendation of Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. We may also prescribe a fluoride product such as a mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse for at-home treatment to keep your teeth happy in between visits.

If you have any other questions about fluoride or your treatment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Happy Fourth of July

July 1st, 2014

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

When You Need Immediate Care, We are Here for You

June 24th, 2014

At Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, we know orthodontic emergencies are neither convenient nor timely. If you are a patient of record, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team are more than willing to see you after hours or over the weekend. As a general rule, you should call our Lakeland, FL office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. If you have an orthodontic emergency after regular office hours, please give us a call and follow the emergency prompts to contact one of our doctors.

Is Invisalign Teen® right for my child?

June 17th, 2014

Straightening your teeth with traditional braces used to be something of a public affair. While traditional teeth-straightening methods yielded high-quality results, it was also essentially impossible to wear them undetected as you went about your day. The visibility of braces could be especially troubling to teens in the high-stress environment of high school and even during the early years of college.

With Invisalign Teen, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics will tell you that many of those concerns are no longer as relevant as they once were. Because Invisalign Teen aligners are constructed out of a plastic that is both smooth and clear, in all likelihood friends and family members won’t even realize the teen is wearing them. The smooth and clear plastic also makes the aligners much more comfortable than traditional braces, which means the teenaged user won’t have to deal with something large and obstructive in his or her mouth.

Additionally, the Invisalign Teen aligners are specifically made to be removable when the need arises. Your son or daughter won’t have to worry about getting food stuck in the alignment trays because they can be pulled out before a meal and popped back in afterwards. Invisalign Teen wearers can remove the aligners before brushing, which allows them to make sure their teeth are free and clear of all obstructions.

Invisalign Teen aligners also allow wearers to keep doing all the activities they have previously enjoyed. If your teen plays sports, for example, he or she won't have to worry about a mouth filled with metal brackets getting injured during play. If your teen plays an instrument, he or she won’t have to worry about traditional braces affecting normal playing techniques. The aligners will remain both comfortable and convenient during all of those activities and more.

If your teen is concerned about physical appearance and worried that braces will adversely affect his or her life for a year or more, Invisalign Teen treatment with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich is definitely the right choice. Teens don’t have to be shy about their smile, won’t have to change any of the activities they normally do, and will still get all the benefits of straight teeth when the process is completed.

For more information about Invisalign Teen, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, please give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office today!

What’s so great about an orthodontist?

June 10th, 2014

A lot of our patients are curious about the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist. In fact, one of the most common questions we hear at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics is, “Dentists and orthodontists are all the same, right?”

A general dentist is your primary dental care provider. Dentists diagnose, treat, and manage your overall oral healthcare needs, including gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, veneers, and bridges.

Orthodontists, such as Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, are more concerned with diagnosis, prevention, interception, and treatment of malocclusion, or what we call “bad bite,” of the teeth. Orthodontists focus on tooth and jaw alignment and bite problems such as overbites and underbites, and are responsible for straightening teeth via bands, wires, braces, and other fixed or removable corrective treatment options, like braces and clear aligners. Orthodontists treat children as well as adults who wish to improve the function of their bite and appearance of their smile.

Before becoming an orthodontist, doctors such as Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich start out in dental school and earn a dental degree, just like your general dentist. After dental school, those doctors who decide they are interested in the orthodontic field, stay in school for a few more years and become experts in orthodontia, which is one of nine specialties within the dental field.

Isn’t it nice to know we have orthodontic experts here at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics to help you through any type of treatment your teeth and jaw might need? To schedule your initial appointment at our Lakeland, FL office, please give us a call today!

What if I miss an appointment over the summer?

June 3rd, 2014

If you are planning on taking a vacation this summer, we ask that you let us know ahead of time so that we may schedule your summer appointments more efficiently. We also encourage patients and their parents to be proactive in determining when they make their summer appointments.

If you will be gone for an extended period (more than six weeks), we recommend you visit Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics prior to leaving and schedule another visit shortly after your return. Lastly, please remember not to indulge in hard, sticky, and chewy treats while enjoying your vacation. We look forward to seeing you soon and hearing about your adventures!

What causes crooked teeth?

May 27th, 2014

Crooked teeth, more correctly called malocclusions, have reached epidemic proportions in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, approximately 80 percent of American teenagers are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment. Although advances in orthodontic devices and increased availability of such devices explain part of this increase, it still means there are a lot of crooked teeth in the world.

The theories about what is causing so many crooked teeth range from the ridiculous to the scientific. For years, oral health professionals believed that crooked teeth were an evolutionary result of the change in Western diets from raw, wild foods to soft, processed foods. That theory has since been debunked.

The truth is that crooked teeth can be caused by a number of things. Crooked teeth can be an inherited trait. Parents with crooked teeth and malformed jaws are more likely to have children with malocclusions. Ill-fitting or poorly-executed dental restorations, such as fillings and crowns, can also cause teeth to become crooked. Baby teeth that fall out early, gingivitis, and even a jaw that is too small to accommodate all of a person’s adult teeth are additional causes of crooked teeth. In addition, thumb sucking and the use of a pacifier for too long can contribute to crooked teeth.

What to do about crooked teeth

Fortunately, modern orthodontics offers a number of solutions for crooked teeth. Traditional metal braces are the most popular, though our Lakeland, FL office provides a number of clear, aesthetic options as well. If you’re tired of hiding your smile because of crooked teeth, contact Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics and set up an appointment. We’ll have you showing off your straight pearly whites in no time!

Memorial Day

May 20th, 2014

Memorial Day is not only a federal holiday in the United States, but it is a day of observance and remembrance of those who died in service. Originally known as Decoration Day, this solemn day has been marked on calendars since the end of the American Civil War as a day to commemorate both the Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died in the war.

Marking the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers, wreaths, or other tokens has been practiced throughout history, but it wasn't until the mark of the end of the Civil War that a special day was decided upon as the one to spend in remembrance. By 1890, every state in the country was observing Decoration Day. It wasn't until 1967 when the name formally changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, in order to encompass all fallen American soldiers in all wars and conflicts. In June of 1968, Congress moved the official date of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May in order to create a three day weekend.

Today, while there is certainly an air of remembrance on Memorial Day, it has become more a day of spending time with family, friends, and other loved ones. This day is also heralded as the start of summer, with many schools finishing for the year around this time. Our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics remembers it as a day to take solace and remembered those lost.

Traditional observances of Memorial Day are still held, and they often involve raising the American Flag then lowering it to a half-staff position until noon, and then raising it once again to its full height afterwards. The flag is lowered to remember those who've lost their lives while in service to their country, and then it is raised to signify our willingness to not let their sacrifice be in vain.

From community parades in the Lakeland, FL area, backyard cook-outs, and fireworks to formal ceremonies, Memorial Day is commemorated in many different ways. No matter how you choose to spend this day, take a moment to remember those who've lost their lives in an effort to preserve our freedom.

What is a water pick and do I need one?

May 13th, 2014

Water picks, sometimes called “oral irrigators,” make an excellent addition to your regular home care regimen of brushing and flossing. Especially helpful to those who suffer from periodontal disease and those patients of ours undergoing orthodontic treatment with full-bracketed braces, water picks use powerful tiny bursts of water to dislodge food scraps, bacteria, and other debris nestled in the crevices of your mouth. Children undergoing orthodontic treatment may find using a water pick is beneficial if their toothbrush bristles tend to get caught on their wires or brackets.

When you use a water pick, you’re not only dislodging any particles or debris and bacteria you might have missed when brushing, you are also gently massaging the gums, which helps promote blood flow in the gums and keeps them healthy. While water picks are an excellent addition to your daily fight against gingivitis and other periodontal diseases, they are incapable of fully removing plaque, which is why Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics want to remind you to keep brushing and flossing every day.

If you have sensitive teeth or gums and find it uncomfortable to floss daily, water picks are a good alternative to reduce discomfort while effectively cleaning between teeth. Diabetics sometimes prefer water picks to flossing because they don't cause bleeding of the gums, which can be a problem with floss. If you have a permanent bridge, crowns, or other dental restoration, you may find that a water pick helps you keep the area around the restorations clean.

So how do you choose the right water pick?

Water picks are available for home or portable use. The home versions tend to be larger and use standard electrical outlets, while portable models use batteries. Aside from the size difference, they work in the same manner, both using pulsating water streams. A more crucial difference between water picks is the ability to adjust the pressure. Most home models will let you choose from several pressure settings, depending on how sensitive your teeth and gums are. Most portable models have only one pressure setting. If you want to use mouthwash or a dental rinse in your water pick, check the label first; some models suggest using water only.

Please give us a call at our Lakeland, FL office if you have any questions about water picks, or ask Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich during your next visit!

Wishing all our moms a happy Mother’s Day!

May 6th, 2014

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." - Robert Browning

We would like to take this moment to thank all the great moms out there for being so great during their child’s visits to Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics. Whether it’s driving their kids to regularly scheduled appointments or for “being there” while their child is treatment, the moms who come to our office are all stellar individuals, so Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our entire staff would like you to know that we appreciate you all!

Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy your special day!

Invisalign® Q&A

April 29th, 2014

It’s estimated that up to four million people at any one time are wearing braces in the United States and Canada. But Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics know that braces have come a long way from the early days of orthodontics, so much so that these days, options are available that are not visible to onlookers. The most popular of these “invisible” braces is Invisalign. Here’s a list of FAQs regarding Invisalign:

Are they really invisible?

Yes, the clear liners are virtually invisible, so they enable patients to feel good about themselves and their appearance, while getting the orthodontic treatment they need.

Are there wires, rubber bands, and brackets with Invisalign?

Nope. Invisalign is truly an alternative to conventional braces. The treatment consists of clear liners that can easily be removed and cleaned throughout the day. There are no wires, so there’s less poking and mouth irritation compared to braces. There’s also no wire tightening at adjustment appointments, so patients don’t have to worry about a sore mouth in the days that follow in-office visits.

I’ve heard that if I get braces, I won’t be able to eat certain foods like popcorn and hard candy. Is this true with Invisalign too?

No. With Invisalign, there are no food restrictions. You simply remove your aligners when you’re eating, and replace them after you’ve finished and brushed any leftover food particles away.

Does Invisalign cost more than braces?

While overall cost varies on a patient-by-patient basis and is based largely on the level of treatment, Invisalign costs about the same as traditional braces, which makes this treatment option a truly affordable alternative.

How does brushing compare with conventional braces?

Brushing your teeth while wearing conventional braces takes some getting used to. Patients have to brush around the metal brackets and floss with a specialty tool to get into the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. By contrast, Invisalign can be removed at any time to permit regular brushing and flossing.

Every patient is different and Invisalign might not be the best course of orthodontic treatment for everyone, but it's an option that's gaining more and more popularity, and it's an orthodontic alternative that doesn't sacrifice comfort and convenience for results. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office!

Every Day is Earth Day

April 22nd, 2014

During the early days of the environmental awareness movement, those who demonstrated against pollution, toxic chemicals, and the general public health were known as hippies. The early 1970s were a time of change, and assertions that we needed to pay more attention to the Earth's atmosphere were generally dismissed. But within a couple decades, it had become clear that the previous generation was right; the citizens of the world needed to become more environmentally conscious.

Many people feel that they can't make a difference if they don't do something big. But caring for the environment doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing concept. In fact, the little things you do can add up to make a great impact, especially in our community. Here are a few ways you can help the environment on Earth Day, April 22nd and all year around.

Four Small Ways to be Environmentally Friendly

  • Recycle Your Textiles. Nearly 21 million tons of textiles are added to American landfills each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Donating your unwanted clothing to a secondhand store or an organization that repurposes fabric helps cut down on solid waste and conserves natural resources.
  • Reduce Usage of Disposables. Plastic bottles and bags, disposable diapers and other things we can use and toss out are convenient, but they're not necessary. Simply choosing to replace one of type of disposable with a reusable product can help you cut down on waste that has a large negative impact on our environment.
  • Conserve Water. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while brushing their teeth, more than 1.5 million gallons of water could be conserved. Turn the water on long enough to wet your toothbrush for brushing and rinsing, and then immediately turn the water off again.
  • Turn Off the Lights. Flip the light switch to "Off" if you're going to leave a particular room for 15 minutes or more. This will conserve energy on incandescent light bulbs and cut down on cooling costs.

It's not necessary to be an activist or install solar panels all over your home to help the environment. Although you can do these things, the little everyday measures make a big difference in helping to conserve energy and the environment, while reducing your carbon footprint. Our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics wants to remind you to celebrate Earth Day and help the environment, knowing that it will benefit your and your children's generation.

The Evolution of Braces

April 15th, 2014

Did you know that even in ancient times, people wanted to improve the look and function of their smiles? Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics thinks of modern orthodontic appliances as sleek, efficient technology, but this was not always so! Take a look at the highlights in the evolution of braces.

Ancient Times: From Greece to Rome

  • According to The Angle Orthodontist, Aristotle and Hippocrates first thought about methods for straightening teeth between 400 and 300 BC.
  • The Etruscans, in what we now know as Italy, buried their dead with appliances that maintained spaces and prevented collapse of their teeth and jaws during life. Archaeologists have discovered mummified remains in various locations that have metal bands wrapped around the teeth.
  • A Roman tomb has also been discovered in which the teeth were bound with gold wire, including documentation on the wire’s use as a dental device.

18th Century: A French Development

  • The French dentist Pierre Fauchard is acknowledged as the father of modern dentistry. In 1728 he published a book that described various methods for straightening teeth. Fauchard also used a device known as a “blandeau” to widen the upper palate.
  • Louis Bourdet was another French dentist who published a book in 1754 that discussed tooth alignment. Bourdet further refined the blandeau and was the first dentist to extract bicuspids, or the premolar teeth between canines and molars, for the purpose of reducing tooth crowding.

19th Century: Orthodontics Defined

  • Orthodontics started to become a separate dental specialty during the early 19th century. The first wire crib was used in 1819, marking the beginning of modern orthodontics.
  • During this period, gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber, vulcanite, and occasionally wood, ivory, zinc, and copper were used — as was brass in the form of loops, hooks, spurs, and ligatures.
  • Edward Maynard first used gum elastics in 1843 and E. J. Tucker began making rubber bands for braces in 1850.
  • Norman W. Kingsley published the first paper on modern orthodontics in 1858 and J. N. Farrar was the first dentist to recommend the use of force over timed intervals to straighten teeth.

20th Century: New Materials Abound

  • Edward Angle developed the first classification systems for malocclusions (misaligned teeth) during the early 20th century in the United States, and it is still in use today. Angle founded the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901, which was renamed the American Association of Orthodontists in the 1930s.
  • By the 1960s, gold was universally abandoned in favor of stainless steel.
  • Lingual braces were the “invisible” braces of choice until the early 1980s, when tooth-colored aesthetic brackets made from single-crystal sapphire and ceramics became popular

Today

As we arrive in the present, you need only look at your own braces to see how far we’ve come. Your treatment plan was probably created with a 3D digital model, and we’ve likely used a computerized process to customize your archwires. Perhaps you have clear aligners, self-ligating brackets, or highly resilient ceramic brackets with heat-activated wires.

Orthodontics has come a long way from the days of Aristotle, and even the bulky wrap-around braces of just 60 years ago. Regardless of your specific treatment plan, the development of high-tech materials and methods has made it possible for your orthodontic experience to be as effective, efficient, and comfortable as possible. Call our office in Lakeland, FL to schedule your first orthodontic consultation!

What are the benefits of Invisalign®?

April 8th, 2014

A popular option for straightening teeth at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, Invisalign can be a great method for improving your smile, and can help patients with crowded teeth, crossbites, overbites, underbites, and more.

Invisalign, which is different from traditional braces, works by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners in order to eventually move your teeth into their ideal positions. Patients typically swap aligners approximately every couple of weeks.

At Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, we have lots of experience using this technology to give our patients the beautiful and healthy smile they’ve always wanted. During your initial visit at our Lakeland, FL office, the first thing we do is take an impression of your teeth as they are now and digitize it. Using special software, we look at the current positioning of your teeth and compare it to the way your teeth should look.

Not only are the aligners invisible, they are also removable, so you can eat and drink what you want, and brushing and flossing are easier. Invisalign’s aligners are also comfortable, with no metal to cause mouth abrasions during your treatment. And, no metal and wires usually means you spend less time at our office getting adjustments. With Invisalign, you can view your own virtual treatment plan when you start, so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete!

Depending on the severity of the problem, Invisalign treatment may take anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems, teeth that are lower or higher than others, or severely overcrowded teeth. Both teens and adults are now great candidates for Invisalign, so we invite you to contact our Lakeland, FL office to set up an initial consultation and learn more on how Invisalign can give you the smile you’ve always wanted!

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 1st, 2014

The Importance of Facial Protection

Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to sponsor this annual campaign, which aims to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.

Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.

Preventing Dental Injuries

A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard molded and fitted by our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.

Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, please give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office!

When should my child be seen for an orthodontic evaluation?

March 25th, 2014

Thanks for asking! It really depends on the dental age of the patient rather than their chronological age. Usually a good time to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist is after the front permanent teeth have erupted into the mouth or if there appears to be extreme crowding of the teeth.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children between the ages of seven and nine should be evaluated by an orthodontist. There are times when an early developmental treatment is indicated to correct situations before they become major problems. In these circumstances the patient will most likely benefit from a second phase of orthodontics when all of their permanent teeth have erupted.

Most full orthodontic treatment begins between ages nine and 14, and lasts from one to three years, with two years being the average. It’s important, however, that children be screened at an early age for Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our staff to assess if your child can benefit from orthodontic treatment and when treatment should begin.

We hope this helps, and invite you to give us a call if you have any questions about your child’s treatment at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics.

The Advantage of Invisalign Teen®

March 18th, 2014

Many teens want to improve their smile without the pain and embarrassment of having to wear metal braces. Just like metal braces, Invisalign works by gently moving teeth into position. Metal braces are worn continuously, however, and need to be adjusted by Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich regularly in order to move the teeth into proper position.

Invisalign uses a series of clear trays to move teeth into position. When you are done with one tray, simply pop in the next! Invisalign Teen straightens teeth just as well as traditional metal braces, but has several advantages.

Invisible

You’ve probably figured out the most obvious advantage already: the aligners are nearly invisible. Invisalign works by using a series of clear aligners that should be worn 20 to 22 hours a day. Invisalign trays are almost undetectable when you wear them, so you can smile with confidence — even while you are straightening your teeth.

Removable

One of the best things about Invisalign Teen is that the trays are removable. This means you can remove your tray to eat, brush, and floss your teeth, or even to play sports. While Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics require you to wear the trays for most of the day, having the ability to remove your straightening trays means you have practically none of the dietary restrictions that metal brace wearers have to observe.

Teens that play contact sports often experience difficulties with metal braces. Invisalign Teen allows the flexibility to wear a mouthguard, and no metal wires or brackets means less risk of cuts or other injuries while playing a game. Musicians also benefit from being able to remove their trays during rehearsals and performances. You can even remove your tray for your school photo or to snap a quick selfie!

Finally, because you can remove your aligners, you can easily keep your teeth clean through normal brushing and flossing. You can also clean your trays by brushing and rinsing them in warm water. Brushing and flossing with metal braces can be frustrating and time-consuming. Invisalign Teen treatment at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics helps you keep your smile white and shiny with very little change to your normal routine.

To learn more about Invisalign Teen, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, please give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office!

St. Patrick's Day

March 11th, 2014

On March 17, everyone has a little Irish in them. St. Patrick’s Day is a joyous celebration of Irish heritage. The holiday originated as a commemoration of Saint Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. The saint arrived in Ireland in 432 and earned the reputation of a champion of Irish Christianity. March 17th, the day of St. Patrick’s death, has been commemorated by the Irish for over 1,000 years. St. Patrick’s Day is still observed as a religious feast day by several Christian denominations, but it is better known in the public imagination as a rich celebration of Irish culture.

St. Patrick’s Day has been an official public holiday in Ireland since 1903. Each year, the Irish celebrate with a several-day festival that includes theater performances, music, fireworks, and festive parades. The celebration is also a public holiday in Northern Ireland, Montserrat, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In other parts of the world with heavy Irish populations, it is an unofficial celebration of Irish heritage. Parts of Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, South Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States, and Australia commemorate the holiday each year. Typical celebrations in these countries include drinking green beer, wearing green, eating traditional Irish foods, parades, and shamrock decorations.

Many people, Irish and non-Irish alike, take part in the “wearing of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue. His use of shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish made the green clover emblematic of the holiday, leading to the traditional green attire worn by thousands on St. Patrick’s Day. Other little-known facts about St. Patrick’s Day include the following:

  • Each year, the United States and Ireland face off in a rugby competition called the “St. Patrick’s Day Test.”
  • Montreal celebrates the holiday with an annual parade, which has been held each year since 1824. The Montreal city flag even features a shamrock in its corner, as a nod to its Irish heritage.
  • The Guinness World Records named St. Patrick’s Day the “Friendliest Day of the Year.”
  • Along with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.

No matter your cultural heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to let loose and celebrate your inner Irish-ness! Don your greenest attire and exclaim “Erin go Bragh!” (Ireland forever!) to everyone you meet. From Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich - have a great St. Paddy’s day!

Early Orthodontics

March 4th, 2014

The average age of individuals who get braces is between nine and 14, although it is appropriate for younger children to visit Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics for a consultation with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich. While parents may be concerned about the efficacy of early orthodontics, research suggests that early intervention can prevent greater dental health problems later in life.

What types of conditions require early intervention?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, 3.7 million children under the age of 17 receive orthodontic treatment each year. Early intervention may be appropriate for younger children with crooked teeth, jaw misalignment, and other common issues. Early orthodontic treatment may be of use for several types of problems:

  • Class I malocclusion. This condition is very common. It features crooked teeth or those that protrude at abnormal angles. In general, early treatment for Class I malocclusion occurs in two phases, each two years long.
  • Class III malocclusion. Known as an underbite, in which the lower jaw is too big or the upper jaw too small, Class III malocclusion requires early intervention. Because treatment involves changing growth patterns, starting as early as age seven is a smart choice for this dental problem.
  • Crossbite. Crossbite occurs when the upper and lower jaws are not properly aligned. An orthodontic device called a palatal expander widens the upper jaw, allowing teeth to align properly. Research suggests that early treatment may be beneficial in crossbite cases, especially when the jaw must shift laterally to correct the problem.
  • Tooth extraction. That mouthful of crooked baby teeth can cause problems when your child’s permanent teeth erupt. For kids with especially full mouths, extracting baby teeth and even permanent premolars can help adult teeth grow in straight.

Considerations when thinking about early intervention

Early intervention isn’t helpful for all conditions. For example, research suggests that there is little benefit to early orthodontics for Class II malocclusion (commonly known as an overbite). Instead, your child should wait until adolescence to begin treatment. Scheduling a visit to our Lakeland, FL office when your child is around age seven is a smart way to create an individualized treatment plan that addresses unique orthodontic needs.

What’s the advantage of Invisalign®?

February 25th, 2014

Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team know it is natural for you to feel some concern when you need to wear any type of dental device to correct a problem with your teeth. Both braces and Invisalign can produce good results in giving you the smile you’ve always wanted. Both methods can straighten your teeth and alleviate such issues as crowding, spacing, cross bite, overbite, and underbite. Both methods of treatment have a similar cost.

You can take a cross-country road trip in a ten-year-old economy car or you can make the trip in a brand-new luxury sedan. Both will get you to your destination, but you will be far more comfortable traveling in the luxury sedan. Similarly, your journey to a great smile is much more comfortable and convenient with Invisalign as opposed to braces.

Comfort

Some of the discomfort you may experience with braces is greatly reduced with Invisalign. Because Invisalign is custom-fit to your mouth and made of plastic, you will feel less pain, irritation, and soreness. Unlike braces, there are no food restrictions; you can eat anything that is on your diet.

Brushing and flossing

Of course you will want to brush and floss your teeth to prevent plaque buildup, tooth discoloration, and dental decay. If you wear braces, these simple tasks can become quite a challenge. Invisalign aligners are very easy to remove and replace, so you can brush or floss like normal without having to work your way around any metallic framework covering your teeth.

Appearance

You do not have to be embarrassed to show your teeth when you are using the Invisalign system. Since the aligners are practically invisible, no one will even notice you are wearing them! Whether you are a teenager or an older adult, you can live your life normally.

If you want to learn more about Invisalign, or are wondering what your treatment options are at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, feel free to give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office!

How Braces Can Work at Any Age

February 18th, 2014

Are you an adult who is considering getting braces? Perhaps you’ve had them before, but over the years that dental work has been reversed. Or maybe you’ve never had any orthodontic work done, but are considering braces for the first time. In either case, Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics can help you enjoy straighter teeth, an improved bite, and a more beautiful smile. If you are considering getting braces, here is what you need to know about adult orthodontic work from Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich.

Can braces work for adults?

Absolutely! Braces work for just about anyone. However, there are several different types of braces, and not all of them may work for you. Different types of orthodontic treatments include:

  • Ceramic braces
  • Metal braces
  • Self-ligating brackets
  • Lingual brackets (braces behind the teeth)
  • Invisible braces
  • Rubber bands for bite correction
  • Headgear and other appliances

By scheduling a consultation, we can determine which treatment or combination of treatments would be best for your specific needs.

How do I get started?

Getting braces can be a little bit daunting. At first glance, the process may appear expensive and time-consuming. However, if you take it step by step, getting braces can be a simple and relatively pain-free experience. Here are the first steps you need to take to get on the road to straight teeth:

First, you need information. If you are nervous about getting braces, or are having trouble getting started, learning more about the process can help ease your mind. Here are a few sample questions to ask:

  • What kind of braces do you recommend for my teeth?
  • How long will the treatment take?
  • How often will I need to come in for adjustments?
  • What is the total cost of the treatment? Do you accept insurance? Will you require the full amount up front, or do you have payment plans?

Asking these types of questions will help you understand what to expect during the entire process, which can aid your decision on the proper course of action.

The next step is to complete any prerequisite treatment. During your first meeting with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, we’ll need to take some X-rays and molds of your teeth, and then help you determine an appropriate treatment plan. Recommendations may include some preliminary dental work before you get your braces, which can be an important step in making sure your orthodontic treatments are effective.

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to get started! After you’ve chosen a treatment plan and undergone any necessary prerequisite dental work, you’ll be able to get your braces. Just like that, you’re on your way to a better smile! If you’d like to get started right away, call our Lakeland, FL location today!

The Transformation of Valentine's Day

February 11th, 2014

Did you know the actions leading to the beginnings of Valentine's Day were actually centered on the avoidance of war? A Catholic priest named Valentine defied the orders of the Emperor Claudius II and secretly married young men and their brides after the emperor had declared it illegal because only single, young men could be sent to war. Rather than lose potential soldiers to fight his war, Claudius attempted to hoard them by proclaiming marriage illegal.

Valentine continued to marry young couples anyway and, eventually, was put to death for it in 270 AD. Before his death, he sent a letter to a secret love and signed it “From your Valentine”. Nearly 1,800 years later, people are still signing letters and cards in this manner. This year, carry on the tradition started long ago, while adding your own twist. Here are a few suggestions.

Simple and Creative Valentine's Day Ideas

  • Memorialize it with a Photo. Couples often have photos taken around Christmas, but Valentine's Day photos allow you to capitalize on romance. Famous couple Julia Child and her husband, Paul, had their picture taken together every Valentine's Day and included their sense of humor with silly props.
  • Return to Your First Date Location. Even if your first date together was at a local hotdog stand, its sentimental value can make it a fun part of your Valentine's Day agenda. Be creative and make a treasure hunt with clues that lead your partner to the original date location, where you can express your love with flowers or a gift.
  • “From Your Valentine” Messages. Deliver your message in a creative way to make this Valentine's Day stand out from the others. Bake your partner's favorite treat and write a message on it with a tube of icing, or draw a note on the steamed up mirror so it shows up when your partner takes a shower.

Although Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love, it doesn't have to be a special day only for couples. If you're single, use this special day to shower yourself with love, because you're worth it! After all, the priest Valentine believed so strongly in the sanctity of love that he was willing to risk his life for it. Whether you're in a relationship or single, young or old, romantic or not, Valentine's Day is for you. Happy Valentine’s Day from the orthodontic office of Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich.

Sports and Energy Drink Consumption Damages Tooth Enamel

February 4th, 2014

While they may sound refreshing, especially after participating in sports activities or after a jog, recent studies suggest that energy and sports drinks can damage tooth enamel, thus elevating your cavity risk. These drinks are especially popular among our younger patients.

In the study, researchers analyzed the fluoride content and pH levels of 13 sports and nine energy drinks by soaking tooth enamel samples in the aforementioned drinks. The samples were soaked for 15 minutes in each drink, and then were soaked for two hours in artificial saliva four times a day for five days.

As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1 percent to 1.5 percent).

Yes, there are health benefits to consuming orange juice, fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavored waters, which can contain valuable ingredients such as vitamin C and other antioxidants; these drinks can also replenish nutrients lost during a sporting event and lower the chance of heart disease and cancer. But, if not consumed carefully, these beverages can harm your teeth. They are full of sugar, which converts to acid and wears away at your teeth, causing cavities, sensitivity, and eventually tooth loss.

Even one drink a day is potentially harmful, but if you are absolutely unable to give up that sports or energy drink habit, we encourage you to minimize their use and rinse with water afterward or chew a sugar-free piece of gum. Do not brush immediately after drinking them; softened enamel due to acid is easier to damage, even when brushing. Remember, it takes your mouth approximately 30 minutes to bring its pH level back to normal. The best thing to do is to wait an hour, then brush to remove sugar that lingers on your teeth and gums.

There are many sports drinks, energy drinks, and flavored waters out there today. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team recommend you take the time to read the labels. Check for sugar content and citric acid in the ingredients. If you have any questions, or would like suggestions on the best sports drink options, please give us a call at our Lakeland, FL office or ask us during your next visit!

Braces-Friendly Recipe: Dinner

January 28th, 2014

Wearing braces during your treatment at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics presents some unique challenges in the types of food you can safely eat. The wrong items can be difficult to remove from between your teeth and the appliance. Other foods may even break or loosen your braces.

Dinner recipe ideas

Lasagna is a great dinner choice because it provides you with several food groups in one easy dish.

  • 1 ½ pounds ground hamburger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 pound diced tomatoes — canned is fine
  • 12 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 package of dry spaghetti sauce mix for seasoning
  • 10 oz. box dry lasagna
  • 3 cups ricotta or cottage cheese or 1 ½ cups each mixed
  • ½-cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound sliced or shredded Mozzarella cheese

Brown and drain your hamburger meat. Dice the garlic and simmer the hamburger, garlic, basil, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and powdered sauce mix for ½ hour.

Cook the lasagna noodles as directed on the package and drain.

Beat the eggs and combine them with your ricotta or cottage cheese.

Layer ½ of the noodles in a 13 x 9 pan. Spread ½ of your cottage cheese mix on top of the noodles, then layer ½ of the mozzarella on top. Finish this layer with ½ of your hamburger mix. Repeat the layering with the other half of your ingredients. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Meats

You can enjoy ribs and chicken wings as long as you cut the meat from the bone before you eat. The same rule applies to turkey legs; do not gnaw on bones, because this can damage your braces.

Vegetables and fruits

You still need to include fruits and vegetables in your daily meals. Skip corn on the bob, whole apples, and raw carrots. Broccoli is soft but particles can become stuck in your braces, so be sure to brush and floss after your meal.

Desserts

Avoid caramel, taffy, and hard candies for dessert. Pudding and ice cream are fine, but low-sugar versions are best.

Remember that your mouth will be sore after adjustments with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich. Stick to softer foods until the sensitivity is reduced. Please do not hesitate to ask our team for recipe and meal ideas. We will be happy to take the time to explain which foods items are the best choices and why.

If you have any questions about these recipes, or if you have any questions about eating with braces, please give us a call at our Lakeland, FL office!

Braces-Friendly Recipe: Lunch

January 21st, 2014

Getting braces comes with a lot of rules. No sticky candies, watch out for popcorn, and steer clear of chips. These rules leave many braces-wearers wondering what they can still eat without hurting their teeth or their expensive orthodontic appliances. Fortunately, constructing a braces-friendly lunch is straightforward once you know which foods to avoid.

Foods to Avoid When Wearing Braces

There are a few food categories to avoid when you have braces. Sticky foods also stick to the metal in your braces, and can potentially break wires or individual braces. For example: bubblegum, candy bars, caramel, licorice, fruit roll-ups, and Starbursts should be avoided. Many of these foods also contain high levels of sugar, which can cause plaque build-up if not brushed away properly.

Also, be wary of hard foods that can harm your orthodontic appliances. Avoid eating hard taco shells, chips, Rice Crispy treats, hard candy, beef jerky, and popcorn. Some healthy foods, such as carrots, apples, corn on the cob, and nuts, are hard on braces. To eat these foods safely, cut them into smaller pieces before eating.

Remember that certain habits may be harmful to your braces. For example, crunching on ice cubes may be a reflexive response when you’re enjoying a cold beverage, but this can significantly harm your braces and extend treatment time. To stay on the safe side, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics recommend you drink beverages without ice or add crushed ice whenever possible.

Lunch Recipe

Even with braces, it’s easy to enjoy a healthy, nutritious lunch. For example, make a panini on whole wheat bread with slices of turkey deli meat, a piece of Swiss cheese, and tomato slices. Spread 1 tbsp. of mustard or mayonnaise on the bread before toasting the sandwich in a panini grill. Serve the panini with ½ c. low-fat cottage cheese and a sliced pear or apple for a balanced meal. Then grab a pudding cup or some JELLO for dessert. Wash it all down with water containing a lemon wedge or all-natural fruit juice. Make sure to brush your teeth or rinse with mouthwash after lunch to wash away sugars and food residue that can get trapped in braces and cause decay.

If you have any questions about what you can and can’t eat with braces during your treatment at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, be sure to ask our team during your next appointment at our Lakeland, FL office!

Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich – Proud to Offer Our Patients the Latest Technology

January 20th, 2014

As part of our commitment to our patients, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich have consistently invested in the latest equipment that will keep you smiling and relaxed during each of your visits. That commitment continues with our recent acquisition of a Carestream CS 9300 cone beam CT scan machine, which produces crystal-clear, crisp pictures of your mouth and jaw, and does so with greater speed and less dosage of radiation than many other CT scanners.

This technology gives our team at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics an unmatched look into the inside of your mouth, including the bones, teeth, nerves, and even open spaces where teeth used to be. The CS 9300 offers ample views from every angle conceivable of your oral anatomy that can be used to plan procedures such as your orthodontic treatment.

    We’d like to think this is more than just a technical improvement; these images are crucial for our team at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics to diagnose and prescribe a treatment based on your unique condition. To learn more about CS 9300 imaging and how it can benefit you, we invite you to give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office.

    Sugar and Your Orthodontic Treatment

    January 14th, 2014

    One word no one likes to hear is “cavity!”

    For those patients of ours wearing braces, hearing that word is especially problematic, considering that delaying any dental work may result in delaying treatment time.

    We often blame candy as the culprit behind tooth decay, but other foods and drinks that kids consume can be just as harmful to their teeth, and can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Keeping your teeth or your child’s teeth from decay during treatment starts with a proper diet, and today, our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics will explain the negative effects that candy and other treats, including peanut butter, raisins, fruit juice, and chewy fruit snacks, have on your child’s teeth as he or she undergoes orthodontic treatment. Keep in mind that half of your child’s sugar intake may be coming from beverages that he or she drinks. A major offender is soda, but be mindful of fruit juices as well.

    While sugar is known to sit in your child’s teeth and in between and under brackets and wires after consumption, it is important to know sugar is not the only cavity-causing culprit. Carbohydrates, starches, acids, and any food that is chewy or sticks break down into sugars, and can promote tooth decay.

    So, what are the alternatives?

    Candy such as dark chocolate, sugar-free gum, or anything that contains xylitol, a sugar substitute, is not as harmful for your teeth as hard, chewy, or sticky sweets. Sugar-free gum or gum that contains xylitol are known to reduce levels of bacteria on teeth.

    And if you’re still looking for something to snack on, we recommend cutting up easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables. You would also be surprised how much eating a banana or sipping on a glass of water helps you curb snack cravings.

    If you’re one of those folks who just can’t stay away from sweets, we encourage you to brush your teeth immediately afterward and swish water in your mouth.

    Whatever you eat, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team want you to remember to brush often, floss regularly, and visit your general dentist as your treatment progresses. If you have any questions about sugary foods or drinks, please give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit!

    Is adult orthodontic treatment for you?

    January 7th, 2014

    Adult patients who seek orthodontic treatment usually fall into one of two camps: those who did not undergo orthodontic treatment as a child or those who had braces at one point but stopped wearing retainers for one reason or another.

    At Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, we are happy to offer a variety of treatment options to straighten our patients’ teeth. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team believe you’re never too old to straighten your teeth. And we have many adult patients who are currently undergoing treatment. In fact, did you know that roughly 30 percent of all orthodontic patients these days are adults?

    Invisalign® is a great treatment option for adults. The Invisalign aligners are easy to wear and are not visible to most people. Plus, Invisalign's clear aligners are removable, so there are no restrictions on what you can eat during treatment. When considering Invisalign, we tell adults to determine if they can be diligent about wearing the aligners at all times and make them part of their lifestyle for the duration of treatment.

    If you have been thinking about obtaining a beautiful smile, please give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office for an initial consultation. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team welcome children, teens, and adults alike. Call us today for an appointment!

    Patient question: What is the iTero Scanner?

    January 6th, 2014

    Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics are excited to announce that we now offer our patients the Cadent iOC digital impression system, which will make our patients’ journey to a dazzling smile better than ever!

    This new state-of-the-art digital scanning system is designed to create 3D images of your teeth and get accurate digital impressions of teeth and gums in minutes. The scan will give us a precise model of the teeth, and thus eliminate the need to take impressions, which also cuts the goop, gagging, and discomfort typically associated with the traditional impression method. Aside from being capable of mapping your mouth so precisely, the procedure performed at our Lakeland, FL office is reliable, comfortable, and safe.

    At Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics, we are committed to making sure that our patients receive the most advanced treatments possible.  Our patients love this new system because they get to instantly see the three-dimensional model of their teeth surfaces and gums on the computer screen.

    To learn more about the iTero digital scanner, or to book your next appointment at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics, please give us a call!

    It's a Wrap: Ending the year with a smile!

    December 31st, 2013

    People have been ushering in the New Year for centuries but it became an official holiday in 1582 when Pope George XIII declared January 1st to be the day on which everyone would celebrate the New Year. At midnight people would yell, holler, and blow horns to scare away the evil spirits of the previous year so the New Year would be joyous and filled with opportunity. Nearly 500 years later, we still greet the New Year by whooping and hollering, but in a celebratory manner instead. Whether you intend to ring in the New Year quietly at home in the Lakeland, FL area or have plans to join the countdown at a gala extravaganza, these tips can help you ring out the old and usher in the new with a smile.

    Tips for a Happy New Year's Eve Celebration from Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics

    • Be Safe. There's no way to predict the behavior of others on New Year's Eve, but you can be responsible for your own behavior to keep yourself safe. If adult beverages will be part of your celebration, plan on spending the night wherever you are or line up a designated driver to bring you home after the party is over.
    • Enjoy Family and Friends. Spending time with the important people in your life is what makes the holidays enjoyable. Coordinate your schedules and choose New Year's Eve activities that everyone in the group will enjoy. You don't have to go to a party to ring in the New Year; some people like to go bowling, see a movie, or have a great meal at home.
    • Accessorize with a Smile. Whether you dress up or have a quiet dinner with family and friends, one of the best accessories you can add to your attire is a beautiful smile.

    New Year's Eve is a time to gather with friends and family, reflect on the year that's coming to an end, and look forward to the new one with anticipation. Enjoy this transitional holiday in a way that's safe, healthy, and fun. After all, counting down until the clock strikes 12 marks the beginning of a full year of opportunity ahead of you. From Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, have a great new year!.

    Making Your Life Better with Orthodontics

    December 24th, 2013

    The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you or your child a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime. One of the first things people notice about others is their smiles so take the first step towards getting the smile you’ve always wanted and make your initial consultation at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics

    A good bite not only makes it easier to eat and speak, but will enhance your dental and overall health as well. Straight teeth aren’t just pretty, they’re healthy as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean reducing the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. 

    Let your smile express yourself! Give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office to schedule your consultation today!

     

    A Helpful Site on Orthodontics

    December 17th, 2013

    As you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics would like to point you to a helpful website. Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have lots of important information about everything relating to braces, including myths and facts of orthodontics, tips for a better orthodontic experience, and cool webisodes about orthodontics.

    Check out AAO today and feel free to contact us at our Lakeland, FL office if you have any questions.

    Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics hope this information helps you!

    Ask Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics: What is Indirect Bonding?

    December 16th, 2013

    In our commitment to providing the very best in orthodontic care, our team at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics has implemented a new and innovative way to place braces known as “indirect bonding,” a remarkable new way to place braces on our patients’ teeth and move them at a quicker pace. Instead of placing each bracket individually on the patient as called for with traditional orthodontics, we place them based on our patients’ model in the lab and create a custom tray with the brackets attached. The tray is then used to bond all the brackets onto the teeth at once, which allows for faster bracket placement, better bracket positioning, more efficient tooth movement, less adjustment visits for our patients, and shorter treatment times.

    Our patients are often pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily braces can be placed with this method. Indirect bonding is not widely used by orthodontists because of the time, expense, and expertise needed to perfect the process, but in our opinion, the results are well worth it.

    Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich have perfected their indirect bonding method and are proud to offer this advanced technique to our patients. If you would like to learn more about indirect bonding, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, please give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office.

    What’s so great about self-ligating braces? Five things you need to know

    December 10th, 2013

    Parents of a certain age will no doubt remember the teen comedies of the 1980s. These movies typically included a character so wired up with orthodontic apparatus (elaborate metal braces, rubber bands, a mountain of headgear) that he or she looked like some sort of electrical machinery. In recent years, the technological advancements in braces have not only made this character a thing of the past, but if your child needs braces to fix crooked teeth, you no longer need to worry about him or her being called “brace face” with a “tin grin.”

    Traditional braces use a system of archwires, brackets, and rubber bands to straighten and realign crooked teeth. Self-ligating braces that Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics provide, by contrast, use specialized clips to hold the archwires in place instead of rubber bands. But what makes self-ligating braces so good?

    1. Self-ligating braces make it easier to keep your teeth clean because there are no rubber bands. Rubber bands collect food particles, and this can lead to an increase in plaque and decay. Have you ever tried to brush for two minutes with a mouth full of rubber bands? It’s tricky. Self-ligating braces improve oral health.
    2. Self-ligating braces are smaller and less noticeable than conventional braces. Most kids are self-conscious about how they look (flashback to those 1980s comedies), so braces that are subtle and less conspicuous are a huge draw.
    3. Self-ligating braces are more comfortable than traditional braces. Less pressure and friction are placed on the tooth. These types of braces also need fewer alterations and adjustments, so chances are you will save money by making fewer appointments with our office.
    4. Self-ligating braces move crooked teeth into place more quickly than conventional braces. In other words, you’re going to wear self-ligating braces for a shorter amount of time than traditional braces.
    5. Orthodontic work can be expensive. Self-ligating braces, however, cost about the same amount of money as traditional braces.

    Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team are proud to offer self-ligating braces as an alternative to traditional metal braces. Ask our team if they are right for you by giving us a call at our Lakeland, FL office!

    What’s the deal with bottled water?

    December 3rd, 2013

    As more people turn to bottled water and away from the tap, they may be missing out on one important ingredient that most brands of bottled water fail to include: fluoride! Because fluoride helps strengthen teeth, it is an important component of maintaining good oral health. Our friends at the American Dental Association have endorsed both community water fluoridation and the use of fluoride-containing products as a safe means of preventing tooth decay.

    In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also warned that “bottled water may not have a sufficient amount of fluoride, which is important for preventing tooth decay and promoting oral health.” If you are avoiding fluoridated tap water in favor of ever-more-popular bottled water, you could be missing out on the levels of fluoride necessary to make a difference in your oral health. One 2012 study in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that more than 65 percent of parents using bottled water did not know what levels of fluoride it contained.

    If bottled water happens to be your or your children’s beverage of choice, check the label to make sure your brand contains fluoride. Of course, simply drinking fluoridated water is not a magic ticket to perfect teeth. To keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape, it’s important to brush and floss daily and avoid sugary sweets, in addition to maintaining your fluoride intake.

    Questions about fluoride? Give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office! We look forward to hearing from you!

    Ask Dr. Hilliard & Dr. Dietrich: What is the CS 9300 System?

    December 2nd, 2013

    Our team at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics takes a lot of pride in making patients’ lives comfortable while they are in our office. One of the most important ways we keep our patients and their families happy is by investing in all the latest and greatest technology.

    One of these acquisitions happens to be the Carestream CS 9300 cone beam CT scan machine, which enables Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich to take crystal-clear, high-resolution images of your mouth and jaw while exposing our patients to minimal radiation when compared to other scanners.

    We’d like to think this isn’t just a technical improvement; these images are critical for Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich to diagnose and prescribe a treatment based on your unique condition. CS 9300 scans are especially useful for patients suffering from TMJ/TMD, or for those seeking traditional orthodontic treatment to correct their bite and straighten their teeth. What’s more, imaging is done at our convenient office, meaning we do not refer our patients to other imaging centers.

    By providing Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich with much clearer images of your bite and jaw, the CS 9300 scanner enables us to see the full extent of the problems with your temporomandibular joint. By seeing detailed, 3D images, we can provide a treatment plan to bring your jaw into alignment and fix your bite.

    Our Lakeland, FL office is pleased to offer CS 9300 imaging for patients receiving or seeking orthodontic treatment. Come and see for yourself what it’s like to receive a more advanced, patient-friendly orthodontic experience. Give us a call today to schedule an initial consultation.

    Thanksgiving in North America

    November 26th, 2013

    Thanksgiving marks the start to the holidays; a season filled with feasting, indulging, and spending time with family and friends are always special. Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for giving thanks, and while this may seem like such a natural celebration, the United States is only one of a handful of countries to officially celebrate with a holiday.

    Unlike many holidays, Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, and it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. In Canada, it is celebrated on the second Monday of October, which is, oddly enough, much closer to a time when harvests were likely gathered. In addition to the different dates, the origins of the celebration also share different roots.

    Thanksgiving in the United States

    Giving thanks for a bountiful harvest are not new, but the modern day holiday in the US can be traced to a celebration at Plymouth in Massachusetts in 1621. This feast of thanksgiving was inspired by a good harvest, and the tradition was simply continued on. At first, the colony at Plymouth didn't have enough food to feed everyone present, but the Native Americans helped by providing seeds and teaching them how to fish, and they soon began to be able to hold a feast worthy of the name. The tradition spread, and by the 1660s, most of New England was hosting a Thanksgiving feast in honor of the harvest.

    Canadian Thanksgiving

    An explorer of early Canada named Martin Frobisher is accredited for the first Canadian Thanksgiving. He survived the arduous journey from England through harsh weather conditions and rough terrain, and after his last voyage from Europe to present-day Nunavut, he held a formal ceremony to give thanks for his survival and good fortune. As time passed and more settlers arrived, a feast was added to what quickly became a yearly tradition. Another explorer, Samuel de Champlain, is linked to the first actual Thanksgiving celebration in honor of a successful harvest; settlers who arrived with him in New France celebrated the harvest with a bountiful feast.

    A Modern Thanksgiving

    Today, Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with the best of Americana. From feasts and football games to getting ready for the start of the Christmas shopping season, Thanksgiving means roasted turkey, pumpkin pie, and green bean casserole. No matter how you celebrate this momentous day, pause for a moment to give thanks for your friends, family, and all the bounties you’ve received. Happy Thanksgiving from Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics!

    Does my child need two-phase treatment?

    November 19th, 2013

    Two-phase orthodontic treatment involves two separate and distinct periods that your child receives orthodontic treatment. It allows your son or daughter to begin early treatment of bite and jaw problems, in order to reduce the dental issues he or she experiences later on.

    Two-phase orthodontic treatment with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich can improve how well the second phase of the treatment works and helps to make room for permanent teeth. Overall, two-phase treatment helps to position the teeth and the jaw for an attractive profile. Our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics recommends that you bring your child to our Lakeland, FL office at the age of seven or eight, so that Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich can determine if early (Phase-One) treatment is necessary.

    Phase-One

    Phase-One orthodontic treatment is known as early treatment. It begins shortly after your child’s first orthodontic examination, usually around age eight or nine. The main goal of Phase-One orthodontic treatment is to help make room for permanent teeth, which reduces crooked teeth as a result of overcrowding. It treats the jaw and bite growth, and issues like crossbite or underbite. This can reduce the need for your child to undergo extractions.

    Phase-Two

    Phase-Two orthodontic treatment is when braces are placed on the upper and/or lower teeth. The purpose is not just to correct spaces or misaligned teeth, but also to correct overbite or underbite concerns. Phase-Two usually begins around age 11 or 12, and the braces are worn for an average of two to three years, depending on your child’s unique needs. Some children have fewer issues and wear braces for little more than a year, while others need them for up to four years.

    Signs your child needs two-phase orthodontic treatment

    If your child exhibits the following signs, he or she may be a good candidate for two-phase orthodontic treatment:

    • Losing baby teeth early, before five years of age
    • Problems with biting or chewing
    • Sucking the thumb after age five
    • Evidence of a crossbite, where the teeth don’t come together when opening or closing of the mouth
    • Teeth are crowded at age seven or eight
    • Protruding teeth on the top or bottom

    Not all children need to have early treatment, but if your child shows any of these signs, you should bring him or her to us for an evaluation at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics.

    iTero Digital Scanner at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics

    November 18th, 2013

    Orthodontics has gone 3D at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics! Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team are proud to offer our patients the Cadent iOC digital impression system, which digitally captures the contours of your teeth, providing an accurate, goop-free digital orthodontic scan in just minutes.

    The iOC scanner system, powered by iTero technology, eliminates the goop, gagging, and discomfort typically associated with the traditional impression method. The digital impression procedure ensures a more comfortable experience for the patient and produces a more precise scan for Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich. What’s more, the scanner uses visible light, so you won’t have any exposure to radiation during the procedure.

    To learn more about the iTero digital scanner, or to book your next appointment at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics, please give us a call!

    What is expected of me during my orthodontic treatment?

    November 12th, 2013

    We hear this question a lot at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, and we don’t mind when patients who are eager to complete their orthodontic treatment ask us. After all, we know there is no better feeling than getting your braces off!

    During your initial consultation with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, we will map out a specific treatment for you and will try our hardest to give you a timeline of when we expect you to wrap up treatment.

    Having said that, we know every patient is different. People have different biological responses to orthodontic treatment and some people’s teeth may move faster than others.

    Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure your treatment wraps up in a timely manner. By following these suggestions, you can avoid any setbacks during your treatment.

    • Make sure to keep your adjustment appointments. Postponing or cancelling will delay treatment!
    • Be sure to show up on time to your appointments. This will give Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team time to do everything we planned during your adjustment visit.
    • When prescribed, make sure you are diligent about wearing rubber bands or other appliances.
    • Avoid damage to your braces and teeth by wearing a mouth guard during sports activities.
    • Make sure to brush and floss regularly! Gum disease or other dental work can delay orthodontic treatment.

    If you remember to follow these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to having the dazzling, healthy smile you’ve always wanted. As for us, our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics will do our part to move your orthodontic treatment along efficiently. If you have any questions about your treatment time, please give us a call at our Lakeland, FL office or ask us during your next visit!

    What happens if I have an orthodontic emergency while I'm on vacation?

    November 5th, 2013

    At Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics, there are a few things we want to remind you of when you're on vacation, so that a day with friends and family won’t be spent dealing with an orthodontic emergency. Firstly, we are here for you whether you are in town or out of town on vacation. Give us a call and we may be able to address the problem over the phone. Second, if we are unable to help you fix the problem over the phone, we will help you find an orthodontic practice in your vacation area that can help you.

    If you experience problems reaching our office, we suggest going online and searching for orthodontic practices in your area. Most orthodontists will lend a helping hand to another orthodontic patient and get them out of pain or discomfort.

    If you have braces, whether they are metal, ceramic, or lingual, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team suggest steering clear of the following foods to avoid broken brackets and/or wire distortion while you are on vacation:

    • Chewy, sticky, or gummy food
    • Apples, pears and other whole fruits (cut fruit into thin wedges before consuming)
    • Bagels and hard rolls
    • Bubble gum
    • Corn on the cob
    • Hard candies
    • Hard cookies
    • Pretzels
    • All varieties of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, and cashews

    Finally, if you have clear aligners and you lose your tray, don’t worry! Simply put in either the previous tray or the next tray and contact us as soon as you get home!

    Follow these tips and you can have a worry-free vacation!

    Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics – Improving the Braces Experience with Indirect Bonding

    November 4th, 2013

    Our team at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics is proud to offer an indirect method of positioning your braces properly on your teeth, ultimately creating your ideal bite and smile. Indirect bonding results in an increased level of precision, leading to ideal results much faster than you would expect with traditional methods, which involves placing the braces on the teeth one at a time.

    How does indirect bonding work?

    Once you have decided to proceed with orthodontic treatment at our Lakeland, FL office, an appointment is arranged to take precise impressions of your teeth. The impressions are then poured and a model representation of your teeth is produced. The model of your teeth allows Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich to examine your teeth from every angle conceivable, for precision positioning of your braces. This method is more precise than traditional bracket placement, since the braces are first accurately positioned on a model of your teeth.

    With the indirect bonding system, the top and bottom braces are placed as a single unit, rather than tooth-by-tooth, resulting in a much shorter and pleasant appointment. The treatment results generated by this method enable incomparable accuracy. Because of the increased precision, patient cases using indirect bonding progress much faster than with traditional treatment, meaning less time spent wearing braces, as well as fewer adjustment appointments.

    Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich have perfected their indirect bonding method and are proud to offer this advanced technique to our patients. If you would like to learn more about indirect bonding, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich, please give us a call at our convenient Lakeland, FL office.

    Is orthodontic treatment just for straightening teeth?

    October 24th, 2013

    A lot of patients ask us why Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics work tirelessly to give our patients straight teeth. Of course it’s nice to have a smile full of evenly-aligned teeth, but did you know that straightening your teeth can keep them healthier as well? Straight teeth lead to better oral hygiene, increasing your chances of keeping your own natural teeth for a lifetime!

    Straight teeth are also less prone to decay, because they collect less plaque, that sticky colorless substance that forms on our teeth. When you visit Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics for your initial consultation, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich will examine all aspects of your teeth, face, smile, and jaw.

    If you’re wondering whether your teeth might cause problems because they are out of alignment, please give us a call to set up an initial orthodontic consultation at our convenient Lakeland, FL office. Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich can help you decide whether or not you will benefit from orthodontic treatment.

    Questions? Give us a call, ask us below or on our Facebook page!

    Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics – Offering All the Latest Treatments

    October 14th, 2013

    When Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich provide orthodontic treatment, we’d like to think precision counts. One of the ways we make our patients’ lives easier is by offering the latest digital equipment in orthodontics. This includes the revolutionary Carestream CS 9300, a cone beam CT scan system.

    Equipped with detailed 3D images of your teeth and jaw structures, the CS 9300 allows us to perform all of our exams with one system while being able to plan the fastest, most effective, and most comfortable treatment for our patients.

    The CS 9300, which has modernized patient care, is not only speedier than other CT scanners, but also replaces traditional X-rays with high-resolution, panoramic, 3D crystal-clear images that allow Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich to get a much better glimpse inside your mouth. This technology also allows us to perform a wider range of diagnoses and treatments at our convenient office without sending our patients to other imaging centers. Finally, the CS 9300 delivers lower radiation dosage, which exposes our patients to as little radiation as possible.

    Our Lakeland, FL office is pleased to offer CS 9300 imaging for patients receiving or seeking orthodontic treatment. Come and see for yourself what it’s like to receive a more advanced, patient-friendly orthodontic experience. Give us a call today to schedule an initial consultation.

    Dreaming of a stunning smile without using braces?

    September 19th, 2013

    Most of us aren’t born with a red carpet smile. And if you’ve thought about straightening your teeth but are apprehensive about doing so with traditional orthodontic treatment, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics want you to know there is another option – Invisalign®!

    Invisalign, recently featured the NBC’s Today Show, is an ideal solution for most adults looking for a less noticeable way to achieve a better smile. In fact, Invisalign has increasingly become a very popular choice for adults looking for a more comfortable, convenient and cosmetically-appealing treatment for straightening their teeth.

    Our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics is proud to offer Invisalign, which uses a series of invisible, removable and comfortable aligners that no one can tell you’re wearing, which allows you to smile more during treatment, as well as after. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are also removable, so you can eat and drink what you want; brushing and flossing is easier with Invisalign than with traditional braces.

    Invisalign’s aligners are also comfortable, with no metal to cause mouth abrasions during your treatment. And no metal and wires usually means you spend less time at our office getting adjustments. Invisalign also allows you to view your own virtual treatment plan when you start, so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete!

    A consultation with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich can determine if Invisalign is right for you. We encourage you to watch the above clip and give us a call at our friendly Lakeland, FL office if you’re interested in learning more about Invisalign or if you are ready to visit us for an initial consultation! We look forward to seeing you!

    September is National Childhood Injury Prevention Month!

    September 5th, 2013

    This month, our staff at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics want you to be extra careful with your braces and appliances. After all, September marks the start of fall sports and an increased risk to mouth injuries. September also happens to be National Childhood Injury Prevention Month, and Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich thought it’d be a good idea to share a few sobering facts about sports and facial injuries, courtesy of our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

    *More than half of the seven million sports and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by youth between ages five and 24. Collision and contact sports have higher injury rates; baseball, soccer, basketball, and football account for about 80% of all sports-related emergency room visits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    *Sixty-seven percent of parents say their child does not wear a mouthguard, yet, 70 percent say their biggest fear when their child plays is that they will get hurt.

    *Of the parents whose children do not wear a mouthguard, 84 percent say it’s because the league or coach does not require it.

    *The average high school baseball pitcher can throw a fast ball between 75 and 85 miles per hour. This compares to being hit in the mouth by a speeding car!

    We hope this helps you remember to wear a mouthguard and other forms of protective gear when participating in fall sports around Lakeland, FL! We encourage you to give us a call if you have any questions!

    Labor Day: Our Favorite Holiday to Rest!

    August 29th, 2013

    Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday each September here in the United States, is a holiday devoted to the American working community. The purpose of the holiday is honoring the country's workers and their contributions to the strength of our country as a whole.

    How Labor Day Started

    There is actually some debate as to the origins of Labor Day. It is uncertain whether Peter McGuire, a co founder for the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew Maguire, who was the secretary of Central Labor Union of New York, had the great idea. However, the Central Labor Union's plans were what launched the first Labor Day in America.

    The First Labor Day

    The very first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th, 1882. The Central Labor Union then held annual celebrations on September 5th for what they called a working man's holiday. By the year 1885, the Labor Day celebration had spread to many different industrial areas, and after that it began spreading to all industries in the United States.

    Labor Day Today

    Labor Day today is a huge United States holiday during which we honor the country's workers with a day of rest and relaxation or a day of picnics and parades. This holiday is truly one to honor the many people who work hard to contribute to the economic well-being of our great country!

    Our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics hope all of our patients celebrate Labor Day, and every holiday, safely and happily. Whether you stay in the Lakeland, FL area, or travel out of town, have fun, and don't forget to brush!

    What is Hyperdontia?

    August 15th, 2013

    When a child is born, he or she will have 20 primary teeth and 32 permanent teeth. But sometimes kids are born with additional teeth, and our team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics call this oral condition "hyperdontia." Primary teeth are the first set of teeth that erupt in your child's mouth, typically by the time they are 36 months old, and are shed by the time your child reaches the age of 12. Permanent teeth then take the place of the primary teeth and are usually fully-erupted by the time your son or daughter reaches 21 years of age. Anyone who develops more than 20 primary teeth or more than 32 permanent teeth has hyperdontia, and the additional teeth are referred to as supernumerary teeth.

    While the cause of hyperdontia is not entirely clear, it is believed that there may be a genetic factor. Oral professionals have found that patients with extra teeth often have syndromes like cleidocranial dysplasia, Ehler-Danlos syndrome, Gardner syndrome, or cleft lip and palate. The prevalence of hyperdontia affects between one and four percent of the population in the United States, and the majority of cases are limited to a single tooth.

    So, what is the best way to deal with hyperdontia? It really depends on the case. The treatment plan your doctor suggests varies according to the potential problem posed by the supernumerary teeth, as well as their type. Orthodontic treatment may certainly may help, but extraction can also be a good option. We recommend that children receive an oral evaluation or checkup no later than the age of seven. In addition to hygiene evaluation, this helps ensure your child does not experience hyperdontia problems.

    If you suspect you or your child may be suffering from hyperdontia, please give us a call to schedule an appointment at our convenient Lakeland, FL office to be evaluated.

    It's time to go back to school!

    August 1st, 2013

    Now that many of the schools in Lakeland, FL are back in session, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich would like to remind all of our patients about the importance of scheduling appointments in advance. With school, clubs, sports, and family duties to consider, we know that it can be challenging to find time to visit Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics this fall. In order to accommodate all of our patients’ busy schedules, it is important that you plan ahead for your appointments so that we are able to provide you with a convenient appointment time.

    As always, please remember to give us advanced notice if you’re unable to make your regularly scheduled appointment with Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule your fall appointment.

    We’ll see you soon and hope summer is winding down nicely for you and your family!

    Misconceptions About Orthodontics

    July 25th, 2013

    While everyone understands that a dentist takes care of teeth, not everyone is aware of what an orthodontist does. This confusion sometimes leads to misunderstandings about what Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics does for our patients and how exactly Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich can help them. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the myths and misconceptions about orthodontics.

    Perhaps the biggest misconception about the orthodontist is that we’re just like your family dentist. The truth is, we’re actually very different. While it’s true that both orthodontists and dentists care about helping you enjoy a lifetime of good dental and oral health, we go about achieving this goal in different ways. For instance, if you need to have a cavity filled, you probably won’t make an appointment to see me. Dentists are the health professionals to see if you’re concerned about a cavity or need a filling. A dentist can also treat gum disease, tooth decay, toothaches, and other common oral health problems.

    People see an orthodontist for very particular services. Most of the patients we see on a daily basis are here because they have braces, or they need to be fitted with braces or another form of tooth-straightening device. In other words, they consult an orthodontist when they are concerned about the alignment of their teeth. As a child grows up, his or her teeth may come in crooked. This can happen for a number of reasons, so it’s important for an orthodontist to take a look at a child’s teeth at about seven years of age. At that age, it’s possible to detect any problems that have not become too advanced to treat easily. Your family dentist may also refer your child to an orthodontist once the adult teeth have fully grown in.

    Another common misconception about orthodontists is that we only treat children. It’s true that when you visit an orthodontic clinic you’re apt to see a lot of young kids, but you’ll also see teenagers, college students, and adults. Because crooked teeth can be caused by a number of different factors, it’s entirely possible for someone to require orthodontic treatment at any age.

    If you want to know more about the practice of orthodontics or what your orthodontist can do for you, then simply ask Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich. It’s best to get answers to your specific questions directly from the person who will be treating you. While you’re sure to find Internet resources helpful, there really is no substitute for the personal attention you’ll get during your appointment in Lakeland, FL.

    Fun Facts for the Fourth

    July 4th, 2013

    The Fourth of July is a great time to get together with friends and family members for BBQ, games, fireworks, and other celebrations in honor of our country’s independence. While your fellow revelers eat hot dogs and wave flags, you can impress them by sharing these fascinating facts and historical tidbits about some of our country’s traditions and symbols from the team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics.

    The Statue of Liberty

    With a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols of our country. However, as recognizable as certain parts of the statue are, not many people know that broken shackles, which represent oppression and tyranny, are lying at Lady Liberty’s feet. According to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the copper-plated lady weighs in at a whopping 450,000 tons and has been holding her torch up for more than 125 years, which must make for some impressive arm muscles.

    Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

    Since 1916, people have been flocking to Coney Island on the Fourth of July to witness what some people call the “superbowl of competitive eating.” Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest challenges competitors to devour as many hot dogs as they can in just ten minutes, with the current record holder swallowing a whopping 68 hot dogs back in 2009! If you’d like to witness this bizarre and frenzied eating competition but you won’t be anywhere near Coney Island on the fourth, don’t worry. ESPN has been broadcasting this popular event for several years, so you can watch from the comfort of your couch while you eat a reasonably portioned meal.

    The History Behind Fireworks

    Viewing the nighttime fireworks display is exciting way to finish off the fourth. Many people know that these brilliant displays probably originated with the Chinese. However, according to History.com, many historians also believe that fireworks were stumbled upon when the Chinese roasted bamboo sticks over fires and watched them explode. After many years of roasting the sticks, a group of alchemists created an early form of gunpowder, which they stuffed into the bamboo sticks to create an even more powerful explosion, paving the way for the today’s modern fireworks.

    Whether you’re planning on visiting the Statue of Liberty, watching fireworks in Lakeland, FL, or even participating in a hot dog eating contest, Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich and our team hope you have a safe and fun-filled holiday. Happy Fourth of July!

    Can you believe that it is already spring?!

    March 22nd, 2013

    Wouldn't you believe it, it’s already springtime! The spring months, however, bring an increase in outdoor activities and a greater chance of kids damaging their precious mouths and pearly whites. If you play sports, it's important that you take some special precautions, such as wearing a mouth guard. A protective mouth guard is advised for playing spring sports such as baseball, soccer, lacrosse and others. Be sure, however, to avoid mouth guards that custom form to your teeth as these will resist any tooth movements we are trying to achieve during your orthodontic treatment.

    In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, please schedule an appointment with our team.

    Only by using a mouth guard and other forms of facial protection can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. Please give us a call if you have any questions about mouth guards!

    What does a beautiful smile mean to you?

    March 10th, 2013

    We know that having an attractive smile puts a spring in your step—or two—as well as increases your self-confidence, no matter if you’re 14 or in your late thirties. Smiling not only makes people happy and puts them in a good mood, doing it often can even help you live longer, according to previous studies!

    If you’ve been hiding your smile because you have crooked teeth or gaps between your teeth, it may be time to consider orthodontic treatment. You will be pleasantly surprised to learn how quickly and efficiently today’s most advanced correction techniques can straighten your smile!

    Don’t hide your smile any longer — give us a call today to schedule your or your child’s initial orthodontic consultation.

    Patient question: "What is malocclusion?"

    March 3rd, 2013


    This is a question we hear all the time. Malocclusion, or what we call having a “bad bite,” is the improper alignment of teeth and/or jaws. When your teeth and jaws are not properly aligned, it may impact your bite, the ability to properly care for your teeth, your gum tissue health and even your appearance. Most people will experience some degree of malocclusion, but it generally is not severe enough to require orthodontic treatment. If your malocclusion is serious enough, however, treatment may be necessary to correct the issue.

    Untreated malocclusion can lead undesirable mouth problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, or chipped and cracked teeth. The most common solution for malocclusion, of course, is orthodontic treatment. The actual course of treatment, including the length of time you will require braces, will be determined by severity of your malocclusion. The goal of your treatment is to move your teeth into the proper position and correct any misalignment in the jaw.

    We use the most advanced technology in the field in order to ensure that you receive the best possible results. If you have any questions about malocclusion or about starting your orthodontic treatment, please give us a call!

    "I'm 28—are orthodontics right for me?"

    February 24th, 2013


    Thank you for the question. In an age—and society—where looks matter as much as anything, and at a time when evenly-aligned teeth might be the difference between getting a job or a promotion, adults are choosing—wisely, we think—to invest in orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and we know that adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful and healthy smile.

    If you are still apprehensive about getting braces as an adult, there is another straightening teeth option called Invisalign, which uses a series of invisible, removable and comfortable aligners that no one can tell you’re wearing. If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, we would love to have you visit for an initial consultation! Please give us a call to set one up!

    What's on your mind?

    February 17th, 2013


    By now, you’re probably familiar with our blog-writing process: Each week, we write about important orthodontic topics and your well-being, including the treatments we proudly offer.

    This week, though, we thought we’d step back and ask you, our amazing patients: what’s on your mind? What would you like to know about the always-changing and exciting field of orthodontics? What would you like us to focus on our blog? Perhaps there’s something you’ve wanted to ask us for a while now? Here’s your chance! Let us know by posting here or on our Facebook page! Give us your best shot, and we’ll try to answer any question you may have!

    February is also American Heart Month!

    February 10th, 2013

    You may remember our post from last week, when we discussed February being “National Children’s Dental Health Month.” But did you know February also marks American Heart Month?

    It’s a great time to take notice of the health of your heart as cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the world, according to the American Heart Association. Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care, especially while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.

    Visiting your dentist on a regular basis during your orthodontic treatment not only ensures a successful outcome, but can also help prevent gum disease or at least catch it in its early stages. In observance of Heart Month, it’s also important to know your numbers: blood pressure (less than 120/80), cholesterol (less than 200) and BMI (less than 25).

    If you have any questions about heart health, about the importance of visiting your dentist or about your treatment at our office, please give us a call today!

    February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

    February 3rd, 2013

    Each February for the past 63 years, our friends at the American Dental Association have sponsored National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health at a young age, and especially during your orthodontic treatment. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular visits with your dentist—even while you’re wearing braces—helps our young patients get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

    For kids wearing braces, brushing and flossing can become more difficult, requiring extra time and effort to remove food particles that accrue on and between your teeth and braces. If you ignore your oral health during your treatment, the results can be significantly compromised. We are happy to explain why effective brushing and flossing is so critical during orthodontic treatment. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call, ask us on Facebook or ask us at your next adjustment appointment!

    The myths and facts about braces

    January 31st, 2013

    Some folks believe your chances of being struck by lightning increases when you have braces, while other folks believe having braces interferes with romance, and even metal detectors as you try to make your way through the airport for a much-needed vacation. Trust us when we say we know there are quite a few myths about braces out there these days. But before you buy into those myths, we think you should get the facts first! To help set the record straight, here is some great information on the myths and facts of orthodontics. We encourage you to check them out today!

    If you have any questions about braces or your orthodontic treatment, please feel free to give us a call or ask us on Facebook! Smile bright!

    Patient question: What can I eat with braces?

    January 21st, 2013

    We love when patients ask us this question! Now that you’re wearing braces, it’s just as important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen as you did before your orthodontic treatment began. The first few days in braces are going to be more difficult to eat than normal. There will be a slight discomfort when you first get your braces on, so the act of chewing will make it slightly more painful.

    Here are a few soft foods that do not require you to do much chewing and are easy to chew on when your teeth are sore:

    Ice cream, yogurt, pudding, cool soups, Jell-O, scrambled eggs, cream of wheat, baked potatoes, soft cooked pasta, soup, bananas, cottage cheese, smoothies, macaroni and cheese, pancakes, soft cheeses, and milk are all foods you can eat safely without having to worry about pain or breaking your brackets.

    Be sure to always check with us if you have questions about a particular food item by either giving us a call or asking us on Facebook!

    Six oral hygiene tips for our patients

    January 16th, 2013

    If you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, brushing and flossing after every meal and snack is the only way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease. Your teeth will need extra care, especially during treatment at our office. Our goal is for you to have a beautiful healthy smile, and in order for us to achieve this good hygiene on your end is very important. Food and particles are known to get trapped by brackets, wires, bands and appliances, and this can make it difficult to keep your teeth clean. Using a Waterpik is another great way to clean teeth and gums. Here are a few tips to help with keeping your teeth clean and healthy during your orthodontic treatment:

    1. Brush after every meal or snack

    2. Floss daily to remove trapped food and particles

    3. Rinse after eating with mouthwash to kill any bacteria

    4. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled tooth brush

    5. Clean teeth with a proxabrush

    6. Maintain regular check-ups with your general dentist throughout your treatment

    We hope these tips help. For more information, we encourage you to give us a call, ask us on Facebook or ask us during your next adjustment visit!

    Do germs really live on my toothbrush?

    January 7th, 2013

    The dreaded cold and flu season is here again! After recovering from your cold, one of the most important steps you can take to avoid becoming reinfected is replacing your toothbrush!

    Germs can linger on the bristles, and you risk prolonging your sickness by continuing to use the same toothbrush. Be smart - keep a spare, just in case! To protect your toothbrush from bacteria all year long, consider the following tips:

    • Wash your hands before and after brushing
    • Allow the brush to air dry after each use, harmful bacteria dies after being exposed to oxygen
    • Store the toothbrush in an upright position to allow water to drain and dry faster
    • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Worn bristles are less effective in properly cleaning your teeth, and can actually be damaging to teeth if used too long!

    We hope these tips help! Feel free to give us a call or ask us on Facebook if you have any questions!

    Happy New Year!

    December 30th, 2012

    With the year almost over, we thought we would ask you, our dear patients: what was memorable about 2012 for you, and what are you looking forward to in 2013? Do you have a new year's resolution, or any exciting plans for the coming year?

    We want to wish all our patients, friends, family and all our dental and medical colleagues a happy and healthy New Year!

    When you have an orthodontic emergency, we are here for you

    December 23rd, 2012

    Millions of patients undergoing orthodontic treatment will not be smiling this holiday season, and not because they didn't get the gift they wanted. These are people whose teeth and/or braces fall victim to the hard, chewy, gummy or sticky holiday treats.

    We know orthodontic emergencies are never convenient nor timely. If you are a patient of record, we are committed to your oral health and are available to you. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what part is broken or out of place. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan.

    If you have a orthodontic emergency after regular office hours, please give us a call and follow the emergency prompts to contact our team! We hope you're having a great holiday season!

    Season's greetings!

    December 19th, 2012

    In this season given to tidings of comfort and joy, and as we reflect on the year that was, we’d like to ask you, our wonderful patients: What do you love about the holidays this year? Being with your loved ones? Hitting the slopes? A clean slate for 2013? Opening presents by the fireplace? All the delicious food?

    Also, what gift are you most looking forward to getting this year? We’d love if you shared with us all the things you love about the holidays. Stay warm, and don’t forget to stay away from those sweets!

    Need a New Year’s Resolution? How about a healthier, more beautiful smile?

    December 9th, 2012

    2013 is almost here, and it's a great time of year to get started on a lifetime of straight, dazzling and confident smiles. We are proud to offer some of today's most innovative orthodontic technologies that can straighten your smile in less time than you ever imagined. Not only do today’s braces and other orthodontic treatments straighten your teeth quicker, they also offer greater comfort for you, and require fewer visits to our office.

    So if obtaining a healthy, beautiful smile is one of your New Year’s resolutions, we invite you to give us a call to schedule an initial orthodontic consultation. Happy holidays!

    Where’s your bite? The differences between crossbites, overbites, and underbites

    December 2nd, 2012

    Did you know there is a direct correlation between your bite and your overall health? When your teeth and jaws are not properly-aligned, it may affect your breathing, speech, and, in extreme cases, even affect the appearance of your face. As a result of malocclusion, also commonly referred to as “bad bite,” your teeth may become crooked, worn or protruded over time. Most people experience some degree of malocclusion, but it is generally not severe enough to require corrective measures. If your malocclusion is serious enough, however, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to correct the issue.

    Malocclusion may also be referred to as an underbite, crossbite or overbite. So, what, exactly, is the difference between the three?

    · Crossbites, which can involve a single tooth or a group of teeth, occur when your upper and lower jaws are both misaligned, and usually causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth. Crossbites can happen on both the front and/or the sides of the mouth, and are known to cause wear of the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.

    · Overbites, also known as “overjet,” occurs when your upper teeth overlap considerably with the lower teeth. Overbites can lead to gum issues or irritation and even wear on the lower teeth, and are known to cause painful jaw and joint problems. Overbites can usually be traced to genetics, bad oral habits, or overdevelopment of the bone that supports the teeth.

    · Underbites, which occur when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth, are caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. Underbites can also be caused by missing upper teeth, which can prevent the normal function of front teeth ( molars). This in turn leads to tooth wear and pain in your joints and jaw.

    Fortunately, we are able to treat bite problems. If you suspect you or your child has a bite misalignment, we encourage you to be examined at our office as early as possible. By starting early, you can make sure you or your child avoid years of pain and self-consciousness.

    Make 2013 the year to improve your oral health!

    November 29th, 2012


    Many of our patients consider the beginning of a new year a time to not only reflect on the year that was, but also to set personal goals for the upcoming year. How are you planning to improve your health and happiness in 2013? Because it's never too early to start thinking about New Year's resolutions, we recommend that you make a New Year’s resolution to benefit your oral health!

    It’s important that New Year’s resolutions are reasonable and attainable, and that they improve your overall quality of life—for example, did you know that flossing every day is the very best way to prevent periodontal, or gum disease during your orthodontic treatment? Using a straw when drinking sugary beverages can also help prevent cavities while you’re wearing braces. There are many small steps that you can take to prevent cavities, oral infections and bad breath.

    Be sure to give us a call if you need a few suggestions on ways to improve your oral health. After all, oral health is about more than just a beautiful smile.

    If your resolution is to attain a great-looking smile, we’d love to help! Please give us a call and schedule your initial consultation. We look forward to working with you and your family!

    Happy holidays!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 19th, 2012

    With Thanksgiving almost upon us, it’s a great time to ask ourselves what we’re thankful for. With our friends and family around us, we celebrate the blessings given to us in the past year. Our staff thought we’d ask: What are you thankful for this holiday season? Do you have any Thanksgiving wishes or recipes you would like to share?

    Our entire team would like to wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. It’s a big food holiday, so be careful what you eat with those braces! If you have any stories or photos to share with us, we’d encourage you to send them along or post them below or on our Facebook page!

    Gobble Gobble!

    Adults and Braces - Not Just for Kids Anymore

    November 15th, 2012

    Just hearing the word “braces” can take many of us back to junior high — that painful era when we wore unattractive glasses, endured unflattering haircuts, and carried a mouthful of braces to complete the awkward adolescent look. Despite the common assumption that braces are for kids, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontics to correct their smiles.

    Braces for Adults

    Perhaps you never had braces as a kid and you are embarrassed by your crooked teeth. Or you went through a round of braces a decade ago and stopped wearing your retainer, which allowed your teeth to shift. Whatever your personal history, wearing braces in adulthood is an excellent way to create the straight, beautiful smile you deserve.

    What Are My Options?

    With recent advances in orthodontic medicine, there are numerous options for adults who need braces. The basic option is traditional metal braces. These are best for individuals who have severely crooked teeth or a significant bite problem, or require other major orthodontic changes. Metal braces are typically the least expensive option. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is aesthetics. Many people find them unattractive and distracting.

    If you are a professional who is worried about your personal appearance, clear ceramic braces may be a better choice. Clear braces are capable of handling very crooked teeth or bite issues, but they cost more than metal braces. You also have to be careful about smoking or drinking red wine, soda, and other dark beverages while wearing clear braces. These items may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth.

    Another popular option for adults who need braces is a clear aligner treatment, such as Invisalign®. This system works in a different way from traditional braces by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners. The series is custom made for your teeth, which makes this option more expensive than either metal or ceramic braces. In general, the Invisalign process takes anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems, teeth that are lower or higher than others, or severely overcrowded teeth.

    Although you may be nervous about the prospect of getting braces as an adult, you should not let your fears stop you from talking to your orthodontist. A consultation at our office will address your concerns and provide information about the best course of treatment for you. No matter what your personal situation, adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and create the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

    "When Should I Start Wearing My Retainer?"

    November 7th, 2012

    Braces are an investment in your smile. When your teeth reach a desired straightness, you’ll have a beautiful smile, but it’s important to keep it that way! You can accomplish this with a retainer.

    A retainer is a small, custom-fit device that reinforces the new position of your teeth after your braces are removed. But for many patients, especially the youngest ones, wearing a retainer may seem like an annoyance. So exactly how long after your braces come off should you wear your retainer?

    Graduation of Wear Time

    When we remove your braces, we will evaluate the condition of the bone structure surrounding your teeth and determine how well it is adjusting to the new position of your teeth. For the first few months, we may require you to wear your retainer both day and night, except during meal times and for brushing and flossing.

    As the bone and gum tissues adjust to your new smile, we may determine that you need to wear your retainer only at night. After about one year of wearing the retainer every night, you may be able to take a couple of nights off each week.

    However, we do not recommend ever stopping permanently. To best secure the position of the teeth, especially through future extractions and oral health changes, wearing your retainer a few nights a week will be necessary for many years.

    Considerations

    If you are concerned about your appearance when you wear a retainer, there are many that can be worn discreetly. You could choose a clear plastic one that is less obvious during the months immediately following removal of your braces. When you change to night wear only, clear wire retainers are available for minimal visibility as well.

    Another option is a lingual retainer. It is placed on the back sides of your teeth so no one will ever know it is there! Lingual retainers are also permanent, so there’s no risk of losing them.

    Remember, wearing your retainer is an investment in your smile. If you fail to wear it consistently, the tissues that support your teeth will be unsupported, and you may begin to experience noticeable shifting. You’ve worked hard to get that beautiful smile — your retainer will let you keep it!

    A confident smile always increases your face value.

    July 25th, 2012

    What sets us apart

    Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich are Preferred Providers of both Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen®. In addition to the popular Invisalign appliances, we offer treatment with other clear, removable systems. We believe that offering individualized treatment plans and a choice of appliance options is the BEST way to help our patients get the smile they have always wanted.

    Both of our orthodontic specialists are Lakeland residents and both live within 10 miles of our offices. Our office maintains 24/7 emergency coverage so that we are available when you need us.

    For more than 35 years, Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics has been a premier orthodontic specialty practice in the greater Lakeland area. Our team has earned a reputation for the highest quality treatment and customer service for our clients. We are very proud of this history and realize there is no greater compliment than the continued confidence of our orthodontic family.

    We just updated our brochure! Take a sneak-peak at the new brochure below!

    Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics

    Going Mobile with Drs. Dietrich and Hilliard!

    April 23rd, 2012


    Drs. Hilliard, Dietrich and the Team have some exciting news for you. We have a new mobile site for our patients on-the-go! No matter where you are…work, school, traveling or shopping at the mall, you will be able to access our website with speed and ease to request or change an appointment, make a payment, refer a patient or simply connect with us on social media. You will even be able to dial the office right from the site on your phone, all with a single touch.

    The next time you are on-the-go, we don’t want you to feel disconnected. Access Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics with your iPhone, iPad, Droid, or the smart phone of your choice and see how we look, and most of all to stay connected!

    Spring is here! Do we have your current contact info?

    April 9th, 2012

    Spring is in the air! As you probably know, you can always connect with us on our Facebook page, but we invite you to please contact our office with any updates to phone numbers and addresses, so that we may be able to reach you.

    We also encourage you to call us and let us know if you have any new phone numbers or if your contact information has changed!

    Thank you! Have a great week!

    Connect with Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics on Facebook!

    March 12th, 2012


    We will be rolling out our new Facebook Timeline page soon and would love for you to check it out! You’ll find all the useful information that was there before, but now in a fun, new layout. When you Like us on Facebook, you’ll be able to check out photos of our office, find out about new events and contests, or you can even leave a note about how much you enjoyed your visit at our office. We love hearing your feedback to make our practice serve you and your family even better. To make life even easier, if you “Like” us on Facebook, you’ll automatically receive updates from our office right on your own news feed!

    See you on Facebook!

    From Dr. Hilliard, Dr. Dietrich and team

    Love your or your child's new smile? Tell us about it!

    February 27th, 2012


    At Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich's office, your orthodontic treatment is about much more than straightening your teeth with braces. You expect great results and we get them because each patient’s treatment is individually planned to meet their needs.

    Whether you’ve just come in for a consultation or your family has been visiting our convenient Lakeland office for years, we’d love to hear your feedback. You can write a review on our Facebook page or on our Google listing!

    We hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

    Presidents’ Day Fun Facts with Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics!

    February 20th, 2012


    Today marks Presidents’ Day, a day known for celebrating of both George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s combined Birthdays. Presidents’ Day was created in 1971, when President Richard Nixon combined the birthdays of two of our most well-known presidents into one single federal holiday. Presidents’ Day also marks a hard-earned day off from work and school for a lot of our patients at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics.

    Here are a few fun facts about our nation’s presidents:

    *Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, carried letters, bills and notes in his tall stovepipe hat.

    *George Washington is the first president to be featured on a postage stamp.

    *Ronald Reagan, our 40th president, broke the so-called “20-year curse,” in which every president elected in a year ending in 0 died in office.

    *Harry S. Truman was the first president to have his Inauguration and speeches televised.

    *Abraham Lincoln was the tallest of the U.S. presidents measuring 6’ 4” tall.

    *The word ‘patriotism’ comes from the Latin patria, which means ‘homeland’ or ‘fatherland.’

    *Virginia is the birthplace of more United States presidents than any other state, followed by Ohio and Massachusetts.

    Patient Question: How long does orthodontic treatment take

    February 13th, 2012


    Your smile is totally unique, so the time you’ll need to spend undergoing orthodontic treatment will also be unique. Generally, orthodontic treatment will take about two years, and this is for good reason. During this time, your teeth will slowly move into their desired positions, leaving you with a great smile with as little discomfort as possible. Rushing treatment can result in a less than perfect smile with a greater chance of tooth movement after your treatment is complete. At Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics, we don’t want to waste your time with treatment that won’t retain your smile for the rest of your life.

    Of course, treatment time will vary depending on your specific situation. Very minor tooth movement may only take a few months to correct, while serious malocclusion (poor bite) may need more than two years to correct. Only Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich will be able to accurately estimate the time your treatment will take. But trust us—it’ll all be worth it in the end!

    Has your child or teen visited Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics for an orthodontic consultation? If not, please give us a call and let us help him or her begin the journey to a gorgeous smile!

    Dreaming of a dazzling smile? Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics can help!

    February 6th, 2012


    The fact is, most of us aren’t born with a red carpet smile. And that’s where our team at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics can help. Of course, orthodontic treatment help make your teeth stay strong, healthy and become perfectly-aligned. But did you know you can get the beautiful straight teeth you’ve always wanted — without braces?

    We are proud to offer an adult-friendly option for straightening teeth called Invisalign, which uses a series of invisible, removable and comfortable aligners that no one can tell you’re wearing. So, you can smile more during treatment as well as after. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment. Plus, brushing and flossing are no problem. They are also comfortable, with no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment. And no metal and wires usually means you spend less time at our office getting adjustments. Invisalign also allows you to view your own virtual treatment plan when you start so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete.

    If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, we would love to have you in for a visit. Please give us a call to set one up! A consultation at our Lakeland office can determine if Invisalign is right for you. See you soon!

    February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, from Hilliard Orthodontics

    February 2nd, 2012

    With February being National Children's Dental Health Month, our team at Hilliard Orthodontics thought we'd share a few good oral hygiene tips with our patients, courtesy of the American Dental Association, or ADA.

    • Teeth brushing techniques: It takes only two minutes to properly brush, using short, gentle strokes and devoting extra attention to the gumline, areas around fillings and hard-to-reach areas such as the back teeth.

    • Flossing: hold the floss snugly between thumbs and index finger and place between each of the teeth, making sure to go beneath the gumline and curving the floss around the base of each tooth.
    • Snack wisely: choose healthy snacks such as vegetables, fruits and cheese and avoid sticky, chewy candies that can stick to the teeth. If you eat these snacks, make sure to brush after doing so.
    • Carbonated or sugary drinks: these beverages create acids that can damage the teeth when mixed with saliva, so they should be avoided altogether. When drinking one of these beverages, avoid sipping on it throughout the day. Rather, have a drink and then brush your teeth.

    • Regular dental visits: You should visit us regularly (approximately every six months).

    National Children's Dental Health Month, now in its 62nd year, aims to increase awareness about the importance of kids' oral health. If you have any questions about keeping your mouth healthy, or about your treatment with Hilliard Orthodontics, please feel free to give us a call!

    When should you call Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics?

    January 23rd, 2012


    We hope you're having a great week! Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have put together a helpful list that outlines when you should call Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics for a complimentary orthodontic consultation. If you experience the following symptoms or conditions, it may be time to check in us:

    1. Early or late loss of baby teeth

    2. Difficulty of chewing or biting

    3. Mouth breathing

    4. Finger sucking or other oral habits

    5. Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth

    6. Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or retrude

    7. Speech difficulty

    8. Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth

    9. Protruding teethhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

    10. Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all

    11. Facial imbalance or asymmetry

    12. Grinding or clenching of teeth

    Do any of these warning signs fit you? If so, please give us a call at our Lakeland office!

    See you soon!

    How will you spend MLK Day?

    January 16th, 2012


    In the 1950s and ’60s, civil rights champion Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized the need to bring about social justice, strengthen America’s communities and move the nation forward. Today, thousands of people of all ages and races in Florida will spend their day building, giving and renovating our communities to help celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Did you have the day off? If so, what did you do to help your local community?

    We’d love to know about your activities and events this MLK Jr. Day. If you have any video or pictures you’d like to share, please share them on our Facebook page!

    Our entire team at Hilliard and Dietrich Orthodontics are proud of your work in our community! Happy MLK Day!

    The benefits of a dazzling smile

    January 12th, 2012


    At Hilliard Orthodontics, we know having an attractive smile puts a spring in your step—or two—as well as increases your self-confidence, no matter if you’re 14 or in your late forties.

    Smiling not only makes people happy and puts them in a good mood, doing it often can even help you live longer, according to previous studies!

    If you’ve been hiding your smile because you have crooked teeth or gaps between your teeth, it’s time to consider orthodontic treatment at Hilliard Orthodontics. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn how quickly and efficiently today’s most advanced correction techniques can straighten your smile!

    Don’t hide your smile any longer—give us a call today to schedule yours or your child’s orthodontic consultation. See you soon!

    2012!

    January 3rd, 2012


    At Hilliard Orthodontics, the New Year is a time to look back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. Our wish is that our patients continue to keep their teeth healthy, as well as wear their rubber bands, headgear and appliances as prescribed during their treatment.

    We look forward to meeting those patients who are planning to begin their orthodontic treatment this year - we think it's a great resolution!

    Happy New Year from all of us at Hilliard Orthodontics!

    Happy Holidays from Hilliard Orthodontics!

    December 20th, 2011


    In this season given to tidings of comfort and joy, and as our team at Hilliard Orthodontics reflect on the year that was, we’d like to ask you, our wonderful patients: What do you love about the holidays this year? Being with your loved ones? A clean slate for 2012? Opening presents by the fireplace? All the delicious food? Also, what gift are you most looking forward to getting this year?

    We’d love if you shared with us all the things you love about the holidays. Stay warm, and don’t forget to stay away from those sweets!

    Happy Holidays from our entire team at Hilliard Orthodontics!

    “I’m 32 – am I too old for braces?”

    December 12th, 2011


    Thanks for the question – Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich will both tell you that NOBODY is “too old” for braces!

    In fact, our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics read a fascinating statistic recently: the number of adults getting braces has actually climbed 24 percent since 1996! Yes, braces help make your pearly whites strong, healthy and perfectly-aligned, but perhaps another reason for the spike in adult braces is this: people want to look and feel great. In an age—and society—where looks matter as much as anything, and at a time when evenly-aligned and sparkling teeth might be the difference between getting a job or a promotion, adults are choosing—wisely, we might add—to invest in orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment with Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile.

    If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, Drs. Hilliard, Dietrich and our team would love to have you visit for a consultation. Please give us a call to set one up!

    Happy holidays from all of us at Hilliard Orthodontics!

    How valuable is your smile?

    December 5th, 2011


    At Dr. Hilliard’s office, your orthodontic treatment is about much more than straightening your teeth with braces. You expect great results and we get them because each patient’s treatment is individually planned to meet their needs.

    At our office the focus is always on you…your comfort, your convenience and making your orthodontic treatment a terrific experience! The bottom line is, we know your smile is important to you.

    And speaking of smiling, in a poll conducted by Glamour Magazine last spring, people were asked, “If you had to pick between having perfect teeth, eyesight or hair, which would you choose?

    Well, 44 percent of folks out there chose teeth! In addition, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, or AACD, conducted a study and found that 99.7 percent of those polled believed a smile is an important social asset. Respondents said straightness, whiteness, cleanliness, as well as the sincerity and sparkle of a person’s smile were all important factors not only socially, but career-wise as well.

    We invite you to visit us and see for yourself how great your orthodontic experience can be!

    Do we have your current contact info?

    December 1st, 2011

    Happy holidays from all of us at Hilliard Orthodontics! As you probably know, you can always connect with Dr. Keith Hilliard and our team on our Facebook page, but we also encourage you to call us and let us know if you have any new phone numbers or if your contact information has changed!

    Please contact our office with any updates to phone numbers and addresses, so that we may be able to reach you. Thank you!
    - The team at Hilliard Orthodontics

    Giving thanks this holiday season

    November 21st, 2011


    With Thanksgiving almost here, it's a great time to ask ourselves what we're thankful for. With our friends and family around us, we celebrate the blessings given to us in the past year. What are you thankful for this holiday season? Do you have any Thanksgiving wishes you would like to share?

    Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich, as well as our entire team at Lakeland's Hilliard Orthodontics would like to wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. It’s a big food holiday, so be careful what you eat with those braces! If you have any stories or photos to share with us, we’d encourage you to send them along or post them on our Facebook page!

    Ask Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich: "I just got braces. Now what?"

    November 16th, 2011


    We love when patients ask us that question! Now that you’re wearing braces, it’s just as important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen as you did before before orthodontic treatment began.

    Braces are known to trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or remove plaque, which is why Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich recommend that you brush and floss after every meal. We also encourage you use a proxabrush to help with the smaller areas where your toothbrush doesn’t reach. We encourage the use of fluoride rinse as well; ask us for a recommendation!

    When your braces are initially placed, your teeth are likely to be very sensitive. You may experience discomfort for up to 3 or 5 days, which is why we encourage you to eat soft foods during that time. Remember, the less pressure you put on your teeth, the less discomfort you will have.

    You may also be thinking, “Okay, so what can I eat?” We would encourage you to avoid eating sticky, hard, crunchy or chewy snacks that can stick to your teeth.

    Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich and team will tell you it’s crucial to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our Lakeland orthodontic office immediately to schedule an appointment for repair.

    Lastly, in addition to visiting Hilliard Orthodontics during your orthodontic treatment for adjustments, you should visit your dentist for professional check-ups and teeth cleaning appointments about every six months, or as recommended by your dentist.

    What are your November plans?

    November 10th, 2011


    Believe it or not, we’re almost in full holiday mode! But before you go celebrating, Dr. Keith Hilliard and our team at Hilliard Orthodontics want to know: What are your plans for November? Do you have plans for Thanksgiving? Are you planning a winter vacation? If so, we’d love to hear all about it!

    You may share your stories with us below, or by posting on our Facebook page!

    –The team at Hilliard Orthodontics

    Halloween safety tips from Hilliard Orthodontics

    October 31st, 2011

    With Halloween here, our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics know a lot parents here in Lakeland are worried about their kids going overboard on candies this evening.

    All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but Dr. Keith Hilliard will tell you these treats are known to damage teeth, as well as braces! Did you know sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them?

    Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists recommend softer treats, such as soft chocolate or peanut butter cups, or melt-in-your-mouth foods. Trick-or-treaters who indulge should make sure they brush and floss between teeth, around brackets and at the gum line. If damage occurs, please call us as soon as possible.

    We hope everyone has a fun, safe and scary Halloween!

    Emergency care with Hilliard Orthodontics

    October 28th, 2011


    At Hilliard Orthodontics, we know true orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call our Lakeland orthodontic office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We'll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

    You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with Hilliard Orthodontics. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what part is broken or out of place. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan. Click here for instructions or give us a call to learn more! We hope you're off to a great Halloween season!

    Cold season is here, from Keith Hilliard, DMD Orthodontic Specialist

    October 17th, 2011


    Cold and flu season is here - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a common cold usually includes sneezing, runny nose, sore throat and coughing. Symptoms can last for up to two weeks.

    To promote a healthy and clean environment, Dr. Keith Hilliard and our entire staff give a great deal of attention to sanitation and sterilization in our Lakeland offices at all times, as well as following all requirements for sterilizing instruments and work surfaces. For the protection of other patients and our staff at Keith Hilliard, DMD Orthodontic Specialist, we always ask that patients reschedule their appointments if they have any type of cold or illness that can infect others.

    And remember to constantly wash your hands and avoid contact with those who are ill! Stay Healthy!

    October also marks National Dental Hygiene Month!

    October 10th, 2011


    In addition to October being National Orthodontic Health Month, as we discussed last week, did you know that October is also National Dental Hygiene Month? Fall is here, and Halloween is coming soon, but now it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene during your treatment at Hilliard Orthodontics.

    Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich will tell you that while all those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, these treats can damage your teeth and braces as well! Sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them - this can cause tooth decay and cavities! After eating these candies, be sure to wash your mouth out with water, drink milk or eat a few slices of cheese. These will help neutralize the acid in your mouth.

    Besides cavities and tooth decay, many people do not realize that good oral health and hygiene are important to your overall health too - research has discovered the connection between periodontal disease and other major health concerns, such as heart disease! Therefore, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine: see your dentist here in Lakeland every six months, brush and floss daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash.

    Hope this helps!

    - Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich

    October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

    October 3rd, 2011


    With October being National Orthodontic Health Month, we thought we'd remind Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich's patients to be careful when they bite into their treats this month.

    Remember, caramels, taffy, nuts, bubble gum, popcorn kernels and suckers are some of the foods you should be avoiding this Halloween Season! Indulging in these foods can break your braces and lengthen your treatment time at Hilliard Orthodontics!

    Of course, Halloween doesn’t have to be completely treat-less. Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have provided a helpful list of tips and braces-friendly recipes for the Halloween Season. Check them out! We hope you had a relaxing weekend!

    With Hilliard Orthodontics, access your account—any day, any time, anywhere!

    September 28th, 2011


    Access to your account, 24/7. Sounds really simple and convenient, doesn’t it?

    Patients at Hilliard Orthodontics enjoy access to their account 24 hours a day, seven days a week—on our web site. You can look up your appointments and all of your account details at your convenience, all from the comfort of your own home! You can even receive appointment reminders through email, text messages and more!

    You, too, may sign up for this convenient service on our web site by clicking the "Patient Login" button on our homepage. Please give us a call if you have any questions!

    Ask Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich: How much will braces cost?

    September 22nd, 2011


    Thanks for the question! The cost of treatment depends on the severity of the patient's problem. You will be able to discuss fees and the down payment options before treatment begins. We have payment plans to suit different budgets, including a no-down-payment option for those who decide to finance treatment through Capital One.

    Our team at Hilliard Orthodontics provide a patient payment option with no interest and, for our patient's convenience, we accept all major credit cards. Our office goal is to help each patient and family reach the goal that they have for orthodontic treatment and to have that treatment fit within their budget.

    Join our new contest!

    September 14th, 2011

    We are happy to announce our new contest! Rules are simple - win something for yourself ... win something for your classroom and teacher. It's a simple "guess" contest where we ask you to guess the exact number of brace-friendly candies, and the winner will receive movie/refreshment tickets for two, as well as a $50 contribution to their classroom!

    Contest ends on October 15 and - if no one guesses the exact number of candies - the winner will be the one who is closest without going over! In case of a tie, a drawing will be held. Remember, Orthodontic Health month is in October and we will be celebrating by awarding the prizes in the contest!

    Connect with Hilliard Orthodontics on Facebook!

    September 5th, 2011

    facebook Pictures, Images and Photos

    At Dr. Hilliard’s office, your orthodontic treatment is about much more than straightening your teeth with braces. You expect great results and we get them because each patient’s treatment is individually planned to meet their needs. Even if you only see us for your appointment on a regular basis, did you know that you can now connect with Dr. Hilliard and staff on our Facebook page?

    There, we share office news, announcements and updates, so check us out! By Liking our page, you will receive updates from our office automatically in your news feed!

    See you on Facebook and have a great week!

    Dr. Hilliard and team

    Back to school with Hilliard Orthodontics

    August 29th, 2011

    Now that many of the schools in Lakeland and nearby communities are back in session, Dr. Keith Hilliard and our staff would like to remind all of our patients about the importance of scheduling appointments in advance in August and early September. With school, clubs and sports to consider this fall, we know that it can be challenging to find time to visit our office. In order to accommodate all of our wonderful patients' busy schedules, it is important that you plan ahead for your appointments so that we are able to provide you with an appointment time that is convenient for you.

    As always, please remember to give us advanced notice if you're unable to make your regularly-scheduled appointment. If we receive enough notice, we might be able to schedule another patient for that time. Feel free to give us a call at 863-644-0430 if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule your fall appointment.

    We hope you had a fantastic weekend - we look forward to seeing your smiling faces very soon!

    Are you wearing your mouthguard? From Dr. Hilliard

    August 24th, 2011



    With fall sports almost here for a lot of our patients at Hilliard Orthodontics, we thought today would be a great time to remind all our young athletes in treatment to take care of both their mouth and appliances while participating in sports – especially contact sports such as soccer and football – this fall.

    One of the most important pieces of sports equipment you can wear on the field is a mouthguard. A well-fitted mouthguard, which we’re happy to provide, allows you to breathe and speak more clearly, in addition to protecting your mouth and braces. Only by using a mouth guard can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. The next time you’re in for a visit with Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich, we encourage you to ask us for a mouthguard! In addition, the American Association of Orthodontists has five quick tips for keeping kids safe during sport activities this fall.

    • Wear a helmet

    • Stretch before and after a game or practice

    • Wear protective eyewear

    • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin

    • Be observant, even as a spectator

    We hope you’re enjoying your summer, and invite you all to share your summer photos on our Facebook page!

    Tell us about your summer!

    August 15th, 2011



    The dog days of summer are upon us, and what better time for our team at Hilliard Orthodontics to ask our patients about their summer!

    Whether you visited our nation’s capitol, went on a camping trip, visited the state fair or just stayed in town and hung out with friends, we want to know how you’re all spending your summer! Please feel free to share your summer plans and experiences with us below or on our Facebook page as the summer comes to an end soon for a lot of our patients! We invite you to post your photos as well!

    We look forward to hearing all about your adventures! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

    Smile Week at Hilliard Orthodontics!

    August 10th, 2011



    It’s National Smile Week at Hilliard Orthodontics, and a GREAT time to remind our patients to practice good oral hygiene to keep those teeth sparkling during your orthodontic treatment!

    Here are a few simple steps you can take to improve your oral health so that you may celebrate National Smile Week for many, many years to come:

    * Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

    * Floss everyday to clean between your teeth and braces.

    * Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks during your orthodontic treatment

    * Visit your dentist regularly (every 6 months or as recommended by your dentist)!

    If you have questions about any of these tips, we encourage you to give us a call, ask Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich during your next visit ... or ask us on Facebook!

    And remember to smile at people you come across throughout the week, whether you know them or not. Smiles are contagious, and are a good thing to give and to get. We hope you’re all having a relaxing summer!

    When should you call Hilliard Orthodontics?

    August 3rd, 2011


    We hope you're having a great week! Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have put together a helpful list that outlines when you should call Hilliard Orthodontics for a complimentary orthodontic consultation. If you experience the following symptoms or conditions, it may be time to check in us:

    1. Early or late loss of baby teeth

    2. Difficulty of chewing or biting

    3. Mouth breathing

    4. Finger sucking or other oral habits

    5. Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth

    6. Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or retrude

    7. Speech difficulty

    8. Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth

    9. Protruding teethhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

    10. Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all

    11. Facial imbalance or asymmetry

    12. Grinding or clenching of teeth

    Do any of these warning signs fit you? If so, please give us a call at our Lakeland office!

    See you soon!

    Do we have your current contact info?

    July 28th, 2011


    We hope you’re off to a great summer so far! If you are planning on traveling with family this summer or think you might not be able to make it to your scheduled adjustment appointment at Hilliard Orthodontics, please let us know ahead of time so that we may be able to accommodate you, as well as schedule another patient with Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich at that appointment time.

    Also, we ask that you give us a call and let us know if you have any new phone numbers or if your contact information has changed! Please call us with any updates to phone numbers and addresses, so we may be able to reach you. Thank you! Enjoy the rest of your week!

    Get those regular checkups! From Hilliard Orthodontics

    July 20th, 2011


    Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich want to know: Are you brushing your teeth twice a day during your orthodontic treatment? If yes, that’s what we want to hear! But, don’t forget that it’s also important for you to visit your general dentist every six months in addition to brushing your teeth and flossing (and visiting Hilliard orthodontics, of course). Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health.

    Your dentist can check for problems that might not be seen or felt, detect cavities and early signs of decay, treat oral health problems early and show you how to properly brush and floss your teeth.

    During an oral exam your dentist can check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing. If you have not been to the dentist in the last six months, let us know during your next visit with us, and we will provide a few great references in the greater Lakeland area!

    We hope you're having a great summer!

    Fun facts with Hilliard Orthodontics!

    July 15th, 2011


    At Hilliard Orthodontics, we know people love fun facts - LOVE THEM. The American Association of Orthodontists, or AAO, has come up with some fun facts about orthodontics that Dr. Keith Hilliard and our team at Hilliard Orthodontics thought you might enjoy.

    • There are nearly 4 million people in orthodontic treatment throughout the United States. Three out of four are younger than 18.

    • The first mechanical treatment for correcting irregular teeth was suggested by Gaius Plinius Secundus (A.D 23-79).The American Association of Orthodontists is comprised of more than 12,000 members in the United States, Canada and abroad.

    • The time required to complete orthodontic treatment ranges from 12 to 36 months depending on the nature and severity of the problem.

    • Of the 160,000 dentists in the United States and Canada, 8,000 are practicing orthodontists.

    • The cement that attaches the braces to the teeth is now made with a special fluoride-releasing substance.

    • Wires activated by body heat used in today's braces originally were developed by NASA for use in the space program.

    • In addition to alleviating or preventing physical health problems, orthodontics can boost self-esteem as treatment aligns teeth, jaws and lips.

    • Famous orthodontic patients include: Dr. Joyce Brothers, Hale Irwin, Cher, Diana Ross, Phyllis Diller, Chelsea Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Daisy Fuentes and Brandi.

    What's your story? What made you choose Hilliard Orthodontics?

    July 8th, 2011


    At Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich's office, your orthodontic treatment is about much more than straightening your teeth with braces. You expect great results and we get them because each patient’s treatment is individually planned to meet their needs.

    Whether you’ve just come in for a consultation or your family has been visiting our convenient Lakeland office for years, we’d love to hear your feedback. You can write a review on our Facebook page or on our Google listing!

    Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

    Fourth of July plans?

    July 2nd, 2011

    This Monday, Dr. Keith Hilliard and our entire team will celebrate America's 235th birthday. For most people, Independence Day is a time to celebrate, as well as commemorate, the anniversary of the signing of America's Declaration of Independence. It's also a time for most Americans to pay homage to all our soldiers - past and present - who lost their lives in battle - and those soldiers who continue to place themselves in danger every day so that Americans everywhere may celebrate our freedom.

    Today, we thought we'd ask: what are your Fourth of July weekend plans? Are you heading to a barbecue? Hitting the great American open road with family?

    We invite you to post your responses on our Facebook page! Please feel free to post photos as well!

    Whatever you end up doing over Independence Day weekend, our entire staff hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend!

    Welcome to the team, Chelsea!

    June 23rd, 2011


    We welcomed Chelsea, a new clinical assistant to our office. Chelsea is engaged to be married this fall, and is a graduate of Traviss Tech. Chelsea is great with patients, has a beautiful smile and has already been a mentor to one of our patients who spent "career day" in our office! Chelsea is also a very hard worker, very quick learner and great communicator with patients and parents alike. We're really glad she's joined the Hilliard orthodontic team!!

    Get to know your braces! From Hilliard Orthodontics

    June 20th, 2011

    Should you need to call Dr. Hilliard in case you sustain any damage to your braces, we can help you more effectively if you can tell us exactly which piece is in trouble! Here’s a handy diagram and corresponding list of all the parts that make up your braces.

    Elastic Tie: Tiny rubber band that fits around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

    Archwire: The main wire that acts as a track to guide the teeth along. It's changed periodically throughout treatment, as teeth move to their new positions.

    Loop in Archwire: Frequently used for closing space left by an extraction. Many archwires don't have a loop.

    Bracket: Small attachment that holds the archwire in place. Most often, a bracket is cemented directly onto the tooth's surface, eliminating the need for a band.

    Headgear Tube: Round, hollow attachment on the back bands. The inner bow of the headgear fits into it.

    Coil Spring: Fits between brackets and over archwire to open space between teeth.

    Tie Wire: Fine wire that is twisted around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

    Band: A thin ring of metal fitted around a tooth and cemented in place. The band provides a way to attach the brackets to the tooth.

    Hook: Welded or removable arm to which elastics (rubber bands) are attached.

    Elastic (Rubber Band): Small rubber band that is hooked between different points on the appliance to provide pressure to move the teeth.

    Hope this helps! Give us a call if you have any questions.

    --Dr. Hilliard and team

    What's on your summer reading list?

    June 12th, 2011

    With summer 2011 only weeks away, some of us at Hilliard Orthodontics have been thinking increasingly about the importance of reading. Sure it’s easier to go play ball or kick back and watch television, but reading during the summer is a vital step in being prepared for classes in the fall and maintaining your skill level.

    Out of ideas for great summer reads? Ask us for suggestions, and Dr. Hilliard & staff at Hilliard Orthodontics would be happy to provide a few titles. You may also ask a local librarian for some ideas or check out these summer reading lists that we came across.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend and happy reading!

    Smile! June marks National Smile Month!

    June 5th, 2011


    Wouldn't you know it, it's already June. And June is National Smile Month, and it's once again time to remind our patients to brush, floss, practice good nutrition and visit their dentist regularly (as well as visiting our office) to avoid cavities and gum disease, among other dental health issues.

    That means you too, parents! After all, there's more and more evidence that suggests folks with gum disease are more at risk for serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes.

    Here are a few easy steps you can improve your oral health at home:

    * Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Here's a helpful video showing you how to brush with your braces on.
    * Floss everyday to clean between your teeth.
    * Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks during treatment.
    * Visit your dentist regularly (usually every six months apart).

    If you have questions about any of these tips, we encourage you to give us a call! We hope you have a relaxing rest of the weekend!

    Honoring our veterans and heroes this Memorial Day weekend

    May 27th, 2011


    Memorial Day weekend is a time Americans remember all those who bravely gave their lives for our country. It’s also the unofficial start of summer, and for many kids, getting out of town for three days with parents after being in school all these months is sure to be sweet, sweet relief.

    At Hilliard Orthodontics, we know Memorial Day weekend is ripe for travel. After all, it’s unofficially the start of summer and time for a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories with parents or friends. What are you up to this Memorial Day weekend? What will you be doing on your day off from school or work?

    Whether you are headed to a barbeque, a camping trip, or just having fun in the Florida sun this weekend, we’d like to hear all about it! Enjoy the holiday!

    Ask Dr. Hilliard: When should my child come in for a consultation?

    May 23rd, 2011

    Great question! Many parents think they must wait until their child has all permanent teeth to start treatment, only to find that treatment would have been much simpler if started earlier. So, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven.

    What’s so special about age seven? Enough permanent teeth have arrived for an orthodontist to make a determination about whether any problems are present. The first molars have come in, providing an opportunity to check for malocclusion, or what Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich call “bad bite.” Also, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites, and open bites can be detected.

    Orthodontic evaluation at an early age provides one of two positive outcomes: For some, early identification or problems will lead to easier or shorter orthodontic treatment in the future. For others, a healthy prognosis will provide immediate peace of mind.

    Early evaluation, of course, may signal a need for early treatment. For some children, early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring on years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and detrimental to good oral hygiene. So if your child is nearing age 7, give us a call at Hilliard Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.

    Hilliard Orthodontics at the 111th AAO Annual Session in Chicago

    May 13th, 2011

    Patients at Hilliard Orthodontics can feel confident they are receiving the best in orthodontic health care. Our goal is to provide the most up-to-date technology and techniques using the best equipment possible. Dr. Hilliard is devoted to continuing education and furthers his learning through reading, attending conferences and continuing education courses. One of those conferences includes the 2011 AAO Annual Session in Chicago, where our entire team will head later this week.

    Dr. Hilliard will also be lecturing at the AAO in the doctor's scientific program. Only one other orthodontist in the state of Florida was asked to do a scientific lecture! Dr. Hilliard will be showing many cases he has treated and instructing others on how to maximize the use of aligners in orthodontic treatment. This is his third time Dr. Hilliard has been asked to present a clinical teaching lecture to this international meeting, and we think that’s pretty darn impressive, as he has great credentials and an international reputation for excellence in orthodontic treatment!

    The AAO Annual Session is an always-educational event that is also one of the largest orthodontic conventions in the world. It's also a time for Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich to consult with dental experts and orthodontists from around the country and stay up-to-date on all the latest technologies and orthodontic treatment options available. This, of course, allows our team at Hilliard Orthodontics to give you, our wonderful patients, the very best treatment experience possible.

    Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich are committed to lifelong learning and continuing education, not only for themselves but also for the staff. The entire team will be attending the AAO this weekend and will be seeing patients again on Tuesday.

    If you've got an appointment for an adjustment or consultation scheduled with us soon, we invite you to ask us about our Chicago trip, including what we learned and how continuing education and acquisition of new technology helps us treat you more effectively at Hilliard Orthodontics!

    Flossing with Braces 101

    May 8th, 2011

    Dr. Hilliard & Dr. Dietrich will tell you that keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you have braces. Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you'll experience better results and could possibly reduce your treatment time.

    Here is a very concise video explaining the proper way to floss your teeth with braces. Give our team a call if you have more questions about flossing. Enjoy!

    A great braces-friendly spring recipe! From Dr. Hilliard & team

    April 29th, 2011

    Winter is over, and the weather is finally starting to get warmer. Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) made an appetizing (and braces-friendly!) spring dish that is sure to delight. Remember, a healthy diet provides essential nutrients and helps you achieve the best possible result from your orthodontic treatment.

    Soy Simmered Chicken Wraps

    Ingredients:

    • 3 boneless chicken breast halves
    • 2 large onions, chunked
    • Small flour tortillas (pkg. of ten) wheat or white
    • (optional: 10-16 oz. of cooked chopped broccoli)
    • ¼ cup soy sauce
    • ¼ cup water
    • 2 Tablespoons honey
    • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
    • 2 Tablespoons peach or apricot jam
    • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

    Directions

    In a slow cooker, or a large pan on the stove, layer the onions and the chicken breast. Allow at least three hours in the slow cooker on medium, or at least one hour on the stove—the longer the better, but you don’t have to do anything to it while it cooks. Spoon out the chicken onto a cutting board, and with a knife and fork, shred the chicken as finely as you’d like. In a small saucepan, stir all sauce ingredients together over medium heat until the mixture starts bubbling, then let it simmer for five minutes on low heat to thicken. In a serving bowl, stir sauce and onion into chicken; if you’d like, add cooked chopped broccoli. Makes about six to eight servings.

    Enjoy this great spring dish and have a great week!

    --From Dr. Hilliard and staff

    Dr. Hilliard & team, dispelling the myths about orthodontics

    April 21st, 2011


    Our team at Hilliard Orthodontics are aware there are quite a few myths about orthodontists circulating around. Before you buy into those myths, you should get the facts! We came across a great site that helps set the record straight. Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have some excellent information on the myths and facts of orthodontists, check them out today!

    Ask Dr. Hilliard: “I’m 34 – am I too old for braces?”

    April 12th, 2011


    Thanks for the question – Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich will both tell you that NOBODY is “too old” for braces!

    In fact, our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics read a fascinating statistic recently: the number of adults getting braces has actually climbed 24 percent since 1996! Yes, braces help make your pearly whites strong, healthy and perfectly-aligned, but perhaps another reason for the spike in adult braces is this: people want to look and feel great. In an age—and society—where looks matter as much as anything, and at a time when evenly-aligned and sparkling teeth might be the difference between getting a job or a promotion, adults are choosing—wisely, we might add—to invest in orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment with Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile.

    If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, Drs. Hilliard, Dietrich and our team would love to have you visit for a consultation. Please give us a call to set one up!

    Ask Dr. Hilliard: What's the deal with retainers?

    April 6th, 2011


    If you've recently completed treatment at Hilliard Orthodontics, we’d like to congratulate you, again! Now that your braces have been removed, Dr. Hilliard will provide—or has provided you—with retainers. After braces are removed, teeth can shift out of position if they are not stabilized. Retainers, you see, provide that stabilization. They are designed to hold teeth in their corrected, ideal positions until the bones and gums adapt to the treatment changes. Wearing retainers exactly as instructed by our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics is the best insurance that the treatment improvements last for a lifetime.

    To learn more about the advantages of wearing retainers after your orthodontic treatment here at Hilliard Orthodontics, please read this helpful article about retainers or give us a call!

    Play it safe this spring, from Dr. Hilliard

    March 30th, 2011

    Let’s face it: sports-related injuries are common among children, let alone teens with braces. In a recent survey, the American Association of Orthodontists, or AAO, discovered that 70 percent of parents said their biggest fear is that their child will get hurt while playing organized sports. But 67 percent admitted that their child doesn’t wear a mouth guard during organized sports such as football, basketball, baseball and soccer. That’s why the office of Dr. Hilliard is helping spread the word that many facial sports injuries can be prevented simply by reminding your kids to wear mouth guards.

    Dr. Hilliard can recommend the best mouth guard for you, and, in addition, the AAO has four quick tips for keeping kids safe during sport activities.

    • Wear mouth guards during contact sports
    • Wear a helmet
    • Wear protective eyewear
    • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin
    • Stretch before and after a game or practice
    • Be observant even as a spectator
    • Use good judgment

    All of these can reduce injuries. Only by using a mouth guard and other forms of facial protection can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. Give us a call if you have any questions about mouth guards or your treatment with Dr. Hilliard.

    How important is your smile? From Hilliard Orthodontics

    March 21st, 2011

    At Dr. Hilliard’s office, your orthodontic treatment is about much more than straightening your teeth with braces. You expect great results and we get them because each patient’s treatment is individually planned to meet their needs.

    At our office the focus is always on you…your comfort, your convenience and making your orthodontic treatment a terrific experience! The bottom line is, we know your smile is important to you.

    And speaking of smiling, in a new poll conducted by Glamour Magazine, people were asked, “If you had to pick between having perfect teeth, eyesight or hair, which would you choose?

    Well, 44 percent of folks out there are choosing teeth! In addition, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, or AACD, conducted a study and found that 99.7 percent of those polled believed a smile is an important social asset. Respondents said straightness, whiteness, cleanliness, as well as the sincerity and sparkle of a person’s smile were all important factors not only socially, but career-wise as well.

    We invite you to visit us and see for yourself how great your orthodontic experience can be!

    Foods to Avoid during your Orthodontic Treatment

    March 11th, 2011

    There are a variety of foods Drs. Keith Hilliard and Andy Dietrich want you to avoid while you're wearing braces. Some foods can occasionally damage braces, but certain foods can bend the wires or even break the brackets on your braces. If you’re wearing braces, you should avoid starch, sugar and gummy foods, as these foods can be difficult to remove during brushing. Foods that are high in sugar and starch tend to cause plaque, cavities and even tooth decay.

    Avoid tough meats, hard breads and raw vegetables such as carrots and celery. Before long, you'll be able to bite a cucumber again. But you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.

    Foods you should avoid include:

    Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
    Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
    Sticky foods: caramels, gum
    Hard foods: nuts, candy
    Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots

    Also, chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.

    If you have any questions on which foods you should be avoiding and why, we invite you to give our office a call or ask our staff during your next visit.

    Visualize your new smile with the Brace Painter!

    March 2nd, 2011

    Braces at the office of Drs. Keith Hilliard and Andy Dietrich are more fun than ever! With the Brace Painter, parents and children are able to “paint their braces,” and visualize how teeth will look with different colors of bands.

    Would you like to try out green and gold bands this March, without the commitment of an all-out St. Patrick's Day look? The Brace Painter allows for you to select different colors, and then assign those colors of bands to certain teeth. Now, you can visualize your braces before you even come in for your appointment!

    As always, please let Dr. Hilliard or Dr. Dietrich know if you have any questions about the Brace Painter, or your orthodontic treatment. Have a great week!

    Connect with the Braces Brigade!

    February 23rd, 2011

    At the office of Dr. Keith Hilliard DMD, our patients want to get as much out of their treatment as possible. That includes asking a lot of questions and making sure they take care of both their appliances and oral health.

    Would you like to learn more about what to expect during orthodontic treatment, from someone with firsthand experience? Well, our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recently developed the Braces Brigade blog, where past, present, as well as future orthodontic patients from coast to coast document their (or their child’s) orthodontic journeys. The blog will serve as a source of guidance for others as the patients undergo orthodontic care.

    Our team at encourages you to visit the Braces Brigade blog to read these great and informative blogs—who knows, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two! As always, don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions about the Braces Brigade or your own orthodontic treatment with Drs. Keith Hilliard, and Andy Dietrich!

    The office of Dr. Keith Hilliard sends "Singing" Valentines

    February 16th, 2011

    This Valentine's Day, the office of Dr. Keith Hilliard sent "singing" Valentines to some of the other dentists and their patients. For your enjoyment, here's a video of one of the great performances. Let us know what you think!

    -Dr. Keith Hilliard and team

    Celebrities get braces, too!

    February 8th, 2011

    Did you know that back in 2002, Tom Cruise had braces? During this time, he was 40 years old and filmed Minority Report, Austin Powers in Goldmember and the Last Samurai. Check out his smile in Jerry Maguire, Rain Man or The Firm and compare to the post-braces Tom Cruise in Valkyrie or Tropic Thunder. The fact is, movie stars need to look their best for the silver screen, and it wouldn't be possible without orthodontists like Dr. Keith Hilliard.

    In fact, lots of Hollywood stars have had orthodontic treatment. Check out this slideshow of famous faces with braces. If you’ve thought about getting the perfect smile you’ve always wanted, please give the office of Dr. Keith Hilliard a call.

    February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

    February 2nd, 2011

    Each February for the past 61 years, the American Dental Association (ADA) has sponsored National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

    For kids wearing braces, brushing and flossing can become more difficult, requiring extra time and vigilance to remove food particles that accumulate on and between the teeth and in braces.

    If the health of your teeth is ignored during treatment with braces, the results can be significantly compromised. Drs. Keith Hilliard and Andy Dietrich are available and happy to explain why effective brushing and flossing is one of the most critical actions needed from patients during orthodontic treatment. Have you visited us lately? Give us a call and schedule an appointment!

    Ask Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich: When Are Two Phases of Orthodontic Treatment Necessary?

    January 25th, 2011

    Usually patients in orthodontic treatment already have their permanent teeth – they are pre-teens, teens and adults. But in some cases the office of Keith Hillard will have to start treatment earlier, even before the patient’s permanent teeth come in. We call this “two-phase treatment.”

    When we have patients with clear developmental problems at an early age, it’s best to start work when they are young, before the problems get bigger and more difficult to treat.

    Examples include:

    • An upper or lower jaw that is not growing correctly
    • A mouth growing in a way that doesn’t leave enough room for all the permanent teeth to come in
    • A severe malocclusion, or bad bite, which means the jaw doesn’t fit together correctly

    In these cases we will start early and do one round of treatment – phase one – while the patient still has their baby teeth. Phase one usually does not involve braces, but can include a different type of appliance that helps the jaw grow into place properly. We’ll follow up with phase two usually a few years later, when permanent teeth are in place. Generally phase two involves standard braces.

    In order to catch early problems, we recommend that children have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven (and so does the American Association of Orthodontists). However, if your dentist or pediatrician sees any sign that early treatment might be necessary, he or she may recommend your child visit our office even sooner.

    The Benefits of Dairy, from Dr Hilliard

    January 20th, 2011

    Dr. Hilliard wants to know:Is dairy a major part of your diet? If not, it should be! A 2008 study from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has found that regular consumption of dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, can actually lower your chances of contracting periodontal disease (also known as gum disease). Results of the study also showed that adults who consume at least 55 grams of lactic acid a day are less at risk for gum disease.

    Cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child's teeth. In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Monterey Jack all stimulate the body's salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect them from acids that weaken them, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque's ph level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child's teeth.

    Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection in the mouth that affects the gums and jaw. Gum disease results in a loss of teeth and bone, and has been connected to certain cases of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease and osteoporosis.

    Eating dairy is not just healthy for building strong bones, but is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy mouth. Next time you reach for a quick snack, choose some cheese, or a glass of milk, and remember with each bite, and every sip you are preserving your teeth for a lifetime of smiles and good oral health!

    For more information about which dairy foods are best for keeping your teeth healthy, please give us a call.

    Don't Forget About Fluoride!

    January 11th, 2011

    There are so many ways you protect your teeth throughout your orthodontic treatment at the office of Dr. Keith Hilliard. You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and protect your mouth and appliances from being damaged. But did you know there is another, often forgotten about, way to keep your teeth clean and healthy during your treatment? Fluoride – a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay – can help keep your teeth strong! Fluoride comes in two varieties: topical and systemic. Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth. Topical fluoride includes toothpastes and mouth rinses. Systemic fluorides are swallowed in the form of a dietary supplement.

    Fluoride used in the orthodontists’ office is often times a stronger concentration than in toothpaste or mouthwash, but is available at some drug stores or a pharmacy (ask your doctor how to purchase professional strength fluoride). A fluoride treatment typically takes just a few minutes. After the treatment patients may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe a fluoride product such as mouthwashes, gels or antibacterial rinses for at-home treatment.

    When choosing your own fluoride product, be sure to check for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined and have met the criteria of the ADA for safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth, and smile bright!

    Dr. Hilliard, How does Invisalign work?

    January 4th, 2011

    Perhaps you've wondered recently how Invisalign treatment with Dr. Keith Hilliard straightens teeth without using those metallic traditional braces? The Invisalign system is a state-of-the-art system of clear, removable aligners that we proudly offer.

    We encourage you to watch this video, as well as visit our website and the Invisalign homepage for more information about the Invisalign treatment. As always, you can also give our office a call.

    Happy New Year from the office of Dr. Hilliard!

    December 28th, 2010

    The year is almost over, so we wanted to ask what was memorable about 2010 for you, and what are you looking forward to in 2011? Do you have a new year's resolution, or any exciting plans for the coming year?

    Have a safe and happy New Year, from the office of Dr. Keith Hilliard DMD!

    What do you love about the holidays?

    December 20th, 2010

    In this season given to tidings of comfort and joy, and as the team at the office of Dr. Keith Hilliard DMD reflects on the year that was, we’d like to ask you, our wonderful patients: What do you love about the holidays this year? Being with your loved ones? A clean slate for 2010? Opening presents by the fireplace? All the delicious food? Also, what gift are you most looking forward to getting this year?

    We’d love if you shared with us all the things you love about the holidays. Stay warm, and don’t forget to stay away from those sweets!

    --Dr. Hilliard and team

    Carmel, Chocolate, and Candy Canes..Oh MY! Ten Tips to Keep your BRACES Sparklin’ Clean this Holiday Season!

    December 15th, 2010

    Everyone at Dr. Hilliard's office knows it can be tough this time of year to diligently clean your braces. But do keep in mind, having clean teeth is more important than ever when you have braces. Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you'll experience better results and shorter treatment time. Keep plaque at bay with these top ten tips:

    1. One tooth at a time.
    When you brush, take time with each individual tooth – at least 10 seconds each – and pay careful attention to the spots where your teeth touch your braces.

    2. It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down toward where they meet. Brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces with your brush angled up.

    3. The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the tooth. While the front surface of your teeth may seem like the most logical to clean, it’s equally important to clean the inner surface of your teeth (tongue side) as well as the chewing surface. And be sure to clean along your gum line – a key spot for plaque buildup.

    4. Step 1: eat, step 2: clean. While you’re in treatment, it’s important to brush after every meal. Bits of food can easily get caught between braces and teeth, and these food bits interact with bacteria in your mouth to cause decay. The longer food is in contact with your teeth, the greater opportunity for plaque to form. If you are eating somewhere that you can’t brush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.

    5. Like a Boy Scout, always be prepared. The easiest way to be sure you can brush after every meal is to get in the habit of taking a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you wherever you go. Designate a special container just for your teeth-cleaning tools and keep it in your purse, backpack, or laptop case.

    6. Remove the moving parts.
    If you have elastic bands or headgear, remove these parts before you brush or floss.

    7. Fluoride is your friend.
    Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste, and rinse with fluoride mouthwash.

    8. Pointy brushes reach tiny places.
    Interproximal brushes (sometimes called proxa brushes or interdental brushes) are cone-shaped and come in very handy for reaching spots around your braces that standard brushes can’t.

    9. Find the floss for you.
    Regular floss works for some patients, but others find it easier to work with a floss threader, which helps you get the floss into tight places. Other patients like an all-in-one product called Superfloss, which comes with a stiff end for easy threading, a spongy section for cleaning wide spaces, and regular floss for narrow spaces.

    10. Make time for the pros.
    It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. But make sure to visit your dentist regularly while in treatment, to get the deep, thorough cleaning that only a professional can provide. If you need help finding the right Dentist for you, feel free to contact our office - we’d love to help!

    We hope you found this information useful, now go enjoy your holiday treats....but not too much :)

    Dr. Hilliard and Team

    Dr. Hilliard, what exactly is Malocclusion?

    December 7th, 2010

    Malocclusion, or what Dr. Hilliard calls “bad bite,” is the improper alignment of teeth and/or jaws. When your teeth and jaws are not properly aligned, it may impact your bite, the ability to properly care for your teeth, your gum tissue health and even your appearance.

    Most people experience some degree of malocclusion, but it generally is not severe enough to require corrective measures. If your malocclusion is serious enough, however, treatment may be necessary to correct the issue.

    Dr. Hilliard will tell you that untreated malocclusion can lead undesirable mouth problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, or chipped and cracked teeth. The most common solution for malocclusion, of course, is orthodontic treatment. The actual course of treatment, including the length of time you will require braces, will be determined by severity of your malocclusion. The goal of your treatment is to move your teeth into the proper position and correct any misalignment in the jaw.

    At the office of Dr. Keith J. Hilliard DMD we use the most advanced technology in the field in order to ensure that you receive the best possible results. If you have any questions about malocclusion, please give us a call and we’ll try to answer any questions you may have.

    Tell us what's on your mind!

    November 29th, 2010

    We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break! By now, you're probably familiar with our blog process: Week after week, our professional team at Hilliard Orthodontics blog about important topics pertinent to orthodontics and your well-being, among other things.

    This week, Dr. Keith Hilliard thought we’d step back and ask: what’s on your mind? What would you like to know about the always-changing field of orthodontics? What would you like us to focus on our blog? Perhaps there’s something you’ve been wanting to ask us for a while now? Let us know by posting here or on Dr. Hilliard's Facebook page. Take it away and our team will try to answer any questions you may have! Happy Monday!

    Hilliard Orthodontics, giving thanks this holiday season

    November 22nd, 2010


    With Thanksgiving almost here, it's a great time to ask ourselves what we're thankful for. With our friends and family around us, we celebrate the blessings given to us in the past year. What are you thankful for this holiday season? Do you have any Thanksgiving wishes you would like to share?

    Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich, as well as our entire team at Lakeland's Hilliard Orthodontics would like to wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. It’s a big food holiday, so be careful what you eat with those braces! If you have any stories or photos to share with us, we’d encourage you to send them along or post them on our Facebook page!

    Hey Dr. Hilliard, when should I replace my toothbrush?

    November 15th, 2010

    Fall is here, and with it the dreaded cold and flu season. After recovering from your cold, Dr. Keith Hilliard will tell you one of the most important steps you can take to avoid becoming reinfected is replacing your toothbrush!

    Germs can linger on the bristles, and you risk prolonging your sickness by continuing to use the same toothbrush. Be smart - keep a spare, just in case! To protect your toothbrush from bacteria all year long, consider the following tips:

    • Wash your hands before and after brushing

    • Allow the brush to air dry after each use, harmful bacteria dies after being exposed to oxygen

    • Store the toothbrush in an upright position to allow water to drain and dry faster

    • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Worn bristles are less effective in properly cleaning your teeth, and can actually be damaging to teeth if used too long!

    Hope this tip helps! Feel free to call us at Hilliard Orthodontics if you have any questions or ask us on Facebook.

    Talking retainers with Hilliard Orthodontics

    November 10th, 2010

    If you've recently completed treatment at Hilliard Orthodontics, we’d like to congratulate you! Now that your braces have been removed, Drs. Hilliard or Dietrich will provide—or have provided you—with retainers.

    After braces are removed, teeth may shift out of position if they are not stabilized. Retainers, however, provide that stabilization, and are designed to hold teeth in their corrected, ideal positions until the bones and gums adapt to the treatment changes. Wearing retainers exactly as instructed by Dr. Keith Hilliard and team is the best insurance that the treatment improvements last for a lifetime. Here are some things to remember when you receive your retainers:

    * Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise. Wearing your retainers at night ensures that your pearly whites won’t relapse.

    * Take your retainers out when eating...and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.)

    * Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and only a small amount of toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water.

    * When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case.

    * Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken, give us a call immediately.

    * Remove retainers when swimming or during any sporting activity in which the retainers could fall out and get broken or lost (cheerleading, basketball, etc.) or when you should be wearing a mouth guard (football, soccer, etc.).

    We hope this helps! You can always contact us by phone or on Facebook if you have any questions!

    Connect with Hilliard Orthodontics on Facebook!

    November 7th, 2010

    facebook Pictures, Images and Photos

    At Dr. Hilliard’s office, your orthodontic treatment is about much more than straightening your teeth with braces. You expect great results and we get them because each patient’s treatment is individually planned to meet their needs. Even if you only see us for your appointment on a regular basis, did you know that you can now connect with Dr. Hilliard and staff on our Facebook page?

    There, we share office news, announcements and updates, so check us out! By Liking our page, you will receive updates from our office automatically in your news feed!

    See you on Facebook and have a great weekend,

    Dr. Hilliard and team

    Happy Halloween from Hilliard Orthodontics!

    October 31st, 2010

    happy halloween Pictures, Images and Photos

    As Halloween nears closer and closer, our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics know a lot parents here in Lakeland are worried about their kids going overboard on candies this weekend.

    All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but Dr. Keith Hilliard will tell you these treats are known to damage teeth, as well as braces! Did you know sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them?

    Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists recommend softer treats, such as soft chocolate or peanut butter cups, or melt-in-your-mouth foods. Trick-or-treaters who indulge should make sure they brush and floss between teeth, around brackets and at the gum line. If damage occurs, please call us as soon as possible.

    We hope everyone has a fun, safe and scary Halloween!

    The common cold is back, from Hilliard Orthodontics

    October 25th, 2010

    It's fall, and the cold and flu season is once again upon us in Lakeland. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, says that a common cold usually includes sneezing, runny nose, sore throat and coughing. Symptoms can last for up to two weeks, according to the CDC.

    To promote a healthy and clean environment, Dr. Keith Hilliard and our entire staff give a great deal of attention to sanitation and sterilization in our Lakeland offices at all times, as well as following all requirements for sterilizing instruments and work surfaces. For the protection of other patients and our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics, we always ask that patients reschedule their appointments if they have any type of cold or illness that can infect others.

    And remember to constantly wash your hands and avoid contact with those who are ill! Have a great rest of your weekend!

    Who else is getting braces?

    October 15th, 2010

    Did you know that back in 2002, Tom Cruise had braces? During this time, he was 40 years old and filmed Minority Report, Austin Powers in Goldmember and the Last Samurai.

    Just check out his smile in Jerry Maguire, Rain Man or The Firm and compare to the post-braces Tom Cruise in Valkyrie or Tropic Thunder. The fact is, movie stars need to look their best for the silver screen, and it wouldn't be possible without orthodontists like Dr. Keith Hilliard and Dr. Andy Dietrich.

    In fact, lots of Hollywood stars have had orthodontic treatment. Check out this slideshow of famous faces with braces. If you’ve thought about getting the perfect smile you’ve always wanted, please give Hilliard Orthodontics a call at 863-644-0430.

    Have a great weekend all!

    October is also National Dental Hygiene Month!

    October 8th, 2010


    In addition to October being National Orthodontic Health Month, as we discussed last week, did you know that October is also National Dental Hygiene Month? Fall is here, and Halloween is coming soon, but now it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene during your treatment at Hilliard Orthodontics.

    Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich will tell you that while all those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, these treats can damage your teeth and braces as well! Sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them - this can cause tooth decay and cavities! After eating these candies, be sure to wash your mouth out with water, drink milk or eat a few slices of cheese. These will help neutralize the acid in your mouth.

    Besides cavities and tooth decay, many people do not realize that good oral health and hygiene are important to your overall health too - research has discovered the connection between periodontal disease and other major health concerns, such as heart disease! Therefore, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine: see your dentist here in Lakeland every six months, brush and floss daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash.

    Hope this helps!

    - Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich

    October is National Orthodontic Health Month! From Hilliard Orthodontics

    October 1st, 2010

    With October being National Orthodontic Health Month, we thought we'd remind Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich's patients to be careful when they bite into their treats this month.

    Remember, caramels, taffy, nuts, bubble gum, popcorn kernels and suckers are some of the foods you should be avoiding this Halloween Season! Indulging in these foods can break your braces and lengthen your treatment time at Hilliard Orthodontics!

    Of course, Halloween doesn’t have to be completely treat-less. Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have provided a helpful list of tips and braces-friendly recipes for the Halloween Season. Check them out, and have a relaxing weekend!

    Tell us your story! Why do you choose Hilliard Orthodontics?

    September 24th, 2010

    At Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich's office, your orthodontic treatment is about much more than straightening your teeth with braces. You expect great results and we get them because each patient’s treatment is individually planned to meet their needs.

    Whether you’ve just come in for a consultation or your family has been visiting our convenient Lakeland office for years, we’d love to hear your feedback. You can write a review on our Facebook page or on our Google listing!

    Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

    Why are straight teeth so important, anyway?

    September 16th, 2010

    People wonder why Lakeland orthodontists Dr. Keith Hilliard and Dr. Andy Dietrich work tirelessly to give our patients straight teeth. Of course it’s nice to have a smile full of evenly aligned teeth, but did you know that straightening your teeth at Hilliard Orthodontics can keep them healthier? Straight teeth lead to better oral hygiene, increasing your chances of keeping your own natural teeth for a lifetime!

    Straight teeth are less prone to decay, because they collect less plaque—the sticky colorless substance that forms on our teeth and leads to tooth decay; and they are easier to keep clean!

    If you’re wondering whether your teeth might cause problems because they are out of alignment, please give us a call at 863-644-0430 to set up a consultation. Our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics can help you decide whether or not you will benefit from orthodontic treatment. Enjoy the rest of your week!

    The advantage of Invisalign Teen™ at Hilliard Orthodontics

    September 9th, 2010

    Our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics know image is everything. At an age when image is so important, the thought of having metal brackets and wires constantly attached to teeth may intensify the already-delicate confidence of today's teens. But... not to worry! There is a clear alternative to traditional braces! Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich thought we'd remind you that Invisalign Teen™ gives you a whole new way to wear braces for a "clearly" amazing smile!

    So how does Invisalign Teen work, you ask? Much in the same fashion as Invisalign, but with a few added characteristics tailored specifically to teenagers’ lifestyles. For instance, Invisalign Teen is designed with “compliance indicators” that fade from dark to light during the two week period that particular tray is used and once it has faded teens know to change trays. Each aligner comes with up to six free individual replacement aligners in case the original aligner ends up lost or broken. Another big benefit for the patient!

    The treatment period for Invisalign Teen varies from nine to 18 months at Hilliard Orthodontics. If your teen is considering orthodontic treatment at our convenient Lakeland office, please contact us and we’ll answer any questions you may have about Invisalign Teen.

    August featured patient reviews for Hilliard Orthodontics!

    August 30th, 2010


    Dr. Keith Hilliard, Dr. Andy Dietrich and our team love getting patient reviews. And lately, Hilliard Orthodontics, serving Lakeland and surrounding communities, has been getting some pretty great patient testimonials! We thought we'd share some with you today! Happy Tuesday!

    "His dental knowledge and willingness to listen and answer questions without irritation was very impressive. We also liked his approach that there is always more than one way to fix teeth. He worked with us making sure to listen to our concerns and was willing to make the necessary changes to make my son comfortable with himself. He's wonderful and I have already referred a few of my close friends to him." ~ Steve C.

    "I like the nurses. They give great service and are very friendly. They are always smiling and are the best. Dr. Hilliard is great too!" ~ Aaron V.

    "It's an overall super facility!!! I fell very comfortable bringing my son to your office and feel completely positive about the treatment he is/will receive. WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!!" ~ Brenda T.

    "I like that Dr. Hilliard is a perfectionist. I am a big perfectionist as well, and little things bother me easy, so I'm glad that Dr. Hilliard makes sure that my teeth will turn out as perfect as they can." ~ Angela W.

    Come on over to 330 E. Highland Drive or 6430 Pearce Road and see why Dr. Keith Hilliard and our staff are making so many people in Lakeland smile! Our orthodontic practice serves many neighboring cities like Fountain Heights, Eaton Park, Tancrede, Crystal Lake, Highland city and many others!

    Back to school with Hilliard Orthodontics

    August 22nd, 2010

    Now that many of the schools in Lakeland and nearby communities are back in session, Dr. Keith Hilliard and our staff would like to remind all of our patients about the importance of scheduling appointments in advance in August and early September. With school, clubs and sports to consider this fall, we know that it can be challenging to find time to visit our office. In order to accommodate all of our wonderful patients' busy schedules, it is important that you plan ahead for your appointments so that we are able to provide you with an appointment time that is convenient for you.

    As always, please remember to give us advanced notice if you're unable to make your regularly-scheduled appointment. If we receive enough notice, we might be able to schedule another patient for that time. Feel free to give us a call at 863-644-0430 if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule your fall appointment.

    Have a fantastic weekend - we look forward to seeing your smiling faces very soon!

    Are you wearing your mouth guard this summer?

    August 14th, 2010


    With summer here for another five weeks, Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich and our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics would like to remind our young athletes in treatment to take care of both your mouth and appliances while participating in contact sports (and non-contact sports) this summer. Whether you're playing touch football in the backyard or on your way to football or soccer practice, make sure to grab that mouth guard!

    Remember, only by using a mouth guard can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. The next time you're in for a visit at our Lakeland office, be sure to ask us for a mouth guard, and we will provide one for you!

    Lastly, have you checked out our Facebook page! If not, we invite you to join us at Facebook.com/HilliardOrthodontics.

    The importance of regular dental checkups, from Hilliard orthodontics

    August 4th, 2010


    Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich want to know: Are you brushing your teeth twice a day during your orthodontic treatment? If yes, that’s what we want to hear! But, don’t forget that it’s also important for you to visit your general dentist every six months in addition to brushing your teeth and flossing (and visiting Hilliard orthodontics, of course). Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health.

    Your dentist can check for problems that might not be seen or felt, detect cavities and early signs of decay, treat oral health problems early and show you how to properly brush and floss your teeth.

    During an oral exam your dentist can check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing. If you have not been to the dentist in the last six months, let us know during your next visit with us, and we will provide a few great references in the greater Lakeland area!

    We hope you're having a great summer!

    Invisalign and how it helps your oral health, from Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich

    July 26th, 2010

    At Hilliard Orthodontics, we get smart and curious patients who often ask us how Invisalign treatment is so different than traditional braces. Here's our answer: Invisalign, which is a series of removable aligners that are nearly invisible, not only help straighten your teeth, but can improve your oral health as well. Here’s how:

    Healthy gums: Straight teeth allow a close fit for gums. This lessens the gum stress that is caused by crowded or widely spaced teeth, thus also reducing red and swollen gums.

    Improved speech and chewing: Properly-aligned teeth don’t have the discomfort or compound speech impediments that can be caused by crowded teeth or a deteriorating jawbone.

    Easy cleaning: Invisalign is removable, therefore brushing and flossing is easier and you are able to maintain a healthy mouth. These habits are vital to avoiding tooth decay, plaque, and gum disease.

    If you have any questions about Invisalign, just ask Drs. Hilliard or Dietrich the next time you visit for an appointment. Or, you may post your question on our Facebook page, and we'll do the best we can to answer your question about this revolutionary treatment!

    Happy Monday!

    Share a smile, Watch the Idols!

    July 9th, 2010

    From now until the end of July, YOU can win TWO tickets to the 2010 American Idol Tour on August 4th at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa!

    There are five ways to enter our contest: If you “Like” our page on Facebook, we will award you ONE entry. Write a short testimonial on our wall, and you’ll also get ONE entry. But, if you post a video testimonial, Dr. Hilliard and team will award you TWO entries. If you invite a friend to “Like” our page, you will receive ONE entry (be sure your pals post on our wall to let us know you asked them to like us! Finally, post one of your Scavenger Hunt Contest photos on our Facebook wall (or a photo of you wearing your Hilliard Orthodontics tee) and you’ll get TWO entries!

    The winner will be announced on July 30th! Good luck everyone, and have a GREAT weekend!

    Hilliard Orthodontics photo shoot at Hollis Gardens!

    July 6th, 2010


    A few weeks ago, our staff at Hilliard Orthodontics had a photo shoot day at Hollis Gardens! All of us had fun, and later posted the photos to our Facebook fan page, so be sure to check them out! Also, our entire staff would like to congratulate Dr. Andy and Bobbi! They have set an April 2011 date for their wedding - we know it will be beautiful!

    Share your Fourth of July plans with our staff!

    June 30th, 2010

    This Sunday, Dr. Keith Hilliard and our entire team will celebrate America's 234th birthday. For most people, Independence Day is a time to celebrate, as well as commemorate, the anniversary of the signing of America's Declaration of Independence. It's also a time for most Americans to pay homage to all our soldiers - past and present - who lost their lives in battle - and those soldiers who continue to place themselves in danger every day so that Americans everywhere may celebrate our freedom.

    Today, we thought we'd ask: what are your Fourth of July weekend plans? Are you heading to a barbecue? Hitting the great American open road with family?

    We invite you to post your responses on our Facebook page! Please feel free to post photos as well!

    Whatever you end up doing over Independence Day weekend, our entire staff hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend!

    Featured patient review for Hilliard Orthodontics!

    June 22nd, 2010


    Our entire staff at Hilliard Orthodontics love hearing feedback from current and former patients - their great testimonials remind us each time why we do what we do: create beautiful smiles for all ages in Lakeland!

    "Great staff, everything is explained in detail by the doctor and the staff. Dr. Hilliard is obviously a very knowledgable orthodontist, and I admire the way he works with his staff. I've worked for medical doctors and chiropractors for 18 years, and I find it very important for the doctor to have a staff that he trusts and works well with as a team. I love the open atmosphere instead of small offices with restricted walls; I think this makes the patients feel better about wearing braces or appliances because they see that other people are going through the same thing. The atmosphere and decor is very pleasant and inviting. It is rare to find a doctor with such expertise, who also has a good chairside manner, a beautiful office, and a staff that works so well as a team and takes time to explain things to the patients. I'm very impressed!" ~ Lance S.

    Share your summer adventures and experiences with us!

    June 16th, 2010


    It's almost summer (officially)! At Hilliard Orthodontics, we know that calls for a season full of adventures, vacations and great memories. Whether you're headed to a barbecue, an exotic destination, a camping trip in the Everglades, or just having fun around Lakeland, Dr. Keith Hilliard and team want to hear about it! Share your plans and experiences on our Facebook page all summer long!

    Happy travels!

    Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich want to know: what's on your summer reading list?

    June 9th, 2010

    With summer only weeks away, some of us at Hilliard Orthodontics have been thinking increasingly about the importance of reading. Sure it’s easier to go play ball or kick back and watch television, but reading during the summer is a vital step in being prepared for classes in the fall and maintaining your skill level.

    Out of ideas for great summer reads? Ask us for suggestions, and Dr. Hilliard & staff at Hilliard Orthodontics would be happy to provide a few titles. You may also ask a local librarian for some ideas or check out these summer reading lists that we came across.

    Enjoy the rest of the week and happy reading!

    Dr. Hilliard, protecting your mouth this summer

    June 4th, 2010


    Wouldn’t you believe it, summer is right around the corner! At Hilliard Orthodontics, our team knows that the summer months bring with them an increase in outdoor activities and a greater chance of our young athletes damaging their precious teeth. If you're playing sports this summer, it's important that you consult Drs. Hilliard or Dietrich for special precautions, such as wearing a mouth guard. Mouth guards are advised for playing spring sports such as baseball, soccer, lacrosse and many, many others.

    We were reminded about the need to wear mouth guards after reading an article recently about hockey great Keith Tkachuk needing reconstructive surgery after taking a puck to the mouth. Tkachuk’s gruesome injury underscores the need for all of our patients to use facial protection at all times when out on the field.

    In case of any accident involving the face, we want you to check your mouth and appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances are damaged, please schedule an appointment to see Dr. Hilliard immediately. And don’t forget to ask us—Dr. Hilliard will be more than happy to provide a mouth guard for any patient in active treatment!

    Our team at Hilliard Orthodontics will tell you that only by using a mouth guard and other forms of facial protection can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. Please give us a call at 863-644-0430 if you have any questions about mouth guards or your treatment with Drs. Hilliard or Dietrich.

    Dr. Hilliard and team want to know: What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend?

    May 27th, 2010

    Memorial Day weekend, a day when Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich and most Americans reflect and honor the men and women who have served to protect America and ensure our freedom, is only a day away.

    Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of summer, and for many of the folks in Lakeland and our patients, getting out of town for three days after being cooped up in the classroom or the office is sweet relief. At Hilliard Orthodontics, we know Memorial Day weekend is ripe for travel. After all, it’s almost time for vacations, adventures and great memories.

    What about you? Whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just hitting the great open roads of Florida, we’d like to hear all about it!

    Our entire team wish you a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!

    Fun fact Friday with Hilliard Orthodontics!

    May 22nd, 2010


    At Hilliard Orthodontics, we know people love fun facts - LOVE THEM. The American Association of Orthodontists, or AAO, has come up with some fun facts about orthodontics that Dr. Keith Hilliard and our team at Hilliard Orthodontics thought you might enjoy.

    • There are nearly 4 million people in orthodontic treatment throughout the United States. Three out of four are younger than 18.

    • The first mechanical treatment for correcting irregular teeth was suggested by Gaius Plinius Secundus (A.D 23-79).The American Association of Orthodontists is comprised of more than 12,000 members in the United States, Canada and abroad.

    • The time required to complete orthodontic treatment ranges from 12 to 36 months depending on the nature and severity of the problem.

    • Of the 160,000 dentists in the United States and Canada, 8,000 are practicing orthodontists.

    • The cement that attaches the braces to the teeth is now made with a special fluoride-releasing substance.

    • Wires activated by body heat used in today's braces originally were developed by NASA for use in the space program.

    • In addition to alleviating or preventing physical health problems, orthodontics can boost self-esteem as treatment aligns teeth, jaws and lips.

    • Famous orthodontic patients include: Dr. Joyce Brothers, Hale Irwin, Cher, Diana Ross, Phyllis Diller, Chelsea Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Daisy Fuentes and Brandi.

    Share your experience at Hilliard Orthodontics with the world!

    May 14th, 2010


    At Dr. Hilliard’s office, your orthodontic treatment is about much more than straightening your teeth with braces. You expect great results and we get them because each patient’s treatment is individually planned to meet their needs. We offer a variety of the most advanced options in orthodontics today for both adults and children. This includes affordable metal and clear braces, retainers and so much more.

    Whether you've visited Hilliard Orthodontics for a week, months or even years, we'd love to hear your feedback about how our office is faring! There are lots of ways you can share your thoughts about our practice with the rest of the world, but we encourage you to head to our Google Local page and write a review there.

    After all, reviews help Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich create more beautiful smiles in Lakeland and surrounding communities.

    You may write a review here.

    Thank you and enjoy your weekend! We look forward to reading your reviews!

    Hilliard Orthodontics, supporting National Physical Fitness and Sports Month!

    May 7th, 2010

    You might not know this, but May is designated as America's Physical Fitness and Sports Month? In 1983, President Reagan encouraged Americans to incorporate more activity into our lives, and the reminder is even more important in this day and age as kids are distracted more and more by television, social networking and video games. Kids living an active lifestyle can improve their health, productivity and overall well-being, and best of all? It doesn’t have to take a lot of time!

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided these public health guidelines for your reference. The guidelines call for children and teens to exercise for at least one hour each day of moderate intensity physical activity (such as playing sports or brisk walking) or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity (jogging, dancing and jumping rope).

    At Hilliard Orthodontics, we always encourage our patients to stay fit by exercising or participating in sports. However, we want to remind you to always wear a mouth guard or other forms of facial protection when playing sports. To learn more about how often your child should exercise, we recommend you check out this series of helpful articles about kids and exercise, courtesy of our friends at KidsHealth.org.

    And Happy Mother's Day to all the moms who come to our office! Enjoy your day on Sunday!

    Hilliard Orthodontics want to know: Do you know where your retainers are?

    May 1st, 2010


    If you recently completed treatment with Dr. Hilliard, our professional team would like to congratulate you on a job well-done! Now that your braces have been removed, Dr. Hilliard will provide—or has provided you—with retainers. After braces are removed, teeth can shift out of position if they are not stabilized.

    Retainers provide that stabilization
    . They are designed to hold teeth in their corrected, ideal positions until the bones and gums adapt to the treatment changes. Wearing retainers exactly as instructed is the best insurance that the treatment improvements last for a lifetime.

    If you have additional questions about retainers or your treatment here at Hilliard Orthodontics, please give us a call at 863-393-9917 or take a look at this helpful article about retainers from KidsHealth.org. Our staff would love to hear from you!

    This Earth Day, did you make a difference? From Dr. Hilliard

    April 22nd, 2010

    At Hilliard Orthodontics, we support Earth Day, which is designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for our environment and ecosystem. Earth Day marks its 40th anniversary today. Whether lending a helping hand to plant trees or getting out to volunteer in various projects in Lakeland, today was our opportunity to get involved in making our year-round impact in the community. Did you make a difference today? Were you involved in any cool projects? How long have you participated in helping our community and planet?

    If you’d like to join the millions of people around the world who are making small but important changes to help sustain our ecosystem, try these helpful environmental tips, courtesy of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA.

    We hope you had a great Earth Day!!

    Dr. Hilliard presents: Mr. Bean goes to the dentist

    April 16th, 2010

    How do you feel about a treat today? Here's a little classic dental humor for you to enjoy, from the bumbling yet lovable British spy, Mr. Bean. Our staff at the office of Keith Hilliard loved it, and know you'll get a laugh as well. Enjoy "Mr. Bean Goes to the Dentist”!

    If you have any other suggestions you think we should share with other patients, please let us know! Have a safe and terrific weekend!

    The importance of smiling, from Dr. Hilliard

    April 9th, 2010

    Folks with big smiles may live than those who don’t, according to a new study at Michigan’s Wayne State University.

    Researchers at the university looked at photos of 230 ball-players who began their careers in baseball before 1950. The players' photos were enlarged, and a rating of their smile intensity was made (big smile, no smile or partial smile). The players' smile ratings were compared with data from deaths that occurred from 2006 through 2009. The researchers then corrected their analysis to account for other factors associated with life longevity, such as body mass index, career length and even college attendance.

    The results? Researchers found that players who weren't smiling died at the average age of 72.9 years. Players with partial smiles lived to be 75. Those with big smiles, however, lived on average to be 79.9 years old.

    So smile now, smile often and you might just live longer! Have you been perfecting your smile by visiting our office on a regular basis? If not, give us a call!

    Dr. Keith Hilliard, helping you save face in April

    March 29th, 2010

    Dr. Hilliard and our team have blogged about the advantage of wearing a mouth guard when playing sports in the past, and we thought a reminder today wouldn’t hurt. You see, April - wich is only two days away - happens to be National Facial Protection Month, and it’s a good time to remind our young athletes about staying safe on the field this spring. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults will have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events this year. By simply wearing a properly fitted mouth guard, these accidents could prevent this along with other traumatic facial injuries.

    The above video from our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists outlines five ways you can protect yourself this spring. If you have any further questions about any of these tips, please contact our team. And remember to stay safe and have fun this spring!

    What's on your mind? Tell Dr. Hilliard!

    March 26th, 2010

    By now, you, our fantastic patients and readers, probably know how our blog process works: Week after week, Dr. Hilliard and our professional team blog about important topics pertinent to orthodontics and your well-being, among other things.

    This week, Dr. Hilliard thought we’d step back and ask: what’s on your mind? What would you like to know about the always-changing field of orthodontics? What would you like us to focus on our blog? Perhaps there’s something you’ve been wanting to ask us for a while now? Let us know by posting here or on Dr. Hilliard's Facebook page. So … take it away and our team will try to answer any questions you may have!

    Wishing you a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day (and night), from Dr. Hilliard

    March 18th, 2010

    Dr. Hilliard wants to know: Did you remember to wear green when you stepped out this morning? Whether Irish or not, millions of people in the U.S. and around the world celebrate St. Patrick's Day with toasts, parades and "the wearing of the green." Dr. Hilliard and team hope you stay safe and enjoy your night out tonight!

    This March, what are you up to? From Dr. Hilliard

    March 12th, 2010

    It’s almost springtime. The daffodils and buttercups are on their way, the birds are chirping, the sun is warming up and the smell of freshly-cut grass is wafting from baseball fields in Lakeland. Dr. Keith Hilliard and team thought this would be a good time to ask: What are your plans for March?

    Are you ready for spring? Are you participating in school sports this year? Do you have exciting plans? We’d love to know them all!

    You may share your stories or plans with our team here, on Dr. Hilliard's Facebook page or by giving us a call!

    Dr. Keith Hilliard, supporting National Nutrition Month

    March 5th, 2010

    March has arrived, and that can only mean one thing: it’s National Nutrition Month. Every March, Dr. Keith Hilliard and thousands of dentists and orthodontists around the country celebrate National Nutrition Month. This March, Dr. Hilliard and our staff want you to think diabetes, obesity and periodontal disease, and how healthful eating and physical activity may improve periodontal health.

    Dr. Hilliard knows small changes really can make a big difference, and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) has some advice on ways to start improving your diet this March:

    Focus on fruits and vegetables: Add a serving each day to one meal and increase it every few weeks. Adding more of these foods into your diet is important whether you buy frozen, fresh or organic.

    Think fresh, think local: From farmer’s markets to community-supported agriculture, you have many options to find new, fresh foods here in Lakeland and surrounding communities.

    Make every calorie count: When you are choosing between options, focus instead on the one with more of the vitamins and nutrients that you need. Sometimes, foods with fewer calories aren’t always the healthiest options.

    It’s tempting, but…: If you have a sweet tooth, have fruit and yogurt for dessert. If you crave a snack in the afternoon, enjoy some trail mix or nuts.

    Expand your horizons: Try a fish you’ve never eaten before or find a new vegetable recipe. By testing yourself, you might find new healthy favorites to add to your regular grocery list.

    If you have additional questions about periodontal disease or keeping yourself and your mouth healthy, please give us a call!

    "Pick the Final Idol" contest

    February 23rd, 2010

    We are having a "Pick the Final Idol" contest in our office. The winner will be chosen by a drawing from all correct entries. The Grand Prize is "Something to Sing About!," and the lucky winner will receive two tickets to the 2010 American Idol Concert tour (dates to be announced) OR the cash equivalent.

    Our staff each has their favorites ... How about YOU?

    If you have any questions about our American Idol contest, please give us a call!

    February is American Heart Month, from Dr. Hilliard

    February 18th, 2010

    Did you know February is Heart Month? It’s a great time to take notice of the health of your heart, says Dr. Hilliard. Cardiovascular disease remains American's number one killer, according to the American Heart Association. Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care.

    Visiting our office regularly can help prevent gum disease or at least catch it in its early stages. And because people with dental insurance are more likely to visit their dentist when they should, a healthy mouth begins with a visit to the office of Dr. Keith Hilliard. In observance of Heart Month, Dr. Hilliard says it’s also important to know your numbers: blood pressure (less than 120/80), cholesterol (less than 200) and BMI (less than 25). If you have any questions about heart health, or about your treatment with Dr. Hilliard, please give us a call today.

    More patient reviews for Dr. Keith Hilliard and team

    February 10th, 2010

    A couple of months ago, we shared with you some patient reviews for Dr. Hilliard and our dedicated staff. Well wouldn't you know it, the reviews kept pouring in. Today, we thought we'd share a few of those reviews with the world.

    "Dr H does great work. All the assistants in the clinic are awesome." ~ Maureen P.

    "My experience has been very positive all the way around. The people are very friendly. The appointments have been on time. The communication is good. I love the website and email reminders." ~ Korey T.

    "The friendly staff and excellent quality of service that is given to my daughter." ~ Robert S.

    Dr. Hilliard and our entire team love getting patient testimonials! If you loved your experience with our office, please ... feel free to tell us all about it!

    Dr. Hilliard, helping tackle sports injuries

    February 3rd, 2010

    Let’s face it: sports-related injuries are common among children, let alone teens with braces. In a recent survey, the American Association of Orthodontists, or AAO, discovered that 70 percent of parents said their biggest fear is that their child will get hurt while playing organized sports. But 67 percent admitted that their child doesn’t wear a mouth guard during organized sports such as football, basketball, baseball and soccer. That’s why the office of Dr. Hilliard is helping spread the word that many facial sports injuries can be prevented simply by reminding your kids to wear mouth guards.

    Did you know mouth guards are one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available? Over-the-counter versions may cost as little as $5, although custom-fit mouth guards offer greater protection. Dr. Hilliard can recommend the best mouth guard for you. In addition, the AAO has four quick tips for keeping kids safe during sport activities.

    • Wear mouth guards during contact sports
    • Wear a helmet
    • Wear protective eyewear
    • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin
    • Stretch before and after a game or practice
    • Be observant even as a spectator
    • Use good judgment

    All of these can reduce injuries. Only by using a mouth guard and other forms of facial protection can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. Give us a call if you have any questions about mouth guards or your treatment with Dr. Hilliard.

    The Great Social Media Adventure

    January 28th, 2010

    Isn’t social media great? Dr. Hilliard and team love to communicate with our patients online, whether it’s by sharing news on our blog or communicating ideas on Facebook. For social media to work, conversation is vital, and that’s why we invite you to join in and tell us what’s on your mind. Although social media is hugely popular these days, it is unpredictable and ever-changing.

    While we’re taking a little time to research how to best continue using social media, we thought we’d ask you, our loyal patients: How would you like us to use our social networks? What would you like us to share? Send us your thoughts or give us a call!

    Hilliard Orthodontics want to know: What are you up to in January?

    January 20th, 2010

    It typically doesn't get too cold here in Lakeland, but can you believe we're only a couple of months away from spring? Dr. Hilliard and team thought we'd ask: What are you doing in January? What have you accomplished this year? Are you keeping up with your New Year's Resolution? Any big mid-winter break plans? Anything exciting going on in your life?

    If you have any photos or videos that you would like to share with us, please send them our way or call our office and ask how! Have a great rest of the week!

    Ask Dr. Hilliard: When should my child get an orthodontic check-up?

    January 12th, 2010

    Many parents think they must wait until their child has all permanent teeth to start treatment, only to find that treatment would have been much simpler if started earlier. So, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven.

    What’s so special about age seven? Enough permanent teeth have arrived for an orthodontist to make a determination about whether any problems are present. The first molars have come in, providing an opportunity to check for malocclusion, or “bad bite.” Also, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites, and open bites can be detected.

    Orthodontic evaluation at an early age provides one of two positive outcomes: For some, early identification or problems will lead to easier or shorter orthodontic treatment in the future. For others, a healthy prognosis will provide immediate peace of mind.

    Early evaluation, of course, may signal a need for early treatment. For some children, early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring on years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and detrimental to good oral hygiene. So if your child is nearing age 7, give us a call at Hilliard Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.

    What puts you at ease at Hilliard Orthodontics?

    January 6th, 2010

    Dr. Hilliard understands not everyone is thrilled to see their orthodontist. But we strive to bring you the best and most comforting experience at each visit. We’d like to know: What is it about our practice that makes you comfortable or puts you at ease? Is it something about our pleasant environment? Our friendly staff? Dr. Hilliard himself?

    Let us know by posting here or by giving us a call! Enjoy the rest of your week!

    A few helpful webisodes about orthodontics, from Dr. Hilliard

    December 29th, 2009

    Dr. Hilliard and his team at Hilliard Orthodontics would like to point you to a few interesting webisodes about orthodontics, located on the YouTube page of the American Association of Orthodontics, or AAO.

    There, they tend to post some very pertinent videos about orthodontic treatment, as well as state-of-the-art technology in orthodontia. These include "Orthodontic Treatment Basics," "Common Bite Problems Seen in Children" and "Does My Child Need Braces?"

    We think you may find these webisodes interesting, as well as enlightening. If you have any questions about the videos, or your treatment here at Hilliard Orthodontics, please give us a call.

    Happy New Year from the entire team at Hilliard Orthodontics!

    Happy Holidays from Dr. Hilliard and team!

    December 23rd, 2009

    The holidays are here, and as Dr. Hilliard and his team reflect back on 2009, we’d like to ask you, our wonderful patients: What do you love about the holidays? Being with your loved ones? A clean slate for the new year? Opening presents by the fireplace? All the delicious food? Also, what gift are you most looking forward to getting this year?

    We’d love if you shared with us all the things you love about the holidays. Stay warm, and don’t forget to stay away from those sweets!

    --The team at Hilliard Orthodontics

    Reading is Essential, says Dr. Hilliard!

    December 16th, 2009

    Dr. Hilliard and his team know a lot of kids are home for the holidays. Some are hanging out, some are playing sports, while others are reading. Dr. Hilliard and staff encourage kids to read, and that's why we'd like to point them to a great web site that combines education and fun: "Time for Kids," Time Magazine's news magazine that covers a wide range of real-world topics kids love to learn about - and motivates kids to read!

    On the site, you can find games, quizzes, cool pictures and more interesting things that will keep your mind healthy and balanced - and ready for school!

    Happy reading!

    Patient reviews for Dr. Hilliard

    December 8th, 2009

    Dr. Hilliard and his team love getting patient reviews. And lately, Hilliard Orthodontics, serving Lakeland and surrounding communities, has been getting some pretty great patient testimonials! We thought we'd share some with you today! Happy Tuesday!

    "THE STAFF - THEY ARE AWESOME!! DR HILLIARD IS AMAZING AND REALLY SWEET TO THE KIDS." ~ Tammy P.

    "Loved the friendliness of the Staff and Doctor. The kindness began right from the start when I called to inquire information. We were extremely pleased. My children loved the video games in the office, great concept!" ~ Kim A.

    "Patient care/service. I went to Dr. Hilliard for my braces as a young adult and never had any problems or complaints. I was always impressed that every time I went he knew exactly what had changed with my teeth from the last visit. I also appreciate the professionalism of all his staff. Now I'm taking my oldest son to him and my youngest is looking forward to his turn" ~ Jeff G.

    What Do You Love About Hilliard Orthodontics?

    December 1st, 2009

    From your very first visit to Hilliard Orthodontics, Dr. Hilliard and his team strive to provide superior treatment in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. Have you been especially impressed by Dr. Hilliard? Did our team go out of their way to make your day? Do you love your new smile?

    Whether you’ve just come in for a consultation or your family has been visiting our office for generations, we’d love to hear your feedback on our networks. Or, you can tell us by giving us a call!

    Thank you,
    The team at Hilliard Orthodontics

    Happy Thanksgiving from Hilliard Orthodontics!

    November 25th, 2009

    Dr. Hilliard and team would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. It's a big food holiday, so be careful what you eat! If you have any stories or pictures to share with us, we'd encourage you to send them along or call our offices and ask how.

    Gobble Gobble!

    Dr. Hilliard and team want to know: What are you up to in November?

    November 19th, 2009

    Believe it or not, we’re almost in full holiday mode! But before you go celebrating, Dr. Hilliard and and team want to know: What are you doing this month? Anything exciting happening in your life? If so, Hilliard Orthodontics would love to hear all about it!

    You can share your stories with us here, on our social networks or by giving us a call!

    --Dr. Hilliard and team

    Preparing for Cold and Flu Season, from Dr. Hilliard

    November 12th, 2009

    Traditionally cold and flu season starts in Fall, but this year it seems to have started much earlier and with the number of patients canceling appointments because of flu and H1N1 symptoms our office is taking additional precautions to help prevent the spread of germs.

    To promote a healthy and clean environment, we give a great deal of attention to sanitation and sterilization in our office at all times as well as following all requirements for sterilizing instruments and work surfaces.

    For the protection of other patients and staff, we always ask that patients reschedule their appointments if they have any type of cold or illness that can infect others.

    Maintaining and protecting oral hygiene equipment is also important this flu season. To protect your toothbrush from bacteria follow these steps:

    • Wash your hands before and after brushing
    • Allow the brush to air dry after each use, harmful bacteria dies after being exposed to oxygen
    • Store the toothbrush in an upright position to allow water to drain and dry faster
    • Replace toothbrush after every cold or flu or every 3-4 months when bristles appear worn

    Hope this helps! Stay healthy!

    --Dr. Hilliard and team

    Braces 101, from Dr. Hilliard

    November 5th, 2009

    Should you need to call Dr. Hilliard in case you sustain any damage to your braces, we can help you more effectively if you can tell us exactly which piece is in trouble! Here’s a handy diagram and corresponding list of all the parts that make up your braces.

    Elastic Tie: Tiny rubber band that fits around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

    Archwire: The main wire that acts as a track to guide the teeth along. It's changed periodically throughout treatment, as teeth move to their new positions.

    Loop in Archwire: Frequently used for closing space left by an extraction. Many archwires don't have a loop.

    Bracket: Small attachment that holds the archwire in place. Most often, a bracket is cemented directly onto the tooth's surface, eliminating the need for a band.

    Headgear Tube: Round, hollow attachment on the back bands. The inner bow of the headgear fits into it.

    Coil Spring: Fits between brackets and over archwire to open space between teeth.

    Tie Wire: Fine wire that is twisted around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

    Band: A thin ring of metal fitted around a tooth and cemented in place. The band provides a way to attach the brackets to the tooth.

    Hook: Welded or removable arm to which elastics (rubber bands) are attached.

    Elastic (Rubber Band): Small rubber band that is hooked between different points on the appliance to provide pressure to move the teeth.

    Hope this helps! Give us a call if you have any questions.

    --Dr. Hilliard and team

    Ghosts, Goblins and a Ghoulish Halloween Recipe! From Dr. Hilliard

    October 29th, 2009

    Trick-Or-Treat! October is National Orthodontic Health Month, and in honor of October’s sweet and spooky holiday, Halloween, the American Association of Orthodontists has provided trick-or-treaters with some tips and treats for a ghoulishly good time!

    Dr. Hilliard thought he'd pass it on!

    Frightfully Fabulous Cupcake Sandwiches

    Ingredients:
    1/3 cup cocoa powder
    1 cup warm water
    3/4 cup mayonnaise
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup superfine sugar
    2 cups cake flour, sifted
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 can of chocolate frosting or store-bought chocolate mousse
    1 container of whipped topping

    Assorted “braces-friendly” candy pieces such as chopped peanut butter cups, chocolate bars and melt-in-your-mouth candies.

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Fill a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.

    Combine cocoa powder, water, and mix until smooth. Fold in mayonnaise. (Make sure cocoa mixture is not to hot to prevent breaking of mayonnaise). Add vanilla and whisk until smooth.

    In mixer, combine sugar, cake flour, baking soda and salt and mix slowly until well incorporated. Add wet cocoa mixture, mix on medium-high until well blended. Scrape down the sides and blend for 30 seconds.

    Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 way full of batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack.

    Slice each cupcake in half, horizontally, and serve the halves with chocolate mousse or frosting, whipped topping, and assorted candy pieces. Kids build the sandwiches by spreading one-half of a cupcake with mousse/frosting or whipped topping, sprinkling on candy pieces and placing the other half of cupcake on top.

    Halloween Safety Tips

    •Young children should always be accompanied by an adult
    •Carry a flashlight
    •Wear a light-colored or reflective costume
    •Choose face paint over masks for young ghosts and goblins
    •Have an adult inspect all treats before the children dig in

    And be sure to have a happy and safe Halloween! From Dr. Hilliard and staff.

    Write a Review of Dr. Hilliard!

    October 23rd, 2009

    Whether you have visited Dr. Hilliard for a week, months or years, we'd love to hear your feedback about Dr. Hilliard or his staff. Now with the Internet, it’s even easier to write your thoughts and share them with the world. We'd want to encourage you to write a review of us. It only takes a moment!

    You may write a review here.

    Thank you and have a great weekend!

    --Dr. Hilliard and team

    Invisalign Tips

    October 16th, 2009

    Many people know that Invisalign is a great solution to braces if you don't want to experience the look and feel of traditional metal braces. What few people know, though, is that just like traditional braces, Invisalign requires proper care to work effectively. Good oral hygiene is highly important, even when you are wearing something in your mouth that you can take out to eat with. It's still likely that your aligners can build up plaque if not treated properly. When wearing your Invisalign aligners, ask yourself the following questions:

    1.) Am I eating with my aligners on? - These aligners are removable and should be taken out when you eat.
    2.) Am I drinking anything other than water with my aligners on? - Though it's not a necessity for you to take out your aligners while you drink, think about how sticky a soda is. If you take out your aligners when drinking a soda, you have a better chance of keeping your aligners clean.
    3.) Am I brushing before putting the trays on? - The aligners have both an inside and outside. Keeping the outside clean is easy. Keeping the inside clean is also easy: just make sure you've brushed your teeth before putting the trays on.

    These are all very simple steps, and ultimately, they help to keep you building good oral habits.
    --Hilliard Orthodontics

    National Dental Hygiene Month

    October 9th, 2009

    Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? Fall is here, and Halloween is coming soon, but now it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene.

    All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but these treats can damage your teeth and braces too! Did you know sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them? This can cause tooth decay and cavities! After eating these candies, be sure to wash your mouth out with water, drink milk or eat a few slices of cheese. These will help neutralize the acid in your mouth (wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth with toothpaste, as this can actually increase the effects of acid on your teeth)

    Besides cavities and tooth decay, many people do not realize that good oral health and hygiene are important to your overall health too! Research is discovering the connection between periodontal disease and other major health concerns, such as heart disease! Therefore, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine: see your dentist every six months, brush and floss daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash.

    Make a resolution to improve your oral health for October, the National Dental Hygiene Month!

    --Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich

    Frequently Asked Orthodontic Questions...Answered!

    September 30th, 2009

    We get a lot of questions about oral health and treatment, so we wanted to answer a few for everyone to see!

    “How will my child benefit from orthodontic treatment?"

    Properly positioned teeth are much easier to care for and clean. Correction of the bite, in addition to helping with improved chewing and speech, also plays and important role in reducing future wear of the teeth and stress on the supporting bone and jaw joints. Aesthetics and good-function also can improve a person's self-image!

    “I have always been afraid that it will hurt to have braces. Do patients have really sore mouths while they are having orthodontic treatment?”

    The orthodontic techniques and appliances used today are the most comfortable ever! Many of Dr. Hilliard's patients report that they had absolutely NO discomfort during their treatment. Dr. Hilliard also provides 24/7 emergency coverage for all of his patients (and even gives you his home phone number when you start treatment!) We're only a phone call away if you need us!

    “I don’t see a list of insurance companies on your website, so what is the best way I can find out if you work with my insurance provider?”

    Our office is very "insurance friendly" and we pride ourselves on helping each patient and family maximize their insurance benefits! Nan is our insurance expert and she will be happy to talk with you about the plan you have and the benefits you can expect.

    Do you have other questions? Ask them in the comments section!

    Summer Word Scramble Contest WINNER!

    September 23rd, 2009

    Allie was the Grand Prize Winner of our "Summer Word Scramble" Contest which ended August 20th! She successfully unscrambled all of the words throughout the summer months and won a $100 Back-To-School Gift certificate to Areopostle. Be sure and watch for our next office contest beginning in October!

    Congratulations Allie!

    --Hilliard Orthodonics

    Dr. Andrew Dietrich Joins Hilliard Orthodontics

    September 16th, 2009

    Dr. Hilliard is excited to announce that Dr. Andy Dietrich has joined his practice as an associate! Both doctors will be seeing patients in our North and South locations and our office hours will remain the same.

    Dr. Dietrich is a life long Lakeland native and graduated from Santa Fe High. He received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the University of Florida and graduated as Valedictorian of his UF Dental School Class in 2007. In August of this year he completed two years of additional intensive training at the University of Texas-Houston and received a Master of Science and Certificate in Orthodontics. This additional training and study qualifies him as an Orthodontic Specialist.


    Dr. Dietrich is a true GATOR FAN, has a new puppy named Sasha, and is anxious to meet everyone in the practice! Dr Hilliard invites both patients and thier parents to introduce themselves and welcome Dr. Dietrich back to Lakeland at their next appointment!

    The Myths and Facts of Orthodontics

    September 10th, 2009

    There are quite a few myths about orthodontists circulating around. Before you buy into those myths, you should get the facts! We came across a great site that helps set the record straight. Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have some excellent information on the myths and facts of orthodontists, check them out today!

    Hope this helps,

    --Dr. Hilliard

    Dr. Hilliard answering all your burning questions about mouthwash

    September 2nd, 2009

    While mouthwash is not an alternative to regular brushing and flossing, it can help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. There are several different types of mouthwashes available, and all of them will help do different things for your smile. The most common types of mouthwashes are:

    • Fluoride - fluoride is the most used type of mouthwash available, and is used to strengthen the enamel of the teeth while preventing cavities and tooth decay.

    • Antiseptic - an antiseptic mouthwash is used to kill bacteria and germs in the mouth. Most commonly used before and after a dental surgery, antiseptic mouthwashes can also help to fight gum disease, and halitosis (chronic bad breath). Antiseptic mouthwashes can affect your sense of taste and may stain the teeth, so it is recommended that you consult your dentist before using this type of mouthwash.

    • Combination - a combination mouthwash is designed to help prevent tooth decay, freshen the breath, and maintain the health of your smile.

    • Prescription - for patients with gum disease, or any signs of gum disease, you may need a prescription mouthwash. Prescription mouthwashes, like Peridex of PerioGard, are used to treat gingivitis, and other forms of decay.

    There are also many different brands of mouthwash. Some common brands include:

    • Scope
    • Listerine
    • Act
    • Crest
    • Tom’s of Maine (all-natural)
    • Plax (anti-plaque rinse)
    • Breath Rx
    • Orajel
    • Targon (special mouthwash made for smokers)
    • Rembrandt (whitening mouthwash)

    If you are curious about which kind of mouthwash would work best for you, be sure to ask Dr. Hilliard at your next dental appointment. If you have a favorite mouthwash, let us know by posting a comment for others to read!

    The great toothbrush debate: is an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush more effective? Dr. Hilliard

    August 27th, 2009

    The answer is simple: both! It’s true; you can effectively brush your teeth with either a manual or an electric toothbrush, and still maintain a clean, healthy smile. While both toothbrushes do an good job of cleaning your teeth and gums, they each offer different advantages.

    Picking the Right Toothbrush

    An electric toothbrush is great if you have arthritis, or are unable to grip the smaller handle of a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes also have a convenient two-minute timer, so that you know you are brushing long enough. Here are a few helpful tips to help you purchase the right electric toothbrush for your needs:

    • Make sure it’s comfortable and easy to hold onto.
    • A toothbrush with soft bristles is best for removing plaque without hurting your teeth or gums.
    • Small headed brushes are recommended, since with a smaller brush head you will be able to reach all areas of your mouth, including the often hard to reach back teeth.
    • Pick a toothbrush that fits your mouth. Brushing your teeth should always be comfortable.
    • Always pick a toothbrush that has the seal of approval from the American Dental Association.

    Whether you use an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush, it is recommended that you change the toothbrush (or just the head) every three months, or whenever it starts to show wear (such as bent, or fanned out bristles). It is also important to change your toothbrush after you’ve had a bad cold or illness. Your toothbrush can collect bacteria that may lead to infection if it’s not replaced.

    As always, remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once. Brushing after each meal and remembering to floss can maximize the health of your smile!

    If you’re wondering which kind of toothbrush is best for you, be sure to ask Dr. Hilliard. Call 863-644-0430 to schedule an appointment.

    If you have a favorite toothbrush, or some helpful advice about picking out the right toothbrush, we encourage you to share your opinions with other patients just like you! We welcome your comments - happy brushing!

    Softly Brushing Your Way to Clean Teeth, From Dr. Hilliard

    August 19th, 2009

    Just as there are so many different types of toothbrushes to choose from, each brush also has a different type of bristle! There are generally three different types of bristles; hard, medium, and soft. We always recommend that our patients, especially children and seniors, use a soft bristled toothbrush.

    Using a hard and medium bristled brush can actually harm your teeth and gums by stripping the enamel from the teeth and irritating the gums so that they become red and sore, and can even cause gum recession. If you do use a hard or medium bristled brush as a personal preference, we recommend using an electric toothbrush.

    Soft bristles are much gentler on your teeth and gums, and while patients of all ages are recommended to use soft bristled brushes, they are particularly great for children, seniors, patients recovering from a dental procedure, and patients wearing braces.

    Soft bristles, and even extra-soft bristles are every bit as effective when it comes to cleaning your teeth; in fact, if you currently use a hard or medium bristled brush, try a soft bristled brush next time you buy a toothbrush and we bet you won’t even notice a difference!

    --Dr. Hilliard

    Dr. Hilliard Around the Web

    August 13th, 2009

    If you've ever visited us at Dr. Hilliard's office, you already know that Dr. Hilliard and the rest of the team love connecting with their patients. We love the ability to communicate with all of you online too! Besides our web site and our blog, Dr. Hilliard is on many other networks too!

    What are you doing this summer? from Dr. Hilliard!

    August 7th, 2009

    Its summer here for the team at Dr. Hilliard's office, a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories. Whether you are headed to a barbeque, a camping trip, or just having fun in the sun, we want to hear about it! Leave a comment on our blog and tell us about your summer!

    Happy Travels,

    -From Dr. Hilliard

    Summer Fun with Dr. Hilliard

    July 29th, 2009

    Here at Dr. Hilliard's office, we like to have a little fun, especially during the summer!


    If you haven't heard yet, our weekly word scramble contest is on! Check out the Office Fun & Games page of our web site, and download this week's wordscrambles. You may enter multiple times, and the more you enter, the more chances to win a drawing for a fabulous prize!

    The prizes include a choice of: a trip for you and five of your friends or family to the movies, or a $100 gift card to a shop of your choice!

    Drop off your submissions at our office, and GOOD LUCK!

    --Dr. Hilliard

    Taking Care of Your Toothbrush, from Dr. Hilliard

    July 24th, 2009

    You know your toothbrush is a vital tool for the proper care of your teeth – but do you know the best way to take care of your toothbrush? Following are some guidelines for toothbrush care from Dr. Hilliard:

    One toothbrush should have one owner.

    If you share your toothbrush, you could also be sharing bodily fluids and bacteria, increasing your risk of infection.

    Toothbrushes need privacy, too.

    For the same reason, when storing brushes, make sure they are placed in such a way that they can't touch each other.

    Give your toothbrush some space.

    Keep your brush in a clean, well-ventilated spot and make sure it has time to dry in between uses. Keeping your toothbrush in a closed, moist space regularly can encourage the growth of germs.

    Showering is good for your toothbrush.

    Before and after each use, rinse your toothbrush under running water to eliminate excess toothpaste and other residue. Rub your fingers along the bristles – but only after washing your hands; no use substituting one set of germs for another. When you're finished, shake out the brush to accelerate drying.

    Let your toothbrush indulge in a nice bath.

    You may be able to reduce the amount of bacteria on your brush by soaking it in anti-bacterial mouthwash after each use.

    Don't get too attached to your toothbrush.

    Swap your old toothbrush for a new one at least as often as every three to four months. Keep an eye out for frayed bristles and replace sooner if necessary. The more worn the bristles, the less effective brushing is. Of course, if you've been sick with the flu, a cold, or a mouth infection, say goodbye to your toothbrush and move on to a new, germ-free one immediately.

    Beware of too-good-to-be-true toothbrush-cleaning products.

    Some products profess to being designed to "sanitize" your toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is no conclusive evidence that these products provide any particular benefit to your health. The ADA also encourages consumers to be wary of products claiming to "sterilize" your toothbrush, as there is currently no data to support such claims.

    Don't trust Aunt Minnie's toothbrush-cleaning advice.

    Although they certainly mean well, and they're clearly creative, your friends and relatives with home-cooked ideas about cleaning toothbrushes may not be the safest sources of information. Dishwashers, microwaves, and boiling water are no substitute for simply buying a new brush – and in fact could damage your brush, rendering it less effective.

    Remember – what's good for the toothbrush is good for the teeth!

    --Dr. Hilliard

    Braces 101 with Dr. Hilliard

    July 15th, 2009

    Should you need to call Dr. Hilliard's office in case you sustain any damage to your braces, we can help you more effectively if you can tell us exactly which piece is in trouble! Here’s a handy diagram and corresponding list of all the parts that make up your braces.

    Elastic Tie: Tiny rubber band that fits around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.


    Archwire:
    The main wire that acts as a track to guide the teeth along. It's changed periodically throughout treatment, as teeth move to their new positions.

    Loop in Archwire: Frequently used for closing space left by an extraction. Many archwires don't have a loop.

    Bracket: Small attachment that holds the archwire in place. Most often, a bracket is cemented directly onto the tooth's surface, eliminating the need for a band.

    Headgear Tube: Round, hollow attachment on the back bands. The inner bow of the headgear fits into it.

    Coil Spring:
    Fits between brackets and over archwire to open space between teeth.

    Tie Wire: Fine wire that is twisted around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

    Band: A thin ring of metal fitted around a tooth and cemented in place. The band provides a way to attach the brackets to the tooth.

    Hook: Welded or removable arm to which elastics (rubber bands) are attached.

    Elastic (Rubber Band): Small rubber band that is hooked between different points on the appliance to provide pressure to move the teeth.

    More Patient Reviews for Dr. Hilliard

    July 8th, 2009

    Dr. Hilliard has been receiving more great patient reviews! Check out what everyone said, as well as our past reviews:

    My experience with Dr. Hilliard has been very positive all the way around. The people are very friendly. The appointments have been on time. The communication is good. I love the website and email reminders. ~ Korey T.

    The whole office is very polite, helpful and friendly. It was also nice to be referred to an equally nice dentist. I look forward to dealing with both offices during my daughters treatment. ~ Lisa G.

    Dr. Hilliard does great work. All the assistants in the clinic are awesome. ~ Maureen P.

    We loved the great environment. Dr. Hilliard and his staff make it really comfortable and nice when going to each appointment ~ Alexandra R.

    Cardiodontics: The Heart Mouth Connection from Dr. Hilliard

    June 29th, 2009


    If you have been told you have periodontal disease (also known as gum disease or periodontitis), you're not alone. An estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of the disease! Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.

    Gum disease is a threat to your oral health. Research is also pointing to health effects of periodontal diseases that go well beyond your mouth. So we at Dr. Hilliard want to let you know some interesting facts and ways to treat the disease.

    What is Periodontal Disease?

    "Perio" means around, and "dontal" refers to teeth. Periodontal disease is an infection of the structures around the teeth, including the gums and the bones that hold the teeth. The earliest stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis – an infection of the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the tissues are involved, including the bone. Bacteria that live and reproduce on the teeth and gums cause periodontal disease.

    Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

    Symptoms may include the following:
    --redness or bleeding of gums while brushing teeth or using dental floss
    --halitosis, or bad breath
    --gum recession, resulting in apparent lengthening of teeth
    --"pockets" between the teeth and gums indicating that the bone which holds the teeth in the mouth is dissolving
    --loose teeth
    Gum inflammation and bone destruction are largely painless. Hence, people may wrongly assume that painless bleeding after teeth cleaning is insignificant, although this may be a symptom of progressing periodontitis. If your hands bled when you washed them, you would be concerned. Yet, many people think it's normal if their gums bleed when they brush or floss.

    Periodontal Disease Affects Your Health

    Periodontal disease is a putrid, festering infection of the mouth. Bacteria and inflammatory particles can enter the bloodstream through ulcerated and bleeding gums and travel to the heart and other organs. In recent years, gum disease has been linked to a number of health problems. Researchers are studying possible connections between gum disease and:
    --Heart disease: Gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease. Gum disease also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
    --Stroke: Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke caused by blocked arteries
    --Diabetes: People with diabetes and periodontal disease may be more likely to have trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetics with healthy gums.
    --Premature births: A woman who has gum diseases during pregnancy may be more likely deliver her baby too early and the infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight.

    Combating Periodontal Disease

    --See your dentist! See your dentist every six months for a checkup! Regular professional cleanings and checkups make you feel good, look good, and could be a lifesaver!
    --Brush and floss daily. Take your time and do it right!
    --Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash. Daily use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash helps to disinfect the teeth and gums, and reduces the number of bacteria.
    --Straighten your teeth. Crowded teeth are nearly impossible to keep clean. Orthodontic treatment can greatly reduce inflammation and periodontal disease.

    --Dr. Hilliard

    How To Stay Young And Healthy from Dr. Hilliard

    June 22nd, 2009


    Whether you’re 5 or 50, your health depends on your awareness of what’s good for you. But in a world filled with fad diets, blaring advertisements, and unintelligible ingredient lists, we at Dr. Hilliard's office know it can be difficult to determine exactly what is good for you – and what’s not.

    For straightforward guidance on how to live a long, healthy life, we recommend Brush Your Teeth! And Other Simple Ways to Stay Young and Healthy by Dr. David Ostreicher. The book sums up good health in six fundamental principles: hygiene, diet, attitude, exercise, sleep and personal safety.

    Drawing on nearly three decades of experience as an orthodontist and professor of health and nutrition, Dr. Ostreicher definitively answers age-old debates, like the best way to prevent colds and flu (your mom was right: wash your hands). He provides straight talk on a variety of diet choices including salt, fats, carbs and organic food, and he documents the importance of regular sleep, stress reduction and positive thinking to your overall health. His suggestions throughout are simple, clear, and inexpensive.

    Dr. Ostreicher advocates a back-to-basics, common-sense approach to staying young and healthy. We at Dr. Hilliard's office couldn’t agree more, and we’d like to repeat the title of his book as our favorite piece of advice: don’t forget to Brush Your Teeth!

    Dr. Hilliard Talks About Oral Piercing

    June 14th, 2009


    Piercing, like tattooing, is one of today’s popular forms of “body art” and self-expression. If you’re thinking about getting a piercing – or if you already have one or more – we at Dr. Hilliard's office want to share some health risks you should know about.

    Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Just touching your mouth jewelry (tongue barbells and lip and cheek labrettes) can lead to infection. Many people who have piercings tend to regularly touch them – which is a perfect opportunity for bacteria from hands to enter piercing sites. Also, food particles that collect around piercing sites can lead to infection.

    Pain and swelling are other possible side effects of piercing. Your tongue – the most popular piercing site in the mouth – could swell large enough to close off your airway! Piercing also can cause uncontrollable bleeding or nerve damage. Damage to the tongue’s blood vessels can cause serious blood loss.

    The hoop, ring, stud, and barbell-shaped jewelry can hinder your ability to talk and eat. Some people also develop a habit of biting or playing with their piercings – which can lead to cracked, scratched teeth; gum damage and recession; and sensitive teeth. There may also be a need for restorations, such as crowns or fillings, and additional dental treatment due to piercings.

    Consider the potential pitfalls of piercing carefully before getting one. Keep in mind that it will be an added responsibility to your life, and will need regular upkeep. Make sure that you’re committed to the task of taking care of it for the full healing period and beyond.

    If you have an oral piercing, pay special attention to it. Clean the piercing with antiseptic mouthwash after eating, and brush the jewelry when you brush your teeth. Of course, let us know at Dr. Hilliard's office if you have any questions.

    Parsley and Other Ways To Brighten Your Smile

    May 29th, 2009


    At Dr. Hilliard's Office we see lots of patients concerned about their bad breath. So we want to educate you about what you can do to really keep your chompers clean and breath minty fresh!

    Naturally, good oral hygiene is the first set. With proper brushing and regular dental checkups you can keep bad breath (halitosis) in check.

    Certain foods, medications, smoking, sinus issues, or even gum disease cause most bad breath. If the stink lingers for longer than 24 hours, you should see us at Dr. Hilliard's Office. It might be something more serious, like dehydration, zinc deficiency, diabetes, liver failure, kidney failure, or even certain kinds of cancers!

    In the meantime, here are some home remedies to keep you smiling bright from Dr. Hilliard's Office.

    --Spice Up Your Life

    Snack on some cloves, fennel, or anise after each particularly odorous snack.
    --Don’t forget the tongue
    Lots of people brush their teeth regularly, but leave the tongue alone. One of the main causes of bad breath is food and plaque residue on the surface of your tongue. So give it a nice gentle brush-over too!
    --Watch your drinking habits
    The worst options are coffee, wine, whiskey, and beer.
    --Frequent brushing
    Carry a toothbrush with you so brushing after each meal is convenient and refreshing! Trust us, you’ll love the way it makes you feel. If you can’t brush, still swish around a couple sips of water to remove any lingering food.
    --Make your own Gargle
    Gargling with a home mixture of sage, calendula, and myrrh gum extracts four times a day should ward off that bad breath potential.
    --Parsley’s there for a reason
    Finish your parsley after you finish your dinner and you’ll find a refreshing breath enhancer. Hate the texture? Throw a couple sprigs in a blender to sip after each meal.
    --Sugarless Gum
    Always a good idea to carry some mints or sugarless gum for that quick spruce up before you meet the boss.
    --Don’t cut that cheese
    The stronger the cheese, the stinkier your breath can become. Think about blue cheese and Roquefort? They really get the party started in your mouth and it’s hard to make them leave!

    More Interesting Information On Sour Candies from Dr. Hilliard

    May 22nd, 2009


    It’s no secret that sweet, sugary candies and drinks have an adverse effect of the health of your smile, but what about sour or tart candies? We at Dr. Hilliard's office thought you might want to know what kind of an effect does eating or drinking something sour have on my smile?

    Recent research from the Minnesota Dental Association suggests that the amount of acid in sour candies is enough to eat away at tooth enamel and cause cavities. Here are a few souring facts about sour candies, and some helpful tips on how to protect your teeth from Dr. Hilliard(even if you cannot give up sour candies all together).

    Facts

    -Sour candies can be very acidic, and may actually burn the gums and cheeks, while weakening and wearing down the enamel on your teeth. (Check the acid levels in some of your favorite candies)

    -It can take almost 20 minutes for the acid in sour candies to become neutral. Holding the acid in your mouth by sucking on sour hard candies or chewing sour gummies can keep the acid active for more than 20 minutes.

    -The acid in sour candies can cause cavities and severe tooth decay.

    Protect your teeth

    -Limit the amount of sour candies that you eat on a daily basis, and if you do indulge, remember not to suck or chew on sour candies for long periods of time.

    -After eating sour candies, rinse your mouth out with water, drink milk, or eat a couple slices of cheese. This will help neutralize the acid in your mouth (wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth with toothpaste, as this can actually increase the effects of acid on your teeth)

    -If tooth erosion has already begun, ask your dentist about ways you can help reduce sensitivity and continue to protect your teeth.

    Hope this helps! From Dr. Hilliard's office.

    Take This Fun Soda Pop Quiz From Dr. Hilliard

    May 15th, 2009


    We at Dr. Hilliard's office want to know, where does all that soda pop go?

    On average, the typical person consumes over 50 gallons of soda pop per year! The amount of acid and sugar found in a can of soda can cause serious tooth decay and lead to cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss!

    We at Dr. Hilliard's office know that you don’t want to lose your teeth, so take the soda pop quiz, presented by the Minnesota Dental Association, and learn more about how to keep your smile healthy.

    It’s a fun interactive quiz, so enjoy! From Dr. Hilliard.

    Straight Talk About Invisalign From Dr. Hilliard

    May 8th, 2009


    More than half a million patients can boast experience with Invisalign treatment. While this invisible method of moving teeth is proven to be effective, many would-be candidates for Invisalign treatment have confusion about whether it’s right for them. Here are some common questions and concerns about Invisalign, with straight answers from Dr. Hilliard.

    Have you been told that Invisalign won’t fix your bite?

    There are certain movements that are more successful with Invisalign than with braces – it just depends on the type of bite that you have. Invisalign statistics show that over 80% of bad bites (malocclusions) can be corrected by Invisalign. The other 20% can be corrected in conjunction with Invisalign by using braces that are hidden behind the teeth.

    Are you worried that Invisalign is expensive?

    The cost of Invisalign in most cases is comparable to traditional orthodontics. We do offer affordable financing options with low monthly payments. If it’s important to you to have straight teeth and a more confident smile, we will help make Invisalign affordable for you.

    Have you heard that Invisalign doesn’t work?

    Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that requires special technique and product knowledge. Our office is well trained in this system and we have successfully treated a broad range of patient types.

    Are you concerned about your speech being affected?

    Most patients will not notice a significant change in their speech. Certain patients may take a couple of days to a couple of weeks to become accustomed to their aligners. The tongue typically adapts more quickly in patients who speak two languages.
    Smiling patient

    Have you heard that you can’t drink liquids (including alcohol) with Invisalign?

    You can certainly drink liquids while you’re in treatment. However, we recommend that when you do, you take the time to brush your teeth and clean your aligners afterward. If you’re away from home and don’t have access to your toothbrush, it’s best to rinse your aligners with water when your drink is finished. You can drink coffee and tea, but stay away from drinks that are too hot and drinks heavy in sugar.

    Have you been told in the past you are not a candidate for Invisalign treatment?

    Come in to Dr. Hilliard's for a consultation. We have treated a wide variety of Invisalign cases and are comfortable with the technique. Most likely we can show you an example of a case similar to yours that we have treated successfully.

    Adults Improve Your Dental Health With Orthodontics From Hilliard Orthodontics

    April 30th, 2009


    Like the millions of adults who have already completed orthodontic treatment, the current one million adult orthodontic patients in the U.S. and Canada are looking forward to improved dental health and beautiful smiles. Dr. Hilliard wants you to know that age need not be a consideration in orthodontic treatment; healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age.

    With longer life expectancies than previous generations, and a greater awareness among adults that teeth can last a lifetime, today's adults are taking better care of their teeth, as evidenced in a survey released by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. This study showed that the number of people ages 55-64 with missing teeth has dropped by 60 percent since 1960.

    Orthodontics can improve the overall health of teeth and their supporting structures, leading to a properly aligned and functioning bite. By aligning your teeth, orthodontic treatment makes it easier to remove plaque – a colorless, sticky film of bacteria, food particles and saliva that constantly forms in the mouth. Plaque feeds on sugars and starches to form an acid that endangers teeth and gums. With proper alignment, the likelihood that your teeth will last for a lifetime is increased.

    Orthodontic technology has come a long way in the past few decades. The major advances in orthodontic tools and techniques mean that the options for adult patients are far greater than ever before. And adults – just like teens and pre-teens – can benefit dramatically from the enhanced self-esteem that comes with a confident smile.

    If you’re considering straightening your teeth, give us a call at Dr. Hilliard's Office and come in for a consultation to discuss your options.

    Nifty "Eggs"periment from Hilliard Orthodontics

    April 21st, 2009


    Summer is near. If the little ones aren’t at camp, you may run out of ideas to keep them occupied. Why not use a fun and simple science experiment to focus their attention for a while? At Dr. Hilliard's office, we found one that includes a lesson about why it’s important to brush teeth to make plaque go away.

    Gather the items you will need for this experiment:

    * 1 hard-boiled egg with the shell on
    * 12 ounces of Coke, Pepsi or other dark-colored cola
    * 1 container large enough to hold the cola and egg
    * 1 plastic bowl
    * 1 toothbrush
    * 1 drop of fluoride toothpaste
    * Clean-up supplies

    Explain to your child that plaque is a sticky layer of germs that collects on her teeth. If she doesn’t brush, plaque can cause serious problems for her teeth, for example holes in the teeth (cavities) or swollen gums (gingivitis). Tell her that you are going to do an experiment to see how plaque coats her teeth, and why brushing twice a day is important for healthy teeth and gums.

    Conduct the experiment:

    1. Make the comparison between the white color of the egg and the white color of your child's teeth.

    2. Place the egg into the container and pour the cola over it, so that it completely covers the egg.

    3. Let the egg sit in the cola for 24 hours.

    4. Remove the egg from the cola. The egg will be stained and yellowish.
    5. Explain to your child that the colored layer that has appeared on top of the eggshell is just like the layer of plaque that occurs on her teeth.

    6. Place the egg in the plastic bowl and give your child the toothbrush with the drop of toothpaste on it.

    7. Let her brush the "plaque" off of the egg. The yellowish film will disappear, exposing the white eggshell. Explain that the same thing happens when she brushes her teeth.

    --Hilliard Orthodontics

    Mom and Dad Can Have Perfect Teeth Too from Dr. Hilliard

    April 16th, 2009


    Focusing on your kids' teeth so much that you're neglecting your own? If you've been thinking wistfully about having your own set of perfect teeth, let us know at Dr. Hilliard's Office! We are specially trained to offer an adult-friendly option for straightening teeth called Invisalign.

    This course of treatment consists of a set of clear aligners that are molded to fit your teeth using a proprietary technology. You wear them all day and night, except for meals, brushing, and flossing – when you can easily slip them out to make eating and cleaning a snap!

    Because they're clear, your teeth will be steadily straightening – and no one will know it but you!

    Time and expense

    Your teeth are unique, and the cost of Invisalign varies according to the complexity of your treatment plan. The time involved in treatment varies as well, and with new Invisalign Express, designed specifically for common problems like minor crowding and spacing, you could have your new perfect smile in less than six months!

    Thinking ahead

    If your health care plan covers orthodontics, it most likely covers Invisalign treatment to the same extent as conventional braces. Check your benefits, then give us a call at Dr. Hilliard's Office to set up a consultation, so we can discuss the specifics of your treatment.

    Soft Drinks -- Trouble For Your Teeth: What you can do to quit the bubbly from Dr. Hilliard

    April 8th, 2009


    At Dr. Hilliard's office, we know that when you sit down to dinner or grab a sandwich for lunch, you wouldn’t have a side of nine teaspoons of sugar. But that’s exactly what you’re taking in when you pair a meal with a 12-ounce can of soda pop.

    Soft drinks are a poor choice for your overall health, since they have no nutritional value, and they contain sugar and caffeine. And when it comes to your teeth, soft drinks can cause big trouble. The steep servings of sugar create the perfect condition for cavities to form, while the phosphoric and citric acids in soda pop can erode and weaken your enamel – the outer coating on your teeth – making it tougher for your teeth to withstand the onslaught of sugar.

    Both the Canadian and American Dental Associations recommend limiting your intake of soft drinks. And if you do occasionally indulge in a fizzy beverage, it’s a good idea to drink it with a straw, to reduce exposure to your teeth. Brushing your teeth afterward, or at least swishing with water, can help remove the sugar from your teeth.

    Having trouble cutting back? Try these tricks to help wean yourself from a steady diet of soft drinks:

    --Don’t quit cold turkey: Start by swapping one soda each day with an alternate drink, preferably water. Gradually increase your swaps until you’re down to one soft drink a day, then one every two days, then one a week, and so on.
    --Switch to tea: If you’re looking for a source of caffeine, tea is much healthier than soda pop. Just remember not to add nine teaspoons of sugar to it.
    --Switch to seltzer: If it’s the fizz or the flavor you’re after, try a sugar-free flavored water or seltzer.
    --Remember your goals: If you’re wavering in your commitment to cut back on soda pop, remember the health problems it can cause.
    --Be patient: Adjusting a habit doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to change your diet.

    Have more questions? Let us know at Dr. Hilliard's Office!

    Everybody's Brushing With Dr. HIlliard

    April 1st, 2009

    These days everybody is brushing their teeth. Here's a fun video Dr. Hilliard found to show your kids and teach them about the importance of oral hygiene!

    Gummy Tummy--Dr. Hilliard

    March 25th, 2009


    We know the rumors going around – mostly among young people – that once you swallow a piece of chewing gum it will stake a claim and take up residency in your stomach for at least seven years! We really hate to take all the fun out of the mystery, but the truth is that chewing gum, when swallowed, will enter the stomach and move through the digestive system just like any other piece of food and leave the body long before seven years! So, if you ever have accidentally swallowed a piece of gum, there is no need to worry!

    This being said, gum does not have any dietary benefits, so while it’s not harmful to swallow, you still want to avoid swallowing it. If you are a gum-chewer, make sure you chew sugarless gum, because gum with sugar can lead to cavities. Sugarless gum still has the same amount of flavor, but with less cavity causing ingredients. You see, when the bacterium in your mouth breaks down sugar, what’s left behind is acid. This acid eats away at the enamel coating of your teeth, causing holes that we call cavities. Cavities can lead to other long term mouth problems if they are not treated in time, so it is best to try and avoid overexposing your teeth to too many harmful substances!

    --From Dr. Keith Hilliard

    Marvelous Molasses Cookies for Dr. Hilliard's Patients

    March 18th, 2009

    The wisdom of the ages tells us that necessity is the mother of invention. Brenda Waterman, age thirteen, offers new proof of this proverb. When getting braces mandated cutting a list of foods out of her diet – including her much-loved treat of caramel apples – she devised a work-around recipe that let her indulge her craving. This clever replacement for caramel apples was the inspiration for The Braces Cookbook: Recipes You (And Your Orthodontist) Will Love, which Brenda created along with her mom, Pam Waterman.

    Anyone with braces knows that it's important to avoid sticky foods, crunchy foods, hard foods, chewy foods, and so on. It's easy to look at the list and think, "What can I eat?" The Watermans' new book tackles that question with creative and thorough answers in the form of 50 braces-friendly recipes, plus additional tips and advice – enough to reassure any doubter.

    Neatly divided into chapters such as Definitely Deserved Desserts and Be-Nice-To-Me Beverages, The Braces Cookbook offers a broad assortment of recipes from main courses and sides to breakfasts and snacks. An all-around guide, the book also offers suggestions for packing lunches, preparing quick meals, and handling parties and restaurants, where the food selection isn't under your control. There's even a section of tips for dealing with the soreness that can arise in teeth and gums when braces are adjusted.

    Purchase The Braces Cookbook for your kitchen, and pick up an extra copy or two – they make great gifts!

    Get a sneak peak with the following recipes:

    Marvelous Molasses Cookies

    They smell wonderful even before baking, they melt in your mouth, and they never harden up. Yum – the best of gingerbread and ginger snaps in one!

    * 1 cup shortening
    * 1 cup brown sugar
    * 1 egg
    * 1/2 tsp salt
    * 1/2 cup molasses
    * 1/2 cup warm water
    * 1 tsp baking soda
    * 1 tsp cinnamon
    * 1/2 tsp ginger
    * 2 1/2 cups flour

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Baking time 11 minutes.

    In a large bowl, combine shortening, brown sugar, egg, salt and molasses, using an electric mixer and beating until fluffy. Add cinnamon and ginger. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir the baking soda into the warm water; add water mixture to the molasses mixture alternately with the flour until well blended.

    Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about four dozen. Store in a covered container.

    Enjoy from Dr. Hilliard!

    Tap Water is Better than Bottled -- Dr. Hilliard

    March 10th, 2009

    As more families turn to bottled water and away from the tap, they may be missing out on one important ingredient that most brands of bottled water fail to include: fluoride.

    As of 2005, bottled water is second only to soft drinks as the most popular drink in the United States, beating out milk, juice, and – more significantly – tap water. Between 2001 and 2006, the amount of bottled water sold in the U.S. rose an average of 10% per year. And many dental health specialists point to bottled water’s increased popularity as the culprit behind rising rates of cavities.

    Because fluoride helps strengthen teeth, it is an important component of maintaining good oral health. The benefits of fluoride were noticed in the early part of the twentieth century, when researchers found communities with low levels of tooth decay. It turned out that these towns had measurable levels (around 1 part per million) of fluoride in their drinking water.

    Beginning in the 1940s, communities have fluoridated their water supplies, and dentists have seen a significant decline in cavities ever since. The American Dental Association endorses both community water fluoridation and the use of fluoride-containing products as a safe means of preventing tooth decay. Between tap water and toothpaste, most of us get sufficient amounts of fluoride.

    But if your family avoids fluoridated tap water in favor of ever-more-popular bottled water, you could be missing out on the levels of fluoride necessary to make a difference in your oral health.

    If bottled water is your water of choice, check the label to make sure that your brand contains fluoride. As of a 2006 decision, the FDA allows bottled water containing .6 to 1.0 milligrams per liter of fluoride to carry a label stating that fluoridated water may reduce the risk of dental cavities or tooth decay. The ADA has backed this decision.

    Of course, simply drinking fluoridated water is not a magic ticket to perfect teeth. To keep your choppers in tip-top shape, it’s important to brush and floss daily and avoid sugary sweets, in addition to maintaining your fluoride intake. Check us out at Hilliard Orthodontics for more information and to come in for a consultation.

    Dr. Hilliard and His Team are one of the Most Experienced Around

    March 4th, 2009

    Did you know that Dr. Hilliard has one of the most experienced orthodontic teams in the country? Each one was individually selected from many applicants to work in his office because of their unique talents and abilities. Dr. Hilliard believes that a well-rounded team should be carefully chosen and his team definitely reflects the quality of care that is the hallmark of his practice.

    Frequent Continuing Education Courses are provided for the staff to help assure that the latest orthodontic research is incorporated into the treatment provided to his patients. In addition to being very knowledgeable and skilled, they are a really nice group to get to know! Give them a call today to see for yourself!

    Cool Kids Wear Braces - Dr. Keith Hilliard

    February 24th, 2009

    Braces today are “cool” and even “fun.” These are among the findings of a nationwide survey of mothers whose children are having or have had orthodontic treatment. New technologies in treatment, advanced computer software, color options, and even popular celebrities sporting stylish braces are making orthodontic treatment more comfortable, fashionable and cool for today’s youth.

    The study, conducted on behalf of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) for February’s National Children’s Dental Health Month, finds 86 percent of mothers report that braces are cooler today than when they were children. Sixty-nine percent also said wearing braces makes their children feel cool, and 81 percent report their children’s experience with orthodontic treatment as either positive or extremely positive.

    Different color options and the ability to change colors, for example, provide exciting ways for young patients to customize appearances. Just check out our brace painter to see all the exciting options for yourself. That enthusiasm helps them to feel good about their orthodontic treatment, and may contribute to the success of treatment. Give Dr. Hilliard a call to schedule a consultation and see these orthodontic advancements for yourself.

    Dr. Hilliard Patient Reviews

    February 18th, 2009

    Dr. Hilliard and his staff are committed to providing superior orthodontic services to Lakeland, Florida residents. Just see what their patients have to say!Dr. Hilliard’s dental knowledge and willingness to listen and answer questions without irritation was very impressive. We also liked his approach that there is always more than one way to fix teeth. He worked with us and made sure to listen to our concerns and was willing to make the necessary changes to make my son comfortable with himself. He's wonderful and I have already referred a few of my close friends to him.
    -Steve C.

    The staff and Dr. Hilliard are very nice and friendly! They explain everything to you and teach you how to wear your rubber bands and so many others things! They are so great and I like coming to the orthodontist because I know I will be treated right.
    -Arthur M.

    I love the friendliness of the staff and Dr. Hilliard. The kindness began right from the start when I called to inquire information. We were extremely pleased. My children loved the video games in the office, great concept!
    -Kim A.

    It's an overall super facility!!! I fell very comfortable bringing my son to your office and feel completely positive about the treatment he will receive. WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!!
    -Brenda T.

    Dr. Hilliard took the time to explain what he was doing and why he felt this was the best method. I didn't feel like he was rushed and he took time with us.
    -Pamela G.

    The staff are friendly and give excellent service to my daughter.
    -Robert S.

    Smoke Screen Lakeland, FL

    February 11th, 2009

    Everybody knows that smoking causes lung cancer, but did you also know that smokers and tobacco are susceptible to a variety of oral health problems at a faster rate than non-smokers?

    It’s true! Smoking is responsible for almost 75% of gum disease in adults; and, similar to smokers, adults who smoke pipes and cigars, as well as those using smokeless tobacco, are just as susceptible to gum disease and other tobacco related health problems.

    As soon as you use tobacco products, you become more likely to experience any of these oral-health problems:

    • Oral cancer
    • Gum disease
    • Tooth loss
    • Loss of bone in the jaw
    • Gum recession
    • Delayed/impaired healing process after oral surgery or any other treatment
    • Decreased success rate of dental implant (tooth replacement) procedures
    • Mouth sores
    • Loss of your sense of taste and smell
    • Bad breath
    • Tooth and tongue stains

    If you are interested in protecting your oral health we strongly recommend you quit using tobacco products! The following steps are recommended by the Surgeon General to help you quit smoking and using tobacco:

    • Get ready – set a quitting date and remove all materials from your home, car and office
    • Get support
    • Learn new skills and behaviors
    • Get medication and use it correctly
    • Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations

    For support, start with Keith Hilliard! We can help by recommending different options to help you quit, and above all we will support you throughout the quitting process. We are dedicated to helping you protect your oral health – and quitting smoking is significant step in the right direction.

    Baby Teeth - and Gums - Need Special Care!

    January 29th, 2009

    One question we hear all the time is “When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?”

    You should begin regular cleanings even before your baby has teeth. After each breast feeding – or bottle-feeding – use a clean, damp washcloth to gently rub your baby’s gum tissue. You can wrap the material around one finger to make it easier to remove any food bits from your baby’s mouth.

    When your baby’s first tooth comes in switch to a baby toothbrush. Look for special baby toothbrushes in your drugstore – they have just a few bristles and are very soft. There are even brushes shaped like finger puppets that fit over the tip of your pointer finger! All you need at this point is water – no toothpaste yet.

    After a few more teeth appear, you can start using toothpaste, but you only need a tiny bit, and make sure it doesn’t contain fluoride for the first three years. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing. That way, he or she will already have the good habit of spitting when you switch to fluoride toothpaste, which should never be swallowed.

    If you have any questions about caring for your baby’s teeth, please contact Dr. Hilliard.

    The Tooth Fairy - Lakeland, FL Orthodontist

    January 22nd, 2009

    Losing your first tooth, or any baby tooth for that matter, can be exciting! Your baby tooth may be gone, but in no time you will have a bigger, “grown-up” tooth in its place. So what do you do with the lost tooth? That’s simple…place it under your pillow at night and when you are fast asleep the tooth fairy will come and whisk your tooth away leaving behind a special gift just for you! Here’s a simple craft project I found a little while back that will help make the tooth fairy’s job a little easier and give your tooth a special place to stay until it is taken away. Please click on the link for instructions and pictures!

    Tooth Fairy “Tooth” Box
    (remember to ask your parents for help when using hot glue and scissors)

    What you will need
    • I large empty match box
    • Enough felt to wrap the box and inside sliding tray
    • Ribbon
    • Glue (tacky glue or a hot glue gun)
    • Markers
    • White, pink and blue (or your favorite color) felt for decorating the matchbox
    • Scissors

    Step 1: Pull the inner tray out of the box and line the inside with glue and felt as shown. Wrap the outside of the box with felt and glue it in place.

    Step 2: Glue ribbon to the outside of the box in a hanging loop shape. Fold another piece of ribbon in half and glue it to the bottom of the inner tray to create a handle for sliding it in and out.

    Step 3: Draw a tooth shape on paper, cut it out, and trace it onto the white felt twice. Cut out the teeth and face details.

    Step 4: Decorate the teeth with the eyes and cheeks and draw on a mouth. Glue one tooth to the outside of the box.

    Step 5: Create a tooth pocket by applying glue to the sides and bottom of the remaining tooth as shown, leaving an opening at the top. Glue the pocket to the inside tray. Once the glue dries, the box is Tooth Fairy-ready. Have your child put the tooth inside the inner pocket and hang it outside their door before your child goes to bed!

    Katherine Heigl Struggles with Crooked Teeth - Lakeland, FL

    January 15th, 2009

    Everyone struggles with little imperfections. Making crooked teeth straight, stained teeth sparkling white and chipped teeth smooth is part of what I do as an orthodontist. The sense of renewed self confidence that comes to my patients after having some sort of reconstructive work is what makes my job worthwhile.

    Consider Katherine Heigl, award winning actress, and considered by many the Grace Kelly of our day. She describes struggling with crooked teeth her whole life until finally there came a point when she said "enough is enough!" She decided to do something to straighten her teeth.

    I think you will enjoy this clip. Please feel free to leave comments, tell me what you think! Have you ever struggled with this same problem? Have you felt the relief of smiling to reveal a straight, bright smile after hiding crooked ones for so long? Contact us so we can hear your story, or help you create a new beautiful smile and a story of your own!

    Gum Disease Can Sneak Up on You - Dr. Keith Hilliard

    January 8th, 2009

    It’s easy to tell when you have a cavity; but unfortunately, gum disease can exist in your mouth without you even knowing. In fact, you can have the beginning stages of gum disease without noticing any pain or discomfort. Since gum disease can be undetectable, it’s important to watch for warning signs in order to prevent the disease from worsening!

    Signs to watch for:

    • Gums that appear red or swollen
    • Gums that feel tender
    • Gums that bleed easily (during brushing or flossing)
    • Gums that recede or pull away from the teeth
    • Persistent bad breath
    • Loose teeth
    • Any change in the way teeth come together in the biting position
    • Any change in the way partial dentures fit

    If you or someone in your family is showing these signs, make an appointment right away by calling 863-644-0430. We can diagnose the problem and begin treatment to save your teeth and give you back a healthy mouth!

    Understanding Cavities - Lakeland, FL Orthodontist

    January 1st, 2009

    One word nobody wants to hear when they visit their dentist is Cavity! That’s right, the dreaded cavity; but, what exactly is a cavity and how do they happen? A cavity is a hole that develops in a tooth when the tooth begins to decay. It’s important to get a cavity filled as soon as it’s detected so that it does not grow bigger.

    So, what causes a cavity? A cavity is caused by plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the tooth as a result of germ and bacteria build-up. Plaque is acidic and as it clings to your teeth the acids eat away the outside of the tooth (also called the enamel) and a hole is formed.

    Yes, cavities can be repaired by your dentist, but here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent cavities:

    • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily
    • Gently brush your gums to keep them healthy (when choosing a toothbrush it is recommended to use soft bristles)
    • Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque and food that may be caught between your teeth and braces where your toothbrush can’t reach
    • Limit the amount of soda and sugary treats you eat/drink
    • Be sure to visit your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and check-up

    Now That I Have Braces, What Can I Eat? - Dr. Keith Hilliard

    December 25th, 2008

    You just got braces and the orthodontist has informed you that over the next several months you will want to avoid eating anything sticky, hard, crunchy, or chewy. What does this leave for you to eat? Lettuce? Nothing?

    Luckily, there was someone else wondering the same thing when she first got braces! Brenda Waterman, 13, decided she was going to find a way to have her cake and eat it too, so she created a variety of “braces-friendly” recipes that allow you to enjoy your favorite treats without interfering with your orthodontic care! Her cookbook, “The Braces Cookbook: Recipes you (and your Orthodontist) will Love,” gives patients a variety of delicious recipes, safe to eat with braces; plus additional tips and advice for packing lunches, what to eat at parties, and braces-friendly restaurant dishes! There’s even a section with tips for dealing with the soreness that can occur when your braces or appliance are adjusted. Enjoy the foods you love – even with braces!
    Here is a delicious, sneak peek recipe from “The Braces Cookbook:”

    Wonderful Waffles

    Forget the recipe that came with your waffle iron – this recipe will redefine fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The secret to delicious waffles is letting the batter "sit" for five minutes before pouring into the waffle iron. Top cooked waffles with syrup, jam, fresh fruit or even whip cream. Makes about 5 servings!

    Preheat your waffle iron according to the directions. You may want to lightly spray it with vegetable oil before heating.
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 Tbl + 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 Tbl sugar
    • 4 cups milk
    • 4 eggs
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    In a large bowl, whisk (or use electric mixer on low) together all ingredients. Let batter sit for about five minutes to activate the baking powder.

    When waffle iron is ready, pour about 1/3 cup of batter onto each of the four squares (experiment with your iron – you don't want the batter overflowing). Gently close the cover and set your timer as the manufacturer suggests. Do not lift the cover while they bake. When done, carefully lift one edge with a flat spatula and pull the waffle away from the iron. Keep waffles warm on a plate under a clean dishtowel while the others bake.

    Good Breath Gone Bad! - Dr. Keith Hilliard, Orthodontist

    December 18th, 2008

    Bad breath can be a real downer, especially when you are out on a date with that girl or boy you’ve had a crush on all semester! However, bad breath can be prevented!

    Bad breath, or as your doctor may call it “halitosis,” is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grows in your mouth. This bacteria gathers on bits of food in your mouth and between your teeth and release sulfur compounds making your breath smell. Some foods, like garlic and onions, may contribute more to bad breath because of oils the food the food releases, and smoking is also a major cause of bad breath.

    There are several myths around bad breath. Here are some common myths and the truth behind it all:

    Myth #1: Mouthwash will make my breath smell better

    Mouthwash will make your breath smell better, but it is only a temporary fix. If you use mouthwash, just know that you will still need to brush and floss when you get the chance as mouthwash alone will not kill all of the bacteria producing germs in your mouth. When choosing a mouthwash, pick an antiseptic with plaque-reducing compounds. Also make sure any dental products you choose comes with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval!

    Myth #2: I brush my teeth; I will never have bad breath

    Brushing your teeth will save you from having breath, but the truth is most people only brush their teeth for about 30-45 seconds! You need to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day to give your teeth a thorough cleansing. It’s also important to brush your tongue, which is where a majority of odor causing bacteria like to hang out. Lastly, flossing to remove food and plaque between the teeth will also help reduce your chances of having bad breath!

    Myth #3: If I don’t smell it, then my breath is fresh

    This is a false assumption in every sense of the word! The truth is that the breath you breathe out is not the same breath coming out when you talk to someone. When you breathe you are not using your throat as you do when you are talking; and when you talk more breath moves over the back of your mouth where bacteria is causing bad breath.

    #1 TRUTH: Brush your teeth twice a day (for at least 2 minutes), floss at least once and visit your dentist every six months…this way your breath will always be fresh! Not letting your nerves get the best of you on your date? That’s up to you!!!

    $1.50 for a Cavity

    December 11th, 2008

    Vending machines are a quick way to satisfy hunger. You put in $1.50 and you get back a candy bar, bag of chips or even a soda…but that’s not all! Vending machines not only dispense sweet treats and caffeine bursts, but they also dispense cavities!

    Every time you chow down on that chocolate bar the bacteria in your mouth have a party feasting on the sugar. The sugar quickly turns into acid; that’s right, ACID!!! The acid sits on your teeth and eats away at the tooth’s natural enamel (the stuff that protects your tooth from decay). When this enamel is eaten away by the acid on your tooth, you get a cavity! Brushing your teeth after eating a sugary treat can help prevent cavities; but before you indulge remind yourself: “can’t brush? Hold the sugar!”

    When choosing a snack, consider these nutritional options that will not only satisfy your hunger and that “sweet tooth”, but won’t cause acid build up resulting in cavities:

    • Fresh Fruits (berries, oranges, melon, pears, etc)
    • Soft Bread
    • Milk (low or non-fat)
    • Cheese (low or non-fat)
    • Sliced meat

    What's So Special About an Orthodontist?

    December 4th, 2008

    "Dentists, Orthodontists, they're all the same right?" We hear our patients asking this question as they wonder about the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist. Before becoming an orthodontist Dr. Hilliard started out in dental school and earned a DDS (dental degree), just like your dentist. After dental school however, Dr. Hilliard decided he wanted to learn more about orthodontics, which is one of nine specialties within the dental field. So he stayed in school for a few more years and became an expert in orthodontics; which focuses on tooth and jaw alignment and bite problems like overbites and under bites.

    Other dental specialties you may have heard of include endodontic (focusing on the soft tissue inside your teeth), periodontic (focusing on the gums and other tissues surrounding your teeth) and prosthodontic (focusing on restoring and replacing damaged teeth).

    Isn't it nice to know there's a dental expert here to help you through any type of treatment your teeth, jaw and gums might need?

    Regular Checkups Are Important!

    November 20th, 2008

    Are you brushing your teeth twice a day? If yes, that’s great; but, don’t forget that it’s also important to visit the dentist every six months in addition to your regular orthodontic visits. Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can:

    • Check for problems that might not be seen or felt
    • Detect cavities and early signs of decay
    • Treat oral health problems early
    • Show you how to properly brush and floss your teeth

    During an oral exam the doctor will check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing. If you have not been to the dentist in the last six months, it’s time for you to schedule an appointment!

    Is Invisalign® Really Customized for Each Patient?

    November 13th, 2008

    Yes, it is, and that’s part of what makes it work. To find out if you are the right candidate for Invisalign treatment, the first thing we do is to take an impression of your teeth as they are now and digitize it. Using special software, we look at the current positioning of your teeth and compare it to the way your teeth should look.

    Next we use special software to map out the exact path your teeth will take from the beginning of your treatment to the end. Based on the results, a set of custom aligners are created just for your teeth. Throughout the course of treatment, you will be required to wear these clear, removable aligners one at a time; each one moving your teeth closer and closer to their final, perfectly aligned position. And since the aligners are virtually invisible, nobody around you will even know you are wearing braces!

    Dr. Hilliard is a certified Invisalign provider. If you have questions about Invisalign, or would like to find out if you are a candidate for Invisalign treatment, give us a call at 863-644-0430.

    Moooooooove Over Gum Disease!

    November 5th, 2008

    Is dairy a major part of your diet? If not, it should be! A recent study from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has found that regular consumption of dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, can lower your chances of contracting periodontal disease (also known as gum disease).

    Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection in the mouth that affects the gums and jaw. Gum disease results in a loss of teeth and bone, and has been connected to certain cases of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease and osteoporosis.

    Results of the study show that adults who consume at least 55 grams of lactic acid a day are less at risk for gum disease. Eating dairy is not just healthy for building strong bones, but is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy mouth. Next time you reach for a quick snack, choose some cheese, or a glass of milk, and remember with each bite, and every sip you are preserving your teeth for a lifetime of smiles and good oral health!

    For more information about keeping your teeth healthy, call us at 863-859-3581 or visit www.drhilliard.com.

    Are There Teeth Grinders in Your House?

    October 29th, 2008

    Grind, grind, grind, grind. If you live with a teeth grinder, especially a night grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound. Other symptoms of teeth grinding (technically called “bruxism”) include:

    • Sensitivity in the teeth
    • Tightness or pain in the jaw
    • Dull headaches, earaches, or facial pain
    • Chipped, worn down, or loose teeth

    People frequently grind their teeth in response to stress, so taking measures to reduce or eliminate stress can help solve the problem. Here are some things you can try to stop grinding:

    • Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
    • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
    • Relax right before bedtime with a warm bath or shower
    • Help your jaw learn to relax by quitting any chewing habits (pens, pencils, gum)
    • When clenching or grinding happens during the day, place your tongue between your teeth to serve as a reminder to avoid the habit

    If grinding goes untreated, it can lead to chipped teeth, worn enamel, chronic pain, or even TMJ, a painful jaw disorder. If the teeth-grinder in your house can’t stop, make an appointment to see us by calling 863-644-0430. Dr. Hilliard can help determine the cause of the problem and possibly even prescribe a custom mouthpiece to help break the habit.

    When Is Thumb-Sucking a Cause for Worry?

    October 22nd, 2008

    Lots of you have asked us about whether it’s healthy for children to suck thumbs (or, less frequently, fingers). If you’ve got a thumb-sucker in the house, you are not alone. Research tells us that between 75% and 95% of infants suck their thumbs. Is this anything to worry about?

    In most cases, no. Sucking is a natural reflex for an infant, and can provide security and contentment as well as relaxation for your little one. It’s a habit that most children grow out of between the ages of 2 and 4.

    However, if your child keeps sucking after he’s gotten his permanent teeth, it’s time to take a closer look. If your child sucks his thumb aggressively, putting pressure on the inside of his mouth or his teeth, it could cause problems with tooth alignment and proper mouth growth. If you’re worried, give us a call at 863-644-0430 and we will help assess the situation, and provide tips for how to help your child break the habit.

    Ghosts, Goblins, and National Orthodontic Health Month!

    October 15th, 2008


    Trick-Or-Treat! October is National Orthodontic Health Month! In honor of October’s sweet and spooky holiday, Halloween, the American Association of Orthodontists has provided trick-or-treaters with some tips and treats for a ghoulishly good time!

    BOO! Spooky recipes for a “braces friendly” Halloween

    Frightfully Fabulous Cupcake Sandwiches

    Ingredients:
    1/3 cup cocoa powder
    1 cup warm water
    3/4 cup mayonnaise
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup superfine sugar
    2 cups cake flour, sifted
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 can of chocolate frosting or store-bought chocolate mousse
    1 container of whipped topping

    Assorted “braces-friendly” candy pieces such as chopped peanut butter cups, chocolate bars and melt-in-your-mouth candies.

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Fill a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.

    Combine cocoa powder, water, and mix until smooth. Fold in mayonnaise. (Make sure cocoa mixture is not to hot to prevent breaking of mayonnaise). Add vanilla and whisk until smooth.

    In mixer, combine sugar, cake flour, baking soda and salt and mix slowly until well incorporated. Add wet cocoa mixture, mix on medium-high until well blended. Scrape down the sides and blend for 30 seconds.

    Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 way full of batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack.

    Slice each cupcake in half, horizontally, and serve the halves with chocolate mousse or frosting, whipped topping, and assorted candy pieces. Kids build the sandwiches by spreading one-half of a cupcake with mousse/frosting or whipped topping, sprinkling on candy pieces and placing the other half of cupcake on top.

    Halloween Safety Tips

    • Young children should always be accompanied by an adult
    • Carry a flashlight
    • Wear a light-colored or reflective costume
    • Choose face paint over masks for young ghosts and goblins
    • Have an adult inspect all treats before the children dig in

    CLICK HERE to visit our web site; and have a Happy National Orthodontic Health Month!

    Toothbrush Trivia

    October 8th, 2008

    People have been brushing their teeth for thousands of years! In fact, the first “toothbrush” was created around 3000BC! Ancient civilizations used a thin twig with a frayed edge to rub against their teeth for cleaning.

    The first toothbrush with bristles – similar to today’s toothbrushes – was invented in 1498 in China. Brushes were made out of bone or bamboo with bristles made from the hairs on the back of a hog’s neck.

    It wasn’t until 1938 that the first nylon bristle toothbrush was introduced and people quickly became aware of practicing good oral hygiene.

    Here are some other interesting facts about your toothbrush (and toothpaste):

    • Most people are said to use blue toothbrushes over any other color
    • The first toothpaste was used in 500 BC in China and India
    • On average, children smile about 400 times per day
    • Your toothbrush should be replaced every two months
    • The first known toothpaste was used in 1780, Crest was introduced in the US in 1955 and Colgate in 1873

    Your Friend: Fluoride

    October 1st, 2008


    There are so many ways you protect your teeth throughout your orthodontic treatment. You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and protect your mouth and appliances from being damaged. But did you know there is another, often forgotten about, way to keep your teeth clean and healthy during your treatment? Fluoride – a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay – can help keep your teeth strong! Fluoride comes in two varieties, topical and systemic. Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth. Topical fluoride includes toothpastes and mouth rinses. Systemic fluorides are swallowed in the form of a dietary supplement. Dentists and orthodontists use in-office fluoride treatments to help protect the oral health of adults and children undergoing dental/orthodontic procedures.

    Fluoride used in the dentist/orthodontists office is often times a stronger concentration than in toothpaste or mouthwash, but is available at some drug stores or a pharmacy (ask your doctor how to purchase professional strength fluoride). A fluoride treatment typically takes just a few minutes. After the treatment patients may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe a fluoride product such as mouthwashes, gels or antibacterial rinses for at-home treatment.

    When choosing your own fluoride product be sure to check for the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined and have met the criteria of the ADA for safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth, and smile bright!

    The Cost of Orthodontic Treatment

    September 25th, 2008

    Dollars and Sense

    Dollars and Sense the cost of orthodontic treatment from flordia orthodontist Dr. HilliardThe cost of treatment depends on the severity of the patient's problem. You will be able to discuss fees and the down payment options before treatment begins.

    We have orthodontic treatment payment plans to suit different budgets, including a no-down-payment option for those who decide to finance treatment through Capital One.

    We provide a patient payment option with no interest and, for our patient's convenience, we accept all major credit cards.

    Our office goal is to help each patient and family reach the goal that they have for orthodontic treatment and to have that treatment fit within their budget.

    Why Is It So Important To Have Straight Teeth?

    September 19th, 2008


    Why Is It So Important To Have Straight Teeth?

    Some people wonder why we work so hard to give our patients straight teeth. Of course it’s nice to have a smile full of evenly aligned teeth, but did you know that straightening your teeth can keep them healthier? Straight teeth lead to better oral hygiene, increasing your chances of keeping your own natural teeth for a lifetime.

    Straight teeth are less prone to decay, because they collect less plaque – the sticky colorless substance that forms on our teeth and leads to decay – and because they are easier to keep clean. Plaque can lead to cavities and can increase the risk of gum disease.

    If you’re wondering whether your teeth might cause problems because they are out of alignment, give us a call at 863-644-0430 to set up a consultation. Dr. Hilliard can help you decide whether you could benefit from orthodontic treatment.

    Everybody Benefits from Braces!

    September 12th, 2008


    Braces aren’t just for pre-adolescents and teenagers anymore! Anyone, at any age, can benefit from orthodontic care; whether it is correcting a problem not treated in your younger years, or catching a problem early.

    To ensure the best overall treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic consultation as early as age seven. If a problem is evident, taking action early can spare a lot of treatment and expense down the road.

    If you never received orthodontic treatment when you were young, don’t worry! You’re never too old for a beautiful smile. Set up an appointment for a consultation and find out how adult orthodontics will transform your smile, and your life!

    From the minute you call us, you will notice a difference!

    September 4th, 2008

    You've dreamed of having a beautiful smile. This is a goal that can be approached with fear and hesitation...but it doesn't need to be! At Dr. Hilliard’s office, your orthodontic treatment is about much more than straightening your teeth with braces. You expect great results and we get them because each patient’s treatment is individually planned to meet your needs.

    We welcome you to come in for a consultation to review your options for creating your beautiful new smile. Dr. Hilliard's team takes great care to make sure that you are comfortable and that we explain each step of the process completely. We pride ourselves on being friendly and knowledgeable and we work hard to make sure that your visit a pleasant one. Our sole responsibility is to assist you with whatever appointment, payment or insurance needs you may have.

    We invite you to visit us and see for yourself how great your orthodontic experience can be!

    When Are Two Phases of Treatment Necessary?

    June 18th, 2008

    Usually patients in orthodontic treatment already have their permanent teeth – they are pre-teens, teens and adults. But in some cases we have to start treatment earlier, even before the patient’s permanent teeth come in. We call this “two-phase treatment.”

    When we have patients with clear developmental problems at an early age, it’s best to start work when they are young, before the problems get bigger and more difficult to treat. Examples include an upper or lower jaw that is not growing correctly, or a mouth growing in a way that doesn’t leave enough room for all the permanent teeth to come in, or what we call a “severe malocclusion” (the orthodontic word for “bad bite” which means the jaws don’t fit together correctly).

    In these cases we will start early and do one round of treatment – phase one – while the patient still has “baby teeth.” Phase one usually does not involve braces, but can include a different type of appliance that helps the jaw grow into place properly. We’ll follow up with phase two usually a few years later, when permanent teeth are in place. Generally phase two involves standard braces.

    In order to catch any early problems, we recommend that children have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven (and so does the American Association of Orthodontics). However, if your dentist or pediatrician sees any sign that early treatment might be necessary, he or she may recommend your child visit our office even sooner.

    Types of Braces Part 1

    June 3rd, 2008

    If you're thinking about getting braces in Lakeland, Florida, you probably want to know more about your options. For my next few blog posts, I plan on thoroughly explaining your options to help future patients better understand what orthodontics is all about. To begin, the following excerpt from my web site shows two types of braces for the traditional patient, and the not so traditional:

    Metal Braces

    Traditional Metal Braces

    Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

    Gold Braces

    Gold braces are similar to traditional metal braces in many ways. They are made of stainless steel, but are uniquely coated in gold. The gold coating may be considered a more cosmetic option than traditional metal braces. And, the cost of gold braces is surprisingly comparable to most clear braces.

    Patients' responses to our practice!

    May 8th, 2008

    At our office, Dr. Keith Hilliard and talented staff take pride in having happy patients. Here are a few quotes from patients about our office in Lakeland.

    "The nurses or ladies that work there and Dr. Hilliard are very nice and friendly! They will explain everything to you and help you know certain things like where and how to wear your rubber bands and so many others things! They are so great and I like coming to the orthidontist because I know I will be treated and cared for right." - Arthur

    "Patient care/service. I went to Dr. Hilliard for my braces as a young adult and never had any problems or complaints. I was always impressed that every time I went he knew exactly what had changed with my teeth from the last visit. I also appreciate the professionalism of all his staff. Now I'm taking my oldest son to him and my youngest is looking forward to his turn." - Jeff

    "I like that Dr. Hilliard is a perfectionist. I am a big perfectionist as well, and little things bother me easy, so I'm glad that Dr. Hilliard makes sure that my teeth will turn out as perfect as they can. =)" - Angela

    "His dental knowledge and willingness to listen and answer questions without irritation was very impressive. We also liked his approach that there is always more than one way to fix teeth. He worked with us making sure to listen to our concerns and was willing to make the necessary changes to make my son comfortable with himself. He's wonderful and I have already referred a few of my close friends to him." - Steve

    "How friendly the staff was when I called and how quickly they got my daughter in for an appointment." - Amy

    "Loved the friendliness of the Staff and Doctor. The kindness began right from the start when I called to inquire information. We were extremely pleased. My children loved the video games in the office, great concept!" - Kim

    "Clean office environment...friendly staff...my daughter feels comfortable and that makes me happy." - Michelle

    Come on over to 330 E. Highland Dr and see why Dr. Hilliard and his staff are making so many people in Flordia smile! Our orthodontic practice serves many neighboring cities like Fountain Heights, Eaton Park, Tancrede, Crystal Lake, Highland city, and many others!

    Call today (863) 644-0430 or for more information check out our website.

    An Experienced Team Makes A Difference!

    April 5th, 2008

    Did you know that Dr. Hilliard has one of the most experienced orthodontic teams in the country? Each one was individually selected from many applicants to work in his office because of their unique talents and abilities. Dr. Hilliard believes that a well-rounded team should be carefully chosen and his team definitely reflects the quality of care that is the hallmark of his practice.

    Frequent Continuing Education Courses are provided for the staff to help assure that the latest orthodontic research is incorporated into the treatment provided to his patients. In addition to being very knowledgeable and skilled, they are a really nice group to get to know!

    Your First Visit to Our Lakeland, FL Invisalign Orthodontist

    February 29th, 2008

    Your First Visit

    From the minute you call us, you'll notice a difference!

    Your First VisitOur friendly and knowledgable administrative staff members pride themselves on guiding our patients through the new patient process with ease. They will explain each step of the process and schedule a new patient exam at a convenient time for you. Our team's sole responsibility is to assist you with whatever appointment, payment or insurance needs you may have.

    At your first visit, Dr. Hilliard and his Treatment Coordinator will complete a comprehensive orthodontic examination. If orthodontic treatment is recommended, some or all of your diagnostic records will be taken. In addition to your medical/dental history, and clinical examination, diagnostic records include photos of the patient's face and teeth and two different types of x-rays. This information is used by Dr. Hilliard to develop a custom treatment plan for each patient. These records are also helpful in tracking the progress of treatment as the teeth move under orthodontic care.

    In most cases Dr. Hilliard will be able to discuss his recommendations with you at the initial visit, as well as the costs involved. In some instances, you may need to return for an additional consultation visit after the doctor has further evaluated the records.

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