Dietrich & Hilliard Orthodontics

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Dr. Andy Dietrich

Emergency Orthodontic Care!

October 29th, 2012

Our team knows that orthodontic emergencies are never convenient nor timely. If you are a patient of record, our team is committed to your dental health and we are more than willing to see you after hours or over the weekend. As a general rule, you should call the 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. If you are calling us after hours, please follow the emergency prompts to learn how you may be able to solve the problem yourself, or, if you cannot, how to get in contact with our team.

Common issues include:
*Broken Brace
*Broken Wires
*Tie has come off of a Brace
*Loose Expander
*Poking Wire Tie
*Sharpness Felt on the Tongue Side of a Brace
*Loss of a Separator
*Initial Soreness
*Wire Poking

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you visit our office, but please never hesitate to call!

How much do you know about your toothbrush?

October 22nd, 2012

Taking care of your smile is nothing new! 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 1955 and Colgate in 1873

Cold season is here, be prepared!

October 15th, 2012

Cold and flu season is here yet again. The folks at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 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, our entire staff 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 our staff, 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!

Don't forget your mouth guard for this fall’s sports season!

October 8th, 2012


At our office we know how important it is to protect your face while playing sports. Fall brings an increase in outdoor activities and a greater chance of damaging your precious mouth and pearly whites. Our team also knows sports-related injuries are common among children. It’s been found that 70 percent of parents said their biggest worry is that their child will get hurt while playing sports. Another 67 percent admitted their child doesn’t wear a mouth guard when playing sports such as football, basketball, baseball and soccer.

That’s why we’re doing our part to spread the word that facial sports injuries can be avoided simply by reminding your kids to wear mouth guards. Ask us—Our team will provide a mouth guard for any patient in active treatment.

In addition, the following tipscan help your kids stay safe on the field. Please remind them to:

• Wear mouth guards during contact sports
• Wear a helmet
• Stretch before and after a game or practice
• Wear protective eye wear
• Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin
• Be observant—even as a spectator

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. Lastly, please give us a call if you have any questions about mouth guards or your treatment with our team!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

October 1st, 2012

Happy October! For those who don't know, it’s National Orthodontic Health Month.

Our team realizes that this month-long event is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene. National Orthodontic Health Month also aims to recognize the dedicated work of orthodontists and other dental professionals.

To avoide orthodontic emergencies, our team recommends that patients avoid the following Halloween treats, or recipes with these ingredients:

• Caramel
• Nuts
• Popcorn (including un-popped kernels)
• Taffy
• Jelly beans
• Hard pretzels
• Licorice
• Bubblegum
• Ice

Avoiding the above will help ensure that you don't encounter any unwanted orthodontic issues! If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call, ask us on Facebook, or ask our team during your visit this month!

Looking for a delicious braces-friendly fall dessert? We’ve got a great recipe!

September 25th, 2012

You have braces, and you’re probably wondering what to eat. You can’t have gum, popcorn or other delicious but braces-unfriendly foods. But fear not! Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have a delicious recipe that will satisfy both your sugar craving and hunger when the weather gets cold.

Apple Bombolini
Ingredients:

Rustic dough
• 9 ounces cake flour (about 3 cups)
• ½ cup all purpose flour
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• Pinch sea salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into large pieces
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• 2 tablespoon cold water

Apple sauce filling
• 4 Granny Smith apples
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon water

Diced apples:
• 4 Granny Smith apples
• ¼ cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon vanilla
• ½ lemon, juiced

Directions:

For the dough: In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, add the dry ingredients and mix for 5 seconds to blend. Add the butter and vanilla and mix until the butter is about the size of peas. Add the cold water and blend until the dough just comes together. Form the dough into a roughly shaped ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Applesauce filling: Peel, core, and slice the apples. Put the apples with the rest of the ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and cook until the apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool, and refrigerate.

Diced apples: Peel, core, and cut the apples into large slices. Toss with the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and set aside.

Assemble the bomboloni: Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll out to1/4-inch thick round. Cut into 6-inch rounds. Place about 1/4 cup of the Apple Sauce Filling onto the center of each round. Top with a few pieces of the Diced Apples. Pull the sides up towards the center to form a bundle, pinching the dough together towards top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before baking

You're Never Too Old to Treat Yourself to a New Smile!

September 18th, 2012

Did you know one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult? We’re living longer and technology is improving, making orthodontic treatment an appealing and safe option for patients of all ages. As the trend toward treatment later in life grows, we’re seeing braces on parents as well as children – and even adult celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani and Nicholas Cage have shown off their braces. It’s never too late to look and feel your best!

Can Braces Work for Adults?

People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The physical process for moving teeth is the same, young or old, which means it’s never too late to address issues such as an overbite or underbite, crooked or crowded teeth, or jaw disorders.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, we’ll make a consultation appointment with you. During this meeting we will perform a general assessment of your oral health, discuss options for treatment, and answer any questions you may have. We will also discuss matters of cost and insurance. The next step is an orthodontic records appointment in which we take x-rays, photos, and an impression of your teeth. This information drives your unique treatment plan.

What Are the Benefits?

Straightening your teeth can improve your smile, your self-esteem, and your dental health. Technologically advanced new treatments make it easier to identify the option that best fits your lifestyle. Modern techniques and materials have made braces and aligners more effective, comfortable and unobtrusive than ever.

If you think you might benefit from orthodontic treatment, give our team a call, so we may set up a consultation to determine what type of treatment best meets your needs.

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

September 10th, 2012

Orthodontic treatments vary from dental treatment, in that they primarily address malocclusions, jaw spacing and tooth alignment, rather than the actual health of the teeth. That is why it is often more difficult for parents to determine when a child needs orthodontic treatment rather than dental treatment. So how can you know it is time to take your child to the orthodontist?

Bad Bite - As the adult teeth begin to replace primary teeth, bite occlusions can develop. These often become visible to parents between middle childhood and the pre-teen years, although an orthodontist can identify a bad bite with early evaluation.

Visible Tooth Crowding - If your child's newly emerging teeth are already crowded, you should make an appointment with our office to discuss braces.

Tooth Grinding (Bruxism) - Children who grind their teeth at night may do so unconsciously, but the condition requires treatment to prevent the development of headaches, TMJ, and tooth damage. Oral appliances are available to correct nighttime tooth grinding.

Difficulty Chewing, Biting, or Speaking - If your child is displaying difficulty speaking or eating, or if he or she often experiences cheek biting, schedule an orthodontic consultation.

Asymmetry - If your child's face is asymmetrical, or if his or her teeth do not meet together in a natural way, orthodontic treatment may be necessary.

Evaluation and Preventive Care
Even if your child has no visible tooth or jaw alignment problems, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child visit the orthodontist for an initial examination no later than age seven. The reason for early evaluation is because orthodontists are capable of finding subtle problems with the jaw and teeth growth and spacing before they become more pronounced and also more difficult to treat. By bringing your child in for an evaluation, you may be able to treat orthodontic conditions with shorter and more simplified treatments that are also more affordable than treatment during the teenage and adult years.

What questions should I ask during my orthodontic consultation?

September 4th, 2012

Are you thinking about orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth or correct jaw alignment? Consider making your first step an orthodontic consultation. During the consultation we will address your questions, concerns, and talk about a treatment plan that would best suit your situation.

We want you to feel prepared and in charge of your orthodontic treatment decisions, so keep these questions in mind when you come in for your appointment.

• If I do need some adjustments to my teeth, what options will I have besides braces?
(This will help you determine what approaches we use to straighten your teeth.)

• What kind of preparation is needed to get braces? How many visits will it take?
(It’s important to know how many appointments may be needed and what you will need to do between appointments to be ready for braces.)

• Can I expect any pain when getting braces?
(Ask about the ways we address pain management.)

• What determines how long I have to wear braces?
(The length of treatment will vary from patient to patient. During your consultation we can evaluate your teeth and jaw alignment to determine the correct course and length of treatment.)

• How will braces affect my lifestyle? Foods I can eat? Activities I can do?
(You may find that little needs to change in your daily routine to have a successful orthodontic outcome. We can discuss and address any changes so you can be prepared before you get your braces.)

• Who will be involved in the orthodontic work? Whom can I expect to see during my adjustment visits?

• What will my orthodontic work cost? What is the ”average” cost and what could be the maximum?
(Make sure you are clear about what your insurance covers, who contacts the insurance company for pre-authorization, who files the insurance forms, and what flexibility there is to pay the remaining amount not covered.)

Your initial orthodontic consultation may just be the first step in relieving a lot of pain and discomfort in your life. Going in with the right questions will help you to understand the entire process and prepare you to do your part for your own dental health. Be sure to bring a list of your questions!

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

August 28th, 2012

Orthodontic treatments are used to correct malocclusion, a condition more commonly known as a bad bite. The length of treatment time varies depending on the severity of the bite problem.

What is a "bad bite"?
A bad bite occurs when spacing or alignment problems are present. This often includes teeth that are protruding, crowded, or crooked. Sometimes teeth appear straight, but have an uneven bite because the upper and lower jaws do not align properly. Teeth that are irregularly spaced - either too far apart or too close together - can also cause bite problems.

Frequent causes of bite problems:

  • Heredity
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Premature tooth loss
  • Accidents

Benefits of orthodontic treatment:

Appearance -
Correcting a bad bite often creates a more attractive smile, which frequently raises the patient's self esteem.

Preventing Decay -
It also results in a healthier mouth. It is much more difficult to thoroughly clean teeth that are crooked, protruding, overlapped, or crowed. This may allow plaque to build up, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment corrects these conditions, so cleaning can be more efficient.

Avoiding Alignment Issues -
An uneven bite can interfere with the motions of chewing and speaking. This can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel, which may require pricey cosmetic restorative treatments, such as crowns or veneers, to correct. It can also lead to problems with the jaws. Orthodontic treatment lessens the likelihood of those issues, as well.

 

Types of orthodontic treatment:

- Braces: Metal or ceramic brackets are bonded to the front of teeth. Wires and elastics are attached to the brackets to straighten teeth.

- Invisalign®: Advanced 3D computer images of the patients' mouth are used to create clear, custom aligners that slowly move teeth. They are nearly invisible and are more comfortable than traditional braces. They are also removable, which makes it possible to continue with normal brushing and flossing.

- Retainers: A retainer is a removable piece worn inside the mouth that uses pressure to force teeth to move into proper alignment. They are used after braces are removed.

 

Length of orthodontic treatment:
Treatment typically ranges from 12 - 36 months. Factors include the age, cooperation level, and growth occurrence of the patient. The complexity of the case also impacts the treatment time.

 

 

Preventing Decay While Wearing Braces

August 20th, 2012


Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. Preventing tooth decay can be a big challenge simply because of the tendency for braces to trap food under the wires and between the teeth and the brackets. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:

1. Eat Braces-Safe Foods
Keeping your teeth from decay starts with a proper diet. Foods that are high in sugar or starch can cause more plaque which is difficult to remove during your brushing. There are certain foods that should be avoided while wearing your braces. First, sticky foods like caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and be difficult to remove during brushing. Next, hard foods such as nuts and candy could bend wires or even break a bracket. Foods that are firm or hard to bite into like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob should be avoided. As much as we like to snack on them, those crunchy treats can harm your braces. Things like chips, ice, popcorn can also bend or break your braces.
On the other hand, bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta all tend to be low in enamel-busting acids.

2. Proper Brushing
You want to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride paste for best results. Rinsing every day will help, too. Rinsing is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can't always reach.

3. Ask About Special Cleaning Tools
There are also special brushes, or other tools, to get under and clean your braces. You can also find many of these items at your local pharmacy.

4. Regular Teeth Cleaning
It's important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.
As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth from decaying while you wear braces.

When Should I Schedule an Orthodontic Evaluation for My Child?

August 13th, 2012


Most parents know that routine dental care should begin during the toddler years. But many are unaware of when orthodontic treatment should begin. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the ideal age for an orthodontic evaluation is age seven or before, when children usually have a mixture of adult and baby teeth. Although treatment usually will not begin until one to five years after the initial evaluation, the evaluation is helpful in determining whether your child has any problems with emerging teeth -- regardless of how subtle.

Children have more formidable bone structures than teenagers and adults, and as they grow, orthodontic appliances can help guide jaw growth, which may prevent the development of an overbite or under-bite, as well as tooth crowding due to space limitations. Orthodontic treatment is also helpful for guiding newly emerging adult teeth into a proper alignment, which is not only aesthetically advantageous, but also helpful in preventing tooth decay.

Why Early Evaluation?
Taking your child to the orthodontist for an evaluation means that you may be able to identify problems with the jaw and teeth early when they are still easy to treat. Early treatment often equals a more simplified treatment plan, which is beneficial to both children and their parents. Often, earlier treatment can cost less to correct a problem than delayed treatment.
If a problem is detected, our team will discuss corrective options and provide a recommended treatment schedule. Depending on your child's orthodontic needs, he or she may benefit from:

• Palatial Spacers - Helpful for correcting a crossbite by expanding the width of the upper jaw.
• Fixed Functional Appliance - Helpful for correcting severe upper tooth protrusion.
• Headgear - Helpful for guiding healthy growth of new teeth and the jaw. Headgear is removable, but usually must be worn at least 10 hours per day.

If your child is approaching the age of seven, or has already surpassed his or her seventh birthday, it is time to schedule an appointment for an initial examination.

What are the Early Signs of Orthodontic Problems?

August 8th, 2012


Visibly crooked teeth are not the only reason to take your child into the orthodontist. There are some subtle things to look for as well, which may indicate the onset of more serious orthodontic issues. Many orthodontic issues are much easier to address if treated and corrected during a child's development.

Waiting until facial development is complete or until the permanent teeth have come in can make correction of many orthodontic issues more challenging. Both children and adults can benefit from orthodontic care at any age, but addressing issues early is almost always the ideal choice.

If you're wondering if you or your child might have need for orthodontic care, there are some things you can be on the lookout for. Here are some of the most common warning signs of orthodontic issues:

• Difficulty when chewing or biting
• Chronic mouth-breathing
• Sucking the thumb, the fingers, or any other oral sucking habits that continue after the age of six
• Overbite - when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth by more than 5mm
• Top front teeth that cover more than 25% of the bottom teeth while biting
• Underbite - when the top front teeth go behind the bottom row of teeth when biting
• Crowded, crooked, overlapped, misshapen, misplaced teeth or extra teeth of any size
• Crossbite - when one or more teeth tilt toward the cheek or toward the tongue causing excessive stress on the jawbone
• The center of the top and bottom teeth don't line up
• Uneven teeth-wearing
• Baby teeth coming out too early for the child's age
• Pain in jaws
• Clicking in the jaw joints
• The jaw shifts off-center while chewing or biting
• A jaw that protrudes, or recedes, too much
• Difficulty speaking or enunciating clearly
• Chronic biting of the inner cheek or roof of the mouth
• Asymmetrical facial structure
• Grinding or clenching of the teeth

If you notice that either you or your child has one or more of these conditions, they could be signs that there is a risk of orthodontic or health problems. The sooner these problems are addressed, the wider and brighter you will be able to smile going forward!

Understanding Orthodontic Appliances for Jaw Growth Correction

August 1st, 2012

Children and adults who visit orthodontists often feel confused and a little frightened because of the various metal tools and appliances. Knowing the applications of such devices can help ease a patient's mind when undergoing treatment. Dentofacial orthopedics is a specialty that uses appliances to adjust the jaws for ideal compatibility. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends these treatment options for children between the ages of eight and twelve to make adjustments during developmental stages. Adults also experience dental changes throughout their lives and can benefit from dentofacial orthopedic appliances. Some common problems with jaw alignment or development include:
  • Underdeveloped lower jaw
  • Protrusion of upper teeth
  • Malocclusions
  • Crossbite
  • Overbite
Orthodontic Appliances for Correcting Jaw Growth Problems

Jaw-correcting appliances are either fixed or removable. Fixed appliances are applied to the teeth with the use of cement. Removable appliances require dedication from the patient to wear the devices as instructed. You will receive better results by wearing your orthodontic gear and following the treatment plan designed for your specific needs. Understanding the potential results will help you stay motivated, and parents can help their children to follow recommendations. Some appliances can cause slight discomfort during adjustment periods, but wearing them regularly will help shorten the time frame for treatment. Here are some of the most common appliances for correcting jaw growth problems.
  • Headgear: This appliance is removable and consists of a stainless steel facebow and fabric safety strap. The orthodontist fixes metal bands to your upper-back teeth where you attach the facebow. The safety strap wraps around your head and secures the facebow. Headgear affects jaw growth and tooth movement by applying pressure to the upper teeth and maxilla.
  • Herbst® Appliance: Typically permanent, these appliances attach to the upper and lower molars to hold the mandible forward. The purpose of this type of treatment is to eliminate an overbite. With expansion screws, the Herbst can also widen the jaw.
  • Mara: This appliance pushes the mandible forward to reduce overbite. Crowns are placed on your top and bottom molars, and a metal elbow connects the crowns.
  • Bite Corrector: This appliance is combined with braces to correct different malocclusions. Metal bars with enclosed springs apply pressure to both the upper and lower jaws. The placement of such bars will depend on the bite type.
  • Bionator: This removable appliance guides the lower jaw so that it grows in proportion to the upper jaw. Children can develop aligned bites by wearing bionators.
  • Palatal Expansion: There are two options for placement, fixed, or removable palatal expansions, to fix crossbites. The appliance attaches to the upper-back teeth and widens the jaw.
You will get used to the feeling of most appliances within one month, and the adjustment period is easier if you follow the treatment plan designed by our staff. The average time it takes to correct jaw problems is 12 months, so you can expect to see a more beautiful smile in about one year.

Burning Invisalign questions, with Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics

July 23rd, 2012


Are you wondering what Invisalign treatment is really like, and what effect it will have on your day-to-day activities? Will it slur your speech? Will people know you're in treatment? You're not alone in your concerns!

Dr. Andrew Dietrich, Dr. Keith Hilliard, and our team thought we’d share this list of questions and answers for anyone pondering Invisalign treatment at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics.

How exactly does Invisalign work?
Using 3-D computer imaging technology, Invisalign creates a series of custom-made, clear aligners exclusively for your teeth, based on the treatment plan that we specify for you. Each aligner moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.

Will I experience pain during treatment?
Most people experience temporary discomfort for a few days after a new aligner is placed. This feeling of pressure is normal and is a sign that Invisalign is working by sequentially moving your teeth to their final destination.

Can other people see that I'm in treatment?
One of the benefits of Invisalign is that the aligners are clear. You can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing.

Can I smoke during treatment?
We discourage smoking while wearing the aligners as they may become discolored.

Are there any foods I shouldn’t eat while in treatment?
You can eat normally during the entire course of treatment. One of the advantages of Invisalign is that the aligners are removable. Simply take the aligners out before each meal, brush when you're finished eating, then reinsert the aligners afterward.

What about chewing gum?
We recommend removing your aligners for all meals and snacks, as gum and other chewy substances can stick to the aligners.

How often must I wear my aligners?
Aligners should be worn all day, except when eating, brushing, and flossing.

Will my speech be affected by the aligners?
As with any orthodontic treatment, aligners may temporarily affect your speech. If this does happen, your tongue will adjust within a day or two and your speech should return to normal.

How do I clean my aligners?
The best way to clean your aligners is by brushing and rinsing them in lukewarm water.

How often must I visit the office during treatment?
For most patients, visits every 4-6 weeks are frequent enough for us to determine that your treatment is progressing properly. We will provide you with a specific schedule that supports your individual treatment plan.

If you have additional questions about the Invisalign treatment, please give our office a call, or visit us on Facebook!






Top ten tips for keeping your BRACES sparklin’ clean!

July 17th, 2012




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 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 this helps, and remember to give our team a call if you ever have any questions!


-Independence Day Facts, Tips, and Party invitations!

July 2nd, 2012

It’s hard to believe, but July is already here and half of 2012 has already passed! As July 4th approaches, our team thought it would be fun to share some facts and safety tips for celebrating our country’s independence day.

Fun Facts:
• Betsy Ross, according to legend, sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee.
• The major objection to being ruled by Britain was taxation without representation. The colonists had no say in the decisions of English Parliament.
• The word ‘patriotism’ comes from the Latin patria, which means ‘homeland’ or ‘fatherland.’
• The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.
• And what could be more fitting than spending the day in a place called “America”? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, with 21,941 residents. Check out American Fact Finder.

Safety Tips:
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• To prevent a trash fire, be sure to douse the spent fireworks with plenty of water from a bucket or hose after fireworks complete their burning and before discarding them.
• Make sure fireworks are legal before buying or using them.

What are your plans this 4th of July? Share them with us! We’d love to hear what you and the rest of the community will be doing to celebrate! (Don’t forget to make sure there are no restrictions on fireworks! Check out this link to see if fireworks might be an issue for you this year.)

Also, check out these 4th of July party invitations, eGreeting cards, and delicious recipes!

July 4th eCard invitations!

Happy Independence Day eCards

Independence Day Recipes

Photo by shawnajean
Photo by shawnajean

Stay Cool with a Braces-Friendly Summer Treat!

June 27th, 2012



Summer is here! Kids and adults alike will now be spending more time outside being active and enjoying the hotter temperatures. What’s better on a hot summer day than a delicious treat that will cool you down after doing something active in the summer sun? Luckily, our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have just the thing, Watermelon Sorbet! You can find the complete recipe below:

Watermelon Sorbet

Ingredients
• ¾ cup water
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon lime juice
• 2 to 3 cups watermelon, diced, no seeds or rind
Directions
In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and lime juice on medium high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Chill this “syrup” at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, place the watermelon chunks in a food processor or blender and liquefy them. Add the chilled syrup to the watermelon puree and blend. Freeze sorbet in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately.

Happy Summer!

Orthodontic Emergency? We can help!

June 22nd, 2012


True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the 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 with our office.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you get in to see us…

The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:

Poking Wire: Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.

Loose Bracket or Band: If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.

Loose Wire: Using a tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.

Loose Appliance: If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.

Headgear Does Not Fit: Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, headgear becomes more comfortable the more it’s worn, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours.

General Soreness: When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.

Remember, after alleviating your discomfort, it is still very important that you call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem.

"What Should I Expect During My Initial Consultation?"

May 8th, 2012

Great question! When you first come in for your initial consultation we will conduct a comprehensive examination to assess your oral health. This will better enable us to determine the best treatment method for you.

Your orthodontic evaluation will consist of an oral and facial examination to assess your oral health. We will have you take intraoral and facial photographs as well as panoramic and cephalometric X-rays to help determine the proper orthodontic treatment method. Then, an impression of your teeth and bite will be taken to construct a model of your mouth. (This will help us when examining your diagnostic records).

At your second appointment, we will discuss your options with you. Our team feels it’s important to take the time to carefully examine your diagnostic records after your consultation so that we can more thoroughly prepare for your treatment. This additional preparation will ensure that you receive the best orthodontic care possible. At this time, we encourage you to ask us any questions you may have about your treatment.

If you are seeking orthodontic treatment for your child, our staff asks that both you and your child attend the initial consultation. We feel it is important that both you and your child completely understand the doctor’s recommendations before we proceed with treatment.

Give us a call today and schedule a consultation! We look forward to hearing from you!

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, from Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich

April 2nd, 2012


Visiting your dentist during your orthodontic treatment at Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy while you have braces, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. The fact is, every hour of every day in the U.S., someone dies of oral cancer, which is the sixth-most common diagnosed form of the disease. The five-year survival rate is only 50 percent, and oral cancer is one of the few cancers whose survival rate has not improved. Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to take this opportunity to remind all of our patients about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment with Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich.

Your dentist is specifically trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Please let us now if you have any questions about your oral health during your next adjustment appointment. Take care of your teeth!

“Am I Too Old for Braces?”

March 26th, 2012


Absolutely not! Orthodontic treatment for adults is becoming more and more common. In fact, the number of adults getting braces has actually climbed 24 percent since 1996! More adults than ever are realizing that orthodontic treatment is not just for kids, and can help improve the aesthetics and health of a smile of any age! In a society where appearance matters and can help make the difference between getting a job or a promotion, adults are choosing wisely to invest in orthodontic treatment.

Some of the most common reasons our adult patients come to us considering orthodontic treatment include:

• Teeth that are crowded or spaced apart, sometimes as a result of tooth decay or gum disease
• Pain or pressure from crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw
• A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly

Most of all though, adult patients come to Hilliard & Dietrich Orthodontics seeking a healthier mouth and a more confident smile! Orthodontic treatment at our Southside or Northside office locations in Lakeland, FL can be successful at any age, and adults especially can appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile.

As an adult patient, Drs. Hilliard & Dietrich recognize that you have different needs than our younger patients, and we will work with you to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.

If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, we would love to have you visit for a consultation. We understand you have a busy schedule, and will work with you to find a time that is convenient for you. Please visit our website or give our office a call to schedule your appointment today!

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!

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!

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

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.

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!

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!

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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

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!

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

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.

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!

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