Dietrich & Hilliard Orthodontics

It's your time to smile!

facebook youtube twitter
blog

Our Blog

                   

lakeland flordia orthodontist

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.

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.

Five ways you can avoid plaque!

July 10th, 2012



Our team knows nobody likes getting plaque on their teeth. Here are five other ways you can avoid that dreaded enemy of the teeth during orthodontic treatment, courtesy of WebMD.

Let’s start with brushing regularly.. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste is vital to a healthy mouth. Make sure you softly brush all the surfaces of your teeth.

Next on the list is flossing daily: a simple daily flossing between teeth clears away plaque before it can cause damage and can also clean plaque at the gum line. Plaque is known to reach the spaces between teeth.

Also, evading a trip to the dentist is probably not a great idea. Let’s say you brush and floss daily. You’re still at risk for plaque. With time, the plaque hardens and turns into tartar. Consider visiting your general dentist at least twice a year or as recommended by your dentist, and you have a lower chance of getting cavities or losing your teeth while wearing braces.

You’ll also want to stop avoiding those fruits and veggies. Believe it or not, there are foods out there that play a key role in keeping plaque off our teeth. They include apples, carrots, cucumbers and other raw fruits and vegetables. You can still eat these types of fruits and veggies if you have braces, but be sure to cut them up into bite sized pieces to avoid breaking off brackets.

Finally, before you pick up that candy bar, remember to not give in to your sweet tooth. Consuming sugary drinks or eating candy or other junk food allows sugar to stick to our teeth. The bacteria, then, becomes plaque, which turns into acid and damages our teeth. Avoiding these five bad habits keeps your plaque in check and your mouth as healthy as can be during your orthodontic treatment. If you have any questions, give us a call or ask us on Facebook!

-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.

Making Your Life Better with Orthodontics

June 15th, 2012




The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you or your child a good bite, meaning straight teeth that work well with the teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier for you to eat, chew and speak. It can enhance your dental health and your overall health, and may well improve your self-esteem. As a part of your comprehensive dental health care plan, orthodontic treatment can help you retain your teeth—and your smile—for a lifetime.


Let your smile express yourself! Nothing can show the world how happy you are quite like a beautiful smile. In fact, it’s one of the first things others notice about you, too. With orthodontics, you can be proud to flash your smile, because you’ll know that your smile truly represents your positive attitude.


Make your mouth healthy! Straight teeth aren’t just pretty, they’re healthy as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean, reducing the amount of plaque buildup and risk for gingivitis. The cleaner you keep your teeth, the longer they’ll last!


Feel free to live your life! Orthodontics is easier today than ever before, with treatment options that fit your lifestyle and schedule. We can personalize your treatment to suit all of your needs!

"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!

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!

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!

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.

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. 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!

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

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

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.

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!

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.

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!!!

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!

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!

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!

Back to top