How to Survive Halloween with Braces

October 18th, 2018

Halloween will be here before we know it! As exciting as it is to put the finishing touches on costumes and plan out the perfect trick-or-treat route, you may also be feeling a little nervous about navigating the holiday if you have a child in braces. This time of year can be a source of anxiety for parents who aren’t sure how to find that perfect balance between the food restrictions that come with braces and all the sweet treats of the season. The good news is, kids in braces can enjoy plenty of ghoulish goodies without worrying about broken brackets, bent wires, and emergency appointments While there are definitely candies and other Halloween staples they should avoid, undergoing orthodontic treatment doesn’t have to mean staring wistfully from the sidelines as other children dig into their Halloween hauls!

Every October, we celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month. This is a perfect excuse for us to remind our braces patients what candy they can safely indulge in and which they should steer clear of in order to keep their braces safe and their smiles healthy during Halloween. With that in mind, our Bennett Orthodontics team has prepared this simple guide for surviving Halloween with braces. Keep reading below for more information on this, as well as a few helpful ways to use up any leftover candy!

Candy to keep away from braces

For orthodontists like Dr. Bennett, one of the scariest things about Halloween is all the chewy candy people like to hand out. These tend to stick to brackets, bands, and wires, and can even pull parts off. Not only that, but if your child’s teeth are tender from having braces put on or adjusted, these types of treats can also be painful to chew, leading to a sore or aching mouth. Hard, crunchy candies aren’t that much better. These put a huge amount of pressure on braces, which can lead to broken brackets and bent wires. It’s worth noting that every bracket or band that has to be replaced or repaired sets the orthodontic process back a step. To keep your child’s treatment plan progressing on schedule, avoid the following:

  • Caramel
  • Bubblegum
  • Hard candy
  • Taffy
  • Licorice
  • Nuts
  • Jelly beans
  • Candy corn
  • Popcorn and caramel corn
  • Chewy candy
  • Candy and caramel apples

We know that’s a pretty long list, but don’t worry. There’s still plenty of spooktacular stuff out there for your child to enjoy!

Dr. Bennett staff working with a patient

Candy that gets a thumbs up

When it comes to braces-friendly treats, anything with soft chocolate is usually a good choice. This includes several classic candies, including:

Any type of chocolate candy bar will generally be a safe bet, as long as it doesn’t contain any caramel or nuts. Keep in mind that biting into bigger candy bars can potentially damage the braces on your child’s front teeth, so breaking large candy bars into smaller pieces is a better idea. Fortunately, Halloween is full of fun-sized and mini-sized bars, so you won’t have to worry too much about keeping braces safe!

Creative ways to get rid of leftover candy

It seems like every Easter, we find some Halloween candy still lurking around on a shelf or in a drawer. Avoid that extra little bit of spring cleaning by clearing out the candy your child can’t eat or doesn’t want right after Halloween using the following ideas.

Make cookies

Many types of candy can be substituted for chocolate chips in your favorite cookies, from the obvious choices like M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces to chopped up chocolate bars. Blondies and brownies work as a base, too. If you have the willpower, you could consider these early holiday cookies, and stick them in the freezer for a month or two. We won’t blame you for gobbling them up right away, though, as long as everybody remembers to brush and floss afterwards!

Donate it

Donating unwrapped candy is an easy way to brighten someone’s day, and it can give your child a sense of pride while helping to take the sting out of not being able to indulge in some of their favorite Halloween treats. Many charitable organizations accept candy donations, including:

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude sends care packages to U.S. troops that are stationed overseas and first responders here at home. Your child can even include drawings or letters for soldiers!

Soldiers' Angels

Soldiers’ Angels do a “Treats for Troops” event annually. You can click here to find a donation drop-off point, or find information to start a drive of your own.

Ronald McDonald House

The Ronald McDonald House organization provides a place for families to stay together when a child is seriously ill. Most locations will accept donations of unopened candy for their resident families after Halloween. You can find your local chapter here, although you may want to call ahead to find out the rules for dropping off candy before heading that way.

Put it in a pinata

Kids love whacking pinatas, and you don’t have to wait until it’s someone’s birthday to indulge them! Start a new tradition of a Thanksgiving or Christmas pinata, fill it with all your leftover candy, and invite friends over to share in the fun. If you’re particularly crafty, you can even attempt to make your own pinata as a family project. This is a good place to start.

Bring it to work

Even if they have their own surplus at home, your coworkers will appreciate a little post-lunch treat in the breakroom. You could also register your office as a Halloween candy buyback location. While it’s traditionally dental and orthodontic offices that participate, many local businesses have begun signing up as well. More information can be found here.

Send it to school

Many teachers use individually wrapped candy in the classroom as an occasional reward or learning tool. Send a bag of unopened candy in with your child, and be sure to include a note for their teacher letting them know you appreciate all they do!

Dr. Bennett staff

Happy Halloween from Bennett Orthodontics

As you can see, having a child in braces doesn’t have to take the fun out of your family’s Halloween celebrations! If you’re still unsure, our team is always happy to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you have about your child’s treatment. Whatever your plans for Halloween include, we hope it’s safe, happy, and full of healthy smiles!

Invisalign Teen

September 28th, 2018

In large part thanks to innovative techniques and improved technology, modern orthodontics has seen some amazing advances in recent years. While traditional braces are far more comfortable and less obvious than they’ve ever been, today’s teens are the most visible generation yet. Most have multiple social media accounts, chronicling their day-to-day life online. Selfies are practically a rite of passage at this point! As normal as this is nowadays, this kind of constant sharing can sometimes feel a little bit overwhelming, particularly if a teen feels their smile is less than perfect.

Here at Bennett Orthodontics, we see the unique inner and outer beauty of every patient we treat! But we also know how good it can feel to have a smile that is beautifully aligned and fully functional. Invisalign Teen is one way we can help our teen patients achieve a healthier, more attractive smile, and it offers a nearly invisible way to get there! Treatment with Invisalign Teen will result in not only a straighter smile, but an optimized bite pattern as well, making teeth more proportional, easier to keep clean, and functioning optimally.

Let’s take a closer look at what Invisalign Teen is and why it can be such a great choice for our teen patients!

What is Invisalign Teen? How does it differ from Invisalign?

The Invisalign Teen and Invisalign systems both use a series of clear, custom-made aligners to straighten the teeth gradually without any of the restrictions that can come with traditional braces. Instead of using wires, brackets, and bands to move teeth into the preferred positions, teens simply wear the aligners over their teeth and change them out for a new set weekly, or at another interval as determined by Dr. Bennett. As each set of aligners is worn, the teeth will gently and gradually shift into place, leaving patients with a straight, confident smile they’re proud of.

Although Invisalign and Invisalign Teen work the same way and share the same underlying technology, Invisalign Teen was developed with the unique needs of teen patients in mind. With input from leading orthodontists, special features were added to the Invisalign Teen system, including:

Compliance indicators

When it comes to getting great results with Invisalign, patient compliance is a critical element. In fact, it’s the single biggest factor in successful treatment. Patients must adhere to Dr. Bennett’s recommendations to ensure their orthodontic process stays on track. This includes wearing their aligners for 20-22 hours per day, every day, throughout the course of treatment

Invisalign Teen has a compliance indicator incorporated into each aligner that will fade from from blue to clear as it is used, providing a visual approximation of wear. This lets both parents and orthodontists keep track of patient use. If we find a teen isn’t holding up their end of the treatment bargain, it will usually be noticeable to us in enough time to correct compliance before treatment gets off track.

Eruption tabs

This feature accommodates the growth of the second molars in young adults, helping to keep space open for unerupted teeth and making it possible to treat a wider range of conditions with Invisalign.

Replacement aligners

Every one of us has lost or damaged something important to us before, and although we encourage our teen patients to treat their aligners with care, life just happens sometimes! There’s no need to worry if an aligner is misplaced or incurs damage. Invisalign Teen will provide up to six replacement aligners at no charge, just in case.   

Hand displaying Invisalign aligner

As effective as traditional braces

As long as patients commit to wearing their aligners the recommended 20-22 hours a day, Invisalign Teen can be just as effective as traditional braces for many of the most common orthodontic issues. The Invisalign system especially excels at treating mild to moderate cases of underbite, overbite, overcrowding, and gapped teeth. Although not every teen is a candidate for Invisalign, most will be. Bennett Orthodontics offers a complimentary initial consultation that can determine if a patient will be a good fit for this particular treatment.

Extra flexibility

Although traditional braces have made major improvements over the years, they still take a little getting used to, and food restrictions can often be on the steepest learning curves. Patients must avoid anything too crunchy or chewy to protect their braces, and popular snacks like popcorn, nuts, chips, and even some raw fruits and veggies have to go on the back burner until treatment is complete.

Invisalign aligners are designed to be removed at mealtimes, so teens are free to enjoy all the same foods they normally would, as long as they are careful to maintain a good dental hygiene routine. Even with removable aligners, it’s important to brush and floss regularly to keep food and bacteria from accumulating against and in between the teeth. 

Food isn’t the only area of flexibility that comes with Invisalign Teen. Sports can sometimes be rough if an athlete is in braces. Brackets and wires can break or come loose, causing irritation, pain, or even injury. With Invisalign, teens can remove their aligners and wear a regular mouthguard, putting the aligner back in after practice or the big game. For young musicians, there’s no worry about traditional braces getting in the way of playing certain musical instruments. The removable nature of Invisalign aligners allows for uninterrupted music making!

BONUS BENEFIT: aligners can also be removed for those all-important occasions when a teen only wants their natural smile to shine through, such as homecoming, prom, and senior pictures.

Bennett Orthodontics staff with a patient

Less time in the office

Since the aligners don’t require any adjustments, and because there are no wires or brackets that can be broken and require repair, Invisalign Teen patients will generally require less frequent maintenance and emergency visits. This can be especially beneficial to parents, since family schedules are busier than ever before these days. After the initial appointment, follow-up appointments will usually be scheduled for every six weeks.

Invisalign Teen is “clearly” the top choice for teen patients in Mobile

Invisalign Teen is designed for patients who have lost all their primary teeth, and whose second molars are at least partially erupted. Are you in Mobile or the surrounding area and have a teen you believe may benefit from the Invisalign system? Here at Bennett Orthodontics, we are known for providing exceptional, individualized orthodontic care to patients of all ages. We’d love to schedule your teen for a complimentary consultation and walk you both through all that Invisalign Teen has to offer. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation today and let us get your teen started on the kind of smile they’ll want to share with the world!

How to Protect Your Braces While Playing Sports

August 31st, 2018

Have you recently learned that your smile could benefit from orthodontic treatment?  If you play sports and have braces on your horizon, you may be feeling nervous that this will sideline you when you’d rather be out on the field or the court. Although it’s a common worry, the goods news is, this is an entirely unfounded concern! Here at Bennett Orthodontics, we treat sports-playing patients frequently. There’s no reason to stop participating in any athletics you’re involved in while undergoing orthodontic treatment, even if you’re wearing brace. Don’t believe us? Just look at Dwight Howard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Venus Williams, and Brett Favre for a small sampling of professional athletes who have continued to dominate their sports while straightening their smile. That said, you will need to take precautions to keep your teeth, mouth, and braces safe from injury and damage, particularly if you play contact sports. Let’s explore the ways you can to protect your braces - and your smile! - without having to hang up your jersey.

Avoiding injuries while wearing braces

Injuries to the mouth and jaw that occur while playing sports are fairly common amongst athletes of all different levels. Protecting your smile during physical activity is especially important when you have braces due to the increased risk of oral injuries. These may occur if your mouth or your braces are hit by a ball or another player. These injuries are typically far from life-threatening, but they can still be painful, cause serious damage, and be costly to fix. Some of the more common sports-related injuries we see include:

  • lacerations to the cheeks, lips and tongue
  • chipped or broken teeth
  • dislocation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • root fractures

Bennett Orthodontic staff working with a patient

When you are wearing a fixed orthodontic appliance like braces, it adds another element to these kinds of injuries. During a collision, braces can cut the inside of your mouth, causing lacerations. The braces themselves may also be damaged, including bent wires and broken brackets. The single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports is by wearing a mouthguard, preferably an orthodontic model. Even a basic mouthguard will help to prevent the kind of hits that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth, particularly when playing contact sports like football, wrestling, soccer, basketball, and hockey.

Even if you are wearing a mouthguard, we strongly recommend you get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible upon receiving an injury to your teeth. He or she will be able to diagnose any root or jaw bone fractures. If you are one of our braces patients, contact us after your dentist has assessed and treated any tooth damage so we can see if your braces will need to be repaired or replaced as well.

More about mouthguards

Mouthguards are easy to find, simple to use, and highly effective. For athletes who want to avoid damage to their braces and injuries to their mouth, they can’t be beat! While they are especially useful for high-contact sports, wearing them for light contact or low-impact sports is also ideal, since even a small amount of pressure on your braces can irritate your mouth, or cause small cuts or abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks.

While any mouthguard is better than not using one at all, an orthodontic mouthguard can be a worthwhile investment if you intend to regularly play sports while wearing braces. The high-grade silicone helps cushion your lips and keeps them from bumping against your teeth and braces, protecting the brackets from damage. This also stops your lip getting caught in your braces, which can be a pretty painful experience! While orthodontic mouthguards tend to be slightly larger than most regular mouthguards, the silicone makes them just as comfortable to wear.

Some orthodontic mouthguards, such as Shock Doctor and Tapout, can adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment. This simply means they re-mold to your current bite, making them a great choice for any athletes in braces, as well as those without any orthodontic appliances. Most orthodontic mouthguards are affordable, and come in strapped or unstrapped styles. We strongly recommend that any of our sports-playing patients consider having an orthodontic mouthguard to keep their teeth, mouth, and braces protected.

Bennett Orthodontic Staff

Keep your smile safe while you straighten it with Bennett Orthodontics

It’s clear that mouthguards are an affordable, effective choice for patients in braces who want to continue playing sports. They will shield your teeth as they move into their new permanent positions, and help to protect the integrity of the orthodontic process itself. While an orthodontic mouthguard is always optimal, we encourage all of our patients to wear any mouthguard at all over none when participating in athletic activities.

If you are an athlete who has an appointment scheduled to have braces put on, or someone who is relatively new to orthodontic treatment, you may be wondering what braces will mean for your sports schedule. Dr. Bennett and the rest of our talented team are dedicated to helping you continue to participate in the sports you love while straightening your smile! We work hard to provide the best experience possible to every patient we treat. From the first appointment in our Mobile office to the last, we want to exceed your expectations with every interaction. Our skilled staff are always happy to answer any questions you have, or talk through any concerns with you, so get in touch with us today and let us set your mind at ease! With the protection of a mouthguard and our support behind you, you can have the best of both worlds: the sports you love and a smile you can keep safe while we straighten it!

Teeth And Total Body Health

July 31st, 2018

Have you ever stopped to think about the effect your smile has on other people? It has more of an impact than you may imagine. In fact, when people meet you for the first time, your smile is the main feature they notice, and one of the things they will remember the most. Studies have shown that an attractive smile can make you seem more approachable and trustworthy to others. It can even make you seem more successful! Keeping your teeth looking their best is clearly important when it comes to putting your best foot forward in public, but did you know that good oral hygiene has benefits that go beyond appearance?

The way we treat our teeth can keep the rest of our body happy, too. There are a number of different ways in which oral health can impact overall health, from reducing inflammation to keeping our memory sharp. Even if you haven’t always been vigilant about brushing and flossing, it’s never too late to adopt a new oral hygiene routine! Here at Bennett Orthodontics, we want to make sure your teeth are healthy and your mouth is happy. Understanding the connections that exist between your oral health and total body health can be key to making that happen, so keep reading below to learn more!

Going beyond an aligned smile

It’s common for people to mistakenly believe that orthodontic treatment exists only to straighten the teeth for a more attractive, aligned smile, but there are many benefits to having teeth and jaws that are properly aligned. Orthodontics itself is functional in nature, offering both cosmetic and health benefits that last. Misaligned teeth and jaws can increase the risk for problems like tooth decay, TMJ pain, and chronic headaches. When left untreated, these problems can worsen, and may even become severe enough that chewing, swallowing, nutrition, and speech are affected. Orthodontic treatment can correct oral issues and give you not only a straighter smile but a mouth that is fully functioning.

Easier to keep teeth cleaner

When you have teeth that are overcrowded, food can become trapped, allowing plaque to form more easily and eat away at the enamel. This leads to cavities forming, sometimes in between your teeth, which makes them harder to see and treat since they may not be discovered until they’ve become problematic enough that you notice symptoms. A buildup of plaque can also adversely affect the health of your gums and has the potential to lead to gum disease. When you give an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Bennett the chance to address this kind of overcrowding, it will make it more difficult for plaque and cavities to form in between your teeth, preserving the long-term health of your gums and mouth.

Bennett Orthodontics staff with a patient

Improve your digestion

It might seem a little strange to think of teeth and digestion as part of the same process, but chewing your food is the first step to digestion, and arguably the most crucial one. Chewing thoroughly is an important oral habit to cultivate, as this is how your body converts large pieces of food into smaller particles that are easier to digest. This gives your intestines the chance to absorb nutrients properly. When food can’t be chewed properly because of misaligned teeth and jaws, it won’t digest as well in your stomach, and your body will have to use more energy in order to absorb all the nutrients. Jaws and teeth that are properly aligned will allow you to process your food in the most effective manner, from start to finish.

Reduce infection and inflammation

Certain studies have found some association between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. Experts suggest that the mechanism that destroys connective tissue in RA is similar to the mechanism in gum disease that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. By eating a well-balanced diet, practicing good oral hygiene, and scheduling regular dental and orthodontic check-ups, you can reduce your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. This can go a long way toward keeping inflammation and infection to a minimum, at least as far as your mouth is concerned!

Stay sharp

Recent studies have shown a link between gum disease and cognitive function. The initial stage of gum disease is gingivitis, with periodontitis being the more advanced form. Adults with gingivitis have consistently performed worse on memory and cognitive skills tests than those with healthier mouths, and periodontitis was associated with cognitive impairment in older adults. Again, regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits are easy things you can do that will help prevent a buildup of bacteria in your mouth, reducing your chances of developing gum disease.

Bennett Orthodontics staff with a patient

Keep your confidence up with a beautiful smile by Bennett Orthodontics

If your smile is what people are most likely to remember about you, don’t let them take away an image of you with unattractive teeth or bad breath! Both of these things and more can be caused by gum disease and tooth decay, which can have a very real effect on your self-esteem and self-image. When you are worried about what people will see when you smile, the level of confidence you have in yourself and your appearance can take a hit. A healthy mouth that’s free from gingivitis and cavities can not only give you a smile you love and want to share, you may even find that you’re eating, sleeping, and concentrating better, too, since you won’t have any aching teeth or mouth infections to distract you!

Are you in Mobile or the surrounding area and want more information on how orthodontics can help you achieve better oral and total body health? At Bennett Orthodontics, we provide personalized treatment plans to work with your smile and your lifestyle. Dr. Bennett uses leading-edge techniques and state-of-the-art technology to achieve optimal results, and our entire team is dedicated to giving every patient we see an amazing orthodontic experience from beginning to end. We create smiles that are not only attractive but healthy and functional as well. Get in touch with our office today to talk to a member of our team about all the ways Bennett Orthodontics can change your smile for the better!

Dentist Vs. Orthodontist For Braces

June 22nd, 2018

Many of us are creatures of comfort and do not like to branch out into something completely new and unknown. It is a big deal when you find a dentist you like and feel comfortable with! If you have been thinking about braces treatment for yourself or your child, you may be wondering if this is something that has to be done by an orthodontist, or if it is something your regular dentist can handle in his or her office.

Although there are a number of similarities between the two, they are not actually interchangeable. There are some significant differences that set orthodontists apart from dentists, and when you are contemplating orthodontic treatment like braces, it is important to understand what those differences are. In learning what orthodontists like Dr. Bennett have to offer that other dentists do not, you will be able to make an informed decision about which option is best for you and your family.

Continuing education, further training, a specific set of skills

Orthodontists and dentists both get their start in dental school. However, after graduation, orthodontists will set out on a different path, one that includes extra years of specialized training in the alignment of the teeth and jaws. Because orthodontic residency programs are extremely competitive, only the top students in any dental school graduating class will be accepted to continue toward a specialty in orthodontics. This program includes two to three years of full-time training that concentrates on orthodontic issues and how to correct them with orthodontic appliances like braces. This residency must be successfully completed before a dentist is able to claim the title of a licensed orthodontist. Orthodontists are essentially dentists who have years of specialized, additional training in orthodontics behind them. There are exceptions to every rule, but in general, most dentists will not have this same level of rigorous orthodontic training and experience. So, are dentists qualified to straighten teeth using braces or other orthodontic appliances?

stack of books

Yes, some dentists are qualified to provide basic orthodontic care. But...

Because all dentists receive some basic orthodontic training in school, there are some general dentists qualified to provide orthodontic care to their patients. These dentists will often take continuing education seminars and acquire extra orthodontic experience through workshops.  But since workshops and seminars have no way to go over such extensive and specific material in depth, it is a bit of an imperfect system.

If your dentist does offer orthodontic care, it is only natural that you would consider using them for braces. But before you choose to move forward with treatment, consider that an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Bennett will be able to:

  • provide a wide variety of treatment options, from traditional metal and ceramic braces to clear aligner systems like Invisalign, and more
  • create a customized treatment plan based around the unique needs, anatomical characteristics, and desired results for you or your child
  • offer more efficient treatments and visits, since orthodontics is the only focus
  • deliver the best possible outcome, particularly for cases that are more complicated or severe

At Bennett Orthodontics, providing the utmost in orthodontic care and treatment is our only specialty! We put a tremendous amount of time and energy into perfecting our techniques and creating a safe, comfortable environment for our patients. We use leading-edge techniques and state-of-the-art technology to perform teeth straightening procedures daily, and our entire team is committed to providing only the very best in individualized orthodontic care.

Specialized treatment for beautiful straight smiles that last a lifetime

Have you ever heard the saying, “just because it can be done, does not mean it should be done?” While it is always up to you as the patient to choose your care provider, there is something to be said for a doctor with the most specialized education, training, and experience when it comes to something as important as your smile. Having a general dentist perform specialized orthodontic work is a little bit like a general physician performing open heart surgery - is it possible? Sure! Is it something you want to take a chance on? Maybe not.

An orthodontist like Dr. Bennett puts emphasis on the most optimal treatment approaches, those that will help us avoid any unnecessary complications. With the training and experience to notice some of the smaller things a general dentist might overlook, orthodontists are able to recommend treatment plans that are time and cost-effective, and will also reduce the chance of any complications developing. Bennett Orthodontics has everything you need for the best orthodontic experience, with customized, long-term care plans to see you through the treatment process, from braces and beyond!

girl with braces holding heart

Bennett Orthodontics offers the best braces experience in Mobile

Our sole specialty at Bennett Orthodontics is orthodontics. Dr. Bennett and the rest of our skilled staff have the kind of expertise and experience necessary to give you nothing the best quality, cost, and efficiency in braces treatment. Choosing to receive orthodontic care is a big decision, and we know that it can often be a step outside your comfort zone. Our team will go above and beyond to make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed from the moment you walk in our door. We want your orthodontic process to be as rewarding as possible! 

If you are in Mobile or the surrounding area and would you like to see this kind of excellent care in action, why not schedule a consultation with us? After a comprehensive examination, we would love to outline a personalized treatment plan for you and explore all the ways braces can benefit your smile. Even if you decide not to get braces, we are happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have in order to make an informed decision. If you are ready to take the first steps towards a beautifully aligned and fully functional smile, get in touch with us today!


May 29th, 2018

Most of us text more than we talk these days, and with many businesses offering appointment reminders, donation prompts, and calls to action delivered right to your phone, it is become an even more convenient tool for staying connected. Now Bennett Orthodontics is making oral care a whole lot more accessible by offering Rhinogram, a text-based technology that allows our office to provide virtual orthodontic consultations! Imagine the ease of consulting with an orthodontist without having to take time off work, or even leave your home, and second opinions are a cinch when all you have to do is text with one of our orthodontic specialists. Let us take a closer look at what exactly Rhinogram is, and how you can benefit from this innovative tool.

What is Rhinogram?

Rhinogram is a tech-savvy communication tool that connects you with our orthodontic practice when you need trustworthy care delivered quickly from the comfort of your own home. This patient-focused service requires no downloads, no sneaky sign-ups, and there is never any cost to use it. It is also compliant with HIPAA, so you can be assured your personal information will be kept safe and confidential. No referral is necessary, you simply reach out to us as needed and we will be in touch with you as soon as we can.

How does it work?

Rhinogram could not be easier! To initiate your free virtual consultation, text us the following photographs

  • frontal
  • RIGHT close up
  • LEFT close up
  • upper
  • lower

and include a brief summary as well as any questions you have about the orthodontic issue you are experiencing. We will review these and respond as soon as we are able to, as well as provide you with any further instructions from Rhinogram. The initial advice you receive from us will be an estimation, and not in-depth specifics. In order to develop a customized treatment plan, more records and photographs will be necessary. 

lower teeth

What are the benefits of Rhinogram?

Aside from the convenience and ease of texting with an orthodontic practice like ours, Rhinogram provides our team with the opportunity to practice a more patient-focused approach via real and conversational texting. Texts are sent and received through our existing office number, and used for everything from scheduling and following up appointments to answering a variety of questions regarding orthodontic issues and care. Rhinogram is a secure channel with a personal touch, and because every conversation is stored in one place, all of our team members are able to stay on the same page of each case. No more repeating yourself!

bottom of teeth

Text Bennett Orthodontics with Rhinogram

We are so excited about this new system we are offering, and we think you will be, too! For current patients, we can schedule and reschedule appointments, follow up after appointments, and answer treatment or insurance questions using Rhinogram. If you are not yet a Bennett Orthodontics patient, Rhinogram gives us the chance to potentially offer a preliminary diagnosis and treatment plan before we even see you in our Mobile office! We can engage with you and meet your needs before you ever become a patient, a much desired and entirely necessary service in today’s world. To learn more about Rhinogram, how to use it, and all the ways it can enhance your relationship with our orthodontic office, get in touch today!

Orthodontic Options for All Ages

April 17th, 2018

While most of us think of tweens and teens when we talk about braces, orthodontic treatment is for patients of all ages. About 25% of current orthodontic patients are adults, and the American Association of Orthodontics recommends a child have their first orthodontic evaluation before the age of seven, which just goes to show that you are never too young, or too old, to improve your oral health. Whether you are a child, a teen, or an adult— Bennett Orthodontics will provide you with quality orthodontic care so you can have a beautiful and healthy smile that lasts a lifetime!

Whether you are looking for information on interceptive treatment for your child, braces for your teen, or orthodontics for yourself, we have you covered at Bennett Orthodontics. We even created this guide to orthodontics for all ages to get you started!

Children and Orthodontics

There may not be an exact minimum age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, but the American Association of Orthodontists still recommends that children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven. Most children have a mix of both primary teeth and permanent teeth at this age, which makes it easier for experienced orthodontists like Dr. Bennett to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems early. This lessens the chance of them requiring more serious treatment because the problems became more severe on down the line. At Bennett Orthodontics, this interceptive treatment allows us to:

  • help avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
  • correct bad habits like thumb or finger sucking
  • help improve minor speech problems
  • correct and guide the growth of a child’s jaw to help permanent teeth come in straight
  • regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • create more space for crowded teeth

Just simply looking at your child does not let you know whether or not they may need orthodontic treatment. Many dental issues are not visible on the surface, which means outward appearances can be deceiving. We will be checking for several potential problems that could indicate a need for treatment during your child’s initial orthodontic evaluation with us, like:

  • teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
  • jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
  • crowded front teeth from around the age of seven or eight
  • baby teeth earlier or later than normal
  • difficulties with chewing or biting food
  • mouth breathing
  • finger or thumb sucking
  • crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing

The first step in giving your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future is scheduling their first orthodontic exam with us.

Girl smiling

Teens and Braces

You likely have a lot of questions and concerns if you suspect your teen may be in need of corrective orthodontic treatment. Your teen may be feeling worried when considering braces, and you may be feeling nervous. This should only be a short-lived reaction! By showing you how the bulkier, more awkward metal braces of the past have evolved into braces that are smaller, sleeker, and far more comfortable than ever before, our Bennett Orthodontics team can help set your mind at ease. By choosing from the variety of styles, materials, and colors available, teens are able to show off their personality.

We offer a wide variety of orthodontic appliances that teens can choose from, both fixed and removable:

  • Ceramic braces
  • Invisalign clear aligner therapy
  • Traditional metal braces

“How long will I have to wear braces?” is the question we hear from teens the most. Since treatment time is on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the severity and goals of each patient, there really is no concrete answer for it. However, since a few common key factors determine the amount of time it will take to treat their smile with braces, we can estimate how long it might be.

Early treatment — In order for us to be able to recommend further orthodontic treatment if necessary, we need to monitor the growth of the jaw. We can cut down the total time needed in braces by a considerable amount when we catch the problems in the early stages.

What needs correction — Because patients react to treatment in different ways, what may take one patient twelve months to correct may take another patient twenty-four or even thirty-six months. The amount of treatment needed to correct a problem is what will determine how long the process itself takes. How quickly your teen’s body responds to treatment also plays a key factor in the time it takes.

Your teen —  By sticking to Dr. Bennett’s recommendations, teens can help keep their treatment time to a minimum by taking good care of their appliance, and maintaining a thorough dental hygiene routine. Completing the treatment as quickly as possible all depends upon compliance!


Adults seeking out orthodontic treatment later in life is becoming more and more common. We often better understand the importance of maintaining oral health, and want to feel better about our overall appearance as we get older. Adults are able to take advantage of more modern treatment options, which offer discreet but effective ways to straighten smiles, including clear braces and clear aligner systems like Invisalign.

Adult patients seeking orthodontic treatment often have one or more of these common issues:

  • any abnormal jaw pain, or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth
  • the desire for a healthier mouth, straight teeth, and a more confident smile
  • a bad bite (malocclusion) causing the teeth to fit together incorrectly
  • the teeth are too crowded, or spaced too far apart

Young woman with clear braces

A Difference in Ages

In younger patients their jawbones are still developing, which makes less invasive treatment more likely to be successful. This is the biggest difference in treating adults when compared to children and teens. The possibility of orthognathic surgery to align the jawbones is prevalent in adults because their jawbones have stopped growing. Other differences can include:

Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Patients with straighter teeth are much less likely to encounter gum disease. Adults are naturally more likely than children to experience gum recession or bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease.

Worn or missing teeth — Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt, creating a bad bite and increasing the possibility of gum disease. Over time, teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care.

Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Teeth that have been straightened are likely to have shifted over the years. Adults often choose to complete or redo their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they have always wanted. They may have stopped orthodontic treatment as a child or teen and never completed the process, or they did not wear their retainer as directed after completing treatment.

Dr. Bennett will work closely with you to ensure you or your child receive the most appropriate treatments based on your particular needs. Our team will guarantee you are met with understanding and respect throughout the treatment process. Bennett Orthodontics recognizes that adults and children require different levels of attention and care because they have different orthodontic needs.

Orthodontic Treatment for You, Your Teen, or Your Child

Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Flossing and brushing works better with properly aligned teeth, and may also help prevent other health problems.

A straighter smile can build confidence — Your self-confidence, will be boosted from orthodontic treatment, resulting in a better quality of life and sharing your smile with the world.

Untreated issues can get worse — Long-term health issues will end up costing you more time and money in the end if you avoid orthodontic treatment when it is recommended for you.

Whether you are seven or seventy, Bennett Orthodontics is all about putting patients first! We work hard to create beautiful smiles for all ages in a relaxed, family-friendly environment. If you are in the Mobile area, get in touch with our conveniently located office to find out more information on what orthodontics have to offer you and your family. Schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Bennett and our team, so we can invest together in a smile that lasts a lifetime!

Orthodontic Emergencies

March 22nd, 2018

Emergencies are scary, especially when they involve us. When it comes to true orthodontic emergencies, fortunately, they are rare. Our team at Bennett Orthodontics works hard to ensure that your orthodontic treatment is as comfortable as possible. When you first get braces or when they are adjusted, it is normal to feel some slight discomfort. However, occasionally you may encounter a problem that causes more severe pain. Typically, these kinds of problems can be resolved at home, giving you immediate relief and eliminating extra trips to the office. That being said, a true orthodontic (or dental) emergency can happen, and if so, it will need immediate attention. Let’s look at what constitutes a true orthodontic emergency.

True dental emergencies may include:

  • Major trauma or injury to the teeth, face, or mouth
  • Infection, swelling and/or bleeding of the gums, mouth, or face
  • Severe unmanageable pain in the mouth

If any of these situations should arise, seek the help of your general dentist as soon as possible. Depending on the injury, heading to the emergency room may be your best option. Once you have attended to the emergency situation, call us to set up a follow-up appointment.  We will evaluate your appliances and adjust your orthodontic treatment plan as needed.

Minor orthodontic emergencies and remedies

The great news is that the vast majority of orthodontic problems are considered minor even though they are painful. In these cases, you may be surprised to learn that you can temporarily resolve many of these problems and the discomfort that comes with them right from your own home while you wait for your next appointment. Listed below are some possible orthodontic situations and how they may be remedied at home.

broken retainer

Loose/Broken Brackets, Bands, or Wires

Generally, loose or broken brackets are not an urgent problem. If the broken piece has come off, put it in a plastic bag and save it for your next appointment. If the bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it alone and call our office. If it is irritating or scraping the inside of your mouth, you can cover it with orthodontic wax. Either way, be sure to give us a call, so we can determine what your next steps should be.

Misplaced or Poking Archwire, Bracket, or Tie

As your teeth begin adjusting to treatment, the wire may stick out and irritate your cheeks. If this happens, the wire can often be moved into a better position by using a pencil eraser or Q-tip. If you choose this option, be sure to dry the area first with a cotton swab or paper towel. If misplaced wires or ties are causing you trouble, you may be able to put them back with a pair of tweezers cleaned in rubbing alcohol. If you notice one of your elastic ties is missing, there is no need to call our office.  We will replace the ties at your next scheduled appointment. If any wires or brackets are irritating your mouth, you can cover them with orthodontic wax for temporary relief. Additionally, you can gently trim some wires using nail or wire clippers cleaned with rubbing alcohol. If you are unable to resolve the issue, please give us a call.

General Tooth Pain or Loosening

When you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is common to feel that your teeth are loose – this means they are moving! Sometimes, this can be accompanied by tenderness. For minor soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever. A twice-a-day salt water rinse may also help. Mix one teaspoon of salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water and rinse for thirty seconds. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief. Topical numbing solutions such as Ora-base are helpful to alleviate ulcer pain.     

Broken Retainer

Retainers are not indestructible. It is possible for the metal or plastic parts of your retainer to bend or break. If this happens, stop wearing the retainer immediately and give us a call. If the retainer has broken, collect all the pieces in a plastic bag and bring them to your next appointment.  Be sure to call and schedule as soon as possible so that you are not going without a retainer for an extended period of time, as your teeth can shift.

Swallowing Braces or Appliances

Swallowing braces or other appliances tends to occur relatively infrequently. If it does occur, try to remain calm. Whatever has been swallowed will normally pass during regular bowel movements. However, if you experience difficulty breathing as a result, you should seek immediate medical attention.  

Woman at a doctor consultation

Handling orthodontic emergencies with the help of Bennett Orthodontics

While rare, orthodontic emergencies can happen. The best thing you can do in an emergency is remain calm. As a general rule, call our office first if you experience severe pain or have an appliance problem you cannot resolve at home. We will do everything we can to alleviate your discomfort and fix the problem as quickly as possible!

The journey to your beautiful smile should be enjoyable. Dr. Bennett and his team do everything in their power to provide the best orthodontic experience possible to every patient and parent. If you have any questions or are considering orthodontic treatment, please contact our Mobile, AL orthodontic office to schedule a complimentary consultation. The sooner you call, the sooner you will be on your way to a beautiful new smile. We hope to see you soon!

Braces vs Invisalign

February 19th, 2018

With so many options in the world of orthodontic treatment, you may be wondering which is best for you. Patients ask a number of questions such as: Which is more effective? Which is affordable? Ultimately, you want to choose the kind of treatment that will do the job best. The common choice is usually between traditional metal braces and Invisalign. But do you know the difference?

Here at Bennett Orthodontics, we believe in designing a treatment plan that is unique for each patient we see. With that in mind, we also believe that educated patients on an effective and specific treatment plan are satisfied patients.

Let us explain the difference between traditional metal braces and Invisalign, so we can work together to choose the best treatment plan for you, your smile, and your lifestyle!

Treatment basics

Braces and Invisalign are both designed to straighten teeth while improving your smile and overall oral health. Since traditional braces have been around for a while, most people have an idea of their composite. They are metal brackets that are glued to your teeth and tied together by wires and tiny rubber bands. However, today’s braces are more discreet and comfortable than ever before.

Invisalign is a newer treatment option (in terms of years of orthodontic treatment). This system uses a series of clear aligners that patients can remove daily. Thanks to a massive TV campaign in 2001, it started to see widespread use soon afterward.   


teen smiling with braces

The most obvious difference between braces and Invisalign is that braces are not removable. However, they are extremely efficient at fixing complex issues, and they typically work faster than Invisalign.

While treatment time varies from patient to patient, the average with braces tends to be anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. But you’ll often see signs of improvement fairly early. This can give your self-confidence a boost while encouraging you to stay the course.

One of the things that causes some people to shy away from braces is the amount of maintenance that goes into this treatment plan. There are quite a few foods to avoid, the brackets and wires need adjusting from time to time, and they can be difficult to navigate around while flossing. But the good news is there are a number of accessories available to make your oral hygiene routine easier. Additionally, the majority of issues that pop up can be resolved at home with simple tricks.

Patients will schedule follow-up visits for traditional braces every 4-8 weeks. During these adjustment appointments, Dr. Bennett will change the bands that are attached to the brackets, and the wire will also be tightened or changed. Generally speaking, you should be in-an-out in half an hour or so.

There may be some residual soreness after each appointment, but it should subside in a day or two. It’s highly important that you don’t skip these appointments.  This will most likely prolong your original treatment plan.


women using invisalign

What makes Invisalign such a popular treatment option is the fact that they are removable and invisible. Since these aligners are removable, patients can brush and floss the same as before. Another pro is that patients have to remove their aligners to eat and drink, so that means there are no food restrictions! Additionally, plastic mold are considered more comfortable and won’t irritate the mouth as brackets and wires may.

The comfortable plastic trays are virtually invisible, and the total number worn during treatment is usually somewhere between 10 and 48. Average treatment time is between 6 and 18 months, but that can vary from patient to patient. This is also based on a patient’s willingness to wear his or her aligner for the designated 20-22 hours a day because any deviation from this can prolong treatment time.

As with braces, patients using Invisalign will be expected to see Dr. Bennett every 4-8 weeks for follow-up appointments. Patients will also switch out aligners every 1-2 weeks in order to keep up with the shifting of teeth. This is an important part of the straightening process. If a patient skips appointments or doesn’t change out aligners when ready, treatment can be prolonged.

Let Bennett Orthodontics help you decide

Whichever treatment option you choose isn’t just about improving your smile but improving your overall oral health. This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, so it’s important to find a provider like Bennett Orthodontics who is experienced with both braces and Invisalign. Dr. Bennett can recommend which method will best perfect your smile and teeth. Our team has years of experience working with both braces and Invisalign, and we’ll make sure you’re an active partner in any treatment plan we design.

If you’re in the Mobile or surrounding area and are interested in learning more, get in touch with us today to schedule an initial consultation. We can help you achieve the smile of your dreams!

Smile Resolutions For The New Year

January 31st, 2018

We’re almost through the first month of a brand new year, and here at Bennett Orthodontics, we’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions and resetting our habits. There’s something about the sense of momentum this time of year that gives us the perfect opportunity to make positive, lasting changes in our lives. There’s the usual changes focusing on things like losing weight, eating healthier, or exercising more, but since we’re all about smiles, we’ve put together a couple of easy oral health resolutions to stick to in 2018!

Your oral health is an important part of your overall health, and while you may not be hitting the gym as often as you promised, or losing weight as quickly as you planned, there’s still plenty of time to embrace some resolutions that can have a lasting impact on your smile, this year and for many years to come.

mother and daughter brushing teeth

Brush up on your brushing basics

This is a pretty obvious one, sure, and it’s likely something you’ve been told over and over again since your very first teeth came in. But it really is the most important thing you can do to keep your smile healthy and functional! We recommend you brush your teeth thoroughly three to four times each day with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, aiming for at least two minutes each time.

Having an excellent oral hygiene routine is especially important when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you’re one of our braces patients, you’ll already know that maneuvering around the brackets and wires takes a little practice, and that you have to you pay special attention to the areas between your brackets and gums, making sure to carefully clean the spaces in between the wires and your teeth. If you haven’t already tried them, interdental brushes can make this a much easier job. They fit in those hard to reach spots to remove any sticky plaque and food debris you might otherwise have difficulty reaching.

If you’re currently wearing braces, here are a few reminders on how to get the best results from your dental hygiene routine:

  • use fluoride toothpaste with a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush.
  • replace your toothbrush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear.
  • brush around every part of your braces, as well as every surface of your teeth
  • look for clean and shiny braces, with the edge of the brackets clearly visible, since fuzzy-or dull-looking metal can indicate poor brushing.
  • floss every night before you go to bed, taking advantage of tools like floss threaders and waterpiks if you’re having trouble getting into the tighter spaces

There are some dental hygiene basics that are necessary to follow for successful bacterial plaque removal, whether you have braces, clear aligners, or no orthodontic appliances at all. These include things like:

  • brushing at least three to four times a day, after each meal and once before bed, using a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
  • brushing gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline, moving the toothbrush across all surfaces of the teeth to effectively remove bacteria and any trapped food particles
  • flossing at least once per day to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated throughout the day
  • replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if you have a cold or any other illness (something that is especially important during this crazy flu season!)
  • using antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes

Daily brushing and flossing will help to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath, and keep your smile shining in 2018 and beyond.  

girl with floss

Don’t underestimate the importance of good food

We’re in between the temptation of holiday treats and Valentine’s Day candies lining the shelves of our supermarkets, so there’s no better time than now to review the kind of foods you should avoid while in braces versus all the foods you can dig into! If you’re currently undergoing orthodontic treatment with Bennett Orthodontics using traditional metal braces, you should be steering clear of:

  • chewy foods like licorice and bagels
  • hard, crunchy foods such as chips, ice, nuts, and hard candies
  • sticky foods like caramels, chewing gum, and gummy candies

We know that that list can sometimes feel restrictive, but there’s so much out there you can still eat, and so much that’s good for your mind, body, and mouth. These are foods anyone can benefit from, not just those in braces or clear aligners! Consider some of the following healthy, nutrient-rich foods like:

  • Milk and other dairy products that pack a delicious, calcium-filled punch to help bones and teeth stay strong and healthy.
  • Whole grain breads and pastas that are full of the kind of complex carbohydrates that give bacteria less digestible food to grow, and also offer tons of nutrients to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • Chicken, red meat, and fatty fish like salmon that are loaded with phosphorus, an important mineral that helps to strengthen and protect tooth enamel.
  • A wide variety of fresh fruits and veggies, especially leafy greens that contain high amounts of magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and magnesium, minerals that are important in maintaining oral health.

One of the best things you can do for your smile is cut down on sugar and soft drinks! Sugar is a carbohydrate, and carbohydrates fuel the bacteria on your teeth to produce the acids that cause tooth decay to form. This is bad enough for teeth without braces, but when you add in brackets and bands, you’re giving bacteria many secret places to hide and multiply.

Soft drinks can affect both braces and aligners. Soda has both sugar and acid, a double whammy risk to tooth enamel, and it can cause unsightly decalcification if plaque that collects around the brackets isn’t removed. Small amounts of liquid seep into aligners when you take a drink, and the liquid is then held against the teeth until the aligner is removed. If the liquid contains acid, like soft drinks do, that prolonged exposure can accelerate damage to teeth.

Starting 2018 off with a smile and the support of Bennett Orthodontics

Whether you’re a past, current, or future patient, Bennett Orthodontics encourages you to start the year off right by following our simple tips for keeping your smile happy and your whole mouth healthy. We’re always here to help should you have any questions or concerns, or if you just need a little extra support sometimes. We’re hoping 2018 will be a year of healthy habits, positive changes, and beautiful smiles in Mobile, and we’re excited to share that vision with you!

Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

December 28th, 2017

After your child’s orthodontic evaluation, your orthodontist may talk about something called “two-phase treatment.” If you’ve never heard this term before, you’re not alone! Many people aren’t aware of what two-phase treatment is, and as a result, find it a little intimidating.

That said, we want to assure it is nowhere near as daunting as it sounds, and it’s actually pretty straightforward. Two-phase treatment is an orthodontic procedure that completed in two separate phases. The first phase centers around straightening the teeth, and the second stage is dedicated to physical facial changes. Since we handle everything in two phases, it allows us at Bennett Orthodontics to bring not only a healthy, beautiful smile to our patients but also a long-lasting one!

Phase I begins with a process called interceptive orthodontic treatment. In this stage, we deal with those orthodontic issues that are still in their early stages to prevent them from becoming more severe issues in the future. Usually, patients are eight or nine years of age when we start interceptive treatment because their permanent teeth are still coming in during this age. This sort of treatment is needed when serious orthodontic problems can become worse over time; when treatment is delayed, it often results in crooked or misaligned teeth and jaws.

As soon as all permanent teeth have arrived, we begin Phase II. Because it is used to perfect tooth alignment, it can’t be done if baby teeth are still present.

We want to set your mind at ease about a common concern regarding two-phase treatment: two-phase treatment is not a clever way to apply two sets of braces. It also does take twice as long or incur twice the expense. We also try to avoid two-phase treatment whenever possible; however, some patients genuinely need it for long-lasting results.

Are you still a little unsure of what two-phase treatment entails and want a bit more information? Let’s go into greater detail to address any questions or concerns you may have about two-phase treatment.

Phase I

When an intervention is needed prior to regular orthodontic treatment, we begin Phase I. This phase includes the use of orthodontic devices, partial braces or retainer-like devices. These devices are used for three reasons: to correct the current problem, prevent future potential problems, and adjust the child's growth and dental development.

Smiling boy with bracesSince Phase I treatment takes places between the ages of six and ten, patients generally still have some of their baby teeth while they are getting their permanent at the same time. Due to this, Phase I treatment is only recommended when there’s a dental development issue or a dental or jaw development problem which would considerably worsen if left untreated.

Thankfully, the majority of children do not require orthodontic treatment in this early part of their lives. To be sure about your child’s dental development, the American Association of Orthodontics and our own Dr. Bennett highly recommend children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by age seven. The most certain way to be sure your child's growth and dental development are progressing as planned is to have that early consultation with our experienced, friendly orthodontist.

So, what kind of dental issues require Phase I treatment? The most common reasons are jaw development, gum or periodontal health, tooth alignment, and crowding and spacing issues. It’s also widely recommended for the following dental issues:

  • underbites
  • open bites (situations in which the front teeth do not contact or overlap)
  • severe crowding or spacing of the teeth
  • dental crossbites
  • skeletal crossbites
  • disproportionately overlapping or deep bites
  • jaw growth or jaws that are not in proportion to each other
  • severely protruding teeth
  • the instance of unhealthy oral habits, such as extended thumb-sucking, bottle, or pacifier use

For some special cases, an additional treatment phase will be necessary after Phase I. While Phase I is a little longer because it is doing early intervention, Phase II is usually much shorter. Of course, anytime you treat a dental difficulty proactively, you make the issue more manageable and make them less time consuming later.

A period of rest

After Phase I, teeth are not yet in their final positions; Phase II is where they are aligned to their permanent positions. Therefore, we take a period of rest in between the two phases to let the remaining adult teeth erupt.

Phase II teen girl in braces relaxing

Once Phase I and the resting period are done, patients begin Phase II. This phase will seem a bit more familiar to most people as it pertains to installing braces on the upper and lower teeth. Since not all tooth and bite-related problems can be attended to in Phase I, your orthodontist will properly align the jaw and straighten the teeth with braces in Phase II.

During this phase, we pay extra close attention to be sure that each tooth has a dedicated, optimum place in the mouth so it can live peacefully among the lips, tongue, cheeks, and of course, other teeth. By using orthodontics, we can create this environment and teeth finally work together as they are meant to do.

After treatment

Treatment isn’t over yet! Once you’ve finished your two-phase treatment, your orthodontist will recommend retainers to maintain your results. Consistently wearing your retainers as directed will hold teeth in their new, straight positions, so your smile is healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Undergoing two-phase treatment with Bennett Orthodontics

Though it’s not required for every child, for those that need it, two-phase treatment can prevent the need for more aggressive orthodontic treatment later in life. Proactive, preliminary treatment is the surest way to achieve long-lasting results.

If your child is reaching the age of seven and has not yet had his or her first orthodontic evaluation, or if you are looking for an orthodontist in the Mobile area, come visit us at our convenient office location today! We’ll get you started with a free consultation to see if your child needs two phase treatment. Our team is eager to meet you and help you get on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile.

Wisdom Teeth and Braces

November 22nd, 2017

If you’ve recently learned that your smile could benefit from an orthodontic treatment like braces, you’re likely to have a list of common concerns as long as your arm. Will they hurt? How long will you need to wear them? Are there going to be foods you have to avoid? Will you still be able to play sports or participate in band? Is it possible your wisdom teeth could affect that straight smile you’ve worked and waited for so patiently?

Wait, wait, hold on. Wisdom teeth?

Absolutely! Wisdom teeth may not be the first thing you think of when you’re contemplating braces, but this is a question we deal with fairly often here at Bennett Orthodontics. When patients get close to successfully completing their orthodontic treatment, and then notice their wisdom teeth coming in, it can really kick their anxiety into overdrive.

What if the wisdom teeth move the ones they’ve just straightened out?! Will this ruin the results they’ve worked so hard for? Can these additional teeth really exert enough pressure that other teeth are moved as a result? Because both parents and patients alike often inquire about this subject, today we’re going to take a look at if and how wisdom teeth can impact braces treatment.  

Can wisdom teeth impact your professionally straightened smile?

The timing of wisdom teeth is what lies behind much of this worry. Because they typically make an appearance in the later teen years into early adulthood, some patients will see a slight shifting of the teeth, also known as a relapse, around this time as well. But are wisdom teeth the culprit?

The general consensus is no. For example, the University of Iowa conducted research on this subject, and found that the wisdom teeth don’t actually exert enough pressure on the teeth in front of them to cause them to shift. Their study involved placing sensors between the teeth that were able to compare the pressure on them with and without wisdom teeth. There was no difference between the two.

That our teeth tend to shift a bit when we’re around 17-21 years of age is undeniable, though. If wisdom teeth aren’t a key factor in that, then what is?

Laughing teenage girl with bracesThe biggest reason is actually quite simple: we get older.

As we age, our teeth will begin to show some signs of general wear and tear. Our teeth may begin to overlap more as a natural drifting occurs, moving them slightly forward. As these teeth begin to overlap, the upper teeth can press the lower teeth in towards the tongue. There’s also some residual jaw growth that can happen around this time, forcing the teeth into positions that could be slightly undesirable.

If you’re new to braces, you’re about to hear over and over how important it is to wear your retainer faithfully after your braces come off. This is the biggest reason why! Wearing your retainer as directed by your orthodontist is the single best defense in helping your teeth stay as straight as possible after treatment.

The basics of wisdom teeth

You may not need to worry about wisdom teeth wrecking your smile, but it’s still important for you to understand how they can impact your overall oral health.

When wisdom teeth begin erupting, there are quite a few potential problems that can accompany them.

  • If wisdom teeth only partially emerge, a flap of skin can form there, partially covering the wisdom teeth and trapping food and eventually bacteria. This can cause tooth decay or gum infections.
  • If for any reason, you don’t have enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to fully erupt, they can become impacted, getting stuck in your jaws and gums and unable to break through the surface.  
  • If your wisdom teeth do become impacted, sometimes painful cysts can form, some of which can cause infection and decay to surrounding tooth roots.
  • If the back of your mouth is particularly crowded, wisdom teeth might come in at an awkward angle and rub painfully against your cheek.

By far, the most common problem with wisdom teeth is that many patients just don’t have enough room for them when they begin to erupt. And even if you do have room for your wisdom teeth to come in, they can be so far back in the mouth that it’s hard to properly brush and floss them. This is actually one of the leading causes of oral decay and gum disease in the back of the mouth!

smiling Hipster girl in glasses and braces making a selfshoot on wooden backgroundAs mentioned, wearing your retainer consistently after completing orthodontic treatment, as well as scheduling an appointment at the first sign of wisdom teeth, is the best way to avoid any of these potential problems. Keeping up with regular visits to your dentist or orthodontist is an excellent preventative measure, as well, especially if they include periodic x-rays to check the positioning of the wisdom teeth. This can help determine whether they’ll be likely to create problems later on.

Summing it all up

  • Problems like overcrowding can usually be diagnosed early on, long before the wisdom teeth erupt. This is one reason we recommend seeing an orthodontist for an evaluation by the age of 7.
  • Wisdom teeth can be removed while wearing braces. If they start to come in during the course of your orthodontic treatment, you’ll be able to continue easily and without interruption.
  • That said, not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. If there are no apparent problems with yours, there won’t be any reason to remove them. No need to fix what isn’t broken!
  • Once your treatment is complete and your braces come off, wear your retainer every night. We can’t emphasize this enough! Wearing your retainer will keep your teeth straight, but only if you wear it on a daily basis and as instructed by your orthodontist.

Changing lives by changing smiles

At Bennett Orthodontics, transformation is a key concept for our team. It’s no secret that a great smile is consistently linked to both professional and personal success. Straight teeth in the correct position, coupled with excellent oral care, is not only an aesthetically pleasing sight, but a confidence booster as well. Every day, we’re fortunate enough to witness our patients transform from self-conscious to self-confident thanks to a healthier, straighter smile!

Are you in the Mobile area and looking for more information on how your wisdom teeth can impact your orthodontic treatment or overall oral health? If so, get in touch with us today to schedule an initial consultation! We’re happy to sit down with you and discuss any questions or concerns you have. We would love to make you and your smile feel right at home!

What Age Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

October 26th, 2017

Is there a more iconic image of orthodontics than that of the awkward teenager in bulky metal braces? It’s a stereotype with staying power, for sure!  It can be surprising to learn that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a child have their first orthodontic evaluation by or around the age of 7 - and we agree! Having an experienced orthodontist examine your child when they still have their baby teeth and their mouth is still developing allows them to pick up on any potential issues early on.

Catching these issues before they become a problem can help prevent any negative impact on the future permanent teeth. This is called preventative care, and it’s something we strongly believe in at Bennett Orthodontics. It can have such a positive impact on the oral health of our younger patients when we’re able to diagnose and treat issues before they become a big deal!

During this initial evaluation, we’ll be looking for a number of issues to determine if treatment will be needed now or in the future. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

Tooth Loss and Eruption

Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, are the placeholders for permanent ones. The transition from primary to permanent is an important one, with most baby teeth falling out in a relatively specific order. If there’s any significant deviation from that pattern, it could signal a developmental issue that needs attention.
By the age of 7, your child should have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth, including at least four permanent molars and two to four permanent incisors. If they have more or less than this, there’s potential for problems with missing, crowding, or extra teeth. Sometimes removing a primary tooth early, or maintaining a space where a tooth has been lost prematurely, can prevent bigger problems later on down the line.

Crowding and Spacing

Front teeth gaps You’ll often notice fairly early on in your child’s life if they already have or will have problems with excessive crowding or spacing of their teeth. Spacing issues can show up when a tooth is lost prematurely, where one has never developed, or if your child has teeth that are too small or too spaced apart. Crowding can be treated by an experienced orthodontist, like Dr. Bennett, who will often expand the arches or remove teeth to open up the mouth.


Teeth can be, and very often are, successfully aligned at older ages. It’s important to note, however, that crooked teeth are more susceptible to uneven damage and wear. Allowing them to go untreated for years can affect the shape and position of the surrounding gum tissue, which compromises it. Aside from healthier gums and a straighter smile, correcting crooked teeth at an earlier age has the added benefit of promoting a more positive self-image.

Overbite or Protrusive Front Teeth

There are some obvious cosmetic concerns with front teeth that are obviously protruding, but there can be physical concerns, as well. Overbites can cause pain in the jaw, and even possible speech issues. Although we aren’t always able to permanently correct an overbite until your child’s mouth has finished growing, we can help to reduce the severity of the problem, making things a little easier on them until that growth is complete.


Underbites are generally caused by either tooth or jaw problems. The most difficult scenario is when the lower jaw grows too far forward, and with these kinds of cases, we’ll typically need to wait until the patient has finished growing to finish their treatment, around age 16. Even though there’s a waiting period involved, receiving early treatment is highly recommended. To avoid bite-shifting and damage to the front teeth, we’ll want to try and normalize the bite as much and as early as possible.
If we notice an underbite in your young child, we can do something called “jump the bite”, using braces or a headgear. This allows us to get a handle on it before they complete the treatment in their teen years. Underbite patients who receive early treatment between the ages of about 7 and 10 are much less likely to need jaw surgery at a later stage of development.

Posterior Crossbites

A posterior crossbite can cause crowding, and it can also cause the jaw shifting. If we are able to catch this in an early evaluation, we can work on expanding the upper jaw between the ages of about 7-10. This will reduce crowding, and create the kind of space needed for the front teeth to erupt. Expansion can also eliminate any shifting that’s present due to the upper jaw being constricted.

Anterior Open Bites and Deep Bites

Recognizable by the time your child is around 7, these are basically vertical problems with the bite. Bites that are too deep (the top teeth completely cover the bottom ones when biting) can be a sign of a small lower jaw. Bites that don’t overlap enough (open bites) could signal that there is a finger, thumb, or tongue habit causing dental problems. If that’s the case, we’ll happily work with you and your child on why eliminating these destructive habits early is so important for the sake of normal development.

Early evaluations equal happy smiles

Early orthodontic evaluations can play an important role in giving your child the best chance for a straighter, healthier, beautiful smile! Playing “wait and see” with orthodontics until there’s an actual problem can wind up being costlier, more time consuming, and ultimately, more painful for your child.

Most children will have lost all their baby teeth by the time they’re entering the teen years. By the time your child is finishing out their teens and heading into their early twenties, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Any orthodontic procedures performed after this point will take more time, and can sometimes involve things like tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can sometimes help prevent the need for orthodontics at all as an adult, and definitely reduces the need for extractions or surgery in the future.

Though some treatments will require that all the permanent teeth are fully erupted, interceptive treatment like these early orthodontic evaluations can make comprehensive treatment faster and better.

Early orthodontic evaluations in Mobile

If you’re in Mobile or the surrounding area, and have a child who is under or around 7 years old, why not get in touch with our experienced team at Bennett Orthodontics today to schedule an initial evaluation for them? We would love to help you and your child take the first step towards a bright and beautiful smile that will last a lifetime!

8 Foods To Avoid When You Have Braces

June 20th, 2017

colorful popsicle gradientThere are plenty of great reasons to choose braces…but there are drawbacks as well. We all know that. One of the greatest challenges you and your family will face are food choices. Because there are certain foods that are almost sure to get stuck in your braces, leading to unnecessary pain and even damage. They’re also some of the most popular and addictive foods on the planet, so it won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. It’s best to avoid:

• Gum
• Nuts
• Popcorn
• Sticky and hard candy
• Chewing Gum
• Ice
• Corn chips & Pretzels
• Hard cookies or crackers

You can still enjoy most of your favorite foods and all your favorite tastes. It just takes a little planning. Here are some treats you can still enjoy.

• Peanut Butter Cups
• Hershey Kisses (no nuts)
• Plain M&M’s
• Ice Cream (no nuts or caramel)
• Cake (no nuts or caramel)
• Doughnuts
• Plain M&M’s
• Pringles or Lay’s potato chips

Follow these guidelines and have fun snacking! – Dr. Bennett.

How to Clean Your Braces

May 2nd, 2017

Girl with braces brushing her teethYour smile—it’s what people typically notice first when looking at you. It’s also something that you’ve worked hard to perfect if you have braces. To keep your smile looking good and feeling healthy, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene, and that means properly cleaning your braces. In fact, brace-wearers are prone to more dental problems—like gingivitis and cavities—than non-brace-wearers. While it may seem too challenging or time-consuming to properly maintain your braces at home, it’s really rather easy.


Using a toothbrush, whether you choose the typical brush or an electric one, is the standard way to keep your teeth and braces clean. With braces, it’s best to opt for a brush with soft bristles and a compact head. When it’s time to brush, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle at the gum line, and use a back and forth motion. Brace-wearers should always remove elastics before brushing and sure to brush the top, bottom, and front of the brackets to remove all of the plaque and food debris. And when brushing, be sure to use a fluoridated toothpaste to decrease the risk of tooth decay.


Because food can easily get trapped in between teeth and under wires, it’s important to floss every day. There are a number of options available depending on what type of cleaning tool you prefer, from soft picks to regular dental floss.

Oral Irrigation Systems

Oral irrigation systems are also a great way to keep your teeth, gums, and braces clean. The specialized systems can be purchased at most drugstores, and they work by spraying water through a device to flush the teeth and braces—especially in hard to reach spots. But be sure to keep in mind that while oral irrigation systems are a great addition to your home oral hygiene routine, it should never replace brushing or flossing.

These few simple at-home steps can be the difference between a healthy, beautiful smile and significant dental problems. To find out more about how to properly clean your braces or to discuss the areas in which you could use some help, give Dr. Bennett a call today.


The Great Big List of Braces Friendly Foods

April 8th, 2017

Contrary to popular belief you can still enjoy many of your favorite foods while wearing braces, the key as with most things is to enjoy in moderation.  It is very important that orthodontic appliances are properly cared for during treatment.  Broken brackets can cause unnecessary appointments and will lengthen treatment time, and well no body wants that.

So To help you avoid any unnecessary problems we have compiled a list of some of our favorite braces-friendly snacks and recipes.

To begin though here is a short list of items you should avoid indulging while wearing your braces:

Hard, sticky foods such as: Ice, & hard candies. (jolly ranchers)

Popcorn, nuts, taffy, caramel, pizza crust, and anything you feel could easily get tangled in your new smile gear.  A helpful tip to avoid extra cleaning and problems is to cut foods into small, bite-sized pieces before attempting to eat.

Now for the good stuff that you can enjoy without worrying about damaging your braces. We will start with one of our personal favorites - Donuts - minus the nuts or sprinkles.

This next sweet treat is perfect for the holiday season.  Mini-Reeses Peanut Buttercup Cups Easy to make and perfectly sized. Find the full recipe and instructions on here.

TBO_facebook_ braces PBC blog treat

One of our favorite healthy braces-friendly snacks are Pizza Stone Zucchini Fries.  These delicious fries combine healthy and easy to eat zucchini slices with seasoned bread crumbs and baked for a light crunch.  Combine with your favorite marinara dipping sauce and you have a delicious and nutritious snack that will play nice with your smile gear.   The full cooking instructions can be found here. 

TBO_facebook_ zucchini blog

As weather continues to cool there is nothing better than enjoying a great big bowl of delicious soup.  We found a version that takes the best part of a chicken pot pie and makes it braces friendly.  This is an ideal meal for someone having a sore mouth kind of day.  Soft, warm, and easy to eat. Full recipe here. 

TBO_facebook_ braces soup blog

This delicious broccoli shells cheese is sure to be a crowd pleaser at any dinner table and best of all it places nice with your smile gear.  Easy to prepare, budget easy, braces friendly and delicious, what more can you ask for.  Check out the full recipe here. 


When snack time calls these Orange Creamsicle Yogurt Bites are the perfect answer.   With a can of your favorite yogurt and a box of jello you are on your way to a cool, delicious, and protein packed snack.  These are perfect for those sore mouth moments. Find the full recipe here.


Some other foods yummy that are braces-friendly include:

- Smoothies also great for sore mouth days as the cold can help take edge off of the discomfort.

- Mash potatoes are classically good and easy to eat with no risk of damaging your braces.

- Bananas are a perfectly soft and easy snack to grab on the go.

- Fresh fish such as salmon or tilapia that has been baked is always a winning braces-friendly dish.

- Don’t forget to eat your veggies like sautéed squash, steamed greens, or thoroughly cooked carrots.

- Pancakes are also perfectly soft for sore mouth days. ( just go easy on the syrup)

- Most all pastas are braces-friendly just be sure to slice into bite-sized portions to avoid getting it stuck in your smile gear.

- Non-chunky salsa ( or hummus) and tortilla chips can be a great snack that would leave your braces a mess.

- Grits - warm, soft, delicious and easy to eat make them a perfect meal for sore mouth days.

- Any type of soft bread that does not have seeds, nuts, or pieces of whole grains. If you like whole-wheat bread, look for one that has a smooth texture. Tear off the crust if necessary.

There are so many delicious foods you can still enjoy when wearing braces, for even more tasty recipes take a look at our Pinterest board. The most important thing to ensure proper care of your braces is to always thoroughly clean after eating.  Check out our great tips to help you keep your smile looking its best.


Does my child need braces?

April 5th, 2017

Smiling boy with bracesSo you think your little one may need braces, but how can you be sure? Here are a few signs that your child may need braces:

-Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all

-Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth

-Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth

-Jaws that shift or make sounds

-Difficulty with chewing or biting

The majority of orthodontic problems are genetic, meaning you inherited your space or bite problems. Others develop over time due to thumb- or finger-sucking, mouth breathing, dental decay, accidents, or poor nutrition. Another common reason is not enough room in the jaws for the teeth, so they become crowded or crooked.


 What age should my child be evaluated for orthodontic care?

Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment.  Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense.  The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7.  At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but a complimentary consultation can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

The most common time for orthodontic treatment occurs between the ages of 11 and 15.  By the age of 12, most if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted and are in place, and crooked teeth, gaps and bite issues can easily be detected.  These problems will rarely correct themselves, so this is when most parents decide to seek orthodontic treatment.  Today’s braces are more comfortable than the ones you may have worn as a child and miles more efficient, resulting in fewer check-up trips and wear time.

We invite you to come explore your child's options for orthodontic treatment with us at no charge.  Call us to schedule your free evaluation with Dr. Bennett, and start improving their smile today!



Clear Ortho Options

March 28th, 2017

When thinking about braces, many people probably picture traditional braces with metal brackets and wires. But there are actually numerous other options that can help straighten your teeth without being so noticeable. Todd Bennett Orthodontics offers a variety of clear braces that are sure to make you smile.


Clarity ADVANCED Ceramic Braces

In addition to being comfortable, Clarity ADVANCED Ceramic Braces can go virtually noticeable. The small brackets are made from a translucent ceramic material that will blend with the color of your teeth, yet work just like metal braces. In addition, they will resist staining and discoloration, giving children and adults alike plenty of confidence to smile.



For those seriously concerned about the appearance of braces, look no further than Incognito braces. Incognito braces are placed on the back of the teeth, making them practically impossible to see. The braces are completely customized for each and ever patient, thus contouring to your teeth better, which makes them more comfortable and perhaps even more effective than traditional braces.

In addition to being a secret easy to keep—no one will even know you have braces unless you decide to tell them—Incognito is backed by the latest technology, so procedures are faster, cleaner and more comfortable.



Another clear and customized option is Invisalign. Invisalign is a clear aligner system that’s custom-made for each patient. The aligners are made from a smooth, comfortable and clear plastic that is made to fit snugly over the teeth. The aligners work by gradually moving your teeth into the correct spots. Typically, aligners are changed out every week or every other week—depending on the plan mapped out by you and your doctor—and doing so is easy: there are no brackets or wires, so taking off and putting on is quick and easy.

When it comes to orthodontic care, the choice is clear. Give Dr. Bennett a call today to find out more about which option works best for you.


Love Your Teeth

February 14th, 2017

Smiling girl in front of white wallToday is all about showing some love to those you care about, and your teeth shouldn’t be left off the list. Once your permanent teeth come in, they are with you for a lifetime—at least they are supposed to be. So taking care of your teeth and gums is critical in order to maintain the best oral health possible and avoiding tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know to show your teeth some love this Valentine’s Day.

Get a Good Routine

Maintaining a healthy oral health regimen is all about getting into a routine. Set aside at least two minutes twice a day to brush. Follow up one daily brushing with flossing. Part of the routine should also include routine dentist visits, which should occur every six months.

Don’t Slack With Braces

Having braces doesn’t mean it’s ok to stop taking as much care of your teeth. It’s important to take care of your teeth before, during, and after braces to keep your teeth and gums healthy and avoid irreversible damage. While taking care of your teeth is more difficult with braces, it’s as critical as ever to maintain a proper oral health routine and avoid sticky and crunchy foods.

Why it Matters

A healthy mouth goes well beyond fresh breath and preventing cavities and gum disease. It can also mean avoiding other types of medical disorders, such as heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.

If you didn’t already have enough reasons to love your teeth, there are obviously many reasons to maintain a healthy mouth. Still have questions or concerns? Give Dr. Bennett a call today to find out more about how to take care of your smile.


New Year, New Smile

January 25th, 2017

Smiling woman For many, a new year comes with new resolutions. And why not? A new year is a great time to create resolutions—especially those that can improve your health. For brace wearers, one of those resolutions should be to start making better oral hygiene decisions. Here are a few suggestions to help you reach your goal for a healthy new year.

Brush and Floss

One of the easiest, and most obvious, ways to improve your oral hygiene is daily brushing and flossing. To remove bacterial plaque, it’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes and floss once per day. And when brushing, be sure to use fluoridated toothpaste and an appropriately sized toothbrush. Proper daily brushing and flossing can help prevent gingivitis, tooth decay, and bad breath.

Healthier Eating

Another important way to improve oral hygiene is making healthier food and beverage choices. Brace wearers should always avoid sticky foods like caramel, gum, and taffy and hard or crunchy foods like popcorn and pretzels. But keep in mind that other foods and beverages loaded with carbs and acids increase the chances of tooth decay. If you are going to consume those types of items, be sure to brush your teeth after consuming them.

Say No to Tobacco

If you’re a smoker or if you use smokeless tobacco, quitting could significantly improve your oral hygiene and overall health in general.

Schedule Dental Visits

Routine visits to the dentist can help prevent oral disease and even catch existing problems early before they become a big problem. Dental appointments should occur every six months. These timeframes allow your dentist and hygienists to best monitor your oral health and create your specific oral health care plan. And if you’ve been putting off dental work needed—such as crowns, implants, or fillings—going ahead and scheduling these required procedures now could significantly improve your oral health.

Even if you don’t currently wear braces, anyone can make a new year’s resolution to improve your oral hygiene. And if you’ve been thinking about getting braces, there’s no better time than 2017 to take the leap. If you do, you’ll be enjoying a bright new smile in 2018!



Brace Yourself for the Holidays

December 14th, 2016

Holly berriesThe holidays are here, and for most, thoughts are all about gifts, food, and enjoying time with friends and family. But if you have braces, you’re also thinking—and probably worried—about how to enjoy fun holiday treats without damaging your braces. Here’s the good news, brace-wearers: with a little bit of thought and planning, you’re sure to enjoy festive and delicious dishes that will most certainly keep you in the holiday spirit.

Foods to Avoid

Sweets are in abundance this kind of year, and the sugary, chewy, and sticky options are certainly more than tempting. For those with braces, it’s best to avoid sticky foods like caramel, gum, taffy, jelly beans, and toffee. Hard and crunchy foods like candy canes, popcorn, nuts, pretzels, and peanut brittle are also discouraged.

To keep some healthy foods on your plate, use simple ways to make them easier on your teeth and braces. For example, shred a raw carrot to add to a salad or slice an apple into thin pieces. If possible, stick with cooked fruits and vegetables, which are softer and much gentler.

Foods to Focus On

While it may seem like the list of “bad” foods is too entirely long, there are actually plenty of tempting treats on which to feast. Brace-wearers can enjoy main dishes like turkey, ham, pot roast, stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and cranberry sauce. Fulfill your sweet tooth with items like pumpkin pie, cheesecake, jello, milkshakes, hot chocolate, and eggnog.

Regardless of the holiday foods being consumed, always remember to enjoy them in small portions (if sweet and sugary) and brush your teeth twice a day.

Prep for Emergencies

Even when being careful, sometimes orthodontic emergencies still occur. If this happens and you’re away for the holidays, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible. But in the meantime, here are a few simple fixes to help you get through a holiday dilemma:

  • To fix a poking wire, use a pencil eraser or the end of a match stick to push it down. Or, put wax on it to relieve the discomfort.
  • If a bracket or band is loose, leave it in place and put wax on it.
  • If a wire is loose, use tweezers to try to put it back in place. If that doesn’t work—and wax doesn’t help—try using a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire. Be sure to clip the wire only behind the last tooth to which it’s securely fastened. To help ease discomfort, put wax on it.
  • Keep a brace hygiene kit with you at all times. The kit should include: toothpicks, floss picks, travel toothbrush and paste, mouth rinse, orthodontic wax, and mirror.


Thankful for Our Terrific Staff

November 24th, 2016

The Todd Bennett orthodontic team constantly strives to give patients the best orthodontic care available. Our group of highly trained and skilled professionals consistently develop relationships with all the people who's smiles we help craft. The usual process of patient care allows for our patients to become familiar with only some of our staff. However, the final product we deliver to each of our patients is a result of teamwork throughout the office. We are very thankful for each of our caring team members.

Here is a fun chance for you to become familiar with all of our staff members!


Name: Sharon

Hometown: Fairhope, AL

Position at TBO: Assistant

Favorite Quote: Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

Most Rewarding Aspect of the Job: The staff I work with.

What are the three things would you bring with you on a deserted island? Dr. Pepper, my husband, and sunscreen.

What’s the background image on your phone? A picture of my husband and I with our three dogs.

What celebrity would you like to put braces on? Channing Tatum.


Name: Kate

Hometown: Mobile, AL

Position at TBO: Front desk (In-house marketing)

Favorite Quote: “Everything happens for a reason.”

Most Rewarding Aspect of the Job: Getting to know patients well enough to where I know who they are when they walk in. They become friends, not just patients

What are the three things would you bring with you on a deserted island? Water, chips, and queso fundito from the bike shop.

What’s the background image on your phone? My family’s South Carolina lake house view.

What celebrity would you like to put braces on? Kirsten Dunst.


Name: Sheila Slaton

Hometown: Mobile, AL

Position at TBO: Treatment Coordinator

Favorite Quote: “I yam what I yam.” -Popeye

Most Rewarding Aspect of the Job: Meeting new patients, spending time getting to know them and their orthodontic needs, and then seeing them through their transformation.

What are the three things would you bring with you on a deserted island?

-Backpack with flashlight, lighter, sunscreen, hammer, nails, duck tape, and sunglasses.

-My Family.

-Zac Brown Band.

What’s the background image on your phone? My kids.


Name: Carrie Dunn

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Position at TBO: Chairside Assistant

Favorite Quote: “When at first you fail, try again.”

Most Rewarding Aspect of the Job: Experiencing someone’s TX from start to finish.

What are the three things would you bring with you on a deserted island? Potatoes, my husband and my child.

What’s the background image on your phone? The standard iPhone background.

What celebrity would you like to put braces on? Keira Knightly


Name: Carmen Anderson

Hometown: Mobile, AL

Position at TBO: Orthodontist

Favorite Quote: “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.”

Most Rewarding Aspect of the Job: Seeing the confidence our patients gain with their new smiles.

What are the three things would you bring with you on a deserted island? Sunscreen, water, and chips and salsa.

What’s the background image on your phone? My husband and I.

What celebrity would you like to put braces on? Will Ferrell.


Name: Jessica Dickson

Hometown: Mobile, AL

Position at TBO: Clinical Assistant

Favorite Quote: “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” - Aristotle

Most Rewarding Aspect of the Job: The relationship with my work family and the relationship with my patients.

What are the three things would you bring with you on a deserted island?

-My boyfriend, Jake.

-My son, Daniel.

-My cat, Oscar.

What’s the background image on your phone? My boyfriend and I.

What celebrity would you like to put braces on? Kit Harington (aka - Jon Snow)


Name: Jessica Bunch

Hometown: Saraland, AL

Position at TBO: Financial Coordinator

Favorite Quote: “Keep your eyes on the prize.”

Most Rewarding Aspect of the Job: Transforming Smiles.

What are the three things would you bring with you on a deserted island? Matches, knife and fishing net.

What’s the background image on your phone? The ocean.

What celebrity would you like to put braces on? Adam Levine.


Name: Jennifer Harden

Hometown: Semmes, AL

Position at TBO: Chairside Assistant

Favorite Quote: “The only way to love great work is to love what you do.” -Steve Jobs

Most Rewarding Aspect of the Job: The excitement of completion and before and after pictures.

What are the three things would you bring with you on a deserted island? Sunscreen, hammock, and my daughter.

What’s the background image on your phone? Black and white mandala.

What celebrity would you like to put braces on? Johnny Depp.





In the Game with Braces

October 3rd, 2016

Smiling girl with braces playing tennisA common misconception among youth and adults alike is that you can’t play sports with braces. But the truth is that you don’t have to sacrifice sports if you are a braces wearer. In fact, it’s pretty easy to get in the game as long as you take the proper safety precautions.


Mouth Guard
One of the top safety precautions to take as a brace wearer when playing sports is using a mouth guard. In fact, according to studies by the American Dental Association, mouth guards have been proven to reduce the risk of sports-related dental injuries.

If you’re a brace wearer, a mouth guard should be worn at all times while playing any sport—not just contact sports. There are mouth guards specifically designed for use with braces. Braces mouth guards offer a little more room than conventional mouth guards, which allows a better fit for the braces, teeth, and gums. These special mouth guards provide the same level of protection as a “regular” mouth guard. For a more custom fit for your mouth, braces mouth guards can be custom-made through the orthodontics’ office. While this option is more expensive, it does offer the most comfort for the wearer.


Beyond Mouth Guards
Protecting your teeth and gums goes beyond just wearing a mouth guard. While brace wearers can participate in most any sport, there are a few exceptions, such as boxing and wrestling, they should not partake in since the risk of getting hit in the mouth is so high. A hard hit can cause damage not just to your teeth and gums, but also to the inside of your cheek and tongue. If you do experience a hard hit to the mouth and feel like something is wrong, it’s important to stop play immediately and call your orthodontist.

Another potential issue is that even while wearing a mouth guard during play, you can still break brackets on your braces. While this shouldn’t cause you to stop play, it is important to call your orthodontist soon thereafter to replace the broken bracket so that your progress isn’t hindered.

If you have specific questions about how to best care for your teeth and braces while playing sports, give us a call today. Dr. Bennett can help you find the best solution to fit your individual need.


How Much Do Braces Cost?

September 8th, 2016

Smiling girl with bracesThere are many variables that can affect the cost of braces such as severity of needs, type of braces, and treatment plans. It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will however cover the Exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We offer many financing options to accommodate your needs and do our best to make braces treatments affordable. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

Payment Plans

It is our mission to provide you with affordable, high-quality treatment that fits your budget!  We offer a variety of payment options to meet your needs including  interest-free, low-down payment plans, as well as accepting CareCredit.  Our office accepts payments by: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Debit cards, Cash, Check.

We also offer automatic bank drafts from your checking or savings account. If you have any questions about financing or payment, we encourage you to ask us!  We will thoroughly explain your choices and work hard to accommodate your needs.


It is our goal to maximize your insurance benefits.  We accept assignment of benefits from most major insurance companies.  In addition, we are proud to be PPO preferred providers for BCBS of Ala, Delta Dental, MetLife, Cigna and United Concordia.  If your insurance covers orthodontic treatment, you will receive the benefit of reduced personal costs.  Many insurance policies have a lifetime orthodontic benefit that is separate from regular dental insurance.  Remember that insurance policies vary, and we will review your insurance to determine the appropriate course of action.

Once treatment has started, we will file your claims.  To help us with your insurance filing, please complete the insurance questions on our questionnaire. Please remember that orthodontic insurance is a benefit for you or your child.  If, during the course of treatment, your benefits change, the financially responsible party is accountable for all charges.

When considering a treatment for your smile, it is important to remember - braces are temporary but a beautiful smile is forever. Call us to schedule your free examination and discuss your smile journey today.


Back to School with Braces

August 24th, 2016

Smiling girl with braces riding a bikeBack to school can be an exciting time for many students. Yet for some students going back to school with braces means serious anxiety. But getting back into the school day routine while managing braces doesn’t have to be daunting. Make your transition to the classroom seamless with these no-fail tips.

Carry a Kit with You

With braces, going to school each day prepared to take care of them is critical. Keep a kit in your backpack or locker with the essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, wax, and extra rubber bands (if your braces require them). Make sure to have a compact mirror as well so you can easily check out your braces if something doesn’t seem right.

Remember to Brush

Your daytime routine is changing, but it’s still important to take time to brush and floss your teeth after lunch. Braces can easily trap bacteria and food decay, so it’s imperative to keep up proper oral hygiene.

 Watch What You Eat

Brace wearers have to take more care in what they eat. Lots of foods—especially those that are sticky or hard—can cause serious damage. Consider bringing your lunch to school instead of risking it with what’s being served in the lunchroom. Also, when it’s time for a snack, go for something like soft fruit, yogurt, or applesauce. That’s much better on braces than candy bars or crunchy foods.

Drink Water

If possible, keep a bottle of water with you. Frequently drinking water will rinse your mouth of food particles and neutralize acids in your mouth. 

Protect Yourself

If you play sports, always wear a mouth guard. According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety, an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to his or her teeth when not wearing a mouth guard. Not only will a mouth guard protect your teeth and your braces, but it can also help make sure your braces don’t scrape your lips or mouth. And, there are mouth guard options available specifically for athletes with braces.

Still have questions about how to care for your braces at school? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Bennett today to talk about how you can best manage your oral health and make the school year great.


This Summer: Oral Health Care

July 14th, 2016

Charming girl wearing braces with a beautiful candid smileSummertime is synonymous with fun and sun. But did you know that summer activities could cause problems with your oral health care? Favorite summer activities like swimming and cookouts can lead to significant dental issues. But don’t fret: before you cancel your family barbecue, trip to the pool, or much-needed vacation, here are a few things to consider to protect your teeth while still partaking in all of your favorite festivities.


Pool Water Problems
Swimming is, of course, a healthy activity and great workout. But, prolonged exposure to pool water can lead to dental erosion, lesions, pits, and even white spots on teeth. The frequent exposure to pool water can also interfere with the braces sticking to your teeth. To protect yourself from these potential problems, make sure your pool water is pH neutral and saturated with hydroxyapatite components. Another way to deter these problems is by drinking fluoridated water regularly.


Watch Your Sweet Tooth
Summer activities offer countless opportunities to indulge in sweets: barbecue, ice cream, sweet tea, and all sorts of other sugary and acidic foods and beverages. Not only are these treats risky for those with braces, but also for anyone as the sugar and acid can cause cavities, plaque, and loss of enamel. Instead of snacking on sweets, opt for healthy snacks like fresh vegetables. Reach for a bottle of water instead of a sugary soft drink. If there is no avoiding a sweet treat, limit it to just one time of the day instead of spacing it out throughout the day and be sure to brush after indulging.


Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated isn’t important just for being out in the summer heat. Drinking plenty of water can improve oral health too. Good hydration helps the body produce saliva, which is essential in having fresh breath, eliminating food particles, and slowing acid production.
Keep a healthy smile all summer long. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Bennett today to talk about other ways you can maintain proper oral health care any time of year.


Debunking the Myth: Adult Braces

June 29th, 2016

Smiling woman pointing to her bracesWhen you think about braces, the first thing that probably comes to mind is that they are only for children or teens. But the truth is that adult braces are becoming more popular. Today, adults make up a large portion of orthodontic patients. In fact, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 18.

There are many reasons why more and more adults are making the decision to get braces. A little known fact is that adult teeth still move and shift, just like a child’s, even if the adult had braces when they were younger. So whether you’re an adult thinking about braces for the first time or hoping a second go-around will improve some minor imperfections, here are a few reasons why getting braces as an adult should make you smile.

Boost of Self Esteem

Appearance is always important when it comes to self esteem. And everyone, no matter their age, wants a great smile. It’s one of the first things people notice when they look at you. Taking the opportunity to improve crooked teeth, a strong overbite or underbite, or fixing an improper jaw position provides a definite boost of confidence.

Better Options

There are multiple options for braces today, from regular braces and ceramic braces to lingual braces and clear aligners. That means unlike how it may have been years ago (when wearing braces meant lots of metal and big, attention-grabbing bands), today’s braces can actually go unnoticed by others, causing no reason to be self-conscious or insecure. Many of today’s options are lighter and more comfortable too.


Reduce the Risk of Health Issues

Misaligned teeth can affect an adult’s health just as easily as it can a child or teen. Living with misaligned teeth leads to a higher chance of buildup between teeth, which can cause serious periodontal disease or gum disease, as well as tooth decay, gum loss, and TMJ. Misaligned teeth can also bring about other health problems such as headaches, ear pain, and gastrointestinal problems.

It’s never too late to improve your smile. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, make an appointment with Dr. Bennett today to talk about which orthodontic treatment option is right for you.

DIY Braces: Hurt More Than Help

May 22nd, 2016

Smiling girl with bracesAlthough “Do It Yourself” projects are popular, cost-effective, and rewarding, there is one trending project you do not want to tackle on your own — straightening your teeth. YouTube tutorials featuring teenagers demonstrating how to straighten their teeth with common items such as dental floss, paper clips, and rubber bands are surging in popularity. That’s right — DIY Braces are on the rise, and the results are dangerous and less than desirable. The American Association of Orthodontists has issued a consumer alert warning against DIY braces. Take a look at why this practice is extremely dangerous:

  • Change in Tooth Color - Moving teeth on your own can result in cutting off the blood supply, leading to teeth permanently fading to brown or gray in color.


  • Inflammation - Loss of blood supply will cause the gums to become painfully inflamed and infected. This can lead to permanent loss of bone and gum tissue.


  • Root Damage - Moving teeth incorrectly can cause roots of teeth to become damaged, leading to pain, infection, and loss.


  • Tooth Loss - In some cases, DIY braces have even resulted in tooth loss! Read more here about how one person paid $50,000 to replace two front teeth after failing with DIY braces.


  • More Expensive - In the long run, the cost of trying to repair damage caused by these DIY methods is often far more than the cost of seeing an orthodontist to straighten your teeth.


Orthodontists attend a total of 10-12 years of college, dental school, and residency to learn how to properly align teeth without damaging tooth structure, gums, and bone. This is one DIY you should leave to the pros. Kids, don’t try this at home! Parents, be on the lookout for the above symptoms, and if you’re concerned your child is attempting to straighten his or her teeth on their own, contact an orthodontist immediately!

Call (251)471-8008 today to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Bennett!  We would be happy to discuss your orthodontic needs and work out a payment plan if necessary.

5 Home Remedies for Your Braces Pain

April 15th, 2016

Frowning woman at the dentist with a toothacheThe first few days after getting braces for the first time can be quite painful. But before you decide to give up and rip them off, check out these easy ways to relieve your pain without sacrificing your new smile.

1. Eat soup and soft foods
The heat from a warm bowl of soup will actually increase blood circulation and reduce the pain in your mouth. Follow it up with a cold bowl of ice cream for some icy/hot action.

2. Enjoy some ice cream
Finally there’s a reasonable excuse to eat ice cream for dinner. Eating cold, soft foods like ice cream will help to reduce swelling and inflammation of your gums. Orthodontists say to enjoy this well-deserved treat 1 to 2 times a day to bring down the pain and to give you some relief.

3. Use a soft bristle toothbrush
Just like a new, soft blanket feels better than that rough blankie you’ve been holding onto for years, replacing your old toothbrush with a soft bristle toothbrush gives you comfort and will allow you to brush your teeth without hurting your sore gums.

4. Rinse with warm salt water
Add a pinch of salt to a warm glass of water and gargle. Doing this every day will help with the pain, and it makes a really cool noise.

5. Apply orthodontic wax to irritated areas
Applying wax to the metallic part of your braces helps to reduce the friction. This is especially great at night because it will help you get better sleep. The soft wax prevents the metal from scraping against your skin causing blisters and sores.


If you have any questions about your new braces and need more advice on reducing the pain, feel free to contact us! If you do not already have braces and are considering orthodontic treatment, contact Dr. Bennett today to make an appointment. We look forward to helping you with your smile journey here at Bennett Orthodontics!


4 Misconceptions About Orthodontists

March 9th, 2016

Smiling girl at dentist's officeWe all make excuses about why we don’t want braces: they take too long, they’re too painful, I’m too old, etc. But truthfully, orthodontic technology has changed so much over the past 15 years that many of these myths are no longer true. We’re here to debunk these 4 misconceptions about Orthodontists.

Orthodontist vs. Dentist

The roles of Dentists and Orthodontists are actually very different. After becoming a General Dentist, an Orthodontist will go back to school for 2 to 3 years to specialize in Orthodontics only. Most dentists never acquire these special skills. You would never go see an Orthodontist to get a cavity filled, just like you shouldn’t go see a Dentist to have your braces adjusted.

Contrary to popular belief, adults are great candidates for braces. Adult teeth still move, just like your children’s. Crooked teeth can be caused by any number of reasons, making orthodontic treatment pertinent at any age. There is an orthodontic option for every lifestyle: some are clear and fixed to the teeth, some go behind the teeth, and some are clear and removable, like Invisalign.

People seeking re-treatment will often say that their teeth have shifted over time, often as a result of not wearing a retainer. Others say that when their wisdom teeth came in, it caused their teeth to shift. In actuality, most wisdom teeth never make it into the mouth and remain buried under the gums, having no real effect on the rest of your teeth.

Depending on your case, orthodontic treatment may not take as long as you thought it would. Treatments can range from 6 months to 2 years. Technology has developed over the past 15 years to allow for more efficient tooth movement with virtually no discomfort.

If you are considering orthodontic treatment, make an appointment with Dr. Bennett today to discuss your options.

We look forward to helping you with your smile journey here at Bennett Orthodontics!

Kate Stringfellow: Meet Our Friendly Multi-Tasker

February 16th, 2016

Kate Stringfellow | Bennett Orthodontics

Walking into the lobby of Bennett Orthodontics, you will be greeted by our very own Kate Stringfellow. Kate is one of our loyal employees who has been helping our office run smoothly and happily for over five years.

Kate is a talented multi-tasker who can handle scheduling appointments, answering the phone, and welcoming patients all at the same time — and while wearing a smile! She is always lending a hand to everyone around the office. We here at Bennett Orthodontics are lucky to have such a caring employee.

Kate says, “I love being able to get to know patients and watch them grow up during the orthodontic treatment. I also love being able to learn every patient so I can greet them individually when they come into the office.”

To help you get to know Kate, here are some fun facts about her:

Favorite Hobby: Traveling
Favorite Movie: “Friends with Kids”
Favorite Food: Cupcakes
Pets: Molly (a border collie) and Angel (a chorkie)
Alma Mater: University of South Alabama

Thank you for your hard work and dedication, Kate! We are so happy to have you on our team


The Elf on the Shelf Visits the Orthodontist - Part II

December 21st, 2015

Last year, our good pal and most favorite elf (we’re a little partial because he brings us homemade Christmas cookies), Braces Brad, started his magical smile journey with Bennett Orthodontics by getting braces! Ever since, we’ve seen his smile get brighter and brighter with every appointment he’s made. Let’s take a look at the adventure that took place at his last appointment with us:

’Twas the day of his appointment so he left his small house,
He arrived and checked in with a click of a mouse.
…And then he remembered there was an arcade and decided that was way more important than rhyming!



Besides sitting on the shelf and making toys, playing Pac-Man in our arcade while he waits for his turn is one of Braces Brad’s most favorite hobbies! You better watch out — he’s pretty good at it! Those small, nimble hands and keen eyes (great for toy building) come in handy when playing video games.



After beating a few thousand levels in the arcade, he went to our teeth-brushing station and brushed and flossed his teeth and made sure he got all the gingerbread he had for lunch out of his brackets. After all, he wanted our technicians and Dr. Bennett to see how great his teeth are looking and didn’t want any leftover food to get in the way of a proper adjustment!

After his teeth were squeaky clean, Braces Brad skipped joyfully into Dr. Bennett’s consult room for a quick consultation before his adjustment. He tells us that his braces journey is going great thus far, except he started to get a few canker sores here and there ever since his mom started making her famous Christmas tree sugar cookies for the holidays.

We reminded him that too much sugar can cause mouth sores and gave him a quick reminder demonstration on how to properly brush and floss his teeth with braces to make sure he’s getting all of the holiday treats out of his teeth and brackets!



Next, Braces Brad went into the back to get a thorough check-up and examination. He always enjoys this part because he gets to sit back and relax, and he’s usually pretty tired after unleashing his inner gamer in the arcade.



He also loves this part of his appointment because he gets to hang out with all of his favorite friends at Bennett Orthodontics and gets to document his smile journey to share with his fellow elves by posting pics to Instagram and tagging @bennettortho. Selfie time!



Next, he got to pick out new colors for his rubber bands. He decided to go with his favorite combo of colors — red and green. He figured this would help his smile spread Christmas cheer! Plus, it matches his outfit.



Feeling confident after his adjustment, Braces Brad then headed for the check-out desk. While he was walking out, something caught his eye — a wall full of kids (young and old) who had completed their smile journeys. He decided to make note of all these bright, smiling faces to make sure they were all on Santa’s good list for keeping up with their appointments and getting their braces off!



Just as he was getting ready to schedule his next appointment, look who walked in! Another one of Santa’s many helpers (for those who want their gifts a little earlier).



After such a great visit to Dr. Bennett’s office, Braces Brad could hardly wait for his next appointment! As soon as it was scheduled, he started to dream of Pac-Man, sugar plum fairies, and his perfect smile that was soon to become a reality.


If you’d like to begin your smile journey to spread cheer like Braces Brad, please feel free to contact us to make an appointment for an orthodontic consultation! 

Sharon Wootan: "Little Bit" with a Big Heart

December 1st, 2015


Sharon is our newest employee at Bennett Orthodontics. We are loving having her cheerful and compassionate personality on our team!

Sharon is a Clinical Assistant at Bennett Orthodontics, and her favorite part of her job is interacting with the patients. She also makes everyone’s favorite thing - retainers!

Sharon’s nickname is "Little Bit", but her three most favorite things — her dogs — are not so little! Stella (a yellow lab/retriever), Magnum (a Great Dane), and Molly (a lab mix) keep Sharon on her toes when she’s not hard at work.

With her husband Sean, Sharon enjoys traveling and spending time with family. Here are a few more of her favorite things:

Movie: "The Little Mermaid"
Food: Taco Bell and pizza
Drink: Dr. Pepper
TV Show: "Bones"
Band: Modest Mouse

Next time you’re in the office, say hello to Sharon. She’s sure to make you smile


Trick or Treat? The Halloween Candy Guide for Braces

October 29th, 2015

pile of candyThis Halloween, avoid a creepy jack-o’-lantern smile by staying away from treats that can ruin your braces and damage your teeth. October is National Orthodontic Health Month, so don’t give your orthodontist a reason to “boo” you and cause you to keep your braces longer than planned.

When trick-or-treating, avoid hard, chewy, and sticky candy that can wiggle its way behind your wires and pop off brackets. Candies that are nightmarish for your braces include:

  • Suckers
  • Mints
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Sours
  • Taffy
  • Jelly beans
  • Licorice
  • Gum
  • Fruit chews
  • Caramel
  • Candy apples

While reaching into your Halloween candy stash, grab these softer candies that are less harmful to your braces instead:

  • Hershey’s chocolate bars or chocolate bars without nuts and caramel. Break bars into small pieces to avoid a scary situation!
  • Plain M&Ms
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Soft cookies
  • Melt-in-your mouth candy
  • If all else fails, indulge your Halloween sweet tooth with a bowl of ice cream, a smoothie, or Jello!

Is the thought of celebrating Halloween with braces giving you a fright? Don’t worry — the American Association of Orthodontists has compiled a list of Halloween recipes that are safe to eat with braces. Remember to follow these guidelines and always brush after any sweet treats. Have a happy and safe Halloween from all of us at Bennett Orthodontics!

Back to School Braces Guide

August 18th, 2015

Heading back to school almost always means changes — changing classes, changing friends, and for some students, getting braces. To help you survive school with your new accessory, check out these must-have school supplies for the student with braces. These will be sure to keep your teeth healthy and happy this school year.


1. Compact Toothbrush & Toothpaste
It’s important to take a few minutes to brush your teeth after lunch. This helps get out any food that may get stuck in your brackets and can also help prevent tooth decay and bad breath. Besides, there’s nothing more embarrassing than letting your friends know what you had for lunch by what’s stuck in your teeth.

2. Flossers/Floss Picks
Despite your constant brushing, sometimes you can’t quite get out leftover food with just a toothbrush. Add some extra floss picks to your backpack to keep your braces clean.

3. Musician's Lip Protector
If you are in band and play an instrument that requires the use of your mouth, slip this plastic guard over your wires and brackets to protect your mouth from getting irritated. This nifty little tool will keep your mouth and your music smooth.

4. Mouthguard for Sports Players
Most athletes should already wear a mouthguard when competing, but this is especially important for athletes with braces. A mouthguard can protect your teeth and gums from damage that could set back your treatment.

5. Lip Balm
Using chapstick or lip balm is an easy way to treat your chapped lips that occur as a result of your braces.

6. Dental Wax
boy playing with orthodontic waxProtect your sensitive skin with dental wax. The wires on your braces can be abrasive against the inside of your mouth, often leaving sore spots. Dental wax helps decrease this irritation and keeps you smiling bright.

7. Rubber Bands
Even if you don’t think so, the structure of the school day comes in handy. Use your class schedule as a reminder to change your rubber bands every few hours. As they stretch out, they become less effective. Try changing your bands every two hours for maximum jaw movement and to put yourself on the fast track to getting your braces removed.

8. Compact Mirror
Keep a handy mirror in your backpack to make sure you get all of those pesky food bits out of your teeth after lunch. This can also come in handy when applying dental wax.


Getting braces is the step to straightening your teeth and giving you a bright, beautiful smile for years to come. Make sure you don’t let your hectic school schedule set you back in your treatment plan.

If you have any questions about your new braces and need more advice on reducing the pain, feel free to contact us! If you do not already have braces and are considering orthodontic treatment, contact Dr. Bennett today to make an appointment. We look forward to helping you with your smile journey here at Bennett Orthodontics!

Invisalign Fact and Fiction

May 28th, 2015

a smile with one half braces and the other half InvisalignIf traditional braces are not your desired route to achieve a straighter smile, here’s why Invisalign may be your best option.


When you compare Invisalign to other teeth straightening methods, the advantages become apparent. Knowing the pro’s and con’s to choosing which teeth-straightening method is right for you will help you make a more confident decision.


Fact or fiction:

Fiction: Invisalign doesn’t hurt.

Fact: Anytime pressure is applied to teeth, they will feel sore.


Fiction: Invisalign will straighten my teeth faster than traditional braces.

Fact: Healthy teeth movement occurs at the same speed and it doesn’t matter if movement is caused by braces or aligners.

Fiction: Invisalign is Invisalign no matter who provides it.

Fact: Invisalign is just a tool orthodontists use to straighten teeth. Align Technology is the manufacturer and they have no part in the diagnosis or treatment plan. The success or the failure of each patient's case is dependent on the orthodontist's training.


Fiction: You can’t eat with Invisalign

Fact: Invisalign is removable, which means you have the freedom to enjoy the foods you love.


Cost: The cost of Invisalign treatment varies from patient to patient. If you’re interested in choosing Invisalign for your smile journey, contact us today for a free consultation.


Everything You Need to Know About Invisalign

April 8th, 2015

Smiling woman putting in Invisalign alignerHave you been looking for alternative methods to straightening your teeth other than traditional braces? You may have heard about Invisalign, if you're curious about what it is, who it’s for and how it works, this blog is for you.

Invisalign is a modern approach to straightening teeth through the use of a series of custom-made aligner trays. The aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable plastic that you wear over your teeth.

Choosing to improve your smile is a big decision that can affect your appearance and lifestyle. Whatever your reason for choosing to straighten your teeth, Invisalign can provide a simple solution to achieving your desired smile whether you’re an adult or teen. With Invisalign, you don’t have to put your life on hold to get straight teeth.

Unlike traditional braces, there are no brackets or metal wires, you simply change out aligners approximately every two weeks until your treatment process is complete. Wearing the aligners will gradually shift your teeth into place according to your orthodontists treatment plan.

If Invisalign is an option you would like to consider, make an appointment to talk with Dr. Bennett today.

We look forward to helping you with your smile journey here at Bennett Orthodontics!


The Importance of Wearing A Mouthguard

March 24th, 2015

Smiling girl wearing braces and playing soccerThere is a common misconception that you can’t play sports when you have braces. This could not be further from the truth. Braces do not affect your ability to play sports, but while you have braces you need to be more careful. One hard hit in a football game or rugby match could result in a broken bracket, damage to your teeth or to the inside of your mouth. This is why selecting a mouth guard is essential; it protects the players' teeth, mouth, and jaw. Here are few reasons why you should wear a mouth guard:

Protect your lips:

Braces are pretty sharp. If you’re not wearing a mouth guard, a direct hit to the mouth could cause serious lacerations to your lips. If you have braces, buying a mouth guard is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment you will buy.

Jaw dropping protection:


Mouth guards can help prevent jaw fractures and dislocations because it absorbs the impact of blows. Every year, mouthguards prevent an estimated 200,000 dental injuries; before you take to the field make sure you’re wearing yours.

Keep your smile:

The most important job a mouth guard does is protecting your teeth. Contact sports can cause damage to your teeth if you do not wear a mouth guard. A mouthguard is your first line of defense against painful and sometimes permanent dental injuries.

Selecting the right mouthguard:


Shock Doctor is one type of mouthguard that uses 100 percent medical-grade silicone to allow for necessary movement. The brand even makes braces-specific type mouthguards.

However, many athletes with braces have opted for custom-fitting mouth guards, which are pieces made specifically for the player. If you’re interested in a custom-fit mouth guard, consult Dr. Bennett to discuss your options. No matter the player, the advantages of wearing mouth guards are endless.

Meet The Smiles Behind the Smiles

February 25th, 2015

At Bennett Orthodontics, we are dedicated to providing our patients with the best care available. Our experienced team is devoted to insuring every patient has a stress-free and rewarding orthodontic experience at every visit. On behalf of all of us at Todd Bennett, we want to welcome you and your family to our practice, we look forward to making you smile!

Now let's meet the team!

Say hello to Jessica! She is a talented clinical assistant and has been a member of the Bennett Ortho team for more than 4 years. When asked what was the best part of her job,  Jessica gave this enthusiastic reply,  “My fabulous work family!” We are very proud to have Jessica on the Bennett Ortho team and enjoy all the smiles she brings.


Meet Sheila!  She is our treatment coordinator and has been with Bennett Ortho for over 5 years. Sheila does a magnificent job helping patients with their smile journey. We asked Sheila a few questions and decided to add all her answers together. It turns out she would be a green giraffe that loves nothing more than seeing her patients smile and working with the amazing Bennett team. Thank you Sheila for all of your hard work and dedication to making people smile.


If you haven’t met our dedicated patient coordinator Kate, you are in for a treat. Her cheerful personality is nothing short of contagious, as she warmly greets all patients with a smile. Kate has been an important part of the Bennett Ortho team for 4 years. We also asked Kate what was the best part of her job, she replied, seeing how happy patients are at the end of their smile journey.



Say hello to Cierra, Bennett Ortho's talented clinical assistant that has been with the Bennett team for 2 years. If she could do all her favorite things at the same time it would be something like, wearing her blue scrubs, while eating a bowl of fruity pebbles with her family, and dancing to classic rock. We are excited to have her on our team and know she would enjoy nothing more than, helping you achieve a beautiful smile you are proud to share.

We look forward to helping you with your smile journey here at Bennett Orthodontics!


Why You Should Wear a Retainer

February 1st, 2015

Today is the day you have been waiting for; your braces are finally coming off! Does this mean you can throw in the towel on caring for your smile? Not so fast, you’re smile journey is not over yet. In order to keep your perfect smile you are going to have to wear a retainer.

Why should you wear a retainer?
Wearing a retainer enables your teeth to stay in their new, proper position while your gums, ligaments and bones adapt. When you wear your retainer, you're protecting your investment, and beautiful new smile.

The result of not wearing your retainer:
Now before you say you don’t need to wear a retainer anymore, you should know that as you get older, your teeth will continue to shift. The slightest pressure from your tongue can cause your teeth to shift out of alignment.  Every year about 25% of patients have to repeat their orthodontic treatment because they failed to wear their retainers as required. You don't want to repeat your treatment, protect your smile by giving your teeth the support they need to stay in place and wear your retainer as directed.

More about our retainers
Just as you can choose between traditional braces or Invisalign, retainers are available in a variety of forms. Here are three types of retainers Bennett Orthodontics offers:

Essix Retainer
This is a clear or transparent retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth.  These retainers are specially made from impressions of your teeth to fit comfortably and discretely. An upper and lower Essix retainer will be given to each patient upon completion of orthodontic treatment.

TBO_Essix Retainer - Blog

Hawley Retainer
This is a removable retainer made of a combination of metal wires and sturdy acrylic. This retainer is specially made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while any wire or acrylic framing keeps your teeth in perfect position.

Hawley Retainer for blog

Bonded Lingual Retainer
Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surfaces of your lower front teeth.  This is a great way to prevent your lower teeth from shifting as it is bonded into place. Patients with bonded lingual retainers must be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting. It is important to note that some patients may not be candidates for this type of retainer.

TBO_bonded lingual retainer blog

While a retainer may seem like a pain, it will keep your new pearly whites looking their best.

11 Braces Myths You Need to Know

January 30th, 2015

Smiling girl wearing braces playing video game with laughing friendThere are several myths floating around about braces. Some people believe braces can give you the ability to pick up radio signals, while others believe braces interfere with romance and even metal detectors in airports.  Before you buy into the myths that are circulating out there, lets us set the record straight.

Myth #1: Once I get my braces off my teeth will be straight forever!


Fact: This is part true and false. When your braces are removed you will be given a retainer, if you wear it as instructed your teeth will stay straight. If you choose not to, it is possible that your teeth can shift out of alignment.


Myth #2: I’m too old for braces.


Fact: It is simply not true that you cannot get braces when you become an adult. A beautiful smile can happen at any age. The fact is 1 out of every 5 people treated by an orthodontist is an adult.


Myth #3: Braces are extremely painful.


Fact: This is sometimes said to scare people, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. This is not to say that braces aren’t uncomfortable at times, but after the adjustment period, you will get use to your braces and forget they are there.  Here is a great big list of braces-friendly foods for those sore mouth days.


Myth #4: Traditional braces are my only option.


Fact: This is false. You have options! Advances in orthodontic technology have improved braces and even rendered them unnoticeable. Ask Dr. Bennett about Invisalign and discuss which option fits your situation.


Myth #5: Braces pick up radio signal.


Fact: This is impossible.


Myth #6: Braces take two or more years for desired results.


Fact: Orthodontic treatment varies from person to person, some people may only have to wear braces for a few months.


Myth # 7: I can’t play sports with braces.


Fact: Yes you can, but it is important to remember to wear a mouth guard in contact sports. Mouth guards can ultimately protect your teeth and help prevent jaw fractures.


Myth # 8: I can’t play a musical instrument with braces.


Fact: Yes you can play an instrument with braces. Depending on the particular instrument, there may be difficulty and an adjustment period, but it is not impossible to play an instrument with braces.


Myth #9: Braces will set off metal detectors at airports.

Fact: Because braces are made of lightweight materials, they will not set off metal detectors.


Myth #10: Can I still sing with braces?


Fact: Yes you can still sing with braces. Watch an amazing example of someone doing just that. With everything new comes an adjustment period, hang in there, any difficulties you encounter will not last.


Myth #11: Can I kiss with braces. 


Fact: You've heard the age-old, “you'll get your braces tangled if you kiss.” This is not impossible, but the odds of it happening are very unlikely.

*Remember orthodontic treatment is suitable for patients of all ages. Treatment can be accomplished with minimal discomfort and in a reasonable time period that can have lasting results. Now that you know the truth about braces, feel comfortable to go and enjoy life.

Retain Your Retainer

January 15th, 2015

colorful retainersYou just got your retainer, now what? Like your braces, retainers live in your mouth along with plaque, bacteria and remnants of food particles, which is why it is vital that you clean them. However, there are a few do’s and don't to taking care of your retainer.


Cleaning your retainer

Do: Brush removable retainers with cold water and a soft toothbrush. If needed, removable retainers can be soaked in white vinegar or Efferdent (a denture cleaning solution) with water to freshen and kill germs.
Don’t: Do not microwave or boil your removable retainers; plastic can warp. Do not place your retainer near a heat source as heat will cause the retainer to distort.


Storing your retainer

Do: Keep your retainers in the case provided when they are not in your mouth.
Don't: Don't wrap your retainers in a napkin, paper towel or tissue. Don't ever put your retainers in your pockets. Whatever you do, do not leave your retainers sitting around; dogs love to eat them.


Wearing your retainer:

Do: When putting the retainers in your mouth, line them up and press the retainers into place with your fingers.
Don’t: Never bite your retainers into place.


Eating with your retainer:

Do: Unless you have a bonded lingual retainer, you should always take out your retainers to eat and drink.
Don’t: Do not attempt to eat or drink with your removable retainer as it can cause unnecessary damage.


Broke or lost retainer:

Do: ALWAYS keep your retainer in the case provided; this will prevent you from losing your retainer.
Don’t: Do not flip or play with your retainer. Flipping your retainers around in your mouth can be fun, but it can cause the wires to bend which can lead to a broken retainer.


Braces Care 101

January 5th, 2015

You just got your braces, congratulations, you're one step closer to a perfect smile! Now how do you take care of them? Sadly, your daily brushing routine is no longer going to be enough. The brackets and wires on your teeth will make it difficult to floss and brush. Food will get stuck easier, which if you don’t properly brush can lead to staining, cavities, or even tooth decay. Don't worry; there are several easy tips to help you keep your teeth and your new gear in good condition. Taking care of your new braces doesn't have to be a pain if you follow these easy tips:

Brushing: Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. When you are brushing, angle your toothbrush over and under your brackets to ensure you are cleaning the whole tooth. Properly cleaning your braces will take several minutes, instead of the average 2 minutes, be sure to spend about 4 to 5 minutes brushing. It is recommended that while you are under orthodontic treatment that you brush your teeth 3 to 4 times daily.

Flossing: Flossing can be a pain with braces due to the wires, but there are a couple tools out there that can make flossing with braces easy. Buy floss threaders, they will help you thread the floss to get in those hard to reach places. Another great tool to buy is a Proxabrush; these toothbrushes have a special tip at the end of the brush that will help you clean in between the wires. It is recommended that you floss your teeth at least once per day.


Regular Check-ups: Just because you have braces doesn't mean you should skip regular dental check-ups with your dentist. It is strongly recommended to have regular cleanings every six months unless instructed otherwise by your dentist. Regular check-ups will help with your oral health as well as determine if any periodontal problems are present.


Avoid certain foods: It is important to remember there are some foods you should not eat while you have braces such as: ice, hard candy, popcorn, taffy, caramel, etc. Broken brackets can occur as a result of eating any of the listed foods, which leads to unnecessary appointments and prolong your treatment.


Following these 4 easy tips will help you have a much better experience on your braces journey and help give you a smile you will want to share with the world.



The One New Years Resolution That Will Last Forever.

December 30th, 2014

Deciding to improve your overall health is one great way to start off the New Year. We know many resolutions begin with crash diets and extreme fitness programs that won’t be kept up for very long.  But if there were one permanent change you could make, which would both enhance your appearance and improve your health... would you do it?

A change that will last a lifetime can be found in orthodontic care. One of the most noticeable features of the face is the smile. Are you proud to show off your pearly whites or self-conscious of the condition of your smile? Even more important than aesthetic improvements, braces can provide many health benefits. Teeth in correct alignment are easier to clean, which can make teeth more resistant to decay and less susceptible to gum disease or tooth loss. Correct alignment may also prevent tooth and jaw discomfort that can come from uneven wear.

Now before you begin to say braces are just for children or you are afraid they will interfere with your social agenda, you should know about the many new treatments that are available. Invisalign is the most popular tooth straightening solution for adults, allowing you to get the aligned smile you want, on the sly. There’s no need for your dental work to interfere with your social life, professional life, or favorite foods. You are never too old for a beautiful smile. There are many ways you can care for your smile beyond orthodontic care, some of the most important and often overlooked include:

1. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once every day.

2. Change your toothbrush every 3 - 4 months depending on the brush.

3. Going to annual checkups. Do not wait until there is pain to address an oral issue.

4. Clean your tongue every morning. This helps to remove the buildup of bacteria on your tongue, which is the main reason for bad breath. While using your brush to clean your tongue is helpful, using a tongue scraper is much better.

5. There are a lot of different toothpaste options on the market; arguably the most important thing to consider in picking your toothpaste is the fluoride content. Fluoride helps protect teeth from cavities by actually changing the chemical structure of teeth, making them much more resistant to the caries process and the cavities that process causes.

Schedule your free consult with Dr. Bennett and find out how you can make 2015 the year of the smile.


The Elf On The Shelf Visits The Orthodontist

December 10th, 2014

As he sat upon his shelf keeping a watchful eye on his friends, Elf thought to himself about what he could do to make his smile even more friendly.  Smiling was absolutely one his favorite things to do and he knew he would be proud to share his smile with the world, if it were just a bit brighter. So he called up his friend Braces Brad who had recently started a smile journey with Bennett Ortho, to find out what he should do.  Braces Brad was happy to share about his visit and everything Elf on the shelf should expect when he goes in for his first visit.

Braces Brad began by scheduling an appointment online at www.bennettortho.com and gathering info on the many . Upon his arrival at Bennett Orthodontics, he was asked to check in for his appointment on the computer system.




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After checking in, Braces Brad could not help but look around the big office and notice the hot chocolate machine. He quickly proceeded to make himself a delicious cup of his favorite drink, grab copy of Elf Illustrated and get comfy in the roomy waiting room.





He only made it a few pages into an article about the latest sled races when he realized their was an entire arcade just waiting to played with. Braces Brad quickly found himself unleashing his inner gamer and wishing he had more time to play, but it was time to meet with Dr. Bennett and learn more about starting his smile journey.




TBO_blog_elf mouth xrayBraces Brad sat down with Dr. Bennett in the consult lounge and began talking about his desire to have an even better smile. They also discussed the problems he was having chewing his favorite Christmas cookies. Dr. Bennett proceeded to give a thorough examination of his teeth including a visit to the X-ray machine. After reviewing all the options, they both agreed on the perfect smile



Braces Brad was ready to begin his smile journey and proceeded to hop up into the patient chair for his new smile hardware.  The friendly and knowledgeable staff made the whole process easy and relaxing. Before he knew it, it was time to check out and schedule a follow up appointment at the front desk.



Braces Brad was proud to start his smile journey and could not wait to see the results. In the meantime he was taught by Dr. Bennett about how to properly clean and care for his new smile gear to ensure his journey had no delays and provided the best results possible.  After hearing about his great experience, elf on the shelf quickly made his appointment and  began dreaming about the super friendly smile he would soon have.

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