What Your Child Should Expect (Before and After Braces)

UPDATED 29-9-18

bracesWhat Your Child Should Expect Before and After Braces

Orthodontic treatment, which offers a variety of techniques and procedures to realign the teeth and jaw, is common among adolescents and even adults. Especially for the adolescent, there may be many questions about the whole process. Parents may also have a few questions. Here are the most frequently asked questions about the before and after off getting braces.

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What Are Mail Order Orthodontics and Why Do They Fall Short?

girl having ortho procedure

It’s understandable that people want to get their teeth straightened to look good on pictures and to show off to their friends. It’s not a new concept, because thousands of people from all walks of life want the same thing. A set of straight, healthy teeth is a great thing to wish for.

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Widely Spaced Teeth (Impacting Your Overall Health)

girl on a chairWidely Spaced Teeth Impact Your Overall Health

In recent years, a small gap between the teeth has suddenly become trendy among models because people associate it with a youthful appearance. However, that trend has quickly come and gone, and more people are beginning to return to the realization that having gaps in their smile is not always ideal. In addition to marring your self-confidence, teeth that are misaligned can also impact your overall health by interfering with things such as you get proper nutrition. As you consider your options for correcting your teeth, here are a few points that you might want to cover during your meeting with your orthodontist.

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9 Signs of a Good Orthodontist

orthodontist practising9 Signs of a Good Orthodontist

An orthodontist will be working with you for months to help you achieve the perfect smile, so you need to choose carefully when selecting one. There are a few key features you should try to keep an eye out for when looking for an orthodontist for you and your family. If you are wondering, “What are the qualities of a good orthodontist?” Then keep reading to find out!

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How to Overcome Your Fear of Having Braces


Overcome Your Fear of Having Braces

Children and adults alike tend to have a fear of having braces, due to everything from how they appear to the pain they could cause. This fear is completely natural and is nothing to be ashamed of. However, if you need to have your teeth straightened, it’s important to know that there are ways for you to overcome your fear of having these orthodontic appliances placed on your teeth. The end result is a beautiful smile with straight teeth. Many people who delay getting braces due to their fear only become more afraid of doing so as time passes. If fear is the only reason that you are not going through with having your teeth straightened, it’s possible to overcome this feeling.


How Can I Overcome Fear of Pain and Embarrassment With Braces?

There are many different types of fears a person could have when getting their teeth straightened. The two most common of these is a fear of pain and a fear of embarrassment. If you’re avoiding visiting an orthodontist because you think that your child will be in pain once the brackets have been glued on, you really shouldn’t worry. All types of orthodontic appliances will carry a small amount of pain with them, but the process is relatively painless. Since the brackets or the aligners with Invisalign make gradual movements to your teeth, the most pain you’ll experience during the process is a very dull pain that occurs for a short period of time after each adjustment. In almost all instances, some numbing ointment will ease any pain that occurs.

As for embarrassment, it’s important that you let your child know that they will have a great smile for the remainder of their lives if they simply wear the appliance for a couple of years. You should also tell them that there are plenty of children, many of which are in school with them, that wear braces during their younger years. It’s even possible for children to request Invisalign, which is comprised of invisible aligners that are practically impossible to see. If you’re an adult who wants to finally have their teeth straightened, Invisalign is also a great option for you, as are several other possible treatments that aren’t as visible as metal brackets. Even with metal brackets, the length of treatment is so short compared to having a healthy smile for the rest of your life.

How Can I Overcome Fear of Previous Bad Experiences With Braces?

One of the most crippling fears to overcome, especially for children, is a previous bad experience with an orthodontist. A bad experience can cause an actual trauma to develop when the child is in their formative years. The key to helping your child overcome this fear is by explaining to them that the experience they previously had won’t happen again. The orthodontists at McDermott Orthodontics have years of experience that has helped them understand how to keep each patient as safe as possible during treatment. However, it’s important that you don’t trivialize their fears and make it seem as though you’re ignoring them. If you do this, the fears that your child has could worsen.

How Can I Overcome Fear of a Lengthy Treatment Time with Braces?

What some children fear the most is that the treatment will last for a very long period of time. To a young child, even a year can seem like a decade. While there’s no way to make this time shorter, just tell your child that a year or two of wearing the appliance is exceedingly short when compared to a lifetime of a perfect smile. While this may not be enough to assuage your child’s fears entirely, it should help them to better understand the benefits of orthodontic appliances.

How Can I Overcome Fear of Not Knowing What Will Happen with Braces?

Fear of the unknown is very strong with children and adults alike. When a child has never experienced going to an orthodontic practice and having brackets or aligners molded to their teeth, it’s understandable why they would be afraid. The best way to help your child overcome this fear is by telling the orthodontist that your child is afraid of what the procedure entails. They will then explain to your child why these fears are unnecessary and should take them through every facet of the procedure. Once a child understands what treatment will be like, it’s very likely that their fears will dissipate.

How Can I Overcome Fear of Choking with Braces?

You or your child may have once heard stories of an orthodontic procedure going wrong where one of the tools fell down the throat of the patient and caused them to choke. It’s important to understand that such occurrences are extremely rare. The procedure is a very safe one and is performed by someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. No matter which fears you or your child is suffering from at the moment, it’s more than possible to overcome these fears. Once you’ve identified your fear, half the battle is over and you can now focus on getting rid of that fear once and for all so that you can have your teeth straightened as they should be.

Call McDermott Orthodontics to Schedule Your First Appointment

You can live a happier life by having your teeth straighten to correct your bad bite. Dr. Michael McDermott offers professional orthodontic evaluations at four locations in Minnesota that are located in these cities:

• Brainerd – 218-829-1630
• Delano – 763-972-4444
• Pequot Lakes – 218-568-5600
• Baxter – 218-829-1630

At McDermott Orthodontics, our orthodontist offers a variety of treatments that include:

• Retainers – to keep teeth in the proper positions
• Aligners – designed using Invisalign computer software
• Braces – ceramic, Damon System and metallic devices

Call McDermott Orthodontics today to schedule your free consultation to learn more about the AcceleDent Aura device.

How to Overcome Your Fear of Having Braces


13046 Falcon Drive
Baxter, MN 56425

Phone: 218-829-1630


How to Take Care of Your Retainers


How to Take Care of Your Retainers

Getting your braces off is an exciting time. While braces are the most efficient way to get the smile of your dreams, there are a lot of rules surrounding what you can and can’t do with your braces. The upkeep may be annoying, but the end result is well worth it. But if you’re given retainers after you get your brackets and wires off, you’re not quite out of the clear yet. There are a few care tips you need to know to maintain your new smile.

Top Retainer Care Tips from Your Orthodontist

Always listen to your orthodontist for tips relevant to your particular smile. However, here are some of the top tips you need to know to properly maintain your retainer.

Always Remove Your Retainer Before Eating

Remember when you had to be careful not to let food get trapped in your brackets and wires? The same idea applies to your new retainer. When food gets trapped in your retainer, it allows bacteria to grow. Because your retainer can cover more of your mouth, it is easy for food to get trapped. This trapped food can cause plaque to develop, hurting your oral health. Always take your retainer out before you eat. Put it away in its case or set it on top of a clean tissue or napkin. But be careful not to throw your retainer out with the rest of your trash!

Brush with Your Retainer Out

While you may think you can kill two birds with one stone by brushing your teeth and retainer in one go, your retainer actually covers too much of your mouth for this to be efficient. Your retainer may also be holding onto bacteria or food that you won’t be able to reach while it is still in. In the mornings, brush and floss before you put your retainer in. At night, take your retainer out before you brush and floss again. If you’re looking to save time, pop your retainer in a cup of water and baking soda to soak while brushing and flossing.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals or Boiling Your Retainer

Properly cleaning your retainer is crucial for keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy. For the most part, using just toothpaste and water should be enough to clean your remove bacteria and leftover food. If you’re looking too deep clean your retainer, allow it to soak in a mixture of water and baking soda or vinegar. You could also potentially use a denture tablet. These are also great options for cleaning Invisalign retainers. However, you should never try to clean your retainer by using alcohol-based products or boiling it in hot water. Both can be damaging to the retainer’s plastic and may even cause it to change shape.

Clean Your Retainer Before You Store It

If you only need to wear your retainer for certain times of the day, you’ll want to ensure it is properly stored when you’re not wearing it. You should be given a special case for your retainer to set it in when it isn’t being used. Storing your retainer without properly cleaning it means it could grow bacteria and mold. If you put a bacteria or mold covered retainer in your mouth, you risk infection or getting sick. Always brush your retainer before you put it in your case. Let it soak in a cup of water and baking soda every so often to ensure you’re getting all the bacteria you may have missed.

Don’t Wear Your Retainer While Playing Sports

Retainers are expensive and annoying to replace if they’re lost or damaged. While you can’t avoid any action that may cause damage to your retainer, you should avoid wearing it in certain circumstances. If you play a sport where you may get hit in the mouth, you don’t want to risk damage to your retainer. Whether you have a traditional retainer or an Invisalign retainer, take it out while at practice or a game. Even sports you may not think of – like swimming – could be dangerous for your retainer. You don’t want to stop swim practice because your retainer is lost somewhere in the pool!

If you play contact sports, such as basketball, football or hockey, be sure to talk to your orthodontist about getting a special mouth guard. A properly-made mouth guard can replace your retainer during practices or games and protect your new smile from damage.

Improve Your Smile With Orthodontic Treatment at McDermott Orthodontics

If you live in Minnesota, then schedule an appointment with McDermott Orthodontics. We have several offices, including:

• Pequot Lakes – 218-568-5600
• Delano – 763-972-4444
• Brainerd – 218-829-1630
• Baxter – 218-829-1630

By undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is possible to have an attractive smile with beautiful white teeth. More importantly, you will have straighter teeth that will ensure that you can consume a healthy diet that includes fresh vegetables and fruits. Dr. Michael McDermott offers several types of orthodontic devices at his facilities, including:

• Ceramic braces – made with color-matching brackets
• Damon System braces – made with self-ligating brackets
• Traditional braces – made with metal brackets and wires
• Invisalign aligners – made from durable clear plastic

Call us today to schedule your free consultation at McDermott Orthodontics.

McDermott Orthodontist
708 Elm Ave. E.
Delano, MN
TEL: 763-972-4444


How long does Invisalign take?


How Long Does Invisalign Take?

In the past decade, Invisalign has become an increasingly popular orthodontic treatment. Patients enjoy that it is slightly more discreet than clunky metal braces, so the aligners are a great choice for patients who want to avoid noticeable orthodontic devices while they are straightening your teeth. Though aligners are a great way to fix misaligned teeth, a lot of people still do not know much about them. One of the most commonly asked questions is from people wondering if the aligners take a long time to become effective.

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Are there foods I can’t eat with braces?


Are you preparing to have braces for the next few months or years? You’re probably wondering how they’re going to affect your day-to-day life, especially when it comes to eating. One main question a lot of people have for their orthodontist is, “What kinds of foods will I be able to eat?” More importantly, though, are the types of foods you should steer clear of. Keep these tips in mind to keep your mouth healthy and happy!


Which foods should I avoid?

When you have braces or Invisalign, it’s best to stay away from the following types of foods:

  • Chewy foods like licorice or bagels.
  • Foods that you bite into with your front teeth, such as corn on the cob or apples.
  • Sticky foods, especially gum and caramel.
  • Crunchy foods like ice, potato chips, and popcorn.
  • Hard foods like pizza crusts, pretzels, and cookies.
  • Extra hard foods like hard candies and nuts.

Eating these foods can cause damage, which can make the treatment last longer! Also avoid chewing on anything hard, like your nails or pens. It may be time to replace those nervous habits if you’re used to biting on things when you’re anxious! In addition to being careful of certain foods and not eating them too often, the following foods are completely off-limits, no matter what:

  • Hard candy
  • Corn chips
  • Popcorn
  • Jerky
  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Pizza crust
  • Corn on the cob
  • Bubble gum
  • Sticky candy, like Starburst and Gummy Bears

Which foods can I enjoy?

Now that you know which foods you should stay away from, it’s time to enjoy the foods that you can eat! The following foods are completely fine to indulge in:

  • Dairy, including soft cheeses, yogurt, and pudding.
  • Bread that isn’t hard, including sandwich bread, tortillas, muffins, biscuits, and pancakes.
  • Grains, like soft rice, noodles, and pasta.
  • Soft-cooked meats and poultry, including lunch meat and meatballs.
  • Seafood, so long as it doesn’t have any bones. Enjoy tuna, crab, crab cakes and salmon.
  • Veggies, like peas, yams, beans, steamed spinach and mashed potatoes.
  • Soft fruits, like banana and applesauce, as well as fruit juice.
  • Desserts and treats including ice cream, smoothies, cake, milkshakes and Jell-O.
  • You can also eat eggs, hot dogs, chili and hamburgers!

What are some tips for eating with braces?

You should never bite into food with your front teeth, which is why you should steer clear of whole apples, pears, and other similar foods. However, even if the food isn’t hard, you should still avoid biting into it with your front teeth. For example, barbecue ribs may be soft, but biting into them with your front teeth can damage your hardware.

Just because you can’t bite into things like apples or corn on the cob, that doesn’t mean that you can’t eat them at all. Get in the habit of cutting your food into bite-sized pieces. It’s a good idea to chew with your back teeth instead of your front teeth, too. It’s especially important to chew with your back teeth if the food is extra hard.

Help for Sensitive Teeth

It’s common to have some tooth sensitivity for the few days after getting the hardware put on. Three to five days is a normal amount of time to feel some soreness and to have tender areas. Aside from avoiding certain foods, you can get some relief by rinsing your mouth with a mixture of one teaspoon of salt that’s been dissolved in eight ounces of warm water. You can also take a pain killer if the tenderness is difficult to deal. After a week or two, your teeth, tongue and cheeks will become accustomed to the new addition and they won’t be nearly as sore.

More Tips and Advice

Your orthodontist will give you advice about how to care for your new hardware. Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind as well:

  • For the first day, your teeth will be extra sensitive. Plus, you’ll be adjusting to the Invisalign or other hardware. Stick to soft foods for the first few days or until you get more comfortable.
  • You may think that some chewy candies are okay to eat because they’re not going to break the hardware in your mouth. However, even if these foods are gentle on your teeth for now, they can slowly cause damage over time. Over time, soft, sticky foods can dislodge the hardware or even cause tooth decay.

Don’t Forget to Brush!

One of the most important steps in caring for your hardware is to brush your teeth! Brushing and flossing are especially important after an orthodontic treatment. The cleaner you’re able to keep everything, the more effective the hardware will be.

Contact an Orthodontist Today

For moderate to severe malocclusions, you will need wire or ceramic braces that are attached to your teeth and remain in place for an average of two to four years. The brackets and wires of traditional braces are designed to apply pressure against the teeth to shift teeth into the correct positions. If you require traditional braces, then you will visit an orthodontist on a regular basis to have the wires adjusted. You might need to schedule an emergency visit with an orthodontist when a wire or bracket breaks. Teenagers and adults with mild malocclusions are candidates for clear plastic aligners that fit over the teeth and are easy to remove. To learn more about orthodontic braces, schedule an appointment today.

Are there foods I can’t eat with braces?

McDermott Orthodontist
708 Elm Ave. E.
Delano, MN
TEL: 763-972-4444


Should I Consider More Treatment If I’m Not Happy After My Braces Are Removed?


Most people expect to have a flawlessly straight smile as soon as their orthodontic equipment comes off, but sadly, this does not always happen. Despite the best work of any orthodontist, it is not always possible to predict the precise outcome of teeth straightening procedures. This can lead to your smile still being slightly crooked after orthodontic devices are removed. There are a few different options available for you if you realize that you still are not happy with your teeth after your orthodontic devices are removed.


What You Should Do If Your Teeth Aren’t Straight Enough

The first thing you should do if your teeth seem a little crooked still is talk to your orthodontist. Orthodontists want their patients to be happy with their results, so they will be willing to work with you and find a solution for your issues. Though it is quite rare, it is possible that your braces were removed too soon. So if the results are not quite what they should be, you may need to spend a little while longer with orthodontic appliances in your mouth. In some cases, traditional metal orthodontics can be reinstalled, but this is not always recommended if you just need a few minor changes.

How to Fix the Issue Without Getting Braces Put on Again

After spending so long waiting for your orthodonture to be removed, it is understandably upsetting to not be happy with the results. Many people realize that they do not want to have to go around with metal on their teeth anymore. Fortunately, there are a lot of other available methods for straightening teeth. Invisalign is a popular option because it consists of clear, plastic trays that realign teeth without being very visible. Some people are put off by the cost of Invisalign because you have to get multiple, custom-molded trays, but if you just need to straighten your smile a tiny bit more, it is very affordable. There are also headgear options that you can wear each night while you sleep to gradually shift your teeth a little farther. These devices can help to make a slow change if you just want your teeth to be slightly moved.

Cosmetic Dentistry Options

Sometimes, a person may think that they are unsatisfied because their smile is not straight enough, but this is not always the actual reason. A lot of discontent can actually be due to subtle color differences and abnormal tooth shapes in your mouth. If your smile still seems less than perfect even when your teeth are completely aligned, you may want to consider one of these cosmetic dentistry options:

Tooth Whitening

After wearing orthodontics for so long, some patients suffer from uneven staining on their teeth. You can schedule a tooth whitening appointment with a cosmetic dentistry office to lighten your teeth and remove stains. When your smile is sparkling and white, you might realize that your teeth do not actually need to be straighter.


Sometimes, the cosmetic issue is not actually due to crooked teeth. It may be caused by teeth that are an unusual shape or size. This can be solved by affixing a thin yet durable veneer over the surface of the tooth. Veneers can be custom made to blend in with the rest of your teeth while making your smile look more regular.


A single chipped or worn tooth might be making your smile look off even though your orthodontic procedures were successful. You can get a tooth colored material bonded to a slightly chipped tooth so that your overall smile looks more even and aesthetic.

How to Deal With Teeth That Seem to Be Getting Crooked Again

Another common issue happens when a patient is initially pleased with the result and then starts to think that their teeth are still too crooked. Most people assume that the orthodontics did not actually work, but what is truly happening is that their teeth are shifting. After orthodontics are removed, it takes a little time for the teeth to become firmly situated in the correct position. Therefore, it is very important to wear retainers or other types of orthodontic appliances that may be prescribed by your orthodontist for the correct amount of time. Not only will this prevent your teeth from getting crooked, but it can also help to correct minor shifts and movements among your teeth.

Contact McDermott Orthodontics to Learn More About Treatment for Adults

In Minnesota, you can visit McDermott Orthodontics to learn more about the orthodontic treatments that are designed for adults. Dr. Michael McDermott offers services to patients living in these areas:

• Delano – 763-972-4444
• Pequot Lake – 218-568-5600
• Brainerd – 218-829-1630
• Baxter – 218-829-1630

At McDermott Orthodontics, our patients can receive treatment with these orthodontic devices:

• Damon system – self-ligating devices
• Clear devices – made with clear brackets
• Invisalign aligners – suitable for adults
• Ceramic devices – made with color-matching brackets

With our top-of-the-line diagnostic equipment, we can determine how to improve the positions of your teeth with a few months or several years of orthodontic treatment. To learn more about orthodontic braces, schedule an appointment today.

Should I Consider More Treatment If I’m Not Happy After My Braces Are Removed?

McDermott Orthodontist
708 Elm Ave. E.
Delano, MN
TEL: 763-972-4444

Margi Preus

A smile becomes you or perhaps you become you when you smile. ― Margi Preus

margi preusA Smile Becomes You

Increase Your Self-esteem With a Gorgeous Smile

Margi Preus is a children’s writer who believes that a smile becomes you while you are developing a personality. Smiling a lot means that you have high self-esteem and are comfortable with the way that your teeth look. An orthodontist will recommend having a child’s teeth examined when she gets her first permanent teeth. In some cases, a young child only needs partial braces to repair a few malocclusions so that the rest of her teeth can grow in the proper alignment. However, if you wait until your child is a teenager, then it becomes more difficult to straighten her teeth.

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