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Archive for the ‘Give Back’ Category

October is National Orthodontic Health Month

In Give Back on October 13, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Maybe not all of us have braces, but we surely know someone who does. And perhaps not everyone is as celebratory about orthodontics as we are.

Keeping with our October  dental awareness series over the past week or so, we wanted to also promote a little ortho love.

How many degrees of separation are between you and your nearest orthodontic overachiever?

Give a hoot this October, and pass along some beneficial social local dentistry as it relates to orthodontics and braces.

School is back in full swing, and orthodontic options for everything from our favorite sports team colors to ultra-thin invisibility, are available right at our local dental or ortho office! october_national_orthodontic_health_month

Our orthodontists and dentists have many fashionable ways to straighten our crooked teeth, correct our bad bites, and realign any misalignment of our jaws.

Just don’t tell your teenage…of course, with advanced options comes increased cost.

In honor of National Orthodontic Health Month, here are some more orthodontic FAQs, courtesy of


Can I play sports while wearing braces?

Yes, but make sure you wear a protective mouth guard.

Can I play musical instruments while wearing braces?

With practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of wind or brass instruments.

What are my options if I don’t want braces that show?

Should your case warrant it, you might want to consider lingual braces, which feature brackets that are bonded behind the teeth. Ceramic braces are another option to lessen the visibility of braces; they blend in with the teeth for a more natural effect. Additionally, the use of a series of invisible aligner trays (invisible braces) instead of traditional braces may be used to correct some problems.

Will a stud in my tongue interfere with orthodontic treatment? october_national_orthodontic_health_month

Exercise caution with tongue-piercing jewelry. It can contribute to breakage of braces appliances and to tooth and gum damage from contact with the stud.


If my teeth have been crooked for years, why do I need orthodontic treatment now?

It’s never too late! Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Orthodontic treatment can restore good function, and teeth that work better usually look better, too. A healthy, beautiful smile can improve self-esteem, no matter your age.

Can I afford orthodontic treatment?

Most orthodontists have a variety of convenient payment plans. Many dental insurance plans now include orthodontic benefits.

I am pregnant and want to begin orthodontic treatment. Is this OK?

Discuss this question with your medical practitioner/physician and orthodontist before you start any orthodontic treatment, as pregnancy brings on bodily changes that may affect the mouth. Soft tissues such as gums become much more susceptible to infection.

Do teeth with braces need special care?

Yes, clean, healthy teeth move more quickly. Patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods, or hard objects, such as pens, pencils and fingernails. Keeping your teeth and braces clean requires more time, precision and must be done every day if the teeth and gums are to be healthy during and after orthodontic treatment.

I see ads for perfect teeth in only one or two visits to the dentist. Will that give me straight teeth?

Quick-fix veneers temporarily cover crooked teeth. Teeth straightened by an orthodontist are good for life. That’s because only orthodontists receive an extra 2-3 years of education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.

How may I distinguish an orthodontist from a general dentist?

Visit our Find an Orthodontist section to find AAO-member orthodontists near you. AAO membership is the best way to confirm a doctor’s status as an orthodontist because the AAO only accepts orthodontists for membership. Additionally, visit the Questions for Your Orthodontist section for questions that you can ask to help determine if you’re getting your tooth-alignment procedure from an expert.

For more national health awareness days, weeks, or months, click here.

How Can You Make a Difference in Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

In Give Back on October 6, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Don’t forget that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As if we could, pink is everywhere!

From supermarket checkout lines to the NFL sidelines, breast cancer awareness is certainly a cause we as Americans love to support. breast_cancer_dental

About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime (

With shocking statistics like that, it’s easy to understand why we’re eager to get behind the cause.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization is a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services.

The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.

According to Wikipedia, NBCAM was founded in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of AstraZeneca, maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs).

The aim of the NBCAM from the start has been to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

In 1993 Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and established the pink ribbon as its symbol, though this was not the first time the ribbon was used to symbolize breast cancer.

In the fall of 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation had handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors.

Here’s two more websites to learn more about breast cancer info, diagnosis, treatment, and charitable opportunities:

If you’re at a loss finding ways to contribute in your community, try asking your social local dentist for some ideas! tooth_dental_breast_cancer

Or check out Smile Pink, a group of dedicated dental professionals who have come together to increase Breast Cancer Awareness via the dental community…go ahead and give them a Like on their Facebook page!

And let us know how your dentist is helping to promote National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

What Did Your Dentist Do Before Dentistry?

In Give Back on July 26, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Some dentists always knew they’d be tending to teeth. From the time they were kids they’ve been diagnosing make-believe oral maladies or performing impromptu dental care on anything from stuffed animals, to dolls, action figures, family pets, and every other willing participant only kids could define.

Sometimes even unwilling younger siblings.

For those lucky dental pros that always knew teeth were their ticket, dentistry was it. Others found this honorable vocation by chance. Enter former major league pitcher Brian Banks.

In the now Dr. Banks’ former life with the Milwaukee Brewers and Florida Marlins, tending the outfield across America’s ballparks was the ticket. From the ballpark to the dental office, Dr. Banks made the unique transition from shagging flies and slapping singles playing America’s pastime to helping the underserved have access to proper oral healthcare.

Dr. Banks has since traded in his outfielder’s glove for rubber gloves, Brian Banks recently graduated from the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health at A.T. Still University in Mesa, AZ.

That’s what we call a circuitous route to practicing dentistry; from the major leagues to pediatric dentistry…let’s hear it for Dr. Banks!

Serving the Underserved

A.T. Still University is a unique dental school; home of the world’s first osteopathic medical school, established in 1892, A.T. Still University is recognized around the world as a renowned, multidisciplinary healthcare educator.

One of the primary focuses at A.T. Still is serving the underserved; providing dental care opportunities for people who do not have access to such care, or the means to secure proper dental treatment.

According to their website, A.T. Still students learn the sciences and techniques of healing as they are exposed to the social responsibilities of bringing health care to populations that are financially disadvantaged or in areas where comprehensive health care is not available.

This is where the newly crowned Dr. Banks found his second calling; at A.T. Still University, and in Mexico.

According to this article from The Arizona Republic, Clinica Betel in Atoyac, Mexico, was where dental students and faculty traveled earlier this year to provide care to residents of the rural town. It was the dental school’s second mission there within six months, and Banks was among students on the earlier journey.

Already convinced that he wanted to specialize in dental care for kids, Banks was at Clinica Betel when the dental school team, through a series of surgeries, repaired the cleft lip and palate of a 6-year-old boy.

The child had traveled to the clinic with his family for 18 hours by car from their home in Chiapas.

Banks was moved.

“So much of the underserved, unfortunately, happens to be the pediatric population,” he said. “The children fall into the brunt of that need of access and care. They can’t fend for themselves.”

He had been drafted in 1993 by the Brewers after his second year at Brigham Young University.

“I always promised my family that I would go back and finish my degree,” he said. “And in that process I continued to want to make a difference in the lives of others.”

After he was sidelined by a knee injury, he retired from the game in 2004, enrolled at Arizona State University and graduated two years later with a bachelor’s degree in biology in combination with other sciences.

“Health care always interested me, and I decided that dentistry was a way that I could leave my mark,” Banks said. “When I retire I will have made a difference to those in need of dental care.”

Read more:

Do you know how your dentist came to the community…do you know where he or she went to school, or where they live, or what they do outside the practice?

We think it’s time to engage our dentists, and learn more about what makes them tick…as dentists and as human beings.