Our Blog

Orthodontic Treatment: One Phase Or Two?

Did you know that orthodontic treatment is not just for teens and adults? In fact, the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that by the age of 7, children should have an initial orthodontic consultation. These comprehensive consultations determine whether or not a child’s teeth are developing properly or if early orthodontic treatment is or will be needed in the future.


Phase 1 vs Phase 2 Orthodontics

The typical process for Phase 1 orthodontic treatment involves a patient being fitted for their appliance (braces for example) which is worn until their teeth move into their proper positions. Some patients may require extractions or surgery prior to beginning treatment. Once the teeth are properly aligned, the patient wears a retainer to keep the teeth from shifting back. 

Two-phase orthodontic treatment differs from Phase 1 in that the first part of treatment is done while the patient still has most of their baby teeth. The goal of two-phase orthodontic treatment is to minimize development problems early so that treatment in their teens will be faster.

Read More

What To Ask At An Orthodontic Consultation

Orthodontic consultations are often times a complimentary introduction for orthodontists, like Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks Barefoot at Total Orthodontics to get to know you and your oral health concerns. The best thing you can do to make the most of your consultation is to prepare a list of questions beforehand. To help you get started, we’ve come up with a list of common questions answered during our complimentary smile exams.

How Long Will My Treatment Take?

It is important to first note that orthodontic treatment is not a “one size fits all” approach to straightening teeth. At [Orthodontic Office], we develop orthodontic treatment plans based on the individual needs of each patient to ensure they get the best results. Be sure to ask the orthodontist for an estimate of how long your treatment will take as the length may vary depending on how complex your situation is.

Read More

The Top 3 Best Drinks For Your Teeth

In a previous post, we discussed some of the drinks that have a negative effect on the teeth. This included soda, fruit juices, and coffee. While it may seem like water is your only beverage option, fear not. There are a few drinks still available to quench your thirst without affecting your orthodontic treatment.


Not only can it help build strong bones, but milk is a great source of calcium. Calcium helps to repair and maintain tooth enamel to keep your teeth strong. Lactose intolerant? Don’t worry. Calcium-fortified soy milk is a great alternative to getting the same benefits as regular milk. However, it is important to keep in mind that milk also contains sugar which, if left on the teeth for too long, can cause tooth decay.

Green and Herbal Teas 

Black tea is very similar to coffee and red wine and can leave stains on the teeth. Green and herbal teas, on the other hand, do not. In fact, they can actually be beneficial to your oral health. Tea can help fight the bacteria found on teeth due to the compounds called polyphenols they are made of. The best way to drink tea while wearing braces is to drink it as is – no sugar or honey added. For those who prefer a sweeter taste, use sugar-free sweeteners instead.


Although it may be the most obvious choice, water is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying hydrated. Water is an important part of oral health because it helps produce saliva, the mouth’s first defense against sugars, acids and bacteria left over from food we’ve eaten. Drinking water after every meal can be the best solution until you are able to brush your teeth.

Good Drinks are Just the Beginning 

Consuming healthy drinks is only one part of maintaining good oral health while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Keep in mind to continue daily brushing, flossing and attending appointments as scheduled with Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks Barefoot at Total Orthodontics as well. Your beautiful, straight smile at the end of treatment will thank you later.

Do Your Gums Bleed When Flossing?

It’s the start of a new day and you’re going through the motions of your morning routine. As you begin flossing, you notice your gums start to bleed in some areas. Is this normal?

While bleeding gums from flossing does not mean your mouth isn’t clean, it can be a sign that you aren’t flossing enough. According to Colgate, “It’s fairly common for gums to bleed when you first begin flossing between teeth, and as long as the bleeding stops quickly, it’s not usually considered a problem.” In other words, continue to floss daily and the bleeding should stop over time.

Causes of Bleeding Gums
Several factors can cause gums to bleed. To help narrow down why you may be experiencing bleeding gums, consider the following reasons:

  • Gingivitis
    Plaque buildup along the gumline and in between the teeth that is not removed by daily brushing and flossing can lead to gingivitis – which can cause gums to bleed. Symptoms of gingivitis include gums that are swollen, tender and sometimes bleed during brushing. Regular dental checkups and daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to combat this early stage of gum disease.
  • Medications
    According to The American Dental Association, blood thinning medications can cause bleeding gums. Blood thinners reduce the blood’s ability to clot, which can cause a patient to bleed very easily. Contact your dentist or doctor if you are currently prescribed blood thinners and experience bleeding gums when brushing or flossing.
  • New Flossing Routine
    Haven’t flossed in a few days? Going back to a regular routine of flossing after not having done so in a while can cause gums to bleed once you’re back into the swing of things. Flossing more frequently than usual to remove food and plaque from between your teeth can also cause bleeding gums. If it doesn’t clear up within a week, contact your dentist.
  • Vitamin Deficiency
    If your body is lacking enough vitamin C or K, you could be more prone to bleeding gums. Contact your doctor to have your vitamin C and K levels checked to see if you are getting the nutrients your body needs.

For more information on gum disease or if you’re experiencing bleeding gums for more than a week, contact our office to schedule an appointment. Your smile is our priority.

What to Expect From Your First Week of Braces

You’re getting your braces put on for the first time and you’re not sure what to expect. One thing is for sure; your oral hygiene practices will definitely change. To help prepare you for what’s in store and make the most of your orthodontic treatment, we at Total Orthodontics explain what you can expect from your first week in braces:

Placement Day

On the day your braces are put on, the process should be relatively painless. In the hours following placement, you may notice that it will take you longer than usual to finish meals as you get used to wearing and chewing with braces. Stick to softer foods (like soups, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, shakes, etc.) for the first few days while your teeth and mouth adjust. You may also experience slight discomfort or soreness as the teeth begin to move.

Three Days After Placement

The first few days after getting braces are the most uncomfortable due to the teeth beginning to align and the mouth adjusts to the pressure of the wires and elastic ties. We recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication (ibuprofen, for example) to relieve any discomfort. If your wires cause irritation inside your cheeks or lips, a member of our staff will show you how to apply wax or silicone over the braces to reduce soreness.

One Week After Placement

The discomfort you experienced in the first couple days should stop within five to seven days after placement. The teeth will have mostly adjusted and eating with braces will become much easier than before. Don’t rush into trying out harder foods just yet. Give your mouth more time to get used to the braces and stay away from sticky and sugary foods. Foods high in sugar can lead to tooth decay and sticky foods can get caught between wires and brackets.

Orthodontic Appointments

It is important to schedule and attend regular appointments with orthodontist Orthodontists Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks Barefoot at Total Orthodontics during the course of your orthodontic treatment. During these appointments, the doctor may make adjustments to the braces, change the elastic ties, and monitor progress to ensure you are on schedule with your treatment plan. The first few days after an adjustment can cause aches in the mouth and on the teeth, but will not last long. Our staff can advise options for remedies to reduce pain.

For questions about orthodontic treatment or braces, contact our office. Your smile is our priority.

Wisdom Teeth After Braces, Explained

You’ve been patiently waiting for your orthodontic treatment to come to an end and your braces to come off. You followed all the oral hygiene instructions during and after treatment, but now your wisdom teeth are starting to come in. Will they ruin your new smile?

At Total Orthodontics, we get this question a lot and rightfully so. With the typical timeline for orthodontic treatment being between about 18 and 36 months, we understand that it would be very disappointing for all that hard work to go to waste. In some very rare cases, the eruption of wisdom teeth can shift the teeth and ruin past orthodontic treatment, but again, this is rare. This is why it is important to maintain a relationship with an orthodontist, like Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks Barefoot, even after treatment has ended. Once your wisdom teeth do come in, it can be determined if they need to be removed or not.

About Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last of the permanent teeth to erupt and typically occur between the ages of 17 and 25 for most people. While most people have them removed, it is not always necessary. In some cases, many people have plenty of room for their wisdom teeth to develop just fine. In other cases, there isn’t enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth to grow – causing them to partially erupt or become impacted. In situations like this, the wisdom teeth  should be removed to avoid causing further issues to the rest of the teeth. 

It is important to note that as we age, our teeth begin to shift. Wisdom teeth are often the blame for these shifts, but research at the University of Iowa found that “wisdom teeth do not exert the amount of pressure needed to move the teeth in front of them to cause them to shift.” To find this, researchers placed sensors between patients’ teeth and observed the pressure on them. They did this in patients with and without wisdom teeth present. It was concluded that there was no noticeable difference in either case. 


How Total Orthodontics Can Help 

Immediately following orthodontic treatment, we highly recommend wearing your retainer as prescribed after getting your braces removed. It is the best way to keep the teeth in their intended places after orthodontic treatment. For more information on wisdom teeth and braces or to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact our office.