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At What Age Should My Child First See an Orthodontist?

August 26th, 2014

When my wife and I started having children, I became more aware of the value of well checks for growing children. Our first daughter was born five weeks before I started dental school and our second daughter was born during my second year, so I was very engaged in my study of basic and applied health sciences when they were born. Even though I had excelled in courses like organic chemistry, gross anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, physiology, pharmacology at the same level as my medical colleagues, I was shocked at how much I didn’t know about the growth and development, and care of my infant children.

As all parents know (and lament), children don’t come with a specific training guide or owner’s manual despite their individual uniqueness. Thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for “well child visits” (1) we felt much more educated about our childrens’ developmental stages and how to keep them healthy.

Likewise, as an orthodontist, I am frequently asked “at what age should I be taking my child to see the orthodontist for the first time?” Applying the same principle of preventative care, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. (2) Most children don’t require any kind of active treatment at this young age, so what is so magical about being 7 years old?

By age 7, most children have four permanent molars and between four and eight permanent front teeth (incisors) establishing their adult biting and chewing relationships. By seeing patients at this early age, an orthodontist like me can catch and help correct poor oral habits that may result in long-term jaw problems. It is also a good age to identify skeletal mismatches between the jaws, allowing problems that could only be corrected surgically later to be corrected orthopedically instead.

Most often at McAllister Orthodontics, these complimentary growth and development exams simply educate parents and their kids about the growth of their teeth and jaws and what to expect from future development. They also provide a fun and positive experience in a doctor’s office for kids who frequently associate the doctor or the dentist with shots. One of the greatest benefits from these check-ups is the peace of mind that parents feel, knowing that a specialist is monitoring their child’s individual growth to help them know the precise time to begin active treatment, and creating an individualized treatment plan that will provide the very best smile for their child.

So, don’t delay! If you have a child who has started to get permanent teeth in the front and back, call our Omaha (402-392-1516) or Fremont (402-721-5257) offices and schedule a complimentary consultation today, and join our 7&Up Club! No referral is necessary. As a parent of young children myself, there is nothing that brings me more peace of mind than knowing a specialist is helping me monitor their growth and health. Let me help you have that same peace of mind with my individualized orthodontic well-checks!

1) http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/health-management/Pages/Well-Child-Care-A-Check-Up-for-Success.aspx

2) http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/when-to-see-orthodontist?page=2

Ice Buckets and Braces

August 15th, 2014

Although it has been the coolest summer in recent memory for a large portion of the U.S., the internet has been flooded (pun intended) the last few weeks with videos of people pouring buckets of ice-cold water on themselves. The Wall Street Journal reports the origin of this viral internet phenomenon:

“The so-called ice-bucket challenge—dump ice water on yourself, post and tag yourself on social media and challenge others to do the same—got its start among golfers as a way to support pet charities.

In just a few weeks, it has become a major fundraising coup for patients and organizations with ALS, a neurodegenerative disorder. It is commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the baseball player who had it.” (1)

The article goes on to explain how social media transformed a dare between golfers into an incredible campaign to raise awareness for a terrible disease.

This viral phenomenon and the Wall Street Journal article got me thinking about my personal connection to ALS. In my first year of dental school, my parents dropped a bombshell on my siblings and me. My father had noticed that one of his feet wasn’t functioning properly when he walked and he thought it was a result of a tumble he took while on a hike with the scouts, so he went to see the doctor to make sure he hadn’t broken anything. After extensive testing, he was told that the fall hadn’t caused his foot problem, but rather his foot problem had likely caused the fall. He was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), an as yet incurable neurodegenerative disease that at the time was almost universally fatal in an average of two years from diagnosis.

What is horrific about this disease isn’t just that it is fatal, but that it steadily destroys coordination and muscular function, paralyzing its victims in stages until they can no longer perform even the most basic functions, including swallowing and breathing. In its excellent explanation of the degenerative stages of ALS, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) explains that

“The vast majority of deaths in ALS are the result of respiratory failure, a process that progresses slowly over months. Medications can relieve discomfort, anxiety and fear caused by respiratory insufficiency.” (2)

I don’t know about you, but the idea of slowly, involuntarily suffocating while maintaining full mental acuity and consciousness, while also being completely powerless to improve is terrifying to me! And I clearly remember the absolute anguish and horror I felt at the prospect of watching someone I love so much suffer so horrifically. My heart goes out to those who struggle to live with ALS and the care givers who love them and sacrifice so much for them. Ultimately, through miracles performed by a merciful God, my father is still with us. His diagnosis has been changed by baffled doctors, although he has experienced some of the same symptoms over a longer period of time.

So, what do “Ice Bucket Challenges” and ALS have to do with braces? Excellent question. The answer is “perspective.” Every day I am blessed to help people overcome challenges like dysfunctional bites, poorly positioned teeth and jaw problems to improve the appearance and function of their smiles. However, when we take a moment to consider the suffering and challenges faced by others, frequently our challenges seem small. This is an orthodontic blog, but because of my personal brush with ALS, I couldn’t let the chance pass to remind myself how blessed I am to still have my dad. I couldn’t let the chance pass to express my gratitude that I have a body that functions properly; that I can choose to smile, and my facial muscles will perform as directed. I also couldn’t let the chance pass to put the Ice Bucket Challenge to its greatest use, to draw attention to and educate about the plight of approximately 30,000 Americans every year, of whom 80% will die in less than 5 years from a terrible disease. (3)

Today, I invite all my patients to join me in taking a moment to count their blessings. Then, join me in using the time, effort and money you could have spent performing your own social media “Ice Bucket Challenge” to advocate, participate, volunteer or donate to help those who suffer from ALS in our own community. I invite you to stay warm and dry, and check out ALS in the Heartland’s website (http://www.alsintheheartland.org/support-us/) for more information about what you and I can do to help our suffering neighbors smile a little brighter today.

1. Reddy, Sumathi “How the Ice-Bucket Challenge Got Its Start” The Wall Street Journal, Aug 14, 2014 (accessed online at http://online.wsj.com/articles/how-the-ice-bucket-challenge-got-its-start-1408049557)
2. (http://mda.org/disease/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis/signs-and-symptoms/stages-of-als)
3. http://www.alsa.org/about-als/facts-you-should-know.html

What is an Orthodontist anyway?

August 8th, 2014

When the time comes to decide where to go for a consultation about improving your smile in the greater Omaha metropolitan area, a quick Google search will reveal you have lots of options. As you scroll through the possibilities you will see that some of the doctors offering braces or Invisalign ® mention they are specialists or orthodontists and some do not.   So what is the difference, and what difference does it make?

WHAT IS AN ORTHODONTIST?

My Life. My Smile. My Orthodontist.

Orthodontists complete 10 or more years of education after high school in order to be adequately prepared and qualified to diagnose and effectively manage tooth movement and facial development. After completing the same university classes that are prerequisite to attend medical school, future orthodontists first become dentists, completing the same rigorous four years of dental school that your primary care dentist completed. After dental school, acceptance in an orthodontic residency is very competitive. Out of every 100 graduating dentists, only six have the privilege of acceptance in an orthodontic residency program. Then, only after successfully completing 2-3 years of focused post-graduate residency and the attendant testing and licensing processes required by individual states can a dentist qualify to become an orthodontist.

WHY SEE AN ORTHODONTIC SPECIALIST?

Although orthodontists have successfully completed training in the broad scope of general dental care including (but not limited to) identifying and removing decay, restoring teeth with fillings, veneers, crowns and bridges, performing root canals, extracting teeth and providing deep cleaning for periodontally compromised teeth, they choose to limit the scope of their practice to orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. The American Association of Orthodontists recently published a document that succinctly describes an orthodontist.

"Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults. Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively. Orthodontic care is often part of a comprehensive oral health plan.

Orthodontists use a variety of “appliances,” including braces, clear aligner trays and retainers, to move teeth or hold them in their new positions. Because of orthodontists’ advanced education and clinical experience, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet every individual patient’s treatment goals."

MEET DR. PAUL McALLISTER, DMD

Dr. Paul McAllister completed 12 years of formal education after high school, earning a bachelor's degree at Brigham Young University and completing post-graduate work at Arizona State University prior to earning his doctorate of medical dentistry (DMD) at Oregon Health and Science University. He then completed a 30 month orthodontic residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. McAllister is dedicated to constant improvement through perpetual formal continuing education and active participation in local and national study clubs. He even uses some of his vacation time to travel to the offices of outstanding orthodontists around the country to observe and learn from them so he can improve his skills and offer the very best to his patients in Nebraska.

Braces and clear aligners are tools that can legally be used by anyone with a dental license. However, just like not everyone who uses a hammer or a saw is an accomplished finish carpenter, it is important to find a specialist with the training, skill, experience and sincere interest in helping you achieve your goals.

At McAllister Orthodontics, with locations in Omaha and Fremont, Nebraska, Dr. McAllister and his compassionate and well-trained staff are excited to meet you and help you achieve the beautiful smile you have always wanted. Learn more about the McAllister Ortho team at www.mcallisterortho.com, and call 402-392-1516 today to schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. McAllister. We love to see you smile!

A Helpful Site on Orthodontics

July 31st, 2014

As you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, our team at McAllister Orthodontics would like to point you to a helpful website. Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have lots of important information about everything relating to braces, including myths and facts of orthodontics, tips for a better orthodontic experience, and cool webisodes about orthodontics.

Check out AAO today and feel free to contact us at our Omaha or Fremont, NE office if you have any questions.

Dr. Paul McAllister and our team at McAllister Orthodontics hope this information helps you!

Dreaming of a stunning smile without using braces?

July 24th, 2014

Most of us aren’t born with a red carpet smile. And if you’ve thought about straightening your teeth but are apprehensive about doing so with traditional orthodontic treatment, Dr. Paul McAllister and our team at McAllister Orthodontics want you to know there is another option – Invisalign®!

Invisalign is an ideal solution for most adults looking for a less noticeable way to achieve a better smile. In fact, Invisalign has increasingly become a very popular choice for adults looking for a more comfortable, convenient and cosmetically-appealing treatment for straightening their teeth.

Our team at McAllister Orthodontics is proud to offer Invisalign, which uses a series of invisible, removable and comfortable aligners that no one can tell you’re wearing, which allows you to smile more during treatment, as well as after. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are also removable, so you can eat and drink what you want; brushing and flossing is easier with Invisalign than with traditional braces.

Invisalign’s aligners are also comfortable, with no metal to cause mouth abrasions during your treatment. And no metal and wires usually means you spend less time at our office getting adjustments. Invisalign also allows you to view your own virtual treatment plan when you start, so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete!

A consultation with Dr. Paul McAllister can determine if Invisalign is right for you. We encourage you to give us a call at our friendly Omaha or Fremont, NE office if you’re interested in learning more about Invisalign or if you are ready to visit us for an initial consultation! We look forward to seeing you!

Is Damon® Smile right for you?

July 17th, 2014

Dr. Paul McAllister and our team at McAllister Orthodontics are pleased to offer Damon Smile to our patients. This treatment is a faster and more comfortable way to straighten teeth and can improve your smile at any age, often without tooth extractions. Damon Smile braces not only help straighten your teeth, but their use can also lead to greater confidence, a better self-image, as well as personal and professional advancement.

Traditional orthodontic treatment often requires the removal of healthy teeth and/or the use of palatal expanders to make space for braces, which usually means treatment takes longer, is more uncomfortable for the patient and can leave a narrower arch and a flat profile.  

When using Damon Smile, however, straight teeth are achieved with light, biologically-sensible forces, and are specifically designed to improve each patient’s overall facial result. The system uses unique self-ligating braces, in which a specialized clip with a “door” replaces elastics or other ties. The “door” guides the archwire and allows the teeth to move gently into the proper position. Because of the increased flexibility of the self-ligating brace, it exerts less pressure on the individual tooth; this means you won’t have to get adjustments as frequently.

Another advantage is the gentler, low-friction force means you won’t experience the long-term discomfort from intense pressure on your teeth, or the tight wires that are so common with traditional braces.

If you have been thinking about an orthodontic procedure, come see us at McAllister Orthodontics for an assessment to see if Damon Smile is right for you! Give us a call today at our convenient Omaha or Fremont, NE office!

What is so different about Damon® Smile braces?

July 10th, 2014

Damon Smile braces, with their self-ligating technique, have made the orthodontic treatment process more comfortable and faster than ever before. Damon Smile braces require elastic ties to hold the wires in place, which helps in alleviating pressure while your teeth move into their desired position. Therefore, both treatment time and follow-up visits to McAllister Orthodontics are reduced.

Damon Smile braces often times do not require the extraction of healthy teeth or other techniques to make space in your mouth before treatment begins. Traditional braces often require metal or elastic ties to hold wires together, typically resulting in a feeling of pressure and discomfort among the teeth while they are moving into an ideal position.

Damon Smile uses a technology called self-ligation, a process that eliminates the need for the ties and lessens the feeling of tightness during your treatment with Dr. Paul McAllister. Plus, Damon Smile braces use shape-memory wires that are able to move the teeth into position faster, ultimately cutting treatment time. Damon Smile braces also diminish the amount of food and debris that can become trapped along the brackets, allowing for more efficient teeth cleaning. Damon Smile braces are also available with clear brackets to lessen the visual impact and give you a more aesthetically pleasing smile during treatment.

Dr. Paul McAllister and our team at McAllister Orthodontics can meet with you to discuss all aspects of treatment. With this innovative technique, you can take advantage of many of the same benefits of traditional braces only with greater comfort, less self-consciousness, and in less time.

Please give us a call at our Omaha or Fremont, NE office for more information on Damon Smile, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Paul McAllister.

Fun Facts for the Fourth

July 3rd, 2014

The Fourth of July is a great time to get together with friends and family members for BBQ, games, fireworks, and other celebrations in honor of our country’s independence. While your fellow revelers eat hot dogs and wave flags, you can impress them by sharing these fascinating facts and historical tidbits about some of our country’s traditions and symbols from the team at McAllister Orthodontics.

The Statue of Liberty

With a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols of our country. However, as recognizable as certain parts of the statue are, not many people know that broken shackles, which represent oppression and tyranny, are lying at Lady Liberty’s feet. According to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the copper-plated lady weighs in at a whopping 450,000 tons and has been holding her torch up for more than 125 years, which must make for some impressive arm muscles.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Since 1916, people have been flocking to Coney Island on the Fourth of July to witness what some people call the “superbowl of competitive eating.” Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest challenges competitors to devour as many hot dogs as they can in just ten minutes, with the current record holder swallowing a whopping 68 hot dogs! If you’d like to witness this bizarre and frenzied eating competition but you won’t be anywhere near Coney Island on the fourth, don’t worry. ESPN has been broadcasting this popular event for several years, so you can watch from the comfort of your couch while you eat a reasonably portioned meal.

The History Behind Fireworks

Viewing the nighttime fireworks display is exciting way to finish off the fourth. Many people know that these brilliant displays probably originated with the Chinese. However, many historians also believe that fireworks were stumbled upon when the Chinese roasted bamboo sticks over fires and watched them explode. After many years of roasting the sticks, a group of alchemists created an early form of gunpowder, which they stuffed into the bamboo sticks to create an even more powerful explosion, paving the way for the today’s modern fireworks.

Whether you’re planning on visiting the Statue of Liberty, watching fireworks in Omaha or Fremont, NE, or even participating in a hot dog eating contest, Dr. Paul McAllister and our team hope you have a safe and fun-filled holiday. Happy Fourth of July!

What are the benefits of Invisalign®?

June 26th, 2014

A popular option for straightening teeth at McAllister Orthodontics, Invisalign can be a great method for improving your smile, and can help patients with crowded teeth, crossbites, overbites, underbites, and more.

Invisalign, which is different from traditional braces, works by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners in order to eventually move your teeth into their ideal positions. Patients typically swap aligners approximately every couple of weeks.

At McAllister Orthodontics, we have lots of experience using this technology to give our patients the beautiful and healthy smile they’ve always wanted. During your initial visit at our Omaha or Fremont, NE office, the first thing we do is take an impression of your teeth as they are now and digitize it. Using special software, we look at the current positioning of your teeth and compare it to the way your teeth should look.

Not only are the aligners invisible, they are also removable, so you can eat and drink what you want, and brushing and flossing are easier. Invisalign’s aligners are also comfortable, with no metal to cause mouth abrasions during your treatment. And, no metal and wires usually means you spend less time at our office getting adjustments. With Invisalign, you can view your own virtual treatment plan when you start, so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete!

Depending on the severity of the problem, Invisalign treatment may take anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems, teeth that are lower or higher than others, or severely overcrowded teeth. Both teens and adults are now great candidates for Invisalign, so we invite you to contact our Omaha or Fremont, NE office to set up an initial consultation and learn more on how Invisalign can give you the smile you’ve always wanted!

The Advantage of Invisalign Teen®

June 19th, 2014

Many teens want to improve their smile without the pain and embarrassment of having to wear metal braces. Just like metal braces, Invisalign works by gently moving teeth into position. Metal braces are worn continuously, however, and need to be adjusted by Dr. Paul McAllister regularly in order to move the teeth into proper position.

Invisalign uses a series of clear trays to move teeth into position. When you are done with one tray, simply pop in the next! Invisalign Teen straightens teeth just as well as traditional metal braces, but has several advantages.

Invisible

You’ve probably figured out the most obvious advantage already: the aligners are nearly invisible. Invisalign works by using a series of clear aligners that should be worn 20 to 22 hours a day. Invisalign trays are almost undetectable when you wear them, so you can smile with confidence — even while you are straightening your teeth.

Removable

One of the best things about Invisalign Teen is that the trays are removable. This means you can remove your tray to eat, brush, and floss your teeth, or even to play sports. While Dr. Paul McAllister and our team at McAllister Orthodontics require you to wear the trays for most of the day, having the ability to remove your straightening trays means you have practically none of the dietary restrictions that metal brace wearers have to observe.

Teens that play contact sports often experience difficulties with metal braces. Invisalign Teen allows the flexibility to wear a mouthguard, and no metal wires or brackets means less risk of cuts or other injuries while playing a game. Musicians also benefit from being able to remove their trays during rehearsals and performances. You can even remove your tray for your school photo or to snap a quick selfie!

Finally, because you can remove your aligners, you can easily keep your teeth clean through normal brushing and flossing. You can also clean your trays by brushing and rinsing them in warm water. Brushing and flossing with metal braces can be frustrating and time-consuming. Invisalign Teen treatment at McAllister Orthodontics helps you keep your smile white and shiny with very little change to your normal routine.

To learn more about Invisalign Teen, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul McAllister, please give us a call at our convenient Omaha or Fremont, NE office!

Thanks to Invisalign®, you can have a perfect smile without metal wires or brackets!

June 12th, 2014

When it comes to straightening your smile, our team at McAllister Orthodontics knows that having a mouth full of metal braces may not be your idea of fun. Luckily for you, Dr. Paul McAllister can offer a cosmetic alternative: Invisalign!

Using a series of clear, comfortable, and completely customized aligners, you can get the smile you’ve always wanted without traditional braces.

Since Invisalign aligners are discreet, they’re hardly noticeable when you speak and smile, and because they’re removable, you can eat and drink whatever you want. Just remember to brush and floss before putting your aligners back in! Treatment with Invisalign is just as effective as with metal braces, and the results are just as amazing!

If you want to know more about Invisalign, contact our Omaha or Fremont, NE office to schedule an appointment.

June is National Smile Month: Show off your smile!

June 5th, 2014

The community health awareness group Oral Health America has reported that 82 percent of adults are unaware of the role that infectious bacteria can play in tooth decay or cavities, and almost three out of five children aged 12 to 19 have tooth decay. Since June is National Smile Month, Dr. Paul McAllister and our team at McAllister Orthodontics thought we’d remind our patients about the importance of good oral hygiene visits between office visits.

To keep your family’s smiles healthy and beautiful for years to come, be sure to:

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss every day to clean between your teeth
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Visit Dr. Paul McAllister for scheduled appointments

If you want to know more about healthy home care habits, feel free to ask our team at your next appointment, or ask us on Facebook!

Questions, questions…

May 29th, 2014

When beginning orthodontic treatment, most patients ask Dr. Paul McAllister and our team a lot of questions about what to expect, while others choose to just "go with the flow" and leave it to us to build for them a beautiful smile. And for our team at McAllister Orthodontics, that's understandable.

But for those who do ask questions, two of the ones we frequently hear are "Will my braces hurt?" and "How long will these be on?"

We explain to our patients that despite what they've heard, braces do not hurt when they're initially put on. Yes, you will experience soreness after your braces are placed and when your teeth start to move. Too often, our patients hear horror stories about how much it hurts to get the braces on, so they tend to over-worry. The truth is, after their braces are on, almost all patients say "that's it?" because it's actually easy and painless!

At McAllister Orthodontics, we answer most of your other questions during your initial exam. When a patient visits our office for the first time, we give him or her a time estimate of how long it will take to achieve their ideal smile. All other questions are answered at the bonding appointment when the braces are placed. We cover all the topics, everything from eating to brushing with braces, but we also know that after your initial appointment, it's natural for you to have questions about your or your child's treatment. And we are always here for you; we are thorough and always try to answer any questions or concerns you may have. As a patient, that's one thing you never have to worry about. You will always know what's going on throughout your orthodontic experience.

Memorial Day: Parades, remembrance, and the unofficial start of summer!

May 22nd, 2014

“The purpose of all war is peace.” - Saint Augustine

Fire truck sirens, baton twirlers, marching bands covering patriotic tunes, colorful floats, costumes, and millions of red, white, and blue American flags being waved in the air on a beautiful day in late May, that is what Memorial Day is all about. It is a federal holiday celebrated with town parades, remembrance, and a sense of unity and community togetherness.

Our team at McAllister Orthodontics wants to take this time to wish you and your family a happy Memorial Day, as well as pause for a moment to reflect on what this holiday means and how it has changed over time. No, this is not a history lesson, but just a couple of thoughts and observances for you to take with you on your way to the next barbecue.

On the last Monday in May, America observes Memorial Day as a time to remember and celebrate the men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country in the Armed Forces. The holiday originated after the Civil War; at that time it was known as Decoration Day. While holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter remain the same from year to year, Memorial Day has changed over time, and in the 21st century we observe a far different holiday than what Americans did after the Civil War, or even the World Wars.

While many people place flags at cemeteries and visit national memorials in order to honor those who have passed away serving the country, Memorial Day is also a time for family barbecues, pool parties, trips to the beach, blockbuster movies, long weekend getaways, and fireworks. In America, Memorial Day has come to represent the unofficial start of the summer – a long, sunny, warm weekend devoted to family togetherness, outdoor events, and community.

It is time to load up the potato salad and the apple pie and head over to the neighbor’s house for their annual barbecue. And yes, contrary to popular belief, we do eat sweets, especially homemade apple pie! Everything in moderation, of course.

So whether you’re in the Omaha or Fremont, NE area or beyond, Happy Memorial Day to you and yours from Dr. Paul McAllister!

Besides straight teeth, what are the benefits of braces?

May 15th, 2014

Everyone wants a naturally aligned and beautiful smile, and it is no secret that orthodontic braces from McAllister Orthodontics can help deliver one. However, there are greater benefits to wearing braces than just having straight teeth. You’ll gain many oral health benefits in addition to the cosmetic ones.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Crooked or crowded teeth may overlap each other and create tight spaces in between. These can make it very difficult to brush and floss effectively, allowing bacteria and plaque to build up, and eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. With orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become properly aligned and spaced, which allows for more effective brushing.

Difficulties with Speech

Your teeth play an essential role in speech. When they are out of line or lean too far forward or backward, this can affect your speaking patterns, and possibly cause embarrassment and frustration. Braces can readjust the positioning of the teeth to allow for clearer, more professional speech.

Bone Erosion

Bone and gum tissues begin to erode when there are no teeth to support. This is also true for poorly aligned teeth that leave gaps and spaces or place too much pressure on the jawbone due to a bad bite. With braces, the bones and tissues are less likely to erode and can continue to support the teeth in their new alignment.

Digestion

Your teeth play an important role in digestion. Before food ever enters your stomach, it has been partially digested by the teeth. If teeth are severely out of line, however, they may not play their role in breaking down food as effectively as they should. With braces, your teeth will be straightened into optimal alignment for eating and chewing.

Dr. Paul McAllister and staff will be happy to answer any of your questions about your orthodontic treatment. Visit us in Omaha or Fremont, NE today!

Wishing all our moms a happy Mother’s Day!

May 8th, 2014

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." - Robert Browning

We would like to take this moment to thank all the great moms out there for being so great during their child’s visits to McAllister Orthodontics. Whether it’s driving their kids to regularly scheduled appointments or for “being there” while their child is treatment, the moms who come to our office are all stellar individuals, so Dr. Paul McAllister and our entire staff would like you to know that we appreciate you all!

Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy your special day!

May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month!

May 1st, 2014

The month of May has the unique distinction of being National Teen Self-Esteem Month. What does that mean?

National Teen Self-Esteem Month was created to raise public awareness about how low self-esteem can negatively affect teens. Especially during May, parents and guardians of teens are asked to be positive role models. If teens can receive positive re-enforcement and their negative images of themselves are improved, then their self-esteem has a better chance of developing in a positive direction.

Dr. Paul McAllister and our team at McAllister Orthodontics know there are a lot of young adults living in America are struggling with depressed self-images. These can affect all aspects of their everyday lives. Some evidence shows learning abilities and increased risk of eating disorders can originate in a teen’s low self-esteem. It can also lead to abuse of drugs and thoughts of suicide. Dating violence among high school teens is now more common than previously thought.

What can be done to help?

So what can adults do specifically to help their teens? The National Teen Self-Esteem Facebook page offers a variety of suggestions and positive messages for teens and parents alike. Of all the pages your teen “likes” on social media, perhaps he or she should include this page. Some of the tips offered include:

  1. When you stumble, get right back up.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
  3. Do things that make you feel good about yourself.
  4. Open yourself up to compliments.

Another great way to build self-esteem is to have a beautiful, health smile, and that’s where our team at McAllister Orthodontics come in! Whether your teen is due for a simple cleaning, could benefit from cosmetic treatments, or needs orthodontic care, we can help bestow a confident smile he or she will be proud to show off.

Overall, a more positive approach to life will help us all. It is a very important trait to instill in our teens. As parents, a big part of our responsibility is to show our children there is always another day and bumps in the road are just that. We need to help guide their self-esteem and reinforce their positive traits. We can help them recognize the value of who they are.

We should make our children’s self esteem a priority — not just in May, but throughout the year. Let National Teen Self-Esteem Month serve as the impetus for new levels of self-esteem.

For more information on this topic, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul McAllister, please give us a call at our convenient Omaha or Fremont, NE office!

Feeling Confident at Your Orthodontic Consultation

April 24th, 2014

How You Can Start Preparing Now

When you first start thinking about going to the orthodontist, it is normal to feel apprehensive. What will your orthodontic experience bring? Whether you have been advised by a dentist or chosen to seek out orthodontic care from Dr. Paul McAllister on your own, there are a few things you can do to prepare for your initial consultation at McAllister Orthodontics.

One of the best ways to prepare for an orthodontic consultation is to understand your options. With so many choices available today, orthodontic care is a lot more versatile than in the past. You can start preparing now by seeking out and understanding those options. With a few specific things in mind, you can be totally confident and prepared for your consultation.

Questions to Ask During the Consultation

As you consider orthodontic care, it is likely that a few questions may naturally arise. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have. Our orthodontic team is here to help. Here are just a few examples of questions you may want to ask at your consultation.

  • Is there an estimated length of time that I will likely require braces?
  • How much should I expect to pay for my treatment? What are the payment options?
  • Does getting braces hurt? Is there anything I can do to prevent or minimize pain?
  • Is it likely that I will be wearing extra appliances in addition to braces to correct my overbite or other problems?
  • Are there specific foods I will need to avoid when I get braces?
  • Will braces prevent me from playing my favorite sport or musical instrument?
  • How can I keep my teeth clean with braces?
  • How often will I be expected to come in for checkups and other appointments?

Once your consultation is over, you don’t have to feel like your options are exhausted. If questions arise after the consultation, don’t be afraid to ask. Our orthodontic team will be here to help throughout the entire process.

Confidence throughout the Process

With answers to your questions, and an orthodontic team on your side, you can be confident about any necessary orthodontic treatments. From the initial consultation to the day your braces come off, your orthodontic treatment at McAllister Orthodontics can be a smooth and simple process. The moment you see that beautiful smile, you’ll know it was all worth it.

We love bringing nothing but the most amazing smiles to our patients!

Earth Day

April 17th, 2014

The idea for Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin. He envisioned an Earth Day that would be a kind of environmental teach-in. The first Earth Day celebration took place on April 22, 1970, and a surprising 20 million people participated on that day. Ultimately, it became the largest organized celebration in US history.

Earth Day Over the Years

Over the years, the recognition of the day, and the number of people celebrating it all over the world, turned Earth Day into an international celebration. Because it is celebrated throughout the world, it is not only the largest international environmental observation, but it is also more widely celebrated than any other environmental event in the world. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 175 countries where over 500 million people participate in celebrations.

The Earth Day Movement

The Earth Day movement is credited with developing the idea that people should “think green”. It encouraged congress to enact laws, including one that resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It also inspired the passage of the Endangered Species Act.

The Five R's and Their Importance

  • Reduce – Reduce by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Reduce your use of materials that wind up in landfills. Reduce the use of chemicals around your house. Reduce your use of disposable bags, plates, cups, eating utensils, and batteries.
  • Reuse – Instead of using plastic bags for your groceries or purchases, bring your own reusable bags. When you go to buy coffee at Starbucks, take a travel mug so you don't have to get your coffee in a disposable paper cup. Instead of storing food in disposable refrigerator containers, buy containers that can be washed and reused. Don't use regular batteries. Whenever possible, opt for rechargeable batteries that you can reuse.
  • Recycle – Most cities offer a recycling program to collect used bottles, cans, and newspapers. Recycling includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers and manufacturing raw materials into new products.
  • Re-buy – Make an effort to purchase things that are made through recycling. When purchasing furniture, look for items that are made from reclaimed wood. When buying paper for kids school work, computer printer paper, holiday cards, or anything else, make a point of purchasing recycled paper products. Instead of buying clothing at full retail price, shop for second hand clothing. You will save a lot of money by doing so!
  • Rethink – Rethink the way you do things so that you do them in an eco-conscious way at all times. Instead of driving to work alone, consider taking the bus or going in a carpool. Walk or ride your bike when you're only going a short distance. Plan your shopping trips and errand runs so that you can do everything on one day, and do it in a way where you can save time and gas.

Other ways to "think green" include growing your own food, composting yard waste and food scraps, or by participating in local recycling programs. Join a group like Freecycle so you can share your unneeded and unwanted possessions with people who can use them. Likewise, you'll be able to get things you need or want for free.

Earth Day teaches people that the planet belongs to everyone, so everyone is equally responsible for protecting it. Although Earth Day is an environmental celebration, our team at McAllister Orthodontics wants to remind you that you don't have to wait until then to make changes that will allow you and your family to live a greener life.

Happy Earth Day from the team at McAllister Orthodontics.

Smile with Invisalign Teen®!

April 10th, 2014

Invisalign Teen is designed with today’s youth in mind. These clear, removable orthodontic aligners can straighten your teeth without the need for metal wires and brackets. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign Teen aligners are comfortable, nearly invisible, and removable, which allows you to remove them as you eat your favorite foods and brush and floss your teeth. Invisalign Teen motivates teenagers to enjoy life without restrictions while promoting better overall dental care.

Key features of Invisalign Teen

Teenagers are constantly on the move and require special options when it comes to their braces. Invisalign Teen utilizes the same technology as Invisalign for adults; they consist of a series of clear plastic aligners that gradually move the teeth. Extra features designed especially for teens include:

  • Blue wear-indicators on the aligners that gradually fade from blue to clear to help you, and our team, gauge wear time
  • Aligners designed to compensate for the growth of molars and new teeth
  • Customization to fit your mouth correctly and comfortably
  • Removable and nearly transparent to ensure you can eat with freedom and smile with confidence
  • Six free individual replacement aligners in the event that your aligners become misplaced or lost

Conditions improved by Invisalign Teen

Between 70 and 80 percent of adolescents in the United States require braces, according to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Invisalign Teen uses advanced technology to treat a broad range of orthodontic conditions. These include overbite, underbite, crossbite, widely-spaced teeth, and overly crowded teeth. Injuries and tooth and jaw problems may also require the use of braces to correct jaw and teeth alignment problems.

How does Invisalign Teen work?

Like any orthodontic treatment, Invisalign Teen requires a customized treatment plan created by Dr. Paul McAllister. Generally, each set of aligners is worn for approximately two weeks and removed when you brush, floss, eat, and drink. Your teeth will gradually move with the series of aligners, which typically ranges from 18 to 30 aligners in total. You’ll visit our Omaha or Fremont, NE office every eight to ten weeks to check your progress and make any needed adjustments.

Invisalign Teen introduces a whole new way to make your smile straight without the unappealing look and hassle of traditional metal braces. This revolutionary method of correcting smiles is being used by teens everywhere, including right here at McAllister Orthodontics, to straighten their teeth with confidence.

We proudly offer Invisalign Teen®!

April 8th, 2014

Dr. Paul McAllister and our team are excited to offer Invisalign Teen, a clear alternative to braces that’s just for teens! With Invisalign Teen, we are able to straighten your teen’s teeth without the hassle, discomfort, and embarrassment of traditional braces.

Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners are virtually invisible. What's more, they are removable, which means your child is free to eat anything they choose, as well as brush and floss with ease! And best of all, Invisalign Teen uses no wires or metal to straighten your teen's teeth.

Invisalign Teen aligners are made from a lightweight plastic material and fit precisely on the teeth. Invisalign Teen has become a popular treatment here at McAllister Orthodontics because it helps our younger patients achieve a straight, beautiful smile without their friends noticing.

Our team at McAllister Orthodontics is aware that most teens today have a busy lifestyle, and sometimes, they tend to lose things, including their retainers or aligners. But with Invisalign Teen, if your child happens to lose an aligner, let Dr. McAllister and our team know as soon as possible and we will have the aligner replaced.

For more information on Invisalign Teen, please give us a call at our convenient Omaha or Fremont, NE office today!

Welcome to Our Blog

April 4th, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about our orthodontics and the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.

Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctors and staff - we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!

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