Bend's Hometown Board-Certified Orthodontic Specialist

Our Blog

All About Overbites

October 21st, 2016

In the United States, the majority of people with bite issues have overbites, meaning the top teeth stick out relative to the bottom teeth. Along with underbites, crossbites, and open bites, an overbite is a type of malocclusion.

A Malo-what?

The term "occlusion" refers to the alignment of your teeth. Therefore, a malocclusion is a deviation or misalignment from a normal occlusion. Malocclusions can fall into one of three categories:

  • Class 1 is when a normal bite is accompanied by a slight overlap of the upper teeth. This is the most common malocclusion.

  • Class 2 is diagnosed when the overbite is severe, often known as a retrognathic.

  • Class 3 is a severe underbite – when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. It's referred to as prognathic.

What are the Causes?

Although some overbites are hereditary, others are caused by a malformed jaw. Jaws can grow unevenly under the pressure of certain habits when a child is young, such as thumb-sucking, prolonged bottle-feeding or tongue-thrusting. Habits developed later in life, such as eraser head-chewing or nail-biting, can form an overbite as well. This can result in an underdeveloped lower jaw or an overdeveloped upper jaw.

Treatment Options


Elastics are used in less severe cases. Elastics attach, depending on which way we want the teeth and jaws to move, from the bottom braces to the top ones or vice versa. This allows the upper jaw to come out and the lower jaw to go in. In cases where there’s an overbite, we would do the opposite because we want the lower jaw to go out and the upper jaw to come in.

An Appliance

If someone has a large overbite, we use a spring that sits inside the mouth and cheeks. The spring allows you to chew and open/close your mouth normally, while working to gently move your jaw 24 hours a day. It’s used in severe cases where you could stick your whole thumb in between your upper and lower jaw. It also speeds up treatment compared to wearing the elastics.


There's no age limit on when an overbite can be treated, but it's easier to fix in younger children because their jaws haven't fully developed. The best time is usually before children hit their peak growth spurt (ages 10-11 years old for girls and 11-13 for boys).


If you think your child has an overbite, call us at (541) 848-6642. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have!

Thinking about getting adult braces? (Part 2)

September 28th, 2016

If you’re reading this, you’re probably entertaining the idea of getting orthodontic treatment as an adult. Should I get braces at age 30? 40? What about 80? The simple answer is that if it will improve your long-term health, then yes. With more adults seeking braces than ever before, now is a great time to put it into consideration. It’s important to understand, however, the treatment options, commitments, and costs of the process beforehand.

Treatment Options

When it comes to adult braces, there are four main options to choose from. They all vary in cost, visibility, speed, and ease of use. Take a look at the chart below to see what sounds best for you.


Best for...

How it works



Metal / Conventional Braces

Quickly straightening very crooked teeth

Customize color to make them less noticeable. Heat activated archwires move teeth with more speed and less pain than in the past.

Usually the least expensive option. Ideal for people with serious bite problems or very crooked teeth who want straight teeth as fast as possible.

The most noticeable option.

Ceramic Braces

Discreet but quick

Identical to metal braces but, have clear or tooth-colored brackets.

Much subtler than metal braces. Faster results than Invisalign.

Cost more and break more easily than metal braces. May stain easily without proper care.

Lingual Braces

Benefits of metal without the visibility

Similar to traditional metal, but archwires and brackets are applied to the back of the teeth.

Invisible from the front.

Cost; difficult to maintain; ineffective for serious cases; initial discomfort; adjustments are more difficult and time-intensive than with metal braces.

Clear Plastic Aligners (Invisalign)

Moderate cases who value invisibility over speed

Your orthodontist will make you 18-30 customized clear plastic aligners that resemble a mouth guard. You'll put in a new mouthpiece every couple of weeks.

Almost impossible to see; no wires or brackets; no food restrictions; easy to clean teeth. This option is especially attractive to adults because they can brush, floss, and eat normally.

Not effective for severe cases; cost; don't straighten as quickly as other options; can be easy to lose and expensive to replace.


Treatment Time

The average treatment time for adults is 24 to 30 months, compared to 18 to 22 months for adolescents. Beyond that, you’ll have to follow an aftercare program set by your orthodontist in order to make sure you get the most out of your treatment in the long term.


As if keeping up with health trends and diets wasn’t hard enough, unless you choose the Invisalign option, you’ll have to pay more attention to your eating habits. Sticky, chewy foods can get stuck in your braces and make them difficult to clean or cause damages that can be expensive to fix. That means no more bread, popcorn, and Starbursts. Additionally, you’ll have to keep a toothbrush close at hand to clean your teeth after all your meals, including lunch. Adapting to these new habits can be a transition, but it’s completely doable, and it will keep you from having to come back to the office to get your braces fixed.


Wearing a retainer every night can seem like a hassle. But failing to wear it can lead to the teeth moving and once again becoming crooked, which means that all your hard work will go to waste. This is one of the main reasons why adults need braces when they are older, so be prepared to follow your dentist’s aftercare advice to the best of your ability.

Check Ups

Whatever type of braces you choose, you will have to put aside plenty of time in your calendar for checkups, as it takes longer for adults than children to achieve a straight smile.


While it depends on the severity of your case and how well you follow your treatment plan, most orthodontic treatments for adults end up costing around $5,000. Unfortunately, the majority of dental insurance plans won't cover braces for patients 18 years of age and older. For this reason, you might want to consider investing in a dental discount plan that will reduce the cost of your braces. While it can seem like a significant amount of money, the serious health risks posed by some dental issues and the overall positive effect that a healthy smile can have on quality of life causes many adults see braces as a valuable investment in their long-term health.

Investing in braces as an adult has never been more affordable or convenient. With so many discreet, effective options to choose from, now is the perfect time to make a commitment to improving your oral health. Schedule a free consultation with us here or by calling (541) 848-6642.

Read our last blog, “Thinking About Getting Braces (Part 1)” for information on the many benefits of investing in braces and to see if orthodontic treatment is right for you.

Thinking about getting adult braces? (Part 1)

August 31st, 2016

The thought of getting braces as an adult can be a daunting one. But it’s time to get rid of the typical “metal mouth” image that many people may still have in mind. According to Carefree Dental, adults now make up over 50 percent of orthodontic patients. And a Wall Street Journal article reports that the number of adults who received orthodontic treatment is up nearly 40 percent since 1996. By comparison, patients age 17 and younger in 2012 who underwent orthodontic treatment increased by 32 percent in the same period.

Advances in technology and design have made the adult braces experience both less painful and less noticeable. The reality is, there has never been a better time to take this step to improve your overall health. In this two-part blog series, we’ll discuss whether or not orthodontic treatment is right for you, followed by information on the cost, time commitment, and treatment options available.

Are braces for you?

Perhaps you needed braces as a child but never had the opportunity. Maybe you didn’t wear your retainer as often as you should have when you were younger and your teeth have shifted as a result. Alternatively, perhaps you didn't need braces as a kid but have developed problems over time. Some people's teeth shift more as they age. The natural growth of your jaw can also cause positioning issues.

Whatever your reason so seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult, now is a great time to consider making the commitment to getting braces. And if you’re one of the ones who has had braces before, don’t fret! While the principles of getting braces are still the same, the experience second time around will be nothing like the one you would have had as a teen.


There’s no question that one of the main reasons adults consider getting braces is for their appearance. Of the many studies published on the significance of attractiveness in social settings, a 2013 study that examined the influence of teeth on the smile is particularly eye-opening. Researchers took two identical photographs and digitally manipulated the teeth on one of them. Then, they posted the photos to an online dating site and counted the attempts to contact the person. The profile photograph with the better dental aesthetics received nearly five times as many contact attempts as the other.

You could say that while “braces-wearer” may not be the best highlight to put on an online dating profile, your orthodontic treatment and the resulting healthy smile could really make a difference in many aspects of your life moving forward. Besides, making your health a priority will always be an attractive quality.

Long Term Health Benefits

While cosmetic concerns are a completely valid motivation for seeking out orthodontic treatment, the long-term health benefits are even more important. Here are just a few of the health risks that may arise from failing to treat crooked teeth, overcrowding, overbites or underbites, jaw joint disorders, and incorrect jaw position:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Problems with chewing, speaking, and/or biting
  • Gastrointestinal problems from inability to chew food properly
  • Jaw pain
  • Trouble cleaning the teeth properly, leading to plaque and food accumulation between teeth
  • Increased incidence of tooth decay and periodontal disease
  • Gum and bone erosion
  • Irregular wear of the tooth enamel
  • Facial pain
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders

Whatever your reasons for waiting until now, you can't afford to let your dental and orthodontic problems go untreated. In the end, decades of straight teeth and drastically improved oral and physical health are well worth a couple years of awkwardness, expense, and occasional discomfort.

Look out for our next blog in October for information on treatment options and cost!

How to choose a mouth guard

August 2nd, 2016

Summer is in full swing! Which means there is plenty of active fun in the sun to be had. While we definitely support joining a local football team, taking the mountain bike out for a spin, or shooting some hoops, these sports all pose risks to your dental health that you’d be better off avoiding. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix: wearing a mouthguard allows you to participate in virtually any sport you wish while ensuring that your teeth are as safe from harm--and expensive dental work--as possible.

Which sports require a mouthguard?

Currently, the U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association requires the use of mouthguards only for ice hockey, lacrosse, field hockey and football. However, the American Dental Association recommends the use of a mouth guard for 29 sports/exercise activities. These include the four activities already mentioned, plus acrobatics, basketball, boxing, discus throwing, gymnastics, handball, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling. Essentially, whenever there's a chance of contact with other players or hard surfaces, wearing a mouth guard makes sense.

Why wear a mouthguard?

Mouthguards can buffer damage to the teeth, cheeks, lips, tongue, brackets, and/or other fixed appliances from blows and physical contact, thereby limiting the risk of soft tissue damage. A good-fitting mouth guard may be especially important if you wear braces, have fixed anterior bridgework, or just want to protect your teeth and smile from potential trauma. Failing to wear a mouthguard can result in chipped or broken teeth, root and bone damage, and tooth loss, as well as serious injuries such as jaw fracture, cerebral hemorrhage, concussion and neck injuries in situations when the lower jaw jams into the upper jaw.

Why many people don’t wear mouthguards

Lack of awareness

One of the main reasons why young athletes don’t wear mouthguards is because it is not mandatory. In most cases, a child will not be the one who actually wants to wear a mouthguard, so it is often the adult’s responsibility to enforce its use. Coaches and parents may fail to realize the safety value of wearing mouthguards and are unaware of the level of contact and potential for serious dental injuries involved in children’s sports. Gender bias may also play a role, as some people mistakenly think that female athletes are less aggressive, less at-risk of injury and, therefore, less likely to need a mouthguard.


Another determining factor is that many mouthguards may not fit correctly, are uncomfortable, or compromise image (the notion that it's not "cool" to wear mouth guards). The "hassle" factor in remembering to wear them, properly caring for them, and dealing with the inconvenience of impaired breathing or speech – also contributes to non-use. However, all of these issues should not be a concern when you have the right mouthguard fit to your specific needs.


Finally, although mouthguards come in various price ranges, cost may be another consideration--especially for custom-fitted mouth guards. Talk to your dentist about different options available to you. In the end, a good mouthguard will only cost a fraction of what it would be to repair a major dental issue from a sports-related accident.

Types of mouthguards


These can be purchased in sporting goods and drug stores and come pre-formed and ready to wear. Although they're the least expensive, they are also the worst fitting and least comfortable or protective. Made of rubber or polyvinyl, these pre-formed guards can be bulky, increase the tendency to gag, and make breathing and talking difficult because they require the jaw to be closed to hold them in place.


These can be either a shell liner or a boil-and-bite kind. The first type is lined with acrylic gel or rubber that molds to the teeth and sets to keep its shape. The second type, made of thermoplastic, is placed in boiling water then formed and molded to the contours of the teeth using the fingers, lips, tongue and biting pressure. Boil-and-bite mouthguards can be reheated and refitted if the fit isn't comfortable initially. These are also available online and in sporting goods stores. While they do provide a better fit than stock mouth guards, they can be bulky and do not offer the same fit and protection as a custom-fitted mouth guard.


These are more expensive than the other types of mouthguards, but they provide the greatest degree of fit, comfort, and protection because they are made from a cast to precisely fit your teeth. Your dentist makes an impression of your teeth and a dental laboratory technician – either in the dentist's office or at an off-site dental laboratory – uses the impression as a mold to create the custom-fitted mouth guard.

Still not sure if your child needs a mouthguard, or which type they should get? Want more advice on how to protect your teeth during athletic activities? Give us a call at (541) 848-6642 so that we can help you get the best protection for your particular needs.

Back to Top