How To Become An Orthodontist

Remember when you were in school, and every year on the first day of class, there was an icebreaker where the teacher would go around the room and everyone would answer the funny or thought-provoking question posed.

Around middle school, these questions quickly shifted from “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” to “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Most students would say a superhero or famous to get a few laughs, while others might have said a lawyer or doctor.

Well, in honor of National Doctor’s Day, which falls on March 30, here’s a rundown on what you would need to do if you said you wanted to be an Orthodontist.

Undergraduate School
Like with most professions, you need to get your Bachelors first. Although you don’t have to major in a dental or pre-med track, you will need to complete a few biology, chemistry, and other science courses. Towards the end of your Junior year, you will need to take the Dental Admissions Test to apply to Dental School.

Dental School
Before a Dental School will accept you, they will look at your Dental Admissions Test scores, college GPA, letters of recommendation, and the intensity of your undergraduate program. Once accepted to Dental School, you will spend the first 2 years back in the classroom setting, and the last 2 years in a clinical setting shadowing other doctors. Once you graduate, you will officially have your doctorate, but you will still need to take the National Board Dental Examination to be able to practice.

Postdoctoral Residency
If you just want to practice as a Dentist, you’re done. However, if you would like to be an Orthodontist, you will need to complete specialization training. Admission into Orthodontic Residencies is extremely competitive. Only 1 in 15 applicants is accepted. Once you finish your residency, you will have to pass board certifications, and then you will be free to practice as an orthodontist!

So now you know a tad bit of how to become an Orthodontist!

What Goes Into a Routine Cleaning?

Cleaning your teeth can be uncomfortable, feel embarrassing, or sometimes be just plan scary. Between the jaw discomfort, scraping, prodding, and strange noises, it is completely normal to be a little apprehensive about it. Regardless, routinely getting your teeth cleaned is an essential part of your dental health and hygiene. Being aware of exactly what happens when you go in for a cleaning can be a great way to ease your nerves about the whole thing.

First, your teeth will undergo a physical exam, usually by a dental hygienist who performs the entire procedure. A small mirror is used to check around your gums and teeth for if there are any signs of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other things to be concerned about. A tool called a scaler is then used to remove the tartar and plaque around the lining of your gums and in between your teeth. This is when you will hear the scraping sound. The more tartar there is, the more scraping you will experience.

Once your teeth are tartar-free, they are brushed with an electric brush that makes a grinding noise. It might sound scary, but it is the easiest way to get a good clean and pick up anything the scaler left behind. The toothpaste used has a gritty texture so that it can scrub your teeth gently. If done safely, this process can be done twice yearly without damaging your teeth.

The final few steps include expert flossing, rinsing, and a fluoride treatment. No matter if you floss every day, nothing quite beats a professional flossing. The hygienist can reach those hard to reach spots you sometime miss and remove any leftover plaque or toothpaste from earlier in the cleaning. Your mouth is then rinsed to get rid of anything that was left behind during the whole process. The last step is a treatment that is used to protect your teeth and fight cavities until your next treatment. Voila! Clean teeth!


Preparing Your Child For Braces

For many children or teens, getting braces can be exciting!

However, for some, they may be nervous and have many questions.

Often, they will have to adapt to eating the right foods, new ways of brushing and flossing, and more!

At Waguespack Orthodontics, we get these questions a lot and we are here to help you and your child know what to expect and how to prepare for his or her journey with braces.

The first step to preparing your child for braces is to learn about orthodontic dos and dont’s as much as possible before your treatment begins. Research everything from the foods he or she can and cannot eat, to how to properly floss. After thorough research, we’re certain you and your child will have a better understanding of what to expect when wearing braces.

You should also help your child prepare for braces by reminding them that they are not alone. More than 4 million people in the United States have braces! Chances are even you yourself have had them. It’s important to remind your child that they, and likely many of their friends, will all go through a journey with braces. This journey will leave a beautiful result and gorgeous smile that your child will soon be proud to show off

Before your child gets braces, make sure to stock the fridge with plenty of safe foods! Your child will be in a little bit of discomfort for those first few days, so it’s important to have soft foods available. We recommend things like yogurt, mashed potatoes, smoothies, and even ice cream! Make sure to avoid anything sticky or hard as they may damage the new braces.

All of these things will help get your child get ready for their braces journey! Make sure you discuss any concerns with Dr. Jay and his staff.

Drinks to avoid with braces

When you get traditional metal braces, oral hygiene is paramount to maintaining a healthy smile. Along with regular brushing, there are certain foods and drinks you should avoid in order to maintain your oral health. Drinks that are high in sugar are particularly troublesome.

The sugar in these drinks sticks to your teeth and braces forming the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. As these bacteria grow, they produce an acidic substance that can dissolve the protective enamel on our teeth. Over time, as the enamel is worn away, your teeth can start to turn yellow and cavities can form.

Here are 7 types of drinks to avoid while you have braces.

  1. Soda, both diet and regular. Diet sodas may not contain sugar, but they are still very acidic which can lead to tooth decay.
  2. Sweetened tea
  3. Gatorade
  4. Powerade
  5. Juice Boxes
  6. Lemonade
  7. Energy drinks

So what should you drink with braces?

Water, lots and lots of water. Not only Is drinking water good for your teeth, its good for your overall health. Our bodies are % water.  Staying hydrated can help stabilize blood pressure, clear acne-prone skin and help relieve fatigue.  Milk is also another good choice. Milk contains calcium which is essential to building healthy teeth and bones. If you must have something sweet, try drinks made with water such as Crystal Light.  Although these drinks have a lower concentration of sugar, it still important to brush your teeth thoroughly after you drink them.

Why does my jaw click?

Why does my jaw click?

Why does my TMJ TMDJaw clicking or jaw popping can be caused by many different things.  People who grind their teeth, habitually bite the inside of their cheek, bite their nails or chew gum excessively can develop a condition called TMD or TMJD.  TMJD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. Sometimes you may hear people refer to it as TMJ.

TMJD affects the jaw joint where the jaw meets the skull. When this joint isn’t working properly and /or when there are issues with the muscles around the joint TMJ can develop.  According to the National Institute of Craniofacial Research, over 10 million people, the majority of whom are women develop jaw popping.

If you do not experience pain when your jaw clicks, it may not be a cause for concern. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms you should seek a consultation with a dentist or orthodontist.

Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw
  • Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth

In addition to the behaviors above, jaw clicking may be a sign of a medical condition such as arthritis, sleep apnea, an injury to the jaw or even a condition called Myofascial pain syndrome. However, it can also be caused by Malocclusion of the teeth, or in other words, misalignment of the teeth causing an overbite or underbite. In more severe cases of Malocclusion TMJ can develop because the misalignment of the teeth is causing a misalignment of the jaw and mouth. In cases like this, orthodontic treatment may be required to correct the issue.

If you are experiencing jaw popping or jaw clicking call our office to schedule a consultation.

Why is sugar bad for your teeth?

Why is sugar bad for your teeth?

Why is sugar bad for your teeth?We’ve all been taught that sugar is bad for our teeth, but very few people know why sugar is bad for your teeth. We will explain in simple terms why sugar causes cavities and tooth decay.

Your mouth is full bacteria, some good and some bad. Two of the bad guys are Streptococcus Mutans and Streptococcus Sobrinus. These strains of bacteria feed on sugar. When these bacteria digest the sugar left on your teeth after drinking a Coke or eating a cookie they produce an acid that slowly eats away at your tooth enamel.

Enamel is the shiny outer layer of your teeth that protects them. This acid, over time, slowly demineralizes the enamel on your teeth, stripping it of its protective minerals.

The good news is that your mouth isn’t defenseless against this acid. Your saliva contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that work to reverse this demineralization process, by slowly remineralizing your tooth enamel. The problem is that the sugar content of our diets is increasing and our teeth are under almost constant attack. Simply put, our saliva simply can’t keep up. This is why dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice per day and preferably after eating a sugary snack or drinking a soft drink. By brushing your teeth, you remove some of the sugar residues which in turn leaves less food for the bad bacteria to turn into damaging acid.

What is a bite adjustment?

what is a bite adjustment procedureA bite adjustment, or occlusal adjustment, may sound like a significant procedure, but it can be quite simple, quick, and painless in most cases.

A bite adjustment is sometimes required after you have your braces removed to correct minor interferences that prevent your teeth from coming together properly. Sometimes your teeth may not be the same height, causing one or two teeth to make contact before the rest of your teeth when you bite. This is an issue because it puts added pressure on those teeth, which can cause pain, hyper-sensitivity, tenderness around the root of the tooth, and even headaches.

What to expect during a bite adjustment?

A bite adjustment procedure is usually a quick and painless in-office procedure. Your dentist will ask you to bite down on a piece of special paper called Articulating Paper. When you bite down on this paper and move your teeth, it leaves colored marks on your teeth where they come together. This allows the dentist to see where your teeth are making contact, then the dentist can gently file those areas to reduce the pressure. Your dentist will likely file a small amount, then ask you to bite down on the paper again, repeating this process until your bite is more in line.

Signs you may need a bite adjustment:

When your braces are removed, you will have a beautiful new smile. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, contact your orthodontist immediately so they can evaluate your teeth and see if a bite adjustment is needed.

• Chronic headaches

• Worn or broken teeth (not caused by trauma)

• Pain in your jaw joints, head, or neck muscles

• Popping of your jaw

• Sensitivity in your teeth

For more information about our orthodontic treatment options, contact our office.

What can happen if you don’t brush as directed with braces?

What can happen if you don't brush as directed with braces?So you have decided to get braces, CONGRATS! Your new smile will be ready before you know it, that is, if you take care of your teeth while you have your braces on. We all know that we should brush our teeth twice a day and floss regularly, but did you know that having braces requires some additional maintenance?

Plaque and Germs

Traditional braces add to the amount of surface area in your mouth which means there is more space for tooth decaying, acid-producing bacteria and plaque to stick to. Food particles can get stuck between the wire and your teeth, so not only do you need to brush your teeth in the morning and before bed, but you also need to make sure that your braces stay clean throughout the day. Your orthodontist can recommend additional tools and special flossers designed to help you clean around your braces to help you keep the germs at bay. In addition, having food stuck in your braces, especially in the hard to reach or see places toward the back of your mouth, can cause bad breath as well as tooth decay, so carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you everywhere so you can brush after every meal.

Gum Disease

Inflamed gums are another potential complication from improper oral hygiene with braces. Due to the increased risk of bacteria build-up, your gums could become inflamed as a result of that bacteria. This can lead to the beginning stages of gum disease called gingivitis, so don’t forget that toothbrush!


The longer food and bacteria stay on your teeth, the more discolored your teeth may become. Dark-colored sodas, coffee, tea, and red wine can all stain your teeth over time. Braces are affixed to your teeth with brackets that are glued to the sides of your teeth. The bracket covers a small area of each tooth, essentially protecting it from the discoloring effect of these drinks. If you do not brush after drinking dark-colored liquids, when you get your braces removed, it is not uncommon to have the small areas where the brackets were to be a different color than the rest of your teeth. Most of the time this can be corrected with tooth whitening treatments, but that is an additional expense that can potentially be avoided or minimized with regular brushing.

You have made an investment in your smile, protect that investment by taking care of your braces and your teeth with proper oral hygiene habits.

How much do braces cost?

how much do braces costPerhaps the biggest question most patients or their parents have is how much do braces cost. In some cases, private insurance may cover part of it, but in most cases, private insurance will not. Cost is a large factor to consider when deciding if braces are right for you or your child. So how much do braces cost? It depends on several factors.

How much work the patient needs.

The more severe a patents case is, the more orthodontic work will be required, thus costs may increase. The severity of the case will determine how frequently they will need to visit the orthodontist and over how long a time period.  In more severe cases, headgear or other additional treatments may be required.

What type of braces the patient wants or needs.

Invisalign is a relatively new method of straightening teeth, however, it isn’t right for everyone. (Read more about that here). Traditional metal braces have been around for decades and in general, can be a little less expensive. According to, the average cost of metal braces in the U.S. is $4,937 without dental insurance and $3,407 with dental insurance.  Align Technology, the medical device company that makes Invisalign braces, estimates treatment costs range from $3,500 to $8,000, or an average of $5,600 nationally without insurance.

Financing Options

Most orthodontists offer to finance, whether through a third-party medical credit service or directly with monthly payments. Although financing can include additional fees or interest charges, they provide a way to spread the cost of braces over a year or more, making braces much more affordable for most patients. A good orthodontist will explain all your options during your consultation so that you can make the right decision for your situation.

Although cost is a very important factor in determining whether braces are right for you or your child, remember that you are investing in a lifetime of self-confidence.  Financing can help spread the cost over time so make an appointment with Dr. Jay Waguespack at one of his three office locations to find out more.

Common Issues Due to Early or Late Baby Tooth Loss

Common Issues Due to Early or Late Baby Tooth LossLosing that first tooth is a milestone in every child’s life; however, did you know that when and how a child loses their baby teeth can affect their orthodontic needs later on?

Losing baby teeth too soon, too late or in the wrong order can cause the new adult teeth to come in in the wrong position. The severity of this misalignment will determine the extent to which they will need orthodontic treatment in their teens.

One of the most common issues caused by losing baby teeth too early is crowding. Baby teeth preserve space for adult teeth. If baby teeth are lost too early, that space can be lost and cause the adult teeth to come in crooked. Alternatively, if baby teeth are lost too late, the underlying adult teeth can become crowded, and may not be able to push out the baby teeth. It’s important to note that pulling baby teeth may not correct this kind of crowding.

Another issue that can arise when baby teeth are lost late is that the adult teeth can erupt before the baby teeth are gone. This results in two rows of teeth. In most cases this corrects itself over time; however, it is important to take your child to the dentist every 6 months so your dentist can monitor your child’s progress.

Late tooth loss could be a sign of a missing adult tooth. Baby teeth need adult teeth to push them out. If an adult tooth is missing there is nothing to loosen the baby tooth and start the process. Congenital missing teeth affects 1% of the population. If you are worried that your child may be missing an adult tooth, contact your dentist for an x-ray. If your child has a missing adult tooth your dentist may recommend preserving the baby tooth, replace the missing tooth with an implant or depending on where the missing tooth is and how noticeable it is, close the space with braces.

It is important to remember that every child is different and will lose their baby teeth at their own pace. Most cases resolve themselves over time; however, if you are concerned about your child’s teeth visit your dentist. They can take x-rays, examine your child’s teeth, diagnose if there is an issue, and develop a treatment plan if necessary.

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October 4, 2019
Jenna Venable

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Orthodontist Near Me

  • How To Become An Orthodontist

    March 29th 2021

    Remember when you were in school, and every year on the first day of class, there was an icebreaker where the teacher would go around the room and everyone would answer the funny or thought-provoking question posed. Around middle school,...

  • What Goes Into a Routine Cleaning?

    December 5th 2020

    Cleaning your teeth can be uncomfortable, feel embarrassing, or sometimes be just plan scary. Between the jaw discomfort, scraping, prodding, and strange noises, it is completely normal to be a little apprehensive about it. Regardless, routinely getting your teeth cleaned...

  • Preparing Your Child For Braces

    August 17th 2020

    For many children or teens, getting braces can be exciting! However, for some, they may be nervous and have many questions. Often, they will have to adapt to eating the right foods, new ways of brushing and flossing, and more!...