Here’s a list of 7 things every orthodontic patient should do while wearing braces.  Your teethwill look better. Your braces will come off sooner. These are good things!

Get_Braces_Off_Sooner1. See your dentist regularly. Every 3 to 4 months while in braces.  Your teeth are not as clean as they were the day you got your braces.  Even if you brush and floss regularly, you must see your dentist regularly.

2. Brush after every meal. Braces collect food and germs. But, did you know, it only takes 20 minutes for the bacteria  in your mouth to start doing damage to your teeth after you have eaten a meal? Waiting to get home from school to brush is a bad  idea.

3. Floss every day. This is a tricky one, but the most rewarding. Taking the time to floss every night will leave your gums fresh and healthy. There are many great tools to help you get the job done easily and properly. Look for them in the dental aisle of your pharmacy  or grocery store.

4. Avoid sugary drinks. Even fruit juices contain a lot of sugar,  but sodas and sports drinks are no- brainers  to avoid. Keep it simple, stick to water, or brush after consuming sugary drinks.

5. Get an electric toothbrush. Truth be told, you can actually do a fine job cleaning your teeth with a manual toothbrush, but where’s the fun in that? Electric toothbrushes have built-in timers and ultrasonic cleaning mechanisms that will provide a more thorough cleaning than your manual toothbrush.

6. Avoid broken brackets. The “average” patient breaks one bracket and finishes treatment on-time or early. Patients with broken brackets experience delays in treatment, poor results, or both. Think of braces on your teeth like a cast on your arm. If you broke the cast 12 times during the course of treatment, would you be surprised if the bone didn’t heal perfectly? With proper  care, it is possible to go through orthodontic treatment without a single broken bracket.

7. Wear your retainer. The best way to say “thanks” to your parents for getting you braces is to wear your retainer when you’re finished with treatment. You’ll have your teeth for the rest of your life; but teeth can shift, and when they do, your retainer will prevent them from going crooked and keep you from having to wear braces again.


This is a popular question we get asked by parents who are considering orthodontic treatment for their child. The question of whether or not your child should get braces really depends on a few things.

  • If your child is age 7 or older, have they had their first orthodontic evaluation by an orthodontic specialist? If not, you should schedule this initial examination with an orthodontist.
  • Has your dentist recommended an orthodontic evaluation for your child?
  •  Did you, your spouse, or another one of your children require braces?
  •  Do you have a concern with your child’s smile or bite (jaw alignment)?

If you answered yes to any of these last three questions, you can probably guess that again, the recommendation would be to schedule a consultation with an orthodontic specialist. An orthodontic specialist is a dentist who has received 2–3 years of additional training (beyond dental school) learning the proper way to straighten and align teeth and jaws. Your specialist will be able to provide a treatment recommendation and review answers to your question “Should my child get braces?”

If your child is a candidate for orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist can recommend the best time to start treatment. As a general rule of thumb, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends evaluation no later than age 7 by an orthodontic specialist. Although the majority of our early patient visits result in observation only, at no cost to the patient, this is the first time your orthodontist will be able to predict future jaw growth and potential problems.

Why age 7? It’s when your child will finally have enough permanent teeth in their mouth (6-year molars, and some, if not most or all, of their front permanent incisors). Before this time, it’s difficult to determine where your child’s future jaw alignment is headed; and rightly so, as prior to this age your child has predominantly baby teeth (teeth that are going to fall out).

Of course, in today’s economic times, we understand that there can be a concern as to the financial aspects of orthodontic treatment. That is why we’ve put together a great offer designed specifically for you! Just click the banner below our post and you’ll receive a FREE orthodontic exam and x-ray evaluation.


Look at yearbook or prom pictures from the 1970s or ’80s and you’ll see lots of smiles sporting heavy metal braces. It’s a sight that’s less common in high schools today. That’s because children today tend to get braces at a much earlier age. Some patients with special problems begin orthodontic treatment at age 7 or younger.

“The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that all children receive an orthodontic screening by age 7,” says Dr. Horner. “Permanent teeth typically begin to emerge at age 6 or 7. It is at this point that orthodontic problems become apparent.

“Because bones are still growing, it’s an ideal time to evaluate a child,” Dr. Horner says. “Then we can determine what orthodontic intervention, if any, may be needed either now or in the future.”


Braces Can Be Fun
To make braces more acceptable and fun for young people, manufacturers have made brightly colored elastic bands. These are the small rubber bands that hold the wires to the braces. Children can choose elastics with their school colors or a holiday color scheme, such as orange and black for Halloween.

Choosing the color of the elastics allows patients to personalize their braces, making them more fun and stylish.

Getting Used To Braces
Braces today are less uncomfortable and less visible than they used to be. But they still take some getting used to. Food can get caught around brackets and in wires, and flossing and brushing can take more time. Sometimes the teeth may be a little sore, after an adjustment. Tooth discomfort can be alleviated with the use of a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Tylenol and others) or aspirin. The use of lighter and more flexible wires has greatly lessened the amount of soreness or discomfort during orthodontic treatment.

As more and more children get braces, nicknames such as “tin grin” and “metal mouth” are heard less often. Because treatment has become more socially acceptable, embarrassment may be less of a concern.

Braces (And More)
Orthodontic treatment in young children is known as interceptive orthodontics. Intervention may begin as early as age 6 or 7. At this age, the teeth are still developing. The jaw is still growing. That means certain conditions, such as crowding, may be easier to address.

Before permanent teeth come in, it may be possible to help teeth to erupt (emerge through the gums) into better positions. It’s common, for example, for the dental arch to be too small to fit all of the teeth. A few decades ago, the solution for crowding was almost always to extract some of the permanent teeth to make space. Then fixed braces were used to position the teeth properly.

Early intervention takes advantage of the fact that a child’s jaw is still growing. For example, a device called a palatal expander may be used to expand the child’s upper dental arch. Once the arch is the proper size, there’s a better chance that the adult teeth will emerge in better position. Sometimes teeth still may be crowded after all of them have erupted. In such cases, some permanent teeth may still have to be extracted to make room to properly align the teeth.

Early treatment also may be beneficial when the dental arches and jaws are not in the correct position. Functional appliances may fix or improve these problems. More treatment usually is needed later on, but it may be shorter and less involved.

It is important to note that early treatment does not apply to all orthodontic problems. However, it may help in certain cases.

Two conditions that require early intervention are crossbites and protruding front teeth. A crossbite can cause the jaws to grow unevenly. Front teeth that stick out may be fractured or injured in an accident, such as a fall.

“One thing to be aware of is that children who receive interceptive orthodontics generally still need braces or other orthodontic appliances later,” Dr. Horner says. “However, this early treatment may help shorten, and simplify, future treatment in some cases.” This is commonly known as two-phase treatment.


Choosing an orthodontist is an important decision, but it does not have to be an overwhelming task. Look for an orthodontic specialist who is well-recommended, board certified, has a gallery of completed cases available for you to view, and one who is flexible and understands that your schedule is busy, too.

Word of mouth recommendations are usually the best way to start out a search for a new medical provider of any kind. Orthodontists know this, and good ones will make sure they cultivate relationships with patients and referring dentists.

“Horner Barrow Orthodontics enjoys a great reputation with referring dentists; but, the families of our patients have been one of our best referral sources,” says Dr. Kevin Horner.

Today, many general dentists have taken classes to offer braces or clear aligners (Invisalign®), but an orthodontist is still the best choice for orthodontic procedures.

General dentists are experts in diagnosis of dental decay, preventative dentistry and restoring, replacing and repairing teeth, while an orthodontist is an expert in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

Orthodontists have two to three years of additional specialized orthodontics education accredited by the American Dental Association, and the best orthodontists are also board certified.

After finding a highly-recommended orthodontic office, look at samples of their finished work and find out if the office is a good fit. Many practices have a gallery of smiles on their website, but the office will also have photos on display of patients who have completed treatment.

Call the office to get the basic information, find out if appointments are open for new patients, discuss insurance and financing policies and ask if they offer free consultations. That is the ideal time to discuss treatment goals and how much experience the orthodontist has in correcting specific problems.

“Our staff at both offices are more than happy to answer any questions potential patients have about our practice,” says Dr. Horner.

Orthodontic treatment can be a lengthy process, and patients interact with the doctors on a nearly monthly basis, so make sure the orthodontic practice you choose is one you are comfortable with and confident about.

There are many, many details that go into selecting an orthodontic practice. Look closely at the details. Ask yourself:

• Who addresses the details for you both professionally and in support service?
• What is the atmosphere you sense when visiting the office?
• Were you treated the way you would choose to be treated?
• Did you walk away understanding the process?

We are very confident about what you will discover at Horner Barrow Orthodontics, and we encourage you to find out for yourself.


1. What Is Early Treatment?
Early treatment involves the use of orthodontic appliances, or partial braces, to guide the growth of developing jaw bones and create a better environment for the adult teeth as they emerge.

In most cases, this early phase of treatment is followed by comprehensive orthodontic treatment (full braces) at the appropriate age. This second phase of treatment is usually shorter, less involved, and more effective due to the earlier treatment. This is usually referred to as “two phase” orthodontic therapy.

In most of these cases, we can achieve results that wouldn’t be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing. Early treatment gives us the chance to:

• Guide jaw growth    • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth

• Improve appearance and self-esteem   • Guide permanent teeth into a better position

• Improve the way lips meet

• Correct harmful habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip wedging.

In our practice, we find that approximately 40 percent of our patients can benefit from some form of early treatment. Early treatment prevents more serious problems from developing and makes treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.

The majority of our early patient visits result in observation only – at no cost to the parent.

When indicated, early treatment will improve your child’s smile at a young age, boosting their self-esteem. It will also improve the stability of our final orthodontic result. That is a fact.

2. The American Association of Orthodontists Recommendation:
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children should have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. An experienced orthodontist can clearly see by age seven whether developmental issues can turn into problems. Early detection of common orthodontic problems such as crowding, premature loss of baby teeth, cross bites, or many other unfavorable developmental issues can lead to the implementation of the most appropriate treatment, that can result in a shorter course of therapy. The final result will be more stable, and in most cases the need for permanent tooth extractions can be eliminated.

Frequently, no early intervention will be necessary, except careful monitoring of your child’s dental development. This will give you peace of mind when it is not clear to you whether an issue you see is really a problem or just a stage of development that doesn’t require intervention.

3. What are the Indications for early treatment?

The patient would benefit from early treatment if any of the following are present:

• Early or late loss of permanent teeth      • Difficulty in chewing

• Breathing through the mouth                 • Thumb sucking

• Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth   • Jaws that are too far forward or back

• Biting the cheeks or into the roof of the mouth

• Front teeth that do not meet, or meet in an abnormal way

• An unbalanced facial appearance               • Grinding or clenching of the teeth

4. Why Didn’t My Dentist Mention That?
The art and science of Orthodontics involves years (after Dental school) of specialized orthodontic training.

At Horner Barrow Orthodontics our doctors make many of their decisions regarding the appropriate care, based on expertise they have acquired after having successfully completed treatment on thousands of patients.

Most family dentists are very busy taking care of teeth and gum issues that affect the health of the mouth. They are not trained to spot early orthodontic problems which, if left untreated, complicate the future orthodontic correction.

It is best that a qualified Orthodontic specialist be the one to make the decision about when to start your child’s orthodontic treatment.

To seek treatment at our office, you do not need to be referred by your general dentist.

5. How do I have my child evaluated by the doctors at Horner Barrow Orthodontics?
The first step is to call our office to set up a free initial screening. This can also be scheduled on our website.

This screening appointment usually takes 15-30 minutes. Our goal is to provide you with the following information:

• We will identify your child’s orthodontic problems.
• We can pinpoint the best time to start treatment.
• We can estimate the duration of treatment.
• We can demonstrate the types of appliances that will be necessary.
• We can discuss the cost, and payment options.

Sometimes, the Doctor will suggest taking photos and a panoramic x-ray in order to provide you with all of this information.




Why do so many kids and adults in Sioux Falls, South Dakota have braces?

Orthodontic studies report 70 percent of the US population could benefit from having their teeth and jaws realigned with orthodontic treatment.  Over the last 20 years, tooth extractions were all too frequent and large, traditional one-size-fits-all brackets and wires were the standard of care.


Today, technology drives an enhanced level of treatment and impressive results.

Certainly there still remains no substitute for the skill, experience, and education of a well-trained orthodontic practitioner. However, contemporary treatment philosophies are changing the way we treat the vast majority of patients. The improvements in tools and techniques enable us to achieve great results with far less discomfort and in a much shorter treatment time than was ever before possible, thanks to these landmark innovations in modern orthodontics.


Our office uses self-ligating bracket technology. This bracketing system reduces the amount of friction between the bracket and the archwire, and can significantly reduce treatment time. These metal brackets are small in size and more comfortable to wear. In addition, there is no need for elastic ties so good oral hygiene is easier to maintain.


Invisalign® is the best way to transform your smile without interfering with your day-to-day life. You’ll wear each appliance for 2 weeks. The nearly invisible appliances are so easy to wear and to talk with, few people even know they have them on.  Each aligner works to straighten your teeth in small incremental movements, each getting you progressively closer to your new smile.

We welcome you to contact Horner Barrow Orthodontics, to see how we can put these exciting technologies to work for you!


If you are like many of the parents of our prospective, current, and past patients – you probably have asked yourself if braces, or Invisalign® is a good option for your child. If your child has crooked teeth, an overbite, a cross-bite, or a different orofacial issue – it can likely be treated and corrected with orthodontic treatment, using either braces or Invisalign®. The question is typically asked: “Which treatment option is better for my child?” There is no right answer for that question, as it varies by the individual patient. The following points will provide further information on these orthodontic treatment options, so you can make a more educated decision.

  • Braces:
There are different types of braces – both metal and ceramic. Metal braces are made from metal wires and brackets. They are affixed to the teeth of the patient in order to straighten and align them. Though they aren’t the only option available, they are a popular choice due to their lower cost than other options. They also perform their job quite well, and most patients experience a successful treatment with metal braces. Some people, however, opt against metal braces for aesthetic reasons.
Ceramic braces have some differences from metal braces. Ceramic braces involve ceramic pieces that are glued to the teeth along with wires to attach them. Ceramic braces blend with the teeth more naturally as they are generally white in color. Some patients prefer ceramic simply because they are not as noticeable as metal braces. They do, however, cost more than metal braces.
  • Invisalign®
Invisalign® is a popular choice for many parents of patients at Horner Barrow Orthodontics. Why? It’s simple: Invisalign® offers a level of comfort, convenience, and confidence that you don’t get with metal or ceramic braces. Invisalign® is completely clear, and when worn over the teeth is virtually invisible. Invisalign® works by using a custom-made series of aligners created specifically for the individual patient. There are no wires or brackets that need to be adjusted or tightened. The patient will use a new set of aligners every two weeks until the treatment has completed.
Don’t hesitate to contact our office for more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Horner. We’d be happy to speak with you and provide you with anything you may need regarding potential orthodontic treatment.


Getting braces may not necessarily be a mandatory procedure more often than quite a few parents realize, and they aren’t always for the sole purpose of straightening your child’s teeth.  Other dental issues or potential problems could present the possibility for braces to minimize or eliminate these situations altogether.  And when braces are a possibility, some research suggests that it may be better to wait until your child is in their early teens to begin treatment options.

Overcrowded Teeth
Braces can be helpful with straightening and separating overcrowded teeth, which makes cleaning them easier.  Occasionally, this type of malocclusion can also be painful, so correcting it can additionally ease your child’s pain or discomfort.

Open Bite
This type of dental issue occurs when the top and bottom front teeth do not completely come together when your child bites down.  Both rows of teeth will keep growing toward each other as your child gets older, so you would want to at least wait until all your child’s baby teeth have been replaced before taking a look at correction options for this issue.

Debilitating Issues
Some dental issues are seriously handicapping, such as preventing your child from being able to easily or properly eat their food, or causing a lot of pain and discomfort.  In these situations, you would want to consider treatment options promptly.

According to many well-respected orthodontists, approximately 25% to 30% of children have this type of dental malocclusion.  This issue cannot be corrected with braces – it is an abnormality of the skull and is treated with external options that realign your child’s jaw.  Many orthodontists have determined that treating this issue at a very young age (under 8 years old) produces an outcome that is identical to the results when your child is treated in their teenage years or older.

Cosmetic Treatment
Sometimes, the most common reason for getting braces on your child is simply cosmetic – he or she feels uncomfortable or unattractive with the way their teeth look and correcting the issue can vastly improve your child’s self-esteem.  Crooked or disfiguring dental issues can have a heavy impact on your child’s future, causing problems and difficulties for them in school, relationships, and finding jobs later in life.  If your child does have this type of malocclusion, you should give serious consideration to treatment options to give your child peace of mind, improve their sense of self-worth, and ensure that they have the best possible opportunity for success in their professional, academic, and personal lives (self-esteem is a big deal, especially in younger people).

If you are contemplating braces for your child and are dissuaded by the expense, ask your orthodontist about payment plans or financing options.  There are also dental plans available outside what may be offered by your family’s health insurance that can help alleviate some of the costs associated with having orthodontic work performed on your child.

One of the key things to keep in mind when your orthodontist recommends braces for your child is this – ask the dentist why they are recommending that option and remember, it is just a recommendation (in most cases, excluding those where your child is going through eating difficulties or pain/discomfort).  Braces aren’t always just for kids these days, and a decision to wait until your child is older (when possible) does not mean you’re being an irresponsible parent – just a cautious and concerned one.

Visit Dr. Horner’s website for more information on orthodontic issues, concerns, and treatment options for yourself or your family members!


An orthodontist is a type of dentist that specializes in providing orthodontic treatment for irregularities of the mouth. For instance, a child with crooked teeth will go to an orthodontist for teeth-straightening braces or a retainer. An orthodontist also fixes problems caused by a misaligned jaw. While crooked teeth and an uneven jaw can be a cosmetic issue, these are actually very serious problems that can interfere with chewing and breathing. They can cause impaired speech and make it difficult to open or close the mouth. Ultimately, by not getting orthodontic treatment early, problems will worsen with age. Also, crooked teeth can make a child a target for teasing.

How to know when to see an orthodontist

There is no set age for when a child should go to an orthodontist. The fact is, not every child requires orthodontic treatment. One of the best ways to ensure that crooked teeth or jaw problems are treated in time is by staying current on dentist appointments. At regular visits, the dentist will x-ray your child’s mouth and inform you of a problem that requires orthodontic treatment. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that kids see their dentist twice a year for cleanings, exams and x-rays.

What happens at an orthodontist appointment?

An orthodontist office looks very much like an ordinary dentist’s office. The orthodontist will do a thorough examination of your child’s mouth and ask if he or she is having problems chewing or swallowing. The doctor will ask if the child’s jaw makes popping sounds or if he snores. At a first exam, and again during periodic follow-ups, a technician will take x-rays. For kids who need braces, the orthodontist will make a mold of the child’s teeth.

How an orthodontist and a dentist differ

An estimated 12 percent of kids fear going to the dentist. The good news is that the two appointments are very different. While a dentist cleans teeth and oftentimes fills cavities — both of which can be scary and painful — an orthodontist simply examines the mouth. While getting braces, a child may feel pressure, but it is not a painful experience. Another difference between a dentist and orthodontist is that an orthodontist rarely ever uses a needle.

How often will your child see an orthodontist?

This can differ based on the treatment plan for the individual. If your child needs braces, she will see the specialist regularly. Her appointments can occur anywhere from once every six to nine weeks at the start of treatment, to two to three times a year until the braces are removed. Your child could also be a candidate for Invisalign®.(Invisalign® offers a level of comfort, covenience, and confidence that you don’t get with metal or ceramic braces. Invisalign® is completely clear, and when worn over the teeth is virtually invisible. Invisalign® works by using a custom made series of aligners created specifically for the individual patient. There are no wires or brackets that need to be adjusted or tightened. The patient will use a new set of aligners every two weeks until the treatment has completed.) 

The reason why orthodontist appointments occur so frequently is so the doctor can be sure the treatment is working and get an idea of how long your child will need braces. Some kids may have braces for less than a year while others require more intensive treatment. The average amount of time kids wear braces is from one to three years.

There is no set amount of time a child will have braces. A child with a mouth full of crooked teeth can wear braces for a year while one with a seemingly less problematic overbite can spend many of her adolescent and teen years in the orthodontist chair. For some, a small mouth can cause overcrowding and may require the removal of one or more teeth. For others, a retainer can easily shift teeth into alignment after a few months. Since just under half of all kids need braces for ordinary problems, the key is to get treatment as early as possible. Postponing treatment not only allows the problem to escalate, but it can also diminish your child’s self-confidence.


Actually, this is not an uncommon question. In our society, and in today’s times, where looks matter as much as anything, and at a time when evenly-aligned teeth might be the difference between getting a job or a promotion, many adults are choosing to invest in orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment or braces can be successful at any age, and we know that adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful and healthy smile.

Many people are apprehensive about getting braces as an adult. There are other straightening teeth options, such as Invisalign®, which uses a series of invisible, removable and comfortable aligners that no one can tell you’re wearing. If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, we would love to have you visit for an initial consultation! Please give us a call to set one up!