Today is National Dog Day


Yes, this blog has officially gone to the dogs today!

According to, National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and was founded in 2004 by Pet and Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Advocate, Colleen Paige, also the founder of National Puppy Day, National Mutt Day and National Cat Day and many more philanthropic days to bring attention to the plight of animals and encourage adoption. The date of August 26th is significant, as it’s the date that Colleen’s family adopted her first dog “Sheltie” when Colleen was 10 years old.

Here at Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we wanted to pay tribute to our furry best friends by talking a little bit about braces for dogs.

We humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from having our teeth straightened. It turns out that sometimes, man’s best friend’s bite needs to be corrected.

Since the 1980s, veterinary dentists have used braces and other orthodontic appliances to treat dogs with painful and potentially dangerous dental issues. Many of the tools, devices and orthodontic appliances used are borrowed from human orthodontics, but the end goal is completely different. It’s not for aesthetic reasons, but for a healthier, more comfortable bite.

Applying braces to a dog is not a task to be taken lightly. The dog should be healthy enough to undergo anesthesia, and able to tolerate repeated oral examinations, and poking and prodding as the treatment progresses. Dog owners also need to be vigilant about maintaining and cleaning their pet’s mouth throughout the orthodontic treatment process.

Braces for dogs is usually not the only option, but in some cases, it is the best option.

Issues That Require Dog Braces


Braces can help dogs who are dealing with everything from crowded teeth to cancer.

One of the most common issues dog braces are used to treat is a condition called linguoversion, when the teeth are pushed back towards the tongue. When the linguoversion occurs on the lower teeth, it’s called “base narrow.”

In this position, the teeth may rub against the roof of the dog’s mouth. At best, this can cause major discomfort. At worst, the teeth could poke holes in the roof of the mouth, leading to chronic and serious sinus infections.

Other conditions that can cause problems include overbite, when the lower jaw is shorter than the top, and lance teeth, when the upper canines point out rather than down.

Braces may also be used when a dog’s baby teeth fail to fall out properly. As the adult teeth come in, the mouth becomes more and more crowded, leading to a higher risk of infections.

In more extreme cases, braces may also be applied after part of the jaw has been removed for canine cancer treatment. Orthodontic treatment in these cases helps to minimize tooth drift.

It’s up to a veterinarian to determine whether the dog’s teeth are just crooked, or crooked and causing problems. They will not apply braces for cosmetic reasons.

Remember, the end treatment goal is not to give the dog a dazzling Hollywood smile, but to give the dog a mouth that’s healthy and functional.

Dr. Kevin Horner and Dr. Keri Barrow are only able to treat humans with orthodontic issues! Talk with your vet if you think your dog is having issues with his or her mouth.

If any of our Sioux Falls, SD patients have a dog that is also undergoing orthodontic treatment, we would love to see photos!

At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we are committed to delivering excellent quality orthodontic treatment to each and every patient. To provide a friendly, caring, and pleasant atmosphere that will ensure our patients feel relaxed and confident about placing their orthodontic care in our hands.


Feeling Sad? Life Got You Down? Try Smiling!


Smiling not only makes you look better, but also helps you feel better, too! A genuine smile gives a lift to your mood and gives those around you a reason to smile, as well. Although we all have plenty of times that we feel depressed or alone, making the effort to smile will actually improve your mood and contribute to a better outlook on a negative situation.

How smiling can affect our mood.
When we feel bad, we tend to frown. This facial expression pulls down on the muscles around the mouth, causing us to look unhappy. A frowning expression makes others around us feel uncomfortable, too. In fact, the muscles used for frowning literally release negative feelings in the brain that reinforce the bad feelings that are already there.

On the plus side, smiling lifts up the corners of the mouth and the lips, sometimes stretching facial skin up toward the eyes. This movement, in turn, releases positive emotions in the brain, causing us to feel better. As a result, those who see us smile are more likely to feel happier.

Practice for a better smile.
Practice smiling in front of the mirror. See how your face changes when you try different smiles, from a small smile to a large one, or a big-toothy grin compared to a shy, demure, closed-lip smile. Then, remember to share your gorgeous smile with everyone you meet!

If you feel your smile is not as attractive as you would like it to be, don’t be sad. There is hope! At our Sioux Falls, SD office, Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow of Horner Barrow Orthodontics can perform a thorough examination of your mouth, including teeth and soft tissues. X-rays may be taken for a more complete assessment of the dental structures. Depending on the results of the examination, we may recommend traditional braces or Invisalign® treatment for you. Invisalign® is a type of removable braces that can move teeth to fill gaps or improve their position. Traditional braces are worn by many people, whether they are young or adult, who are interested in finally having a beautiful, healthy smile for life!

At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we are committed to delivering excellent quality orthodontic treatment to each and every patient. To provide a friendly, caring, and pleasant atmosphere that will ensure our patients feel relaxed and confident about placing their orthodontic care in our hands.

Back-to-School Braces Action Plan


Fall in Sioux Falls, SD is an exciting time for parents and their children. Fall brings back-to-school time, and the anticipation and anxieties that come with it. This can certainly be the case for children (and parents of children) undergoing orthodontic treatment. Parents look forward to hearing about their child’s new classes, teachers and friends, along with the many activities their children will be involved in. Kids may be excited about the new school year, seeing their friends after summer break, and possibly even showing off their latest accessory – their new braces.

For a child, going back to school with braces or a retainer can also be troublesome. It’s the fear of the unknown. “What foods can I eat with braces on?” “How can I keep food from getting stuck in my braces?” “What do I do with my elastics when I eat?” “What if I accidentally throw away my retainer?” For the parents, it can mean less control and supervision over their child’s orthodontic hygiene and care.

One way to put parents and children at ease when it comes to orthodontics at school is to have a “Back-to-School Braces Action Plan”. If you and your child understand the plan ahead of time, it can help ensure a successful school year, at least orthodontically-speaking!

Horner Barrow Orthodontics “Back-to-School Braces Action Plan”
• Put a toothbrush in that backpack. It’s always good to brush your teeth after you eat lunch. It doesn’t take much time and will help keep your teeth and braces free of food, which helps to avoid cavities, possible permanent staining on your teeth, as well as bad breath. If you forget to take a toothbrush to school or you can’t find time to brush at school, be sure to at least rinse your mouth thoroughly after eating. Another good idea is to use a disposable toothbrush as your school toothbrush. Keep it in your locker in a toothbrush case, along with some toothpaste, and you won’t have to remember to pack it in your backpack.

• Drink plenty of water. Take a BPA-Free water bottle to school and drink throughout the day. This helps keep your mouth clean by rinsing away food particles stuck in your braces after eating, and by neutralizing acids in your mouth from the food you ate, which will, in turn, help prevent staining and demineralization of your teeth.

• Pack your lunch (and snacks). When choosing what foods to pack, avoid ones that are hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy to prevent bending wires or breaking braces. If you like crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots or celery, cut them into smaller pieces before you leave for school. Biting into hard fruits and vegetables can damage your braces, which can cause discomfort, and could also lengthen your overall treatment time in braces.

• Retainers. Make sure your retainer case is properly labeled. Remember to take your retainer case to school. Always place the retainer in the case whenever it is not in your mouth. The SAFEST place for your retainer is INSIDE YOUR MOUTH, so if you are nervous about losing it at school, go ahead and eat with it in, just be very careful about eating hard foods. Many patients who need replacement retainers (which can be quite costly) forgot to take their case to school and left their retainers on a lunch tray, or in their lunch bag, and it ended up in the trash can. It’s no fun to have to “Dumpster Dive” to look for your lost retainer!

• Elastics or rubber bands. Remember to change your elastics regularly, and keep aplenty of them in your desk, backpack or locker. If it’s tough to remember to replace your elastics after eating, you can wear them while you eat. It’s a good idea to have a zip-top bag in your locker that has EVERYTHING you need to properly take care of your orthodontic appliances, and to make sure your mouth stays clean and comfortable while you’re in school.

• Orthodontic emergencies. If a bracket breaks off at school and isn’t causing any pain or discomfort, you don’t need to have it fixed immediately. Call our office, and one of our staff will advise you of the best way to handle it. If you are uncomfortable, we will be happy to accommodate you to make you comfortable until a repair appointment can be scheduled with Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow. Make sure to always have orthodontic wax with you in case of a poking wire or irritation.

• Play sports? Orthodontic treatment is a big investment for any family. Wearing a mouthguard while you play sports not only protects your teeth from any possible accidents; it also protects your braces. Not sure what mouthguard options are right for you and your sport? We’ll be happy to discuss them with you at your next appointment!

• Play a musical instrument? We have lip protectors for our braces patients who play an instrument with a mouthpiece. A lip protector is a plastic guard that slips over the wires and brackets to protect your lips from cuts or discomfort.

Once you have your “Back-to-School Braces Action Plan” in place, your orthodontic worries will fade, and you’ll be able to enjoy all the excitement that fall and going back to school bring!

At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we are committed to delivering excellent quality orthodontic treatment to each and every patient. To provide a friendly, caring, and pleasant atmosphere that will ensure our patients feel relaxed and confident about placing their orthodontic care in our hands.

Tooth Sensitivity. Get The Facts.


Are you suffering with tooth sensitivity? Sweet or sour foods and drinks, hot or cold foods and drinks, deep cavities or fillings and even hot or cold temperatures can often trigger this issue. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem, with an estimated 45 million Americans dealing with it on a regular basis. And, if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, tooth sensitivity is not uncommon. At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we want you to have the facts you need to help you avoid tooth sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity usually occurs when the enamel on the outside of the tooth is eroded, or wears away, exposing the dentin layer of the tooth. The dentin layer is very porous, with tubes leading to the nerve center of the tooth. When those tubes are open or exposed, they react to changes in temperature and different types of foods.

During orthodontic treatment, a patient experiences discomfort due to the pressure that is being placed on your teeth by the braces. The level of discomfort varies from patient to patient. This type of tooth sensitivity is not permanent, and will usually last a few days. But, if you’re not wearing braces, we’ve listed some of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity.

Most Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
• The MOST common cause is due to over-brushing. If you brush your teeth vigorously, using a brush with stiff bristles, you will soon brush away your gum line. As your gum line recedes, it exposes porous root surfaces, which can cause some of your teeth to become extremely sensitive. Unfortunately, as we get older, gum recession is a part of the natural aging process. Brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush (in an up and down motion) can help reduce your risk of developing sensitive teeth.

• Acidic foods such as coffee, sodas, fruit drinks, wine, and citrus fruits. Steer clear of sour patch kids and jolly ranchers candies. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water right after consuming acidic foods or drinks to dilute the acid.

• Abrasive toothpastes, or brushing more than three times a day can also wear away the tooth enamel. Wait at least one hour to brush your teeth after you’ve had acidic foods or drinks. The acid softens tooth enamel, making it more prone to erosion during brushing.

• Teeth whitening products used at home and professionally applied by your dentist. Properties of peroxide, which is one of the main ingredients in most tooth-whitening products, have been shown to irritate the tooth nerve. This irritation or inflammation causes symptoms such as cold sensitivity and a tingling sensation. However, this will improve over time.

• Bruxism, (tooth grinding) can also be a contributing factor to tooth sensitivity. If you grind your teeth, wearing a mouth-guard while you sleep may also help prevent wearing down the enamel that can lead to sensitive teeth.

Ways to Eliminate Discomfort from Tooth Sensitivity
Regardless of what is causing the sensitivity, a good dental routine is the best way to ensure a pain-free day, everyday. Over-the-counter toothpastes for sensitive teeth can sometimes help alleviate the issue.

If you are experiencing extreme tooth sensitivity while wearing braces, be sure to mention it to Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow during your next orthodontic appointment in our Sioux Falls, SD office. We can recommend alternative solutions during your treatment, no matter what the cause.

At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we are committed to delivering excellent quality orthodontic treatment to each and every patient. To provide a friendly, caring, and pleasant atmosphere that will ensure our patients feel relaxed and confident about placing their orthodontic care in our hands.