Braces or Orthodontic Treatment For Your Child. Yes or No?


It’s a question many parents struggle with. Dr. Keri Barrow, of Horner Barrow Orthodontics, in Sioux Falls, SD, has the answer to this common question.

More often than many parents realize, getting braces isn’t always a necessity, and orthodontic treatment isn’t always for the sole purpose of straightening your child’s teeth. There are other dental issues or potential problems that could cause the need for braces to minimize or eliminate these situations completely. And, when braces are deemed 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 help with straightening and separating overcrowded teeth, which makes cleaning them easier. In some cases, this type of malocclusion can also be painful, so correcting it can additionally ease your child’s pain or discomfort.

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

According to many renowned orthodontists, approximately 25 to 30 percent 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 positive outcome that is identical to the results when your child is treated in their teens or older.

Debilitating Issues
Some dental issues cause serious problems, 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.

Cosmetic Treatment
Many times, the most common reason for getting braces for your child is simply cosmetic; he or she feels self-conscious about the way their teeth look. Correcting that issue can greatly improve your child’s self-esteem. Crooked or disfiguring dental issues can have a big impact on your child’s future, causing problems and difficulties for them in school, in relationships, and in finding jobs later in life. Self-esteem is a really big deal, especially in younger people. If your child does have this type of dental issue, you should give serious consideration to orthodontic 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 academic, professional, and personal lives.

If you are considering braces for your child and are concerned about the cost, ask 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.

A key thing to keep in mind when braces are recommended for your child: ask the dentist why they are recommending braces and remember, it is just a recommendation, in most cases, (excluding those where your child is experiencing eating difficulties or pain/discomfort). Braces aren’t exclusively for younger 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, concerned, well-informed one.

At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, Dr. Kevin Horner, Dr. Keri Barrow, and the entire staff are committed to delivering excellent quality orthodontic treatment to each and every one of our patients. 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.

Could Braces Be Causing My Sensitivity To Cold?


An orthodontic patient in our Sioux Falls, SD office asked us this question:
“I have braces, and for the past several weeks, I’ve noticed that one of my upper right molars has become quite sensitive to cold things, such as food, drinks, and even the cold air. I’ve heard that for some people, braces can make teeth more sensitive. Is this what’s causing my sensitivity issues? Maybe I have a cavity? I brush and floss my teeth faithfully every night, and I’ve never had any cavities before, so I’m really concerned about what is going on with my tooth.”

Here’s our answer:
When you have braces, some tooth sensitivity CAN be normal, but an extreme amount is NOT normal. There are several different things that could be causing the problem. The only way it can be diagnosed is to see your general dentist. Some of the issues that may be causing the cold sensitivity are:

Demineralization. Demineralization is a condition that can occur when orthodontic patients don’t take proper care of their teeth while they are wearing their braces. Food that is left on the teeth can turn to acid, which eats into the teeth, leading to a weakened area or even a cavity. When this happens, your teeth can become very sensitive.

Gingivitis. Gingivitis is a condition where the gum tissue around your teeth becomes inflamed. This should not be ignored because it can lead to serious gum and teeth problems.

Recession. Recession is also a gum-related condition that can lead to tooth sensitivity. Gum recession is when the gum tissue has pulled away from the crown portion of the tooth, which often leads to exposure of tooth surfaces (tooth roots) that are normally covered, and therefore protected, by the gum tissue. This can be caused by brushing too hard, or by a bacterial infection in the gums. When this happens, your affected tooth or teeth may become sensitive to cold.

Overall Sensitivity. Some people have sensitive teeth because their tooth enamel is thinner. Since this patient has just developed the problem, and it is only affecting one tooth, this is probably not the cause of their sensitivity.

The best way to protect your teeth from sensitivity is to take proper care of them. Brushing your teeth once a day is not enough. You need to be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, use mouthwash, and floss thoroughly every day. This is very important when you have braces because it is much easier for food to get trapped on the brackets, and therefore, on your teeth and gums.

If you have consulted with your general dentist, practice good oral hygiene daily and are still experiencing serious sensitivity in just one tooth, it is a good idea to make an appointment with Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow. We will make very effort to determine the source of the sensitivity and get the issue fixed before it causes you more discomfort and problems.

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.

A Little History on Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season. Brimming with good food, and quality time spent with family and friends, Thanksgiving is a joyous holiday for many of us, here in Sioux Falls, SD, and across the United States.

Thanksgiving is a day meant for giving thanks, and though this may seem like a natural celebration, the United States is one of a relative few countries to officially celebrate with a holiday.

Unlike many holidays, Thanksgiving is a secular holiday; celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. Our northern neighbor, Canada, celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, which is actually much closer to the time when harvests were typically gathered. In addition to the different celebration dates, the origins of the two holidays are also different.

Thanksgiving in the United States
Giving thanks for a bountiful harvest is not new, however; the modern day Thanksgiving in this country can be traced back to a celebration at Plymouth in Massachusetts in 1621. This first feast of thanksgiving was inspired by a good harvest, and the tradition was carried on. At first, the colony at Plymouth didn’t have enough food to feed everyone present, but the Native Americans helped by providing seeds and teaching the colonists how to fish, and soon enough, they were able to hold a feast worthy of the name. The tradition spread, and by the 1660s, most of New England was hosting a Thanksgiving feast in honor of the bountiful harvest.

Thanksgiving in Canada
Martin Frobisher, an explorer of early Canada, is given credit for the idea of the first Canadian Thanksgiving. He survived an arduous journey from England through harsh weather conditions and rough terrain, and after his last voyage from Europe to what is now known as Nunavut, he held a formal ceremony, giving thanks for his good fortune and for his survival. As time went on and more settlers arrived, a feast was added to what had already became a yearly tradition. Samuel de Champlain, another explorer, is linked to the first actual Thanksgiving celebration in honor of a successful harvest. Settlers who arrived with him in New France celebrated their harvest with a bountiful feast.

Thanksgiving in the 21st Century
Today, Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with all things Americana, from elaborate meals, parades, parties and football games, to kicking off the Christmas holiday shopping season. To many of us, Thanksgiving is roast turkey, stuffing (or dressing), mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. No matter how you and your loved ones celebrate this special holiday, take a moment to give thanks for your friends, family, and all the bountiful blessings you’ve received.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Horner Barrow Orthodontics. We are truly thankful for you, our wonderful orthodontic patients!

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.


Why Do YOU Want To Have Straight Teeth?


There are three major reasons people in Sioux Falls, SD, and elsewhere, seek orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth. The first, and probably the most important reason is an improperly functioning bite. Sometimes teeth emerge in the wrong positions, and this can cause an interference to the way the teeth and jaws work. Sometimes teeth become impacted, or stuck, inside the jawbone. These impactions can (in simple cases) make teeth hard to clean, which can lead to decay and gum problems. In more serious cases, the impaction can lead to damage to the adjacent teeth.

Other functional problems include crossbites, where the tooth position is reversed from its correct location. This can lead to abnormal wear or chipped teeth. Sometimes poor bite relationships can make chewing uncomfortable, and in some case predispose a person to jaw joint problems. Any of these issues can be detected and assessed by your general dentist. If there are functional problems with your bite your general dentist will be able to identify them and will most likely advise you to seek treatment with a specialist, such as an orthodontist.

The second reason people often seek orthodontic treatment is for an improvement in their smile. Appearance is a personal thing. If you don’t like the way your teeth look, many times having them straighter will make them look nicer. In this case, the benefit of orthodontic treatment then really depends on whether you like your teeth the way they are or not. If you really don’t like the way your teeth look, then orthodontics may be for you.

The third reason people want to straighten their teeth is for self-esteem. Many people say they feel more confident in social settings, or in the business world if they have a beautiful, straight smile. Some people even claim that this self-confidence helps them to succeed in life or that they have become a happier, more smiling person. To back up that claim, studies have shown that a confident smile can improve people’s career opportunities.

Orthodontics continues to increase in popularity
Over the years, we at Horner Barrow Orthodontics have seen the demand for orthodontics greatly increase, as it has across the country, and this is probably due to several reasons. One reason is the desire to have a more perfect appearance in the face than in other areas of the body. Like it or not, this desire has become part of our culture. Even though we should not become obsessed with perfection, a happy, healthy, confident smile is truly a benefit for one’s entire life. Research has also shown indications that a confident smile can improve people’s career opportunities.

The second reason orthodontics has become more popular is that availability has greatly improved over the last 20 or more years. The cost of orthodontic treatment, while still not inexpensive, is relatively less expensive than it was many years ago.

The third reason orthodontics has become more popular is that the treatment procedures themselves are definitely more comfortable than they were in the past. Many cases can be treated without the dreaded extraction of teeth. The appliances (brackets) are smaller and smoother than they used to be. The days of the old “tin grin” or “railroad tracks” are pretty much a thing of the past.

In addition, other forms of orthodontic treatment, such as sequential plastic aligners, like Invisalign®, are available and are becoming more sophisticated and successful in the final result.
For these three major reasons, orthodontics has become a happy and healthy experience. To discover more about our range of orthodontic treatments, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow, please contact us.

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.

Veterans Day, November 11, 2016


Today is Veterans Day, also known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. On this special day, here in Sioux Falls, SD, and all across the country, we pause and salute all who have served. From the veterans of World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, to the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, we remember and honor the tremendous sacrifices made by those members of the United States armed forces (and their families’ sacrifices) to preserve our country’s freedom.

What is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is celebrated on the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

United States President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day on November 11, 1919 by saying, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

A Veterans Day Poem by Robert G. Ingersoll

These heroes are dead. They died for liberty—they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars—they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.

Dr. Kevin Horner, Dr. Keri Barrow, and the entire staff at Horner Barrow Orthodontics would like to humbly say “thank you” to our veterans.

(Photo is from Arlington National Cemetery’s website.)

A Tasty, Braces-Friendly Autumn Recipe

The autumn season is in full swing here in Sioux Falls, SD. That time when we all seem to crave a delicious, hot, home-cooked meal. This recipe from the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is a yummy, braces-friendly autumn meal that will surely satisfy your hungry family.








Pasta Pomodorini

3/4 pound spaghetti, fettucine or penne pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup sliced garlic
1/2 teaspoon finely minced Calabrian chilies, or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pint small cherry tomatoes, stems removed, crushed between your thumb and forefinger
Sea salt, preferably gray salt
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, each torn into 2 or 3 pieces
Wedge of Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta. While the pasta cooks, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown and crisp, then add the chilies and cook for about 30 seconds. Raise the heat to high and add the tomatoes. Simmer briskly to soften the tomatoes and thicken the juices, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. When the pasta is al dente, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the warm pot off the heat. Add the sauce and the basil and mix well. Add some of the reserved cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and grate Parmesan over the top to taste. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Serve with a healthy tossed salad, and some warm garlic bread.

We  hope you enjoy this easy-to-prepare, tasty autumn meal. Be sure to let Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow know how you liked this recipe at your next appointment with us!

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.

What Halloween Treats are Safe for Braces?

BracesPumpkinHalloween is almost here. Just in time for this spooky (and sweet) holiday, Dr. Kevin Horner and Dr. Keri Barrow, and the team at Horner Barrow Orthodontics would like to remind all our orthodontic patients to use caution when indulging in those Halloween treats. While all those sweet, sour, and sticky candies may taste great, these treats are known to damage teeth, as well as break braces, and may also delay overall orthodontic treatment time.

Hard candies, chewy or sticky candies such as taffies and caramels, nutty goodies, jelly beans, licorice, bubble gum, lollipops, and sour candies are some of the Halloween goodies that can spell trouble for trick-or-treaters who are wearing braces or orthodontic appliances. Fruity and sour candies, like Starburst or Skittles, are terrible for your child’s teeth since these candies have a low pH value, which can erode the enamel that protects the teeth. This can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

So, what are the alternatives?
Dark chocolate, sugar-free gum, or anything that contains xylitol (a sugar substitute) is not as damaging to your teeth as hard, chewy, or sticky sweets. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends softer treats or melt-in-your-mouth foods, such as:

• Soft chocolates, such as Meltaways
• Peanut butter cups
• Gelatin (Jell-O) treats
• Apple cider
• Ice cream
• Smoothies
• Root beer floats

Still looking for other braces-friendly, and healthier alternatives? We recommend cutting up easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables such as an apple, banana or celery stalk filled with peanut butter. It might surprise you how much eating a banana or sipping a glass of water can help curb those sweet snack cravings!

We know that trick-or-treating is a fun tradition, and if you’re one of those folks who just can’t say no to Halloween sweets, we encourage our patients to brush and floss their teeth immediately after eating (including around the brackets and at the gum line) as well as swish water around in your mouth.

While sugar is known to sit on the teeth and in between and under brackets and wires after food consumption, it is important to know that sugar is not the only cavity-causing culprit. Carbohydrates, starches, acids, and any food that is chewy or sticky breaks down into sugar, and can cause tooth decay.

Remember, if you do damage your braces, please give our Sioux Falls, SD office a call as soon as possible. In most cases, small problems can be resolved with a quick trip to our office. If you have any questions about sugary foods or drinks, please give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit.

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.


Yes, Braces and Instruments Do Play Well Together


Quite a few of our patients here at Horner Barrow Orthodontics play musical instruments. Many times, we are asked by parents about the effect braces or orthodontic treatment will have on their childrens’ ability to play their wind instruments. This article will answer some of the common questions we hear in our Sioux Falls, SD office regarding this topic.

Braces and Wind Instruments

When you first get braces you may find that it affects your ability to play your instrument. No worries! With motivation and practice, you should be back to playing in no time.

Before you start orthodontic treatment, talk to Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow about what type of braces you will be getting, and the kind of wind instrument you play. Try to schedule your first appointment during a time when you don’t have any important performances to allow your mouth time to adjust.

Treatment with fixed braces can affect your ability to play a wind instrument, but it is very unlikely that this will last for more than a few months.

If you play a woodwind instrument, you will probably adjust to playing with your braces on very quickly. Your playing is likely to return to normal within a few weeks.

If you play a brass instrument, you may have problems playing high notes when your braces are placed. Your playing is likely to return to normal within a few months.

Some players may develop sores inside their mouth while playing. Check with your music teacher to see if your mouthpiece can be changed for a larger one. This may help to evenly spread the load over your lips. Some musicians use brace wax when playing to protect their lips and cheeks. Placing wax over your brackets when you first start playing your instrument may help you avoid pressure sores or possible discomfort.

Musicians often get a dry mouth when practicing or performing. If your mouth is feeling dry, it is best to drink water. Remember, sodas and sugary drinks can damage your teeth during your orthodontic treatment.

Once your braces are removed and treatment is complete, it will only be a short time until you are used to playing without your braces.

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.



October Is…National Orthodontic Health Month


School is back in full swing, and it’s almost October! What does this autumn month mean to you? Here in Sioux Falls, SD, October is when the weather starts to get a little chilly; the warm sweaters and jackets come out of storage and the summer clothing gets packed away until next year. You find ways to enjoy the cooler days and nights, and the beautiful, colorful fall foliage. You start making plans for the upcoming busy season of holidays.

October means something a little different to our team at Horner Barrow Orthodontics because it is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic practices all over the country work together to promote their services and inform their local communities about the important work we do.

National Orthodontic Health Month is a health awareness campaign created cooperatively by orthodontists and other dental health professionals. During this month, we make a special effort to promote dental health and orthodontic health in particular. It is a really good time to get your questions answered by dental professionals in your community and to learn more about exactly what an orthodontist can do for you and your family. Events held in connection with National Orthodontic Health Month are also an opportunity for orthodontists to come out and meet community members. If you have never been to an orthodontist before, you might not know what to expect. Meeting your orthodontist in person before your first checkup is a great way to find out what kind of person you’ll be seeing during your appointment.

Meeting Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow in a relaxed “meet and greet” atmosphere can be especially helpful for any young orthodontic patients in your family. Kids of all ages (and their parents, as well) can feel anxious about going to the orthodontist. Getting to know the person you have an appointment with can make the experience a lot less stressful for everyone. Just meeting and talking with the orthodontist you’ll be seeing may be enough to put you more at ease about your upcoming appointment.

Dental health is something that affects everyone; healthy teeth and gums contribute to a healthy smile and a lifetime of comfort and well-being. Orthodontists are just one of the various dental practitioners you could visit at some point in your life, so taking a little time to learn who we are and what we do is certain to be a helpful experience. We look forward to seeing you and your family this October!

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.


What Is Early Orthodontic Treatment?


You may have heard the term early orthodontics, and are wondering just what that means. Or, you may be considering early orthodontic treatment for your child, and are not sure if it is right for him or her. If so, you are not alone. Some orthodontic practices have as many as 20 percent of patients in the 7- to 10-year-old age range.  The reason for this is that many developing orthodontic problems can be intercepted and corrected if diagnosed and treated at an early age. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children have their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven, or younger if the front four permanent teeth have replaced the baby teeth. Early treatment, also known as Phase I treatment or interceptive treatment, provides timely detection of problems, AND greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious orthodontic problems later.

If your child has any of the following issues, you may want to consider early orthodontic treatment:

Early, or late, loss of baby teeth (a child should typically start losing teeth around age five or six, and all of their permanent teeth should come in by age 12 to 13)

Difficulty chewing and/or biting

Thumb sucking

Mouth breathing

Speech impediment

Crowded front teeth

Protruding teeth (the top teeth and bottom teeth extend away from each other)

Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner, or even at all

Early intervention can reduce the severity of your child’s case, and therefore reduce the length of treatment time and cost for a second phase of treatment when all of his or her permanent teeth have erupted. Dr. Kevin Horner, Dr. Keri Barrow and the Horner Barrow Orthodontics staff can evaluate your child and determine if his or her dental and skeletal growth is proceeding properly, or if interceptive treatment is needed. In many cases, a more severe problem can be corrected using sophisticated, removable appliances rather than traditional orthodontic treatment.

To schedule a consultation for your child at our Sioux Falls, SD office, please call. We’ll perform a thorough examination, and discuss with you any next steps we consider necessary toward caring for your child’s smile and dental health.

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.