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What’s so great about self-ligating braces? Five things you need to know

May 30th, 2014

Parents of a certain age will no doubt remember the teen comedies of the 1980s. These movies typically included a character so wired up with orthodontic apparatus (elaborate metal braces, rubber bands, a mountain of headgear) that he or she looked like some sort of electrical machinery. In recent years, the technological advancements in braces have not only made this character a thing of the past, but if your child needs braces to fix crooked teeth, you no longer need to worry about him or her being called “brace face” with a “tin grin.”

Traditional braces use a system of archwires, brackets, and rubber bands to straighten and realign crooked teeth. Self-ligating braces that Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics provide, by contrast, use specialized clips to hold the archwires in place instead of rubber bands. But what makes self-ligating braces so good?

  1. Self-ligating braces make it easier to keep your teeth clean because there are no rubber bands. Rubber bands collect food particles, and this can lead to an increase in plaque and decay. Have you ever tried to brush for two minutes with a mouth full of rubber bands? It’s tricky. Self-ligating braces improve oral health.
  2. Self-ligating braces are smaller and less noticeable than conventional braces. Most kids are self-conscious about how they look (flashback to those 1980s comedies), so braces that are subtle and less conspicuous are a huge draw.
  3. Self-ligating braces are more comfortable than traditional braces. Less pressure and friction are placed on the tooth. These types of braces also need fewer alterations and adjustments, so chances are you will save money by making fewer appointments with our office.
  4. Self-ligating braces move crooked teeth into place more quickly than conventional braces. In other words, you’re going to wear self-ligating braces for a shorter amount of time than traditional braces.
  5. Orthodontic work can be expensive. Self-ligating braces, however, cost about the same amount of money as traditional braces.

Dr. Matthew Croco and our team are proud to offer self-ligating braces as an alternative to traditional metal braces. Ask our team if they are right for you by giving us a call at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office!

Memorial Day and Getting Ready for Summer

May 23rd, 2014

Memorial Day didn't become an official holiday until 1971, but Americans started gathering annually in the spring to remember those who lost their lives in war during the 1860s, right after the Civil War. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, people still decorate the grave sites of war veterans and hold memorial services, but Memorial Day has also evolved into a day that signifies the beginning of summer.

During the summer months, many people take road trips to visit family members. Some head off to the airport to enjoy a long-awaited vacation far away, while others look forward to spending time with friends and family at home. However you spend Memorial Day and the subsequent summer months, there are a few things you can take care of to ensure your summertime is enjoyable.

Checklist for an Enjoyable Summer

  • Have the AC Checked. During the hottest days of summer, many families find themselves sweating it out due to a broken air conditioning system. Be proactive so you can avoid waiting for hours or days because the HVAC repair person is booked solid. Have your air conditioning system checked before or around Memorial Day each year.
  • Ensure Security While You're Away. When you leave for vacation, the last thing you should have to worry about is the security of your home. Install a home security system, if possible, and put a timer on your lights so they go on and off at normal hours. You can also alert your local police department that you'll be gone, and ask them to drive by your house once in a while to make sure everything is okay.
  • Visit Dr. Matthew Croco Before Vacation. Many people put off exams until after summer vacation. Avoid the crowds and make sure your physical and oral health are in top shape prior to vacation time so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Our team at Croco Orthodontics wants you to look forward to Memorial Day and the days of summer by preparing to spend the time safely and comfortably. As you plan ahead, take care of your health and secure your home, you can place your focus on creating memories with family members and friends while enjoying your favorite Memorial Day traditions.

The Importance of Wearing Your Retainer after Orthodontic Treatment

May 16th, 2014

It's the big day and your braces are finally coming off! Does that mean you are completely done? Not so fast! After you complete your treatment here at Croco Orthodontics, Dr. Matthew Croco and our team will recommend you wear a retainer, which must be worn routinely after treatment in order to hold your teeth in their proper, new position while your gums, ligaments and bones adapt. Most patients are required to wear their retainer every night at first, with many also being directed to wear them during the day. It's important to know there are different kinds of retainers, and today we thought we would explain the differences between them.

Hawley Retainers

The Hawley retainer is one of the most common types of retainers. It is a removable retainer made of a combination of a metal wire that typically surrounds the six anterior teeth and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while the wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in an ideal position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors or patterns.

Essix (Clear) Retainers

The Essix retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of your teeth. This clear or transparent retainer fits over the entire arch of teeth and is produced from a mold. Similar to Invisalign’s clear aligner trays, Essix retainers have no metal or wires. They can also be used to produce minor tooth movements and can be helpful in prevention of tooth wear due to tooth grinding at night.

Bonded Retainers

Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower canines. Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics encourage our patients with bonded lingual retainers to be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause your teeth to shift. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep your bonded retainers clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your lower teeth, as well as the wire itself.

The retention phase of treatment begins when the patient’s braces are removed. Retainers are worn full time, typically for the first nine months, except while eating. Retainers should also be removed before brushing your teeth.

If you have any questions about the retainers we offer or to learn more about post-orthodontic treatment, please feel free to contact us at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office and we will be happy to answer any of your questions!

Wishing all our moms a happy Mother’s Day!

May 9th, 2014

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." - Robert Browning

We would like to take this moment to thank all the great moms out there for being so great during their child’s visits to Croco Orthodontics. Whether it’s driving their kids to regularly scheduled appointments or for “being there” while their child is treatment, the moms who come to our office are all stellar individuals, so Dr. Matthew Croco and our entire staff would like you to know that we appreciate you all!

Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy your special day!

Summer is Almost Here: Tips for a bright, white smile!

May 2nd, 2014

Summer is almost here, which means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories is just around the corner for our patients at Croco Orthodontics.

Everyone wants a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over the summer! Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks, or dark colored juices. Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile you're working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth; everyone knows that when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to rinse your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after. Your teeth, inside and out, will benefit!

And remember, whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to below or on our Facebook page! We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!

Dreaming of a stunning smile without using braces?

April 25th, 2014

Most of us aren’t born with a red carpet smile. And if you’ve thought about straightening your teeth but are apprehensive about doing so with traditional orthodontic treatment, Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics want you to know there is another option – Invisalign®!

Invisalign is an ideal solution for most adults looking for a less noticeable way to achieve a better smile. In fact, Invisalign has increasingly become a very popular choice for adults looking for a more comfortable, convenient and cosmetically-appealing treatment for straightening their teeth.

Our team at Croco Orthodontics is proud to offer Invisalign, which uses a series of invisible, removable and comfortable aligners that no one can tell you’re wearing, which allows you to smile more during treatment, as well as after. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are also removable, so you can eat and drink what you want; brushing and flossing is easier with Invisalign than with traditional braces.

Invisalign’s aligners are also comfortable, with no metal to cause mouth abrasions during your treatment. And no metal and wires usually means you spend less time at our office getting adjustments. Invisalign also allows you to view your own virtual treatment plan when you start, so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete!

A consultation with Dr. Matthew Croco can determine if Invisalign is right for you. We encourage you to give us a call at our friendly Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office if you’re interested in learning more about Invisalign or if you are ready to visit us for an initial consultation! We look forward to seeing you!

Earth Day

April 18th, 2014

The idea for Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin. He envisioned an Earth Day that would be a kind of environmental teach-in. The first Earth Day celebration took place on April 22, 1970, and a surprising 20 million people participated on that day. Ultimately, it became the largest organized celebration in US history.

Earth Day Over the Years

Over the years, the recognition of the day, and the number of people celebrating it all over the world, turned Earth Day into an international celebration. Because it is celebrated throughout the world, it is not only the largest international environmental observation, but it is also more widely celebrated than any other environmental event in the world. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 175 countries where over 500 million people participate in celebrations.

The Earth Day Movement

The Earth Day movement is credited with developing the idea that people should “think green”. It encouraged congress to enact laws, including one that resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It also inspired the passage of the Endangered Species Act.

The Five R's and Their Importance

  • Reduce – Reduce by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Reduce your use of materials that wind up in landfills. Reduce the use of chemicals around your house. Reduce your use of disposable bags, plates, cups, eating utensils, and batteries.
  • Reuse – Instead of using plastic bags for your groceries or purchases, bring your own reusable bags. When you go to buy coffee at Starbucks, take a travel mug so you don't have to get your coffee in a disposable paper cup. Instead of storing food in disposable refrigerator containers, buy containers that can be washed and reused. Don't use regular batteries. Whenever possible, opt for rechargeable batteries that you can reuse.
  • Recycle – Most cities offer a recycling program to collect used bottles, cans, and newspapers. Recycling includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers and manufacturing raw materials into new products.
  • Re-buy – Make an effort to purchase things that are made through recycling. When purchasing furniture, look for items that are made from reclaimed wood. When buying paper for kids school work, computer printer paper, holiday cards, or anything else, make a point of purchasing recycled paper products. Instead of buying clothing at full retail price, shop for second hand clothing. You will save a lot of money by doing so!
  • Rethink – Rethink the way you do things so that you do them in an eco-conscious way at all times. Instead of driving to work alone, consider taking the bus or going in a carpool. Walk or ride your bike when you're only going a short distance. Plan your shopping trips and errand runs so that you can do everything on one day, and do it in a way where you can save time and gas.

Other ways to "think green" include growing your own food, composting yard waste and food scraps, or by participating in local recycling programs. Join a group like Freecycle so you can share your unneeded and unwanted possessions with people who can use them. Likewise, you'll be able to get things you need or want for free.

Earth Day teaches people that the planet belongs to everyone, so everyone is equally responsible for protecting it. Although Earth Day is an environmental celebration, our team at Croco Orthodontics wants to remind you that you don't have to wait until then to make changes that will allow you and your family to live a greener life.

Happy Earth Day from the team at Croco Orthodontics.

Tips for Using Invisalign®

April 11th, 2014

More than one patient has come into our office and asked, “What can I do to help my teeth when wearing Invisalign?”

While everyone’s teeth and dental needs are different, there are certain things everyone can do to make wearing their Invisalign aligners a more rewarding experience. Always follow the list of instructions and tips from Dr. Matthew Croco, and add the following advice to your daily routine.

Always ask us about teeth whitening. Our team at Croco Orthodontics knows how important it is for you to keep your teeth white and stain-free from the foods and drinks you consume daily. If you have attachments to your teeth, they will not whiten properly. Ask our office about teeth whitening when wearing your aligners; it might be best to wait until your treatment is complete.

Continue flossing every day. You should be flossing in any case. But it can be easy to assume that Invisalign will protect your teeth from bacteria. This is not true. Bacteria can get behind the aligners and affect the health of your teeth and gums, so keep up with your flossing schedule.

Follow the 48-hour rule when wearing your aligners. When you insert every new set of aligners, you should leave them in as much as possible during the first 48 hours. Your teeth will move more during this timeframe, and the aligners do the most good during this time.

You may experience slight discomfort while wearing your Invisalign aligners. You can take a pain reliever to help with the discomfort, but if you experience too much pain, please give us a call at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office to schedule an appointment!

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 4th, 2014

The Importance of Facial Protection

Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to sponsor this annual campaign, which aims to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.

Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.

Preventing Dental Injuries

A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard molded and fitted by our team at Croco Orthodontics for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.

Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew Croco, please give us a call at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office!

What’s the advantage of Invisalign®?

March 28th, 2014

Dr. Matthew Croco and our team know it is natural for you to feel some concern when you need to wear any type of dental device to correct a problem with your teeth. Both braces and Invisalign can produce good results in giving you the smile you’ve always wanted. Both methods can straighten your teeth and alleviate such issues as crowding, spacing, cross bite, overbite, and underbite. Both methods of treatment have a similar cost.

You can take a cross-country road trip in a ten-year-old economy car or you can make the trip in a brand-new luxury sedan. Both will get you to your destination, but you will be far more comfortable traveling in the luxury sedan. Similarly, your journey to a great smile is much more comfortable and convenient with Invisalign as opposed to braces.

Comfort

Some of the discomfort you may experience with braces is greatly reduced with Invisalign. Because Invisalign is custom-fit to your mouth and made of plastic, you will feel less pain, irritation, and soreness. Unlike braces, there are no food restrictions; you can eat anything that is on your diet.

Brushing and flossing

Of course you will want to brush and floss your teeth to prevent plaque buildup, tooth discoloration, and dental decay. If you wear braces, these simple tasks can become quite a challenge. Invisalign aligners are very easy to remove and replace, so you can brush or floss like normal without having to work your way around any metallic framework covering your teeth.

Appearance

You do not have to be embarrassed to show your teeth when you are using the Invisalign system. Since the aligners are practically invisible, no one will even notice you are wearing them! Whether you are a teenager or an older adult, you can live your life normally.

If you want to learn more about Invisalign, or are wondering what your treatment options are at Croco Orthodontics, feel free to give us a call at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office!

Thanks to Invisalign®, you can have a perfect smile without metal wires or brackets!

March 21st, 2014

When it comes to straightening your smile, our team at Croco Orthodontics knows that having a mouth full of metal braces may not be your idea of fun. Luckily for you, Dr. Matthew Croco can offer a cosmetic alternative: Invisalign!

Using a series of clear, comfortable, and completely customized aligners, you can get the smile you’ve always wanted without traditional braces.

Since Invisalign aligners are discreet, they’re hardly noticeable when you speak and smile, and because they’re removable, you can eat and drink whatever you want. Just remember to brush and floss before putting your aligners back in! Treatment with Invisalign is just as effective as with metal braces, and the results are just as amazing!

If you want to know more about Invisalign, contact our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office to schedule an appointment.

St. Patrick's Day

March 14th, 2014

On March 17, everyone has a little Irish in them. St. Patrick’s Day is a joyous celebration of Irish heritage. The holiday originated as a commemoration of Saint Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. The saint arrived in Ireland in 432 and earned the reputation of a champion of Irish Christianity. March 17th, the day of St. Patrick’s death, has been commemorated by the Irish for over 1,000 years. St. Patrick’s Day is still observed as a religious feast day by several Christian denominations, but it is better known in the public imagination as a rich celebration of Irish culture.

St. Patrick’s Day has been an official public holiday in Ireland since 1903. Each year, the Irish celebrate with a several-day festival that includes theater performances, music, fireworks, and festive parades. The celebration is also a public holiday in Northern Ireland, Montserrat, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In other parts of the world with heavy Irish populations, it is an unofficial celebration of Irish heritage. Parts of Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, South Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States, and Australia commemorate the holiday each year. Typical celebrations in these countries include drinking green beer, wearing green, eating traditional Irish foods, parades, and shamrock decorations.

Many people, Irish and non-Irish alike, take part in the “wearing of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue. His use of shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish made the green clover emblematic of the holiday, leading to the traditional green attire worn by thousands on St. Patrick’s Day. Other little-known facts about St. Patrick’s Day include the following:

  • Each year, the United States and Ireland face off in a rugby competition called the “St. Patrick’s Day Test.”
  • Montreal celebrates the holiday with an annual parade, which has been held each year since 1824. The Montreal city flag even features a shamrock in its corner, as a nod to its Irish heritage.
  • The Guinness World Records named St. Patrick’s Day the “Friendliest Day of the Year.”
  • Along with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.

No matter your cultural heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to let loose and celebrate your inner Irish-ness! Don your greenest attire and exclaim “Erin go Bragh!” (Ireland forever!) to everyone you meet. From Dr. Matthew Croco - have a great St. Paddy’s day!

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

March 7th, 2014

The dental procedures that focus on the correction of alignment and bite are known as orthodontic care. With the aid of braces, aligners, retainers, brackets, and similar appliances, orthodontic treatment can correct oral disorders such as protruding teeth, crowding, difficulty biting or chewing, and speech issues. Seeking orthodontic treatment at Croco Orthodontics can drastically improve your oral appearance, comfort, and health, while also encouraging proper oral hygiene and enhanced self-esteem. Both growing children and adults with oral alignment issues can benefit greatly from completing customized orthodontic treatment with Dr. Matthew Croco.

Due to the uniqueness of each mouth and the severity of each malocclusion disorder, there is no one set timeframe for orthodontic treatment. The length of your treatment is determined by many factors, including the severity of your alignment issue, your age, the health of your teeth, and the specific orthodontic procedure you need to undergo. Nevertheless, typical treatment usually takes between 12 and 36 months.

Avoiding alignment issues

While some alignment issues are brought on by unavoidable matters such as accidents, genetics, and physical disorders, some issues arise out of certain actions you should not be doing. Finger sucking and improper oral hygiene are the two most common self-inflicted reasons for alignment issues. Constant finger sucking can alter the pattern in which your teeth grow, which in turn may cause bite issues. Improper oral hygiene such as infrequent dental visits and improper brushing and flossing can lead to decay and loss of teeth, which will interfere with the bite in your mouth.

To avoid advanced alignment issues, it is important to establish a relationship with a quality dentist when you’re young and seek orthodontic treatment at the first sign of alignment problems to encourage healthy and straight teeth for a lifetime.

For more information about orthodontic treatment, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Matthew Croco, please give us a call at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office!

Do I really need to wear my rubber bands with my braces?

February 28th, 2014

Most of our patients at Croco Orthodontics will need to wear rubber bands at some point during their orthodontic treatment. The main reason our patients are instructed to wear rubber bands is to correct their bite. If your teeth do not fit together properly, Dr. Matthew Croco will recommend that rubber bands be used. Dr. Matthew Croco may also recommend using rubber bands to close or open spaces.

Rubber bands are a critical part of your treatment, and wearing them as Dr. Matthew Croco and our team recommend will help move your teeth into the desired position. Dr. Matthew Croco may ask you to wear your rubber bands full time, meaning that they should only be taken out when you brush and floss your teeth three times a day. Other times, you may be asked to only wear them part-time, like only during the day or only during sleep.

If you still have any questions about orthodontic rubber bands, we invite you to give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment appointment. Remember, wearing rubber bands as prescribed by Dr. Matthew Croco is an important step during your treatment, and can reduce the time you have your braces. If you lose your rubber bands or run out, stop by our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office and pick up more!

Aging and Oral Health

February 21st, 2014

As you age, it becomes even more important to take good care of your teeth and dental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-fourth of adults age 65 and older have no remaining teeth. What's more, nearly one-third of older adults have untreated tooth decay.

Oral health, regardless of age, is crucial to overall good health. Ideally, we all want to keep your natural teeth, but whether you're caring for natural teeth or dentures, advancing age may put older adults at risk for a number of oral health problems, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diminished sense of taste
  • Root decay
  • Gum disease
  • Uneven jawbone caused by tooth loss
  • Denture-induced tissue inflammation
  • Overgrowth of fungus in the mouth
  • Attrition (loss of teeth structure by mechanical forces)
  • Oral cancer

These conditions may not be diagnosed until it is too late. If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.

Here are some tips for maintaining and improving your oral health as you become older:

  • Brush twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles. You may also benefit from using an electric toothbrush.
  • Clean between your teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner.
  • If you wear full or partial dentures, remember to clean them on a daily basis. Take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every day. It’s best to remove them at night.
  • Drink tap water. Since most contains fluoride, it helps prevent tooth decay no matter how old you are.
  • Quit smoking. Besides putting you at greater risk for lung and other cancers, smoking increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
  • Visit Croco Orthodontics regularly for a complete dental checkup.

If you have any questions about keeping up with your oral hygiene at home, please give us a call!

The Transformation of Valentine's Day

February 14th, 2014

Did you know the actions leading to the beginnings of Valentine's Day were actually centered on the avoidance of war? A Catholic priest named Valentine defied the orders of the Emperor Claudius II and secretly married young men and their brides after the emperor had declared it illegal because only single, young men could be sent to war. Rather than lose potential soldiers to fight his war, Claudius attempted to hoard them by proclaiming marriage illegal.

Valentine continued to marry young couples anyway and, eventually, was put to death for it in 270 AD. Before his death, he sent a letter to a secret love and signed it “From your Valentine”. Nearly 1,800 years later, people are still signing letters and cards in this manner. This year, carry on the tradition started long ago, while adding your own twist. Here are a few suggestions.

Simple and Creative Valentine's Day Ideas

  • Memorialize it with a Photo. Couples often have photos taken around Christmas, but Valentine's Day photos allow you to capitalize on romance. Famous couple Julia Child and her husband, Paul, had their picture taken together every Valentine's Day and included their sense of humor with silly props.
  • Return to Your First Date Location. Even if your first date together was at a local hotdog stand, its sentimental value can make it a fun part of your Valentine's Day agenda. Be creative and make a treasure hunt with clues that lead your partner to the original date location, where you can express your love with flowers or a gift.
  • “From Your Valentine” Messages. Deliver your message in a creative way to make this Valentine's Day stand out from the others. Bake your partner's favorite treat and write a message on it with a tube of icing, or draw a note on the steamed up mirror so it shows up when your partner takes a shower.

Although Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love, it doesn't have to be a special day only for couples. If you're single, use this special day to shower yourself with love, because you're worth it! After all, the priest Valentine believed so strongly in the sanctity of love that he was willing to risk his life for it. Whether you're in a relationship or single, young or old, romantic or not, Valentine's Day is for you. Happy Valentine’s Day from the orthodontic office of Dr. Matthew Croco.

A Helpful Site on Orthodontics

February 7th, 2014

As you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, our team at Croco Orthodontics would like to point you to a helpful website. Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have lots of important information about everything relating to braces, including myths and facts of orthodontics, tips for a better orthodontic experience, and cool webisodes about orthodontics.

Check out AAO today and feel free to contact us at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office if you have any questions.

Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics hope this information helps you!

What is expected of me during my orthodontic treatment?

January 31st, 2014

We hear this question a lot at Croco Orthodontics, and we don’t mind when patients who are eager to complete their orthodontic treatment ask us. After all, we know there is no better feeling than getting your braces off!

During your initial consultation with Dr. Matthew Croco, we will map out a specific treatment for you and will try our hardest to give you a timeline of when we expect you to wrap up treatment.

Having said that, we know every patient is different. People have different biological responses to orthodontic treatment and some people’s teeth may move faster than others.

Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure your treatment wraps up in a timely manner. By following these suggestions, you can avoid any setbacks during your treatment.

  • Make sure to keep your adjustment appointments. Postponing or cancelling will delay treatment!
  • Be sure to show up on time to your appointments. This will give Dr. Matthew Croco and our team time to do everything we planned during your adjustment visit.
  • When prescribed, make sure you are diligent about wearing rubber bands or other appliances.
  • Avoid damage to your braces and teeth by wearing a mouth guard during sports activities.
  • Make sure to brush and floss regularly! Gum disease or other dental work can delay orthodontic treatment.

If you remember to follow these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to having the dazzling, healthy smile you’ve always wanted. As for us, our team at Croco Orthodontics will do our part to move your orthodontic treatment along efficiently. If you have any questions about your treatment time, please give us a call at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office or ask us during your next visit!

Sports and Energy Drink Consumption Damages Tooth Enamel

January 24th, 2014

While they may sound refreshing, especially after participating in sports activities or after a jog, recent studies suggest that energy and sports drinks can damage tooth enamel, thus elevating your cavity risk. These drinks are especially popular among our younger patients.

In the study, researchers analyzed the fluoride content and pH levels of 13 sports and nine energy drinks by soaking tooth enamel samples in the aforementioned drinks. The samples were soaked for 15 minutes in each drink, and then were soaked for two hours in artificial saliva four times a day for five days.

As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1 percent to 1.5 percent).

Yes, there are health benefits to consuming orange juice, fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavored waters, which can contain valuable ingredients such as vitamin C and other antioxidants; these drinks can also replenish nutrients lost during a sporting event and lower the chance of heart disease and cancer. But, if not consumed carefully, these beverages can harm your teeth. They are full of sugar, which converts to acid and wears away at your teeth, causing cavities, sensitivity, and eventually tooth loss.

Even one drink a day is potentially harmful, but if you are absolutely unable to give up that sports or energy drink habit, we encourage you to minimize their use and rinse with water afterward or chew a sugar-free piece of gum. Do not brush immediately after drinking them; softened enamel due to acid is easier to damage, even when brushing. Remember, it takes your mouth approximately 30 minutes to bring its pH level back to normal. The best thing to do is to wait an hour, then brush to remove sugar that lingers on your teeth and gums.

There are many sports drinks, energy drinks, and flavored waters out there today. Dr. Matthew Croco and our team recommend you take the time to read the labels. Check for sugar content and citric acid in the ingredients. If you have any questions, or would like suggestions on the best sports drink options, please give us a call at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office or ask us during your next visit!

Keep that candy at bay during your treatment!

January 17th, 2014

Now that you have braces, it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene during your treatment, as Dr. Matthew Croco will tell you. While we trust you will continue brushing and flossing on a regular basis throughout your treatment at Croco Orthodontics, you also have to mindful of what you eat. While all those sweet, sour, and sticky candies may taste great, these treats can actually damage your teeth and braces!

Sour candies  can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them, resulting in tooth decay and cavities. If you do indulge in eating these candies at some point during your treatment, be sure to wash your mouth out with water, drink milk or eat a few slices of cheese. These foods will help neutralize the acid in your mouth.

Besides cavities and tooth decay, many people do not realize that good oral health and hygiene are important to your overall health, too; researchers have discovered the connection between periodontal disease and other major health concerns, such as heart disease. Therefore, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine just as you did before your braces. This includes visiting your dentist here in Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA every six months, brushing and flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash, as well as visiting Dr. Matthew Croco for your regular adjustment appointments.

For more questions about foods you should avoid while wearing braces, or if you have any general questions about your treatment, we encourage you to give us a call, ask us at your next adjustment appointment or ask us on Facebook!

Why should I visit the dentist during my treatment?

January 10th, 2014

So, you just got your braces on, and you're wondering why you should continue visiting your general dentist since you’re seeing Dr. Matthew Croco every other month. Patients always ask us if they should continue to see their dentist while in orthodontic treatment. In short, the answer is yes.

Today, we thought we would share a few reasons why it’s crucial to keep up with your regular visits with your dentist in addition to coming in for your regular adjustments at Croco Orthodontics.

One of the best reasons to visit your dentist while you undergo orthodontic treatment is to remove plaque and tartar. Having braces provides additional nooks and crannies in which food particles and bacteria can hide. Eventually, plaque and tartar can form around your brackets, bands or other appliances which can lead to cavities. Having your teeth professionally cleaned can help ensure most, if not all, plaque and tartar is removed. Even if you are undergoing clear aligner treatment, dental checkups and cleanings are equally as important.

The next reason to visit a dentist is to help protect your teeth from decalcification, or the loss of calcium in your teeth. A potentially serious condition in which white spots on your tooth surfaces, decalcification is irreversible and if left untreated, can lead to cavities. Decalcification is preventable; patients who cut down on sugary sweets and acidic foods, practice good oral hygiene, and visit their dentist regularly can help prevent decalcification.

The final reason we recommend visiting your dentist while you have braces is this: cavities can prolong your treatment. If you are interested in completing your orthodontic treatment on time and without any delays, visiting your dentist every six months or as recommended can go a long way toward making that a realistic goal. Your dentist can provide fluoride treatments or other treatments that strengthen your teeth and protect them from cavities.

Making sure to visit your dentist will help ensure your teeth look their best once your braces come off. If you do not have a general dentist and would like a recommendation on finding one in the Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA area, please give us a call or let us know at your next adjustment appointment!

What’s the advantage to Invisalign®?

January 3rd, 2014

Invisalign, which we happily provide at Croco Orthodontics, is a great alternative to traditional orthodontic treatment if you've been apprehensive about the thought of metal braces. During your initial visit, the first thing we do is take an impression of your teeth as they are now and digitize it. Using special software, we look at the current positioning of your teeth and compare it to the way your teeth should look.

Invisalign treatment, which consists of a series of aligners that you switch out approximately every couple of weeks, can help patients with crowded teeth, crossbites, overbites, underbites and more. Invisalign gradually shifts your teeth into place, creating the dazzling smile you’ve always wanted. During treatment with Dr. Matthew Croco, patients wear the aligners all day and night, except for during meals and when they’re brushing and flossing; cleaning your teeth and eating are a snap since you can easily remove your aligners! And because they’re clear, no one will know that your teeth are steadily straightening!

To find out if you are the right candidate for Invisalign treatment, we invite you to give us a call at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office and schedule a consultation.

New Year's Eve

December 30th, 2013

Watching the clock tick down the final seconds until midnight, many of us- Croco Orthodontics included- feel nostalgic about the passing year and hopeful about the new one to come. New Year’s Eve is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, with over-the-top celebrations taking place in dozens of countries. The Gregorian calendar, which is widely used in Western nations and around the world, was implemented in 1582. Since that time, December 31st has marked the final day of the year, with midnight heralding the beginning of a brand new year. In the United States, New Year’s Day is a public holiday; government offices, schools, public organizations, and many businesses are closed for the day. Ponder the following fun facts as you think about your plans for the holiday:

  • Approximately one billion people watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, New York City. This televised event is one of the most iconic New Year’s celebrations in the world. For many years, watching the ball drop meant tuning in to Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, an iconic television special dear to the hearts of many viewers.
  • The idea for the New Year’s Eve ball came about because of a citywide ban on fireworks. Before 1907, when fireworks became illegal in New York City, celebrations included an elaborate fireworks show. The large, glittering, illuminated ball was developed as an alternative. Although the first ball was heavy at 700 pounds, the modern New Year’s Eve ball is made of Waterford crystal and tips the scale at six tons!
  • The top five New Year’s resolutions are: to lose weight, quit smoking, get a new job, return to school, or increase personal savings. However, approximately 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail. But don’t let that discourage you! Resolutions are most likely to succeed when they are clear, achievable goals. Setting out a concrete plan to achieve your resolution also boosts your chances of success.
  • Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is said to bring good fortune in the new year. Collard greens, cabbage, and ham hocks are also considered lucky foods to enjoy. Just steer clear of the chicken or turkey dinners; eating poultry is a bad omen for the year to come.

Whether you plan to stay in Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA, or head out into the crowds to watch the ball drop in Times Square, New Year’s Eve is a time to enjoy friends and family. Send your loved ones well wishes for the New Year, and look for that special someone to share a midnight kiss with for good luck!

Is adult orthodontic treatment for you?

December 20th, 2013

Adult patients who seek orthodontic treatment usually fall into one of two camps: those who did not undergo orthodontic treatment as a child or those who had braces at one point but stopped wearing retainers for one reason or another.

At Croco Orthodontics, we are happy to offer a variety of treatment options to straighten our patients’ teeth. Dr. Matthew Croco and our team believe you’re never too old to straighten your teeth. And we have many adult patients who are currently undergoing treatment. In fact, did you know that roughly 30 percent of all orthodontic patients these days are adults?

Invisalign® is a great treatment option for adults. The Invisalign aligners are easy to wear and are not visible to most people. Plus, Invisalign's clear aligners are removable, so there are no restrictions on what you can eat during treatment. When considering Invisalign, we tell adults to determine if they can be diligent about wearing the aligners at all times and make them part of their lifestyle for the duration of treatment.

If you have been thinking about obtaining a beautiful smile, please give us a call at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office for an initial consultation. Dr. Matthew Croco and our team welcome children, teens, and adults alike. Call us today for an appointment!

Braces-Friendly Recipe: Lunch

December 13th, 2013

Getting braces comes with a lot of rules. No sticky candies, watch out for popcorn, and steer clear of chips. These rules leave many braces-wearers wondering what they can still eat without hurting their teeth or their expensive orthodontic appliances. Fortunately, constructing a braces-friendly lunch is straightforward once you know which foods to avoid.

Foods to Avoid When Wearing Braces

There are a few food categories to avoid when you have braces. Sticky foods also stick to the metal in your braces, and can potentially break wires or individual braces. For example: bubblegum, candy bars, caramel, licorice, fruit roll-ups, and Starbursts should be avoided. Many of these foods also contain high levels of sugar, which can cause plaque build-up if not brushed away properly.

Also, be wary of hard foods that can harm your orthodontic appliances. Avoid eating hard taco shells, chips, Rice Crispy treats, hard candy, beef jerky, and popcorn. Some healthy foods, such as carrots, apples, corn on the cob, and nuts, are hard on braces. To eat these foods safely, cut them into smaller pieces before eating.

Remember that certain habits may be harmful to your braces. For example, crunching on ice cubes may be a reflexive response when you’re enjoying a cold beverage, but this can significantly harm your braces and extend treatment time. To stay on the safe side, Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics recommend you drink beverages without ice or add crushed ice whenever possible.

Lunch Recipe

Even with braces, it’s easy to enjoy a healthy, nutritious lunch. For example, make a panini on whole wheat bread with slices of turkey deli meat, a piece of Swiss cheese, and tomato slices. Spread 1 tbsp. of mustard or mayonnaise on the bread before toasting the sandwich in a panini grill. Serve the panini with ½ c. low-fat cottage cheese and a sliced pear or apple for a balanced meal. Then grab a pudding cup or some JELLO for dessert. Wash it all down with water containing a lemon wedge or all-natural fruit juice. Make sure to brush your teeth or rinse with mouthwash after lunch to wash away sugars and food residue that can get trapped in braces and cause decay.

If you have any questions about what you can and can’t eat with braces during your treatment at Croco Orthodontics, be sure to ask our team during your next appointment at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office!

What’s the deal with bottled water?

December 6th, 2013

As more people turn to bottled water and away from the tap, they may be missing out on one important ingredient that most brands of bottled water fail to include: fluoride! Because fluoride helps strengthen teeth, it is an important component of maintaining good oral health. Our friends at the American Dental Association have endorsed both community water fluoridation and the use of fluoride-containing products as a safe means of preventing tooth decay.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also warned that “bottled water may not have a sufficient amount of fluoride, which is important for preventing tooth decay and promoting oral health.” If you are avoiding fluoridated tap water in favor of ever-more-popular bottled water, you could be missing out on the levels of fluoride necessary to make a difference in your oral health. One 2012 study in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that more than 65 percent of parents using bottled water did not know what levels of fluoride it contained.

If bottled water happens to be your or your children’s beverage of choice, check the label to make sure your brand contains fluoride. Of course, simply drinking fluoridated water is not a magic ticket to perfect teeth. To keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape, it’s important to brush and floss daily and avoid sugary sweets, in addition to maintaining your fluoride intake.

Questions about fluoride? Give us a call at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office! We look forward to hearing from you!

What causes crooked teeth?

November 29th, 2013

Crooked teeth, more correctly called malocclusions, have reached epidemic proportions in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, approximately 80 percent of American teenagers are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment. Although advances in orthodontic devices and increased availability of such devices explain part of this increase, it still means there are a lot of crooked teeth in the world.

The theories about what is causing so many crooked teeth range from the ridiculous to the scientific. For years, oral health professionals believed that crooked teeth were an evolutionary result of the change in Western diets from raw, wild foods to soft, processed foods. That theory has since been debunked.

The truth is that crooked teeth can be caused by a number of things. Crooked teeth can be an inherited trait. Parents with crooked teeth and malformed jaws are more likely to have children with malocclusions. Ill-fitting or poorly-executed dental restorations, such as fillings and crowns, can also cause teeth to become crooked. Baby teeth that fall out early, gingivitis, and even a jaw that is too small to accommodate all of a person’s adult teeth are additional causes of crooked teeth. In addition, thumb sucking and the use of a pacifier for too long can contribute to crooked teeth.

What to do about crooked teeth

Fortunately, modern orthodontics offers a number of solutions for crooked teeth. Traditional metal braces are the most popular, though our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office provides a number of clear, aesthetic options as well. If you’re tired of hiding your smile because of crooked teeth, contact Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics and set up an appointment. We’ll have you showing off your straight pearly whites in no time!

Thanksgiving in North America

November 22nd, 2013

Thanksgiving marks the start to the holidays; a season filled with feasting, indulging, and spending time with family and friends are always special. Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for giving thanks, and while this may seem like such a natural celebration, the United States is only one of a handful of countries to officially celebrate with a holiday.

Unlike many holidays, Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, and it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. In Canada, it is celebrated on the second Monday of October, which is, oddly enough, much closer to a time when harvests were likely gathered. In addition to the different dates, the origins of the celebration also share different roots.

Thanksgiving in the United States

Giving thanks for a bountiful harvest are not new, but the modern day holiday in the US can be traced to a celebration at Plymouth in Massachusetts in 1621. This feast of thanksgiving was inspired by a good harvest, and the tradition was simply continued 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 them how to fish, and they soon began to be 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 harvest.

Canadian Thanksgiving

An explorer of early Canada named Martin Frobisher is accredited for the first Canadian Thanksgiving. He survived the arduous journey from England through harsh weather conditions and rough terrain, and after his last voyage from Europe to present-day Nunavut, he held a formal ceremony to give thanks for his survival and good fortune. As time passed and more settlers arrived, a feast was added to what quickly became a yearly tradition. Another explorer, Samuel de Champlain, is linked to the first actual Thanksgiving celebration in honor of a successful harvest; settlers who arrived with him in New France celebrated the harvest with a bountiful feast.

A Modern Thanksgiving

Today, Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with the best of Americana. From feasts and football games to getting ready for the start of the Christmas shopping season, Thanksgiving means roasted turkey, pumpkin pie, and green bean casserole. No matter how you celebrate this momentous day, pause for a moment to give thanks for your friends, family, and all the bounties you’ve received. Happy Thanksgiving from Croco Orthodontics!

We proudly offer Invisalign Teen®!

November 15th, 2013

Dr. Matthew Croco and our team are excited to offer Invisalign Teen, a clear alternative to braces that’s just for teens! With Invisalign Teen, we are able to straighten your teen’s teeth without the hassle, discomfort, and embarrassment of traditional braces.

Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners are virtually invisible. What's more, they are removable, which means your child is free to eat anything they choose, as well as brush and floss with ease! And best of all, Invisalign Teen uses no wires or metal to straighten your teen's teeth.

Invisalign Teen aligners are made from a lightweight plastic material and fit precisely on the teeth. Invisalign Teen has become a popular treatment here at Croco Orthodontics because it helps our younger patients achieve a straight, beautiful smile without their friends noticing.

Our team at Croco Orthodontics is aware that most teens today have a busy lifestyle, and sometimes, they tend to lose things, including their retainers or aligners. But with Invisalign Teen, if your child happens to lose an aligner, let Dr. Matthew Croco and our team know as soon as possible and we will have the aligner replaced.

For more information on Invisalign Teen, please give us a call at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office today!

When You Need Immediate Care, We are Here for You

November 8th, 2013

At Croco Orthodontics, we know orthodontic emergencies are neither convenient nor timely. If you are a patient of record, Dr. Matthew Croco and our team are more than willing to see you after hours or over the weekend. As a general rule, you should call our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. If you have an orthodontic emergency after regular office hours, please give us a call and follow the emergency prompts to contact one of our doctors.

Halloween Guidelines from the American Association of Orthodontists

October 17th, 2013

Fall can be a really enjoyable time of the year for you and your family. The kids are back in school, the leaves are changing, and Halloween approaches. This holiday is a lot of fun for kids, but Croco Orthodontics wants to remind you it can also be risky, especially for your child’s braces. If you have kids with braces, take a look at the following tips from the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) on how to keep your kids and their teeth safe this Halloween season.

Important Safety Tips

Trick-or-treating is a favorite Halloween activity for kids everywhere. While it is a great holiday tradition for children, it comes with some potential risks. To keep your kids safe while trick-or-treating, try following these simple guidelines:

  • If you have young children, make sure they are accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • You or your kids should always carry flashlights.
  • For costumes, try to include a light-colored or reflective element that can be easily seen by oncoming traffic.
  • Avoid costumes that include a mask, especially for younger children. These can pose a safety hazard for both the wearers and the people around them.
  • Tell your kids not to eat any of their candy until they arrive home. Be sure to inspect all treats carefully before letting them dig in.

Following these guidelines can help you keep your kids safe on Halloween.

Halloween Treats to Avoid if Your Child Has Braces

If your kids have braces, you’ll want them to steer clear of certain treats on Halloween. Many candies can cause damage to braces, so it’s wise to avoid them while you’re celebrating this fun holiday. Here is a list of treats to stay away from:

  • Hard candies
  • Chewy candies
  • Nuts
  • Caramel
  • Licorice
  • Jelly beans
  • Taffy
  • Bubblegum
  • Hard pretzels
  • Popcorn

Some of these treats may seem harmless, but all of them have the potential to bend or break your child’s braces. So it’s best to avoid eating them altogether.

Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

If your children have braces, they may feel like they can’t enjoy any treats on Halloween. However, there are plenty of braces-safe treat options for them to choose from, including the following:

  • Soft chocolate
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Gelatin treats
  • Ice cream
  • Smoothies
  • Root beer floats
  • Apple cider

These are just a few braces-friendly alternatives to traditional Halloween candy. Helping your kids have a fun and safe Halloween—while at the same time protecting their braces—can be easy if you follow these simple tips and guidelines. Help your kids enjoy the holiday without having to visit Dr. Croco for repair work on damaged braces!

Questions, questions…

October 11th, 2013

When beginning orthodontic treatment, most patients ask Dr. Croco and our team a lot of questions about what to expect, while others choose to just "go with the flow" and leave it to us to build for them a beautiful smile. And for our team at Croco Orthodontics, that's understandable.

But for those who do ask questions, two of the ones we frequently hear are "Will my braces hurt?" and "How long will these be on?"

We explain to our patients that despite what they've heard, braces do not hurt when they're initially put on. Yes, you will experience soreness after your braces are placed and when your teeth start to move. Too often, our patients hear horror stories about how much it hurts to get the braces on, so they tend to over-worry. The truth is, after their braces are on, almost all patients say "that's it?" because it's actually easy and painless!

At Croco Orthodontics, we answer most of your other questions during your initial exam. When a patient visits our office for the first time, we give him or her a time estimate of how long it will take to achieve their ideal smile. All other questions are answered at the bonding appointment when the braces are placed. We cover all the topics, everything from eating to brushing with braces, but we also know that after your initial appointment, it's natural for you to have questions about your or your child's treatment. And we are always here for you; we are thorough and always try to answer any questions or concerns you may have. As a patient, that's one thing you never have to worry about. You will always know what's going on throughout your orthodontic experience.

October is National Orthodontic Health Month

October 4th, 2013

What does the month of October mean to you? For people in the northern hemisphere, October is when the weather starts to get a little chilly: heavy jackets might come out of storage and the summer clothing gets packed away. You might start making plans for the upcoming holidays or looking at the beautiful and changing autumn scenery. October means something a little different to Croco Orthodontics because this is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic clinics all over the country work together to promote their services and inform the community about the important work we do.

National Orthodontic Health Month is an 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. This is a great 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 us 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 one of us in person before your checkup is a great way to find out what kind of person you’ll be seeing during your appointment.

Meeting Dr. Croco 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!–can feel anxiety about going to the dentist. Getting to know the person you have an appointment with can make the experience a lot less stressful for everyone. We don't want anyone to avoid seeing a dental professional for regular checkups just because they don't know who we are. Just meeting and talking with the orthodontist you'll be seeing may be enough to make you feel more comfortable 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. I look forward to seeing you and your family this October at one of our convenient locations in Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA !

How much do braces cost?

September 27th, 2013

This is one of the most common questions that is asked at Croco Orthodontics and, unfortunately, it does not have a simple answer. Just as every patient we see is unique, so is their treatment plan. Some patients have very simple problems which require less appliances and time, while other cases are much more complicated and may require multiple appliances and phases.

The treatment fee usually reflects the amount of orthodontic work required to complete the treatment plan. The only way to find out how much braces will cost is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Croco. During your consultation, we will perform a complete oral examination, listen to your concerns, and explain how we will address your needs.

Our findings will include the cost of orthodontics and how long the treatment will take to complete. Give us a call today at our convenient location in Coralville, IA for a consultation and discover how quickly we can make you smile!

We proudly offer Invisalign Teen®!

September 19th, 2013

Dr. Matthew Croco and our team are excited to offer Invisalign Teen, a clear alternative to braces that’s just for teens! With Invisalign Teen, we are able to straighten your teen’s teeth without the hassle, discomfort, and embarrassment of traditional braces.

Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners are virtually invisible. What's more, they are removable, which means your child is free to eat anything they choose, as well as brush and floss with ease! And best of all, Invisalign Teen uses no wires or metal to straighten your teen's teeth.

Invisalign Teen aligners are made from a lightweight plastic material and fit precisely on the teeth. Invisalign Teen has become a popular treatment here at Croco Orthodontics because it helps our younger patients achieve a straight, beautiful smile without their friends noticing.

Our team at Croco Orthodontics are aware that most teens today have a busy lifestyle, and sometimes, they tend to lose things, including their retainers or aligners. But with Invisalign Teen, if your child happens to lose an aligner, let Dr. Croco and our team know as soon as possible and we will have the aligner replaced.

For more information on Invisalign Teen, please give us a call at our convenient Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office today!

Your Five-Step Guide to Preventing Tooth Decay While Wearing Braces

September 13th, 2013

If you’re wearing braces, then you know they are working hard to straighten your teeth. However, those hard-working braces are also preventing you from easily cleaning your teeth. It is essential that you put some extra attention into preventing tooth decay while wearing your braces. When your braces are finally removed by Dr. Matthew Croco, you want a beautiful, white smile, not decayed or stained teeth. Here, we’ve listed the five best ways to ensure you have the smile you’ve always dreamed of once your braces are gone.

USE A SPECIAL TOOTHBRUSH

A regular toothbrush just doesn’t cut it when you are wearing braces. You also need to use an interdental toothbrush so that you can effectively clean behind the braces. According to HealthGuidance.org, this type of brush has bristles that are shaped like a Christmas tree that can remove food residue in the braces and on the teeth. We also recommend using a WaterPik, with its highly pressurized pulsating water, to help get all of those hard-to-reach places.

BRUSH AFTER EVERY MEAL

Since braces block food from naturally escaping your teeth after eating, it’s important that you take the time to brush and floss after every meal. The less time food has to sit on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause decay. This may seem like an inconvenience, but trust us, when you get your braces off, you will be very glad you brushed after every meal.

DON’T FORGET THE MOUTH RINSE

Even after properly brushing and flossing, there are probably some food particles in your braces. A fluoride mouth rinse is the best way to ensure that every bit of food is removed after meals. If you do not have a mouth rinse available, we suggest using water — it’s better than nothing.

AVOID SWEETS

Prevention is definitely the best medicine when it comes to avoiding tooth decay. If you can nix decay-causing sugary foods from the outset, we promise you’ll spend less time trying to treat problems in the future.

GET REGULAR CHECKUPS

Visit your dentist regularly while you are wearing braces. Our office recommends a thorough cleaning every three to six months. Let our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office know if you have questions about your oral health while in braces - our entire team at Croco Orthodontics is here to make sure your teeth are as beautifully straight as they are healthy!

The Evolution of Braces, from Dr. Matthew Croco

September 6th, 2013

Did you know that even in ancient times, people wanted to improve the look and function of their smiles? Croco Orthodontics thinks of modern orthodontic appliances as sleek, efficient technology, but this was not always so! Take a look at the highlights in the evolution of braces.

Ancient Times: From Greece to Rome

  • According to The Angle Orthodontist, Aristotle and Hippocrates first thought about methods for straightening teeth between 400 and 300 BC.
  • The Etruscans, in what we now know as Italy, buried their dead with appliances that maintained spaces and prevented collapse of their teeth and jaws during life. Archaeologists have discovered mummified remains in various locations that have metal bands wrapped around the teeth.
  • A Roman tomb has also been discovered in which the teeth were bound with gold wire, including documentation on the wire’s use as a dental device.

18th Century: A French Development

  • The French dentist Pierre Fauchard is acknowledged as the father of modern dentistry. In 1728 he published a book that described various methods for straightening teeth. Fauchard also used a device known as a “blandeau” to widen the upper palate.
  • Louis Bourdet was another French dentist who published a book in 1754 that discussed tooth alignment. Bourdet further refined the blandeau and was the first dentist to extract bicuspids, or the premolar teeth between canines and molars, for the purpose of reducing tooth crowding.

19th Century: Orthodontics Defined

  • Orthodontics started to become a separate dental specialty during the early 19th century. The first wire crib was used in 1819, marking the beginning of modern orthodontics.
  • During this period, gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber, vulcanite, and occasionally wood, ivory, zinc, and copper were used — as was brass in the form of loops, hooks, spurs, and ligatures.
  • Edward Maynard first used gum elastics in 1843 and E. J. Tucker began making rubber bands for braces in 1850.
  • Norman W. Kingsley published the first paper on modern orthodontics in 1858 and J. N. Farrar was the first dentist to recommend the use of force over timed intervals to straighten teeth.

20th Century: New Materials Abound

  • Edward Angle developed the first classification systems for malocclusions (misaligned teeth) during the early 20th century in the United States, and it is still in use today. Angle founded the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901, which was renamed the American Association of Orthodontists in the 1930s.
  • By the 1960s, gold was universally abandoned in favor of stainless steel.
  • Lingual braces were the “invisible” braces of choice until the early 1980s, when tooth-colored aesthetic brackets made from single-crystal sapphire and ceramics became popular

Today

As we arrive in the present, you need only look at your own braces to see how far we’ve come. Your treatment plan was probably created with a 3D digital model, and we’ve likely used a computerized process to customize your archwires. Perhaps you have clear aligners, self-ligating brackets, or highly resilient ceramic brackets with heat-activated wires.

Orthodontics has come a long way from the days of Aristotle, and even the bulky wrap-around braces of just 60 years ago. Regardless of your specific treatment plan, the development of high-tech materials and methods has made it possible for your orthodontic experience to be as effective, efficient, and comfortable as possible. Call our office in Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA to schedule your first orthodontic consultation!

http://www.angle.org/doi/full/10.1043/0003-3219(2002)0722.0.CO;2 http://www.archwired.com/HistoryofOrtho.htm

Celebrate Labor Day by Getting Away

August 30th, 2013

Labor Day honors the contributions that workers have made to this country, and for many Americans, the holiday is a great time to relax at home with family and friends. But there are quite a few people who celebrate the holiday by getting out of town, with an estimated 33 million people traveling more than 50 miles over Labor Day weekend in 2012, according to CNN.com. If you’re dreaming of a great Labor Day escape but you’re not quite sure where to go, here are a few ideas from our team at Croco Orthodontics to give you some travel inspiration.

Explore a National Park

On a national holiday like Labor Day, it’s only fitting to experience the beauty of America’s landscapes by heading to the nearest national park. If you’re confined to an office most days of the year, national parks can provide a relaxing and scenic escape, whether you’re by yourself, traveling with a group of friends, or bringing the whole family along. Depending on how close you live to the nearest park, you can stay for an afternoon or for longer than a week. With 58 parks located in 27 states, there are plenty of beautiful areas to choose from.

Chow Down in a BBQ Haven

Barbecuing is a popular Labor Day activity, but instead of sweating over your own grill or oven, try visiting one of the country’s BBQ capitals. U.S. News and World Report names Memphis as the top BBQ destination, with more than 80 BBQ restaurants in the city, most notably Corky’s BBQ and Central BBQ. Kansas City is also known for the sweet taste of its sauces, while central Texas is said to have perfected the technique of smoking tender and flavorful brisket.

Relax on the Beach

Many people think of Labor Day as the unofficial start of fall, which brings cooler temperatures, more rain, and for many people, an end to lazy days at the beach. End your beach days with a bang by taking a trip to one of the coasts or to a lakeside beach. For an added dose of festivity, find a city or town that celebrates the occasion with a fireworks display over the water.

Whether you’re looking to turn your getaway into a full week affair or you simply want to experience a quick escape, make the most of your holiday by changing your surrounding scenery. Happy Labor Day from the orthodontic practice of Dr. Matthew Croco!

Ask Dr. Matthew Croco: "What should I ask during my orthodontic consultation?"

August 23rd, 2013

If you have been thinking about undergoing orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth or correct jaw alignment, the first step is scheduling an orthodontic consultation at Croco Orthodontics. During the consultation we will actively listen to your concerns and address all of your questions, as well as discuss a treatment options that would best suit you or your child's situation.

Here are your top five questions that most patients want answered during their initial orthodontic consultation.

• Can I benefit from orthodontic treatment, and if so, how long will it take?

• How frequently will my appointments be scheduled?

• Can I expect any pain when getting braces? (Ask Dr. Matthew Croco about the ways we address pain management).

• Will I need to have teeth extracted, headgear, expansion appliance, etc. ?

• How much will it cost and what payment options do you offer?

Visit our website for more answers to your questions prior to your initial consulation.

Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics are happy to answer all your questions and concerns, and we are happy to explain all aspects of your treatment plan, as well as the expected outcome. We believe your orthodontic experience should be comfortable, hassle-free, and most importantly, leave you with the smile you've always wanted.

Misconceptions About Orthodontics

August 16th, 2013

While everyone understands that a dentist takes care of teeth, not everyone is aware of what an orthodontist does. This confusion sometimes leads to misunderstandings about what Croco Orthodontics does for our patients and how exactly Dr. Matthew Croco can help them. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the myths and misconceptions about orthodontics.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about the orthodontist is that we’re just like your family dentist. The truth is, we’re actually very different. While it’s true that both orthodontists and dentists care about helping you enjoy a lifetime of good dental and oral health, we go about achieving this goal in different ways. For instance, if you need to have a cavity filled, you probably won’t make an appointment to see me. Dentists are the health professionals to see if you’re concerned about a cavity or need a filling. A dentist can also treat gum disease, tooth decay, toothaches, and other common oral health problems.

People see an orthodontist for very particular services. Most of the patients I see on a daily basis are here because they have braces, or they need to be fitted with braces or another form of tooth-straightening device. In other words, they consult an orthodontist when they are concerned about the alignment of their teeth. As a child grows up, his or her teeth may come in crooked. This can happen for a number of reasons, so it’s important for an orthodontist to take a look at a child’s teeth at about seven years of age. At that age, it’s possible to detect any problems that have not become too advanced to treat easily. Your family dentist may also refer your child to an orthodontist once the adult teeth have fully grown in.

Another common misconception about orthodontists is that we only treat children. It’s true that when you visit an orthodontic clinic you’re apt to see a lot of young kids, but you’ll also see teenagers, college students, and adults. Because crooked teeth can be caused by a number of different factors, it’s entirely possible for someone to require orthodontic treatment at any age.

If you want to know more about the practice of orthodontics or what your orthodontist can do for you, then simply ask Dr. Matthew Croco. It’s best to get answers to your specific questions directly from the person who will be treating you. While you’re sure to find Internet resources helpful, there really is no substitute for the personal attention you’ll get during your appointment in Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA.

Besides Straight Teeth, What are the Benefits of Braces?

August 9th, 2013

Everyone wants a naturally aligned and beautiful smile, and it is no secret that orthodontic braces from Croco Orthodontics can help deliver one. However, there are greater benefits to wearing braces than just having straight teeth. You’ll gain many oral health benefits in addition to the cosmetic ones.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Crooked or crowded teeth may overlap each other and create tight spaces in between. These can make it very difficult to brush and floss effectively, allowing bacteria and plaque to build up, and eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. With orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become properly aligned and spaced, which allows for more effective brushing.

Difficulties with Speech

Your teeth play an essential role in speech. When they are out of line or lean too far forward or backward, this can affect your speaking patterns, and possibly cause embarrassment and frustration. Braces can readjust the positioning of the teeth to allow for clearer, more professional speech.

Bone Erosion

Bone and gum tissues begin to erode when there are no teeth to support. This is also true for poorly aligned teeth that leave gaps and spaces or place too much pressure on the jawbone due to a bad bite. With braces, the bones and tissues are less likely to erode and can continue to support the teeth in their new alignment.

Digestion

Your teeth play an important role in digestion. Before food ever enters your stomach, it has been partially digested by the teeth. If teeth are severely out of line, however, they may not play their role in breaking down food as effectively as they should. With braces, your teeth will be straightened into optimal alignment for eating and chewing.

Dr. Matthew Croco and staff will be happy to answer any of your questions about your orthodontic treatment. Visit us in Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA today!

"Do I really need to wear my rubber bands with my braces?"

August 2nd, 2013

Most of our patients at Croco Orthodontics will need to wear rubber bands at some point during their orthodontic treatment. The main reason our patients are instructed to wear rubber bands is to correct their bite.  If your teeth are not fitting together properly, Dr. Matthew Croco will recommend that rubber bands be used. Dr. Matthew Croco may also recommend you using rubber bands if to close or open spaces.

Rubber bands are a critical part of your treatment, and wearing them as Dr. Matthew Croco and our team recommend will help move your teeth into the desired position. Dr. Matthew Croco may ask you to wear your rubber bands full time, meaning that they should only be taken out when you brush your teeth three times a day, and they should be replaced at this time to keep fresh ones working. Other times, you may be asked to only wear them part time, such as only during the day or only during sleep.

If you still have any questions about orthodontic rubber bands, we invite you to give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment appointment. Remember, wearing rubber bands as prescribed by Dr. Matthew Croco is an important step during your treatment, and can reduce the time you have your braces on. If you lose your rubber bands or run out, stop by Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office and pick up more!

What Role do Elastics (Rubber Bands) Play in Orthodontics?

July 26th, 2013

Wearing orthodontic braces may be the best choice for correcting your teeth and improving your smile, and that's why you've come to see Dr. Matthew Croco at Croco Orthodontics. Braces, which consist of brackets and wires, work by gently applying pressure to the teeth, and that pressure causes them to move into the correct position. In some cases elastics, or rubber bands, are used to apply additional pressure needed to move your teeth.

The Purpose of ElasticsCustomized for each patient, the rubber bands typically stretch over tiny loops on the top and bottom brackets. If worn consistently, and every day, these tiny elastics will apply the steady pressure needed to guide your teeth into the correct position.

These elastics are crafted from medical-grade latex, which is safe to be in contact with your mouth. It's common to remove the elastics during meals if opening your mouth wide enough to eat is difficult. Our staff will demonstrate how to affix the elastics so it will soon become second nature to replace them.

The Do’s and the Don'ts

DO - Get in the habit of carrying around extra rubber bands and replace them as soon as one breaks. By consistently wearing the elastics, you may shorten the overall time needed to wear braces.

DON'T - Double up on elastics as this will cause too much pressure on the tooth or teeth and can actually harm the root of the tooth.

DO - Always wash your hands before removing or replacing the rubber bands.

DON'T - Overstretch the rubber band or it will lose its strength and it will be ineffective.

DO - Call us if you run out of rubber bands.

DO - Have fun with your braces and elastics. There are many different colors available that can let you show off your soon-to-be perfect smile.

Rubber bands are a key part of your orthodontic treatment, and learning how to remove and replace them is an important part to maintaining your braces. Before we set you on your journey to a perfect smile, we'll make sure you understand all there is to know about how to take care of your braces. Of course, if you have any questions about your orthodontic treatment, or orthodontics in general, be sure to contact our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office, and our staff will be happy to assit you!

Ask Dr. Matthew Croco: "My son is six—when should he be seen for an orthodontic evaluation?"

July 19th, 2013

Thanks for asking! It really depends on the dental age of the patient rather than their chronological age. Usually a good time to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist is after the front permanent teeth have erupted into the mouth or if there appears to be extreme crowding of the teeth.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommend that children between the ages of 7-9 should be evaluated by an orthodontist. There are times when an early developmental treatment is indicated to correct situations before they become major problems. In these circumstances the patient will most likely benefit from a second phase of orthodontics when all of their permanent teeth have erupted.

Most full orthodontic treatment begins between ages nine and 14, and lasts from one to three years, with two years being the average. It’s important, however, that children be screened at an early age for Dr. Matthew Croco and our staff to assess if your child can benefit from orthodontic treatment and when treatment should begin.

We hope this helps, and invite you to give us a call if you have any questions about your child’s treatment at Croco Orthodontics.

How to Protect Your Braces During Sports Activities

July 12th, 2013

Proper mouth protection is recommended by Croco Orthodontics when you participate in any sports activities. If you wear braces, this protection becomes essential. Injuries to your mouth can not only damage your teeth, but your braces could break and cut open your lip.

Full Facial Guards

Full facial guards are often used in football and offer protection to your mouth from most injuries. Even with full facial protection, you may benefit from additional mouth protection. While your face is protected from outside impact, you could still suffer from cuts or damage to your braces from internal impact.

Mouth Guards

Mouthguards referred to as boil-and-bites can be purchased at many retail stores. As the name implies, these guards are boiled in water to heat and soften the material. While the guard is still warm, you place it in your mouth and bite down gently. This causes the guard to form to the shape of your mouth. Unfortunately, these guards do not necessarily offer the best protection or fit.

Dr. Matthew Croco can make custom mouthguards specifically for you. The custom fitting ensures you of better protection and a comfortable fit. Custom guards are also built in layers for durability. The American Dental Association recommends custom guards for orthodontic patients. Your mouthguard will be designed to provide proper protection for both your teeth and your braces.

No matter what type of sport you participate in, a mouthguard can protect your braces. Even an activity as seemingly harmless as table tennis can result in a contact injury. The Academy for Sports Dentistry states that a properly fitted mouthguard should not interfere with any athletic activity.

Croco Orthodontics will provide you with properly fitting mouth protection to ensure the safety of your braces and your teeth. We will be glad to answer any questions you have so you can continue the activities you enjoy with little concern. If you do suffer any injuries to your mouth or braces during sporting activities, please contact us immediately. The sooner we can care for your mouth, the better the results will be.

Rubber Band Horoscopes: What Your Color Says About You

July 5th, 2013

One exciting part about wearing braces from Croco Orthodontics is getting to choose the colors of your rubber bands. Orthodontists place elastic bands, or ligatures, over each bracket to secure the archwire in place. These rubber bands may be individual or connected, depending on your mouth’s needs. From Dr. Matthew Croco, you have the option of choosing the color of your elastics, which are changed about once every month at every visit. Our offices keep a color wheel handy to help you choose which ones suit you best!

Children and teens often enjoy picking different colors each month to express their creativity and coordinate their braces with outfits. Decorating your mouth with your favorite colors is fun for kids and takes some of the stress out of wearing braces. Adults who wish for subtlety have color options that blend in with the metal brackets and archwire. Common choices for adults include silver, clear, and gray tones.

Common Color Combinations for Rubber Bands

With individual ligatures for each bracket, you may choose different color combinations for special events. You can have alternating colors or place an entire rainbow over your teeth. Here are a few options to consider:

  • School spirit colors
  • Favorite sports team colors
  • Patriotic colors
  • Holiday themes

Some patients choose only one color to match their mood, personality, or favorite outfits. The palette of choices allows you to make bold statements with your braces or go for subtler tones that blend in with the metal structures. Keep in mind that bright colors make your teeth look whiter, while lighter shades, such as yellow and white, may cause your teeth to appear less bright.

What Your Rubber Band Color Says About You

  • Red tones indicate that you are ready for action and take charge of your life with aggressive, forward-thinking steps.
  • Blue tones are calm and relaxing. You are conservative and exhibit integrity when dealing with situations.
  • Green tones represent growth and balance. You are level-headed and look for opportunities to grow emotionally and spiritually.
  • Purple tones attract creative energies. You like to have fun and use your imagination in every aspect of your life.
  • Orange tones indicate that you are optimistic and thrive in social situations where communication is open.
  • Pink is a romantic color that represents a caring personality. You also enjoy having fun with silly games and endless laughter.

Happy Fourth of July from Croco Orthodontics

June 28th, 2013

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

The orthodontic office of Dr. Matthew Croco wishes you a safe and happy 4th of July!

Keep that candy at bay during your treatment!

June 21st, 2013

 Now that you have braces, it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene during your treatment, says Dr. Matthew Croco. While we trust you will continue brushing and flossing on a regular basis throughout your treatment at Croco Orthodontics, you also have to mindful of what you eat. Our team will tell you that while all those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, these treats can actually damage your teeth and braces!

Sour candies, which many people like to snack on,  can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them, resulting in tooth decay and cavities. If you do indulge in eating these candies at some point during your treatment, be sure to wash your mouth out with water, drink milk or eat a few slices of cheese. These foods will help neutralize the acid in your mouth.

Besides cavities and tooth decay, many people do not realize that good oral health and hygiene are important to your overall health too—researchers have discovered the connection between periodontal disease and other major health concerns, such as heart disease. Therefore, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine just as you did before your braces. This includes visiting your dentist here in Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA every six months, brushing and flossing daily and using an antibacterial mouthwash, as well as visiting Dr. Matthew Croco for your regular adjustment appointments.

For more questions about foods you should avoid while wearing braces, or if you have any general questions about your treatment, we encourage you to give us a call, ask us at your next adjustment appointment or ask us on Facebook!

How Braces Can Work at Any Age

June 14th, 2013

Are you an adult who is considering getting braces? Perhaps you’ve had them before, but over the years that dental work has been reversed. Or maybe you’ve never had any orthodontic work done, but are considering braces for the first time. In either case, Croco Orthodontics can help you enjoy straighter teeth, an improved bite, and a more beautiful smile. If you are considering getting braces, here is what you need to know about adult orthodontic work from Dr. Matthew Croco.

Can Braces Work For Adults?

Absolutely! Braces work for just about anyone. However, there are several different types of braces, and not all of them may work for you. Different types of orthodontic treatments include:

  • Ceramic braces
  • Metal braces
  • Damon System® brackets
  • Lingual brackets (braces behind the teeth)
  • Invisible braces
  • Rubber bands for bite correction
  • Headgear and other appliances

By scheduling a consultation, we can determine which treatment or combination of treatments would be best for your specific needs.

How Do I Get Started?

Getting braces can be a little bit daunting. At first glance, the process may appear expensive and time-consuming. However, if you take it step by step, getting braces can be a simple and relatively pain-free experience. Here are the first steps you need to take to get on the road to straight teeth:

First, you need information. If you are nervous about getting braces, or are having trouble getting started, learning more about the process can help ease your mind. Here are a few sample questions to ask:

  • What kind of braces do you recommend for my teeth?
  • How long will the treatment take?
  • How often will I need to come in for adjustments?
  • What is the total cost of the treatment? Do you accept insurance? Will you require the full amount up front, or do you have payment plans?

Asking these types of questions will help you understand what to expect during the entire process, which can aid your decision on the proper course of action.

The next step is to complete any prerequisite treatment. During your first meeting with Dr. Matthew Croco, we’ll need to take some X-rays and molds of your teeth, and then help you determine an appropriate treatment plan. Recommendations may include some preliminary dental work before you get your braces, which can be an important step in making sure your orthodontic treatments are effective.

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to get started! After you’ve chosen a treatment plan and undergone any necessary prerequisite dental work, you’ll be able to get your braces. Just like that, you’re on your way to a better smile! If you’d like to get started right away, call our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA location today!

Dr. Matthew Croco Gives Tips to Avoid Common Problems Associated with Braces

June 7th, 2013

While braces play an important part in helping to create a healthy mouth and teeth, you might experience a few side effects while wearing them that are common and can be easily treated.

Even with the best of care, braces can cause soreness to your mouth. As your teeth begin to move, it is natural for your teeth to feel aches and your jaw to develop soreness.

If there are broken wires or loose bands on your braces, a sore tongue, mouth, or canker sore will occur. Canker sores are a common occurrence when braces rub inside the mouth. There are ointments available to reduce the pain and irritation associated with mouth sores. Dr. Matthew Croco urges those who experience a sore mouth or any of the following problems to call our office to schedule an appointment.

  • Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket temporarily. You might also apply a little between the braces and the soft tissue of your mouth.
  • Loose bands: These must be secured in place by our dentist. Try to save the band for repair.
  • Protruding or broken wires: The eraser end of a pencil can be used to move the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If you are unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax to the tip. If a mouth sore develops, rinse with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.
  • Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned and sometimes replaced.

Foods to Avoid

Some foods can also help or hurt you while you’re wearing braces. Remember to cut your food into small pieces that can be easily chewed. You will want to avoid hard and chewy foods that can break your hardware. Foods such as corn on the cob, nuts, carrots, apples, ice, and bubble gum should be avoided.

Braces, rubber bands, springs, and other mouth appliances associated with braces will normally attract food particles and plaque. Without the proper care, this could cause staining of your teeth.

Our staff at Croco Orthodontics recommend brushing after every meal or snack and carefully removing any food that might be lodged in the braces. A fluoride mouthwash might be helpful as well as flossing. At your next appointment, Dr. Matthew Croco can advise you how to floss with a brush specially designed for braces!

Invisalign® Q&A, from Croco Orthodontics

May 31st, 2013

The fact is, most of us aren’t born with a red carpet smile. And that’s where Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics can help. Of course, orthodontic treatment help make your teeth stay strong, healthy and become perfectly-aligned. But did you know you can get the beautiful straight teeth you’ve always wanted — without braces?

We are proud to offer a clear alternative option for straightening teeth called Invisalign, which uses a series of invisible, removable and comfortable aligners that no one can tell you’re wearing. Today, we thought we would answer some of the most common questions we hear about Invisalign!

Q: How is Invisalign treatment different than traditional braces?

A: Not only does Invisalign effectively straighten teeth, Invisalign aligners are comfortable and durable, and provide patients the opportunity to enjoy their favorite activities such as sports and playing instruments, activities that can be challenging while wearing braces. Also, Invisalign's near-invisibility is a popular feature; treatment is very inconspicuous, making it easier to fit in rather than call attention to treatment. And because Invisalign aligners are removable, patients can take remove them at meal times, as well as to properly brush and floss to maintain healthy hygiene during treatment. Finally, Invisalign treatment has fewer emergenies because there are no wires or brackets to break or stick the patients.

Q: How does Invisalign work?

A: Using a series nof clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth, we use proprietary 3D computer imaging technology to map the complete treatment—from start to finish. When the aligners are placed on the teeth, they cause your teeth to gradually shift from their current position. After approximately two weeks, you will begin using the next set of aligners, which will continue the teeth straightening process, ultimately giving you the smile you've always wanted.

Q: Is Invisalign as effective as regular braces?

A: Yes. Depending on the case Invisalign maybe more effective than braces but in certain cases braces may be the optimal appliance. We recommend that you get a consultation with Croco Orthodontics to see if your case will be best treated with Invisalign.

Q: How long does treatment take?

A: The length of treatment depends on the severity of each case and can only be determined by a visit to Croco Orthodontics during a consultation with Dr. Matthew Croco.

We hope this helps! If you are interested in learning more about Invisalign, please give us a call at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office to schedule your initial consultation.

Memorial Day

May 24th, 2013

Memorial Day is not only a federal holiday in the United States, but it is a day of observance and remembrance of those who died in service. Originally known as Decoration Day, this solemn day has been marked on calendars since the end of the American Civil War as a day to commemorate both the Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died in the war.

Marking the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers, wreaths, or other tokens has been practiced throughout history, but it wasn't until the mark of the end of the Civil War that a special day was decided upon as the one to spend in remembrance. By 1890, every state in the country was observing Decoration Day, but it wasn't until 1967 when the name formally changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, in order to encompass all fallen American soldiers in all wars and conflicts, and in June of 1968, Congress moved the official date of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May in order to create a three day weekend.

Today, while there is certainly an air of remembrance on Memorial Day, it has become more a day of spending time with family, friends, and other loved ones. This day is also heralded as the start of summer, with many schools finishing for the year around this time. Though Croco Orthodontics remembers it as a day to take solace and remembered those lost.

Traditional observances of Memorial Day are still held, and they often involve raising the American Flag then lowering it to a half-staff position until noon, and then raising it once again to its full height afterwards. The flag is lowered to remember those who've lost their lives while in service to their country, and then it is raised to signify our willingness to not let their sacrifice be in vain.

From community parades in the Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA area, backyard cook-outs, and fireworks to formal ceremonies, Memorial Day is commemorated in many different ways. No matter how you choose to spend this day, take a moment to remember those who've lost their lives in an effort to preserve our freedom.

Adults and Braces - Not Just for Kids Anymore

May 17th, 2013

Just hearing the word “braces” can take many of us back to junior high — that painful era when we wore unattractive glasses, endured unflattering haircuts, and carried a mouthful of braces to complete the awkward adolescent look. Despite the common assumption that braces are for kids, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontics to correct their smiles.

Braces for Adults

Perhaps you never had braces as a kid and you are embarrassed by your crooked teeth. Or you went through a round of braces a decade ago and stopped wearing your retainer, which allowed your teeth to shift. Whatever your personal history, wearing braces in adulthood is an excellent way to create the straight, beautiful smile you deserve.

What Are My Options?

With recent advances in orthodontic medicine, there are numerous options for adults who need braces. The basic option is traditional metal braces. These are best for individuals who have severely crooked teeth or a significant bite problem, or require other major orthodontic changes. Metal braces are typically the least expensive option. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is aesthetics. Many people find them unattractive and distracting.

If you are a professional who is worried about your personal appearance, clear ceramic braces may be a better choice. Clear braces are capable of handling very crooked teeth or bite issues, but they cost more than metal braces. You also have to be careful about smoking or drinking red wine, soda, and other dark beverages while wearing clear braces. These items may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth.

Another popular option for adults who need braces is a clear aligner treatment, such as Invisalign®. This system works in a different way from traditional braces by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners. The series is custom made for your teeth, which makes this option more expensive than either metal or ceramic braces. In general, the Invisalign process takes anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems, teeth that are lower or higher than others, or severely overcrowded teeth.

Although you may be nervous about the prospect of getting braces as an adult, you should not let your fears stop you from talking with Dr. Matthew Croco. A consultation with at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office will address your concerns and provide information about the best course of treatment for you. No matter what your personal situation, adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and create the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Are Braces Right for Me?

May 10th, 2013

According to Preferred Consumer, it's estimated that 50 percent of people have teeth that are crooked, not aligned properly, or irregular. Fortunately today, orthodontics has advanced to the point where corrective devices, such as braces and retainers, are less obvious, more comfortable, and can be worn for shorter periods of time.

So, with that being said, how do you know if braces are right for you? Typically Dr. Matthew Croco will be able to point out any issues with your teeth at your regular six-month cleanings and recommend you to an orthodontist. But here are some other things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not braces could be in your future:

Crooked Teeth

As children grow, so do their teeth. And more often than not, certain teeth will grow in crooked. This isn't uncommon, as the majority of children will require some sort of teeth correction, whether that’s braces or retainers. Retainers are custom-made devices that either work to hold teeth in place or correct tooth alignment. They're often worn all day, aside from meals, at the start of the treatment period and then eventually are rolled back so they're just worn at night. Braces on the other hand are worn for at least a year and work to help straighten or position teeth.

Overbite or Underbite

The other main oral issue that orthodontics helps correct is uneven alignment, such as an underbite or an overbite. You might hear Dr. Matthew Croco refer to this as a "malocclusion," which means "bad bite." Braces can help rearrange your alignment so an overbite or underbite is less of a problem. Typically after the braces come off for this sort of treatment, patients need to wear a retainer from Croco Orthodontics to finish the treatment.

While braces are typically associated with dental issues in children, more adults are wearing the devices as well. According to USA Today, about one in every five braces wearers are adults; a sign that it's never too late to correct any oral issues. Part of this is due to the technological advancements in orthodontics. For instance, new braces feel much better and come in a variety of styles — including clear — so they're far less obvious. Plus, the wires on braces are now made from advanced metals, which are stronger and lighter, so they get the job done much more efficiently. With so many people wearing braces these days (according to the Pennsylvania Dental Association, about four million people in the US wear braces at any given time and many more have worn them at some time in their lives), nicknames like "metal mouth" and "brace face" are almost a thing of the past. What's more, is that insurance plans are increasingly covering orthodontic treatment, making braces a much more feasible option for families on a budget.

When weighing whether or not braces are in your future, it's important to study all of your options about the styles of braces and what treatment option is best for you. Also be sure to contact your insurance provider to see what is covered and what will have to be paid out of pocket. It might take a few years of treatment, but braces can give you that winning smile for the rest of your life. Call our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office with any questions you might have!

Ask Dr. Matthew Croco: "Why should I visit the dentist during my treatment?"

May 3rd, 2013

So, you just got your braces on, and you're wondering why you should continue visiting your general dentist since you’re seeing Dr. Matthew Croco every other month. Patients always ask us if they should continue to see their dentist while in orthodontic treatment. In short, the answer is yes.

Today, we thought we would share a few reasons why it’s crucial to keep up with your regular visits with your dentist in addition to coming in for your regular adjustments at Croco Orthodontics.

One of the best reasons to visit your dentist while you undergo orthodontic treatment is to remove plaque and tartar. Having braces provides additional nooks and crannies in which food particles and bacteria can hide. Eventually, plaque and tartar can form around your brackets, bands or other appliances which can lead to cavities.  Having your teeth professionally cleaned can help ensure most—if not all—plaque and tartar is removed. Even if you are undergoing Invisalign treatment, dental checkups and cleanings are equally as important.

The next reason to visit a dentist is to help protect your teeth from decalcification, or the loss of calcium in your teeth. A potentially serious condition in which white spots on your tooth surfaces, decalcification is irreversible and if left untreated, can lead to cavities. Decalcification is preventable—patients who cut down on sugary sweets and acidic foods, practice good oral hygiene, and visit their regular dentist regularly can help prevent decalcification.

The final reason we recommend visiting your dentist while you have braces is this: cavities can prolong your treatment. If you are interested in completing your orthodontic treatment on time and without any delays, visiting your dentist every six months or as recommended can go a long way toward making that a realistic goal. Your dentist can provide fluoride treatments or other treatments that strengthen your teeth and protect them from cavities.

Making sure to visit your dentist will help ensure your teeth look their best once your braces come off. If you do not have a general dentist and would like a recommendation on finding one in the Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA area, please give us a call or let us know at your next adjustment appointment!

Ask Dr. Matthew Croco: Why is flossing so important when I have braces?

April 23rd, 2013

You've made an investment on spending money on getting braces, so why not keep your teeth in good health while undergoing orthodontic treatment?  Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics will tell you it is just as important to develop a regular routine while you're wearing as you did before proceeding with treatment, in which you brush and floss on a regular basis.

Flossing is essential to the health of your teeth and gums when you're wearing braces. Because braces may hold food, sugars and liquids upon eating, it is very important to keep on top of your brushing and flossing, as well as visiting our office for regular adjustments.

While we know it's tough enough to get kids to floss daily without braces, that battle becomes even tougher when braces are involved.  Remember that by not flossing, you will become more prone to cavities—and gum disease—during your treatment.   Healthy gums play an important role in the health of your teeth and when Dr. Matthew Croco is hard at work moving teeth, it is vital that you have healthy gums.

When flossing, remember to gently massage your gums in between the teeth.  You will find that flossing with braces takes extra time, as you will have to weave the floss through each bracket.  When flossing, there should be no signs of blood. If you see blood, you are not flossing enough or properly.

Using an electric toothbrush is also a good idea to massage your gums before or after flossing as electric toothbrushes can help remove any harmful bacteria that are lingering in your mouth. And don't forget to add a mouthwash to your routine to break up any bacteria that has formed.  A good mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape during your treatment.

If you have any questions about flossing or your orthodontic treatment at Croco Orthodontics please don't hesitate to give us a call or during your next adjustment appointment!

 

Make Every Day Earth Day

April 17th, 2013

During the early days of the environmental awareness movement, those who demonstrated against pollution, toxic chemicals, and the general public health were known as hippies. The early 1970s were a time of change, and assertions that we needed to pay more attention to the Earth's atmosphere were generally dismissed. But within a couple decades, it had become clear that the previous generation was right...the citizens of the world needed to become more environmentally conscious.

Many people feel that they can't make a difference if they don't do something big. But caring for the environment doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing concept. In fact, the little things you do can add up to make a great impact, especially in our wonderful Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA community. Here are a few ways you can help the environment on Earth Day, April 22nd and all year around.

Four Small Ways to be Environmentally Friendly

  • Recycle Your Textiles. Nearly 21 million tons of textiles are added to American landfills each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Donating your unwanted clothing to a secondhand store or an organization that repurposes fabric helps cut down on solid waste and conserves natural resources.
  • Reduce Usage of Disposables. Plastic bottles and bags, disposable diapers and other things we can use and toss out are convenient, but they're not necessary. Simply choosing to replace one of type of disposable with a reusable product can help you cut down on waste that has a large negative impact on our environment.
  • Conserve Water. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while brushing their teeth, more than 1.5 million gallons of water could be conserved. Turn the water on long enough to wet your toothbrush for brushing and rinsing, and then immediately turn the water off again.
  • Turn Off the Lights. Flip the light switch to "Off" if you're going to leave a particular room for 15 minutes or more. This will conserve energy on incandescent light bulbs and cut down on cooling costs.

It's not necessary to be an activist or install solar panels all over your home to help the environment. Although you can do these things, the little every day measures make a big difference in helping to conserve energy and the environment, while reducing your carbon footprint. The office of Dr. Matthew Croco wants to remind you to celebrate Earth Day by incorporating another small way to help the environment, knowing that it will benefit you and your children's generation.

Foods that Are Safe for Braces!

April 12th, 2013

Orthodontic braces are used to straighten the teeth, which not only creates a more pleasing appearance, but also helps prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems. Braces are only effective when they are properly cared for, however. Certain foods, for example, are better suited for individuals who have braces, as opposed to hard and sticky foods that can cause damage. So, what types of foods should you or your kids eat to protect dental appliances?

The best foods to eat with braces are those that are not high in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. For breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, bacon, wheat toast, or oatmeal. Lunch may steer toward a banana rather than an apple, a salad without nuts, and a glass of water. If you are looking for some after-school snacks for your kids, consider baked tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, or try string cheese with fruit.

A healthy dinner can include most types of vegetables, so long as they are cooked to an appropriate softness. Pair that with a lean protein, such as fish or chicken, and follow up with dessert. Just be sure to brush afterward!

Post-Tightening Foods

As braces begin to adjust the alignment of the teeth, our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office will periodically tighten them to continue the alignment process. After tightening occurs, the teeth may be sore and sensitive to certain foods. During this time, it is best to eat soft foods. Examples include:

  • pudding
  • mashed potatoes
  • soup
  • ice cream
  • cottage cheese
  • peas
  • pancakes
  • pasta

Foods to Avoid

According to the American Dental Association, anyone who wears braces – whether fixed or removable – should avoid excessive snacking and should aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It is also important to avoid foods that could cause damage to the braces, such as:

  • hard candies
  • gum
  • nuts
  • popcorn
  • certain raw vegetables (for example, carrots)

Considerations

Regardless of what types of foods you eat with braces, it is important to keep the crevices between the teeth and around the braces very clean. That means brushing and flossing after meals to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay. Not only can failing to do so damage the teeth, but it can also cause discoloration.

Have more questions about orthodontic treatment? The Croco Orthodontics staff is always ready to answer all of your questions and help you get the most out of the treatment plan prescribed for you by Dr. Matthew Croco!

Dr. Matthew Croco, reminding you to play it safe this spring

April 1st, 2013

It's springtime and it's again time to remind our patients at Croco Orthodontics to protect their faces and pearly whites while out on the field playing sports. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually.

If you are planning on participating in spring sports, it’s imperative to have a proper-fitting mouthguard. Mouthguards can prevent chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, jaw fractures, mouth lacerations and even concussions.

Having a mouthguard can make the difference between losing your teeth or not, and because many of our patients who play high school sports have jaws that are still growing, last year’s mouthguard may no longer fit as it should. Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics can fit you for a new guard.

To learn more about mouth guards or for general questions about your treatment at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office, please give us a call!

How Long After My Braces Come Off Should I Wear My Retainer?

March 25th, 2013

Braces are an investment in your smile. When your teeth reach a desired straightness, you’ll have a beautiful smile, but it’s important to keep it that way! You can accomplish this with a retainer provided by Croco Orthodontics.

A retainer is a small, custom-fit device that reinforces the new position of your teeth after your braces are removed. But for many patients, especially the youngest ones, wearing a retainer may seem like an annoyance. So exactly how long after your braces come off should you wear your retainer?

Graduation of Wear Time

When we remove your braces, Dr. Matthew Croco will evaluate the condition of the bone structure surrounding your teeth and determine how well it is adjusting to the new position of your teeth. For the first few months, we may require you to wear your retainer both day and night, except during meal times and for brushing and flossing.

As the bone and gum tissues adjust to your new smile, we may determine that you need to wear your retainer only at night. After about one year of wearing the retainer every night, you may be able to take a couple of nights off each week.

However, we do not recommend ever stopping permanently. To best secure the position of the teeth, especially through future extractions and oral health changes, wearing your retainer a few nights a week will be necessary for many years.

Considerations

If you are concerned about your appearance when you wear a retainer, there are many that can be worn discreetly. You could choose a clear plastic one that is less obvious during the months immediately following removal of your braces. When you change to night wear only, clear wire retainers are available for minimal visibility as well.

Another option is a lingual retainer. It is placed on the back sides of your teeth so no one will ever know it is there! Lingual retainers are also permanent, so there’s no risk of losing them.

Remember, wearing your retainer is an investment in your smile. If you fail to wear it consistently, the tissues that support your teeth will be unsupported, and you may begin to experience noticeable shifting. You’ve worked hard to get that beautiful smile — your retainer will let you keep it! Remember to call our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office if you have any questions about your retainer!

Five tips in caring for your braces during orthodontic treatment

March 18th, 2013

After getting your braces on, it is important to know how to take care of yourself in order to ensure that your braces stay intact and do their job so that your teeth are in top-notch condition after you complete your orthodontic treatment. Today, our team at Croco Orthodontics thought we would provide you with five tips you need to know to ensure you undergo successful treatment at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office.

Flossing
Flossing twice a day or after every meal can help you clean areas between teeth and other places a toothbrush can miss. We also recommend using a floss threader, which can be used to help you navigate safely around your braces and brackets. It is vital to floss twice a day, preferably after lunch and before bedtime to keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay.

Brushing
Teeth and appliances should be brushed after every meal and before bedtime using fluoride toothpaste and gentle, soft strokes. We recommend using an interdental toothbrush, which can help you clean the hard-to-reach areas under wires better than an ordinary toothbrush.

Using Elastics
This phase of orthodontic treatment requires cooperation and consistency on your part. If Dr. Matthew Croco has prescribed elastics, make sure they are worn at all times, except when eating meals or brushing teeth. It’s important that you wear the correct size elastics and have extras in case our office is closed. By failing to wear your elastics for even one day, you run the risk your teeth moving back toward their original position.

Addressing Damage to Your Braces
In case your appliances are damaged, we ask that you call our team at Croco Orthodontics immediately to set up an appointment.

Eat Friendly Foods
When undergoing treatment, there are certain foods you must avoid. Foods that are hard, sticky, chewy or sour can add months to your treatment time. These includes gum, caramels, taco shells, nuts, ice, chips or hard candies. By cutting your pieces thin or cooking them when possible, you may still consume these foods without harming your braces.

We hope that helps! If you have any questions, please give us a call at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office or ask us during your next adjustment appointment!

St. Patrick's Day: Celtic Pride, Green Shamrocks and Lucky Charms

March 14th, 2013

“St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time -- a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic.” Adrienne Cook

Lucky green shamrocks, leprechauns, and pots of gold: It must be St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re not Irish, how do you go about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? It’s easy: You just put on one of those tall leprechauns hats, dress in green from head to toe, and wear one of those carefree pins that say “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”. On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish, and that is the universal beauty of the holiday. Celtic pride does not discriminate.

Wondering what Croco Orthodontics is doing to celebrate March 17th? Well, we’ve thought about doing everything from handing out lucky gold coins (you know, the fake ones that are made of chocolate) to shamrock stickers. Maybe we’ll even give away green toothbrushes and floss! You’ll never know unless you come in to see Dr. Matthew Croco !

All kidding aside, St. Patrick’s Day is an important cultural and religious holiday. There are lavish parades and church services across Ireland on March 17th. Over time, however, the holiday has developed into a day to observe Irish culture in general. In places like England and the United States, where there is a large Irish Diaspora, the holiday has greater significance than other countries. From the streets of Boston to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, it is a day of celebration, and many Americans of Irish descent will cook up a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage.

So, to all of you with Irish ancestry, and to all of you who have decided to be Irish for the day, our office wishes you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Good luck looking for a pot of leprechaun gold, which is said to exist at the end of the rainbow. However, keep away from those sugary Lucky Charms; sweet cereals might taste good, but your kids’ teeth might not be feeling too lucky if they eat it for breakfast every day. Have a great St. Paddy’s day and remember to call your favorite orthodontic soon to keep your oral health in check!

Feeling Confident at your Orthodontic Consultation

March 8th, 2013

How You Can Start Preparing Now

When you first start thinking about going to the orthodontist, it is normal to feel apprehensive. What will your orthodontic experience bring? Whether you have been advised by a dentist or chosen to seek out orthodontic care from Dr. Matthew Croco on your own, there are a few things you can do to prepare for your initial consultation at Croco Orthodontics.

One of the best ways to prepare for an orthodontic consultation is to understand your options. With so many choices available today, orthodontic care is a lot more versatile than in the past. You can start preparing now by seeking out and understanding those options. With a few specific things in mind, you can be totally confident and prepared for your consultation.

Questions To Ask During the Consultation

As you consider orthodontic care, it is likely that a few questions may naturally arise. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have. Our orthodontic team is here to help. Here are just a few examples of questions you may want to ask at your consultation.

  • Is there an estimated length of time that I will likely require braces?
  • How much should I expect to pay for my treatment? What are the payment options?
  • Does getting braces hurt? Is there anything I can do to prevent or minimize pain?
  • Is it likely that I will be wearing extra appliances in addition to braces to correct my overbite or other problems?
  • Are there specific foods I will need to avoid when I get braces?
  • Will braces prevent me from playing my favorite sport or musical instrument?
  • How can I keep my teeth clean with braces?
  • How often will I be expected to come in for checkups and other appointments?

Once your consultation is over, you don’t have to feel like your options are exhausted. If questions arise after the consultation, don’t be afraid to ask. Our orthodontic team will be here to help throughout the entire process.

Confidence throughout the Process

With answers to your questions, and an orthodontic team on your side, you can be confident about any necessary orthodontic treatments. From the initial consultation to the day your braces come off, your orthodontic treatment at Croco Orthodontics can be a smooth and simple process. The moment you see that beautiful smile, you’ll know it was all worth it.

We love bringing nothing but the most amazing smiles to our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA patients!

Permanent or Removable Retainers: Which is Right for You?

March 1st, 2013

When the time comes for Dr. Matthew Croco to remove your braces, it is very exciting. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat confusing, too, because you are faced with choosing between two kinds of retainers. Should you go with permanent, removable, or a combination of the two? It is always wise to follow Croco Orthodontics recommendations, but knowing more about the two types of retainer beforehand can be helpful.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers offer the advantage of easy use: you will generally put a removable retainer in at night and take it out in the morning. Regardless of your retainer schedule, you'll be able to enjoy some time with no retainer. However, a removable retainer can easily be forgotten at times, and this means you won't be taking full advantage of teeth retention.

Another potential advantage of a removable retainer is that you can take it out and brush and floss your teeth with ease, which is more of a challenge with a permanent retainer. Although removable retainers can be very effective, they don't tend to be as effective as permanent retainers, especially if they are not used as directed.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are the clear choice for patients who want to “get it and forget it.” Once your permanent retainer is placed in your mouth, you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since it is permanently affixed to your teeth.

Because teeth begin to shift naturally as we age, a permanent retainer typically offers better long-term results for teeth straightening than a removable one. You can't forget to put it in — it's already there! Temporary retainers get lost or are forgotten on trips, and often fail to get used as often as they should be.

One drawback to permanent retainers is flossing. Some patients find it more difficult to floss with a permanent retainer, but we can show you effective ways to floss fairly quickly with your permanent retainer.

Some orthodontists may recommend a combination of the two; for example, a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lower ones because the lower teeth are smaller and tend to shift more.

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing your retainer as directed is extremely important. As long as you follow our orthodontist’s advice, you will get the best results from your retainer, regardless of its type. If you’re still not sure whether the choice you’ve made is truly right for you, get in touch with us at our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA location right away!

Orthodontic Emergency Care

February 22nd, 2013

Although major orthodontic emergencies are relatively rare, when they do happen it is important to seek immediate attention. By comparison, a minor orthodontic issue is something you can usually take care of yourself, or wait until your next scheduled appointment for care. Here are some guidelines to help you understand the difference between an orthodontic emergency and a minor issue.

ORTHODONTIC EMERGENCIES

Acute, Direct Injury to the Mouth, Jaw, or TeethWhether undergoing orthodontic care or not, if you injure your mouth, jaw, or teeth, you should see a doctor or dentist immediately. You may need an X-ray to determine the extent of your injury. If the injury affects the orthodontic appliances, they will need adjustment or possibly replacement, depending upon the extent of the injury.

Infected Teeth

It is possible for teeth to become infected following orthodontic treatment. This may or may not be related to your orthodontic appliances. If you experience pain or swelling around a tooth that gets progressively worse, seek professional care as soon as possible.

MINOR ORTHODONTIC ISSUES

While true orthodontic emergencies are rare, minor issues are much more common. Here are some examples of minor orthodontic issues that can be remedied on your own and/or fixed at your next office visit:

  • Poking wire
  • Loose bracket
  • Loose elastic band
  • Loose wire
  • Loose appliance
  • Headgear does not fit
  • Lost or broken elastic band
  • General soreness

Any of the above issues can happen as a result of normal usage, shifting, and wear of your braces. Eating unusually hard or sticky foods can cause or exacerbate these problems. Vigorous brushing of the teeth can also be a factor. None of these issues are emergencies unless they are accompanied by acute or prolonged pain or discomfort.

As for on-the-spot remedies, covering a loose bracket or wire with wax can be a quick fix to alleviate discomfort until your next orthodontist visit. Poking or protruding wires can be moved with a cotton swab or tweezers, or clipped down with nail clippers. Be sure to sterilize the tweezers or clippers in alcohol first. Cover any clipped wire ends with a small ball of wax.

Some soreness or small abrasions in the mouth are normal, especially with recent orthodontic work. Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution comprised of eight ounces or warm water and one teaspoon of salt.

When in doubt, be sure to contact our Coralville or Mt. Pleasant, IA office with any questions, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew Croco at Croco Orthodontics.

Valentine’s Day and your teeth

February 13th, 2013

With Valentine’s Day almost here, and all that candy making its rounds this week, it’s once again time to remind all our patients to be extra careful when choosing those candies and treats!

All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but these treats are known to damage teeth, as well as braces! Did you know sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them? This can cause tooth decay and cavities! Sour and fruity candy, such as Starburst and Skittles, are the worst for your teeth since these candies have a low pH value, which is known to ruin enamel.

Our friends at The American Association of Orthodontists recommends softer treats, such as soft chocolate or peanut butter cups, or melt-in-your-mouth foods. Those who indulge should make sure they brush and floss between teeth, around brackets and at the gum line. If damage occurs, please give us a call as soon as possible.!

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us!

February is also American Heart Month!

February 5th, 2013

You may remember our post from last week, when we discussed February being “National Children’s Dental Health Month.” But did you know February also marks American Heart Month?

It’s a great time to take notice of the health of your heart, as cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the world, according to the American Heart Association. Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care, especially while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Visiting your dentist on a regular basis during your orthodontic treatment not only ensures a successful outcome, but can also help prevent gum disease or at least catch it in its early stages. In observance of Heart Month, it’s also important to know your numbers: blood pressure (less than 120/80), cholesterol (less than 200) and BMI (less than 25).

If you have any questions about heart health, about the importance of visiting your dentist or about your treatment at our office, please give us a call today!

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 1st, 2013

Each February for the past 62 years, the American Dental Association (ADA) has sponsored National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

For kids wearing braces, brushing and flossing can become more difficult, requiring extra time and vigilance to remove food particles that accumulate on and between the teeth and in braces. New options for braces such as Invisalign Teen, which is removable, make it easier for kids to maintain good oral health during orthodontic treatment.

If the health of your teeth is ignored during treatment with braces, the results can be significantly compromised. We are available and happy to explain why effective brushing and flossing is one of the most critical actions needed from patients during orthodontic treatment. Have you visited us lately? Give us a call and schedule an appointment!

The myths and facts about braces

January 24th, 2013


Some folks believe your chances of being struck by lightning increases when you have braces, while other folks believe having braces interferes with romance, and even metal detectors as you try to make your way through the airport for a much-needed vacation. Trust us when we say we know there are quite a few myths about braces out there these days. But before you buy into those myths, we think you should get the facts first! To set the record straight, here is some great information on the myths and facts of orthodontics. We encourage you to check them out today!

If you have any questions about braces or your orthodontic treatment, please feel free to give us a call or ask us on Facebook! Smile bright!

Patient question: What can I eat with braces?

January 17th, 2013


We love when patients ask us this question! Now that you’re wearing braces, it’s just as important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen as you did before your orthodontic treatment began. The first few days in braces are going to be more difficult to eat than normal. There will be a slight discomfort when you first get your braces on, so the act of chewing will make it slightly more painful.

Here are a few soft foods that do not require you to do much chewing and are easy to chew on when your teeth are sore.

Ice cream, yogurt, pudding, cool soups, Jell-O, scrambled eggs, cream of wheat, baked potatoes, soft cooked pasta, soup, bananas, cottage cheese, smoothies, macaroni and cheese, pancakes, soft cheeses, and milk are all foods you can eat safely without having to worry about pain or breaking your brackets.

Be sure to always check with us if you have questions about a particular food item by either giving us a call or asking us on Facebook!

Six oral hygiene tips for our patients

January 10th, 2013

If you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, brushing and flossing after every meal and snack is the only way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease. Your teeth will need extra care, especially during treatment at our office. Our goal is for you to have a beautiful healthy smile, and in order for us to achieve this good hygiene on your end is very important. Food and particles are known to get trapped by brackets, wires, bands and appliances, and this can make it difficult to keep your teeth clean. Using a Waterpik is another great way to clean teeth and gums. Here are a few tips to help with keeping your teeth clean and healthy during your orthodontic treatment:

1. Brush after every meal or snack
2. Floss daily to remove trapped food and particles
3. Rinse after eating with mouthwash to kill any bacteria
4. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled tooth brush
5. Clean teeth with a proxabrush
6. Maintain regular check-ups with your general dentist throughout your treatment

Do germs really live on my toothbrush?

January 3rd, 2013

The dreaded cold and flu season is here again! After recovering from your cold, one of the most important steps you can take to avoid becoming reinfected is replacing your toothbrush!

Germs can linger on the bristles, and you risk prolonging your sickness by continuing to use the same toothbrush. Be smart - keep a spare, just in case! To protect your toothbrush from bacteria all year long, consider the following tips:

• Wash your hands before and after brushing
• Allow the brush to air dry after each use, harmful bacteria dies after being exposed to oxygen
• Store the toothbrush in an upright position to allow water to drain and dry faster
• Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Worn bristles are less effective in properly cleaning your teeth, and can actually be damaging to teeth if used too long!

Hope this tip helps! Feel free to give us a call or ask us on Facebook if you have any questions!

Happy New Year!

December 28th, 2012


The year is almost over, and as we reflect on the year that was, we’d like to ask all our patients: what was memorable about 2012 for you, and what are you looking forward to in 2013? Do you have a New Year’s resolution, or any exciting plans for the coming year?

We know that we are looking forward to serving our amazing patients with even more great care in 2013!

Have a safe and happy New Year from our family to yours!

Season's Greetings!

December 18th, 2012


In this season given to tidings of comfort and joy, and as we reflect on the year that was, we’d like to ask you, our wonderful patients: What do you love about the holidays this year? Being with your loved ones? Hitting the slopes? A clean slate for 2013? Opening presents by the fireplace? All the delicious food?

Also, what gift are you most looking forward to getting this year? We’d love if you shared with us all the things you love about the holidays. Stay warm, and don’t forget to limit the amount of sweets you eat!

Happy holidays from our family to yours!

Need a New Year’s Resolution? How about a healthier, more beautiful smile?

December 10th, 2012


2013 is almost here, and it’s a great time of year to get started on achieving a straight, dazzling and confident smile that will last you a lifetime. We are proud to offer some of today’s most innovative orthodontic technologies that can straighten your smile in less time than you ever imagined. Not only do today’s braces and other orthodontic treatments straighten your teeth quicker, they also offer greater comfort for you, and require fewer visits to our office.

So if obtaining a healthy, beautiful smile is one of your New Year’s resolutions, we invite you to give us a call to schedule an initial orthodontic consultation. Happy holidays!

Where’s your bite? The differences between crossbites, overbites, and underbites

December 5th, 2012

Did you know there is a direct correlation between your bite and your overall health? When your teeth and jaws are not properly-aligned, it may affect your breathing, speech, and, in extreme cases, even affect the appearance of your face. As a result of malocclusion, also commonly referred to as “bad bite,” your teeth may become crooked, worn or protruded over time. Most people experience some degree of malocclusion, but it is generally not severe enough to require corrective measures. If your malocclusion is serious enough, however, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to correct the issue.

Malocclusion may also be referred to as an underbite, crossbite or overbite. So, what, exactly, is the difference between the three?

• Crossbites, which can involve a single tooth or a group of teeth, occur when your upper and lower jaws are both misaligned, and usually causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth. Crossbites can happen on both the front and/or the sides of the mouth, and are known to cause wear of the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.
• Overbites, also known as “overjet,” occur when your upper teeth overlap considerably with the lower teeth. Overbites can lead to gum issues or irritation and even wear on the lower teeth, and are known to cause painful jaw and joint problems. Overbites can usually be traced to genetics, bad oral habits, or overdevelopment of the bone that supports the teeth.
• Underbites, which occur when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth, are caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. Underbites can also be caused by missing upper teeth, which can prevent the normal function of front teeth (molars). This in turn leads to tooth wear and pain in your joints and jaw.

Fortunately, we are able to treat bite problems. If you suspect you or your child has a bite misalignment, we encourage you to be examined at our office as early as possible. By starting early, you can make sure you or your child avoid years of pain and self-consciousness.

The Evolution of Braces

November 30th, 2012


Did you know that even in ancient times, people wanted to improve the look and function of their smiles? We think of modern orthodontic appliances as sleek, efficient technology, but this was not always so! Take a look at the highlights in the evolution of braces.

Ancient Times: From Greece to Rome

• According to The Angle Orthodontist, Aristotle and Hippocrates first thought about methods for straightening teeth between 400 and 300 BC.
• The Etruscans, in what we now know as Italy, buried their dead with appliances that maintained spaces and prevented collapse of their teeth and jaws during life. Archaeologists have discovered mummified remains in various locations that have metal bands wrapped around the teeth.
• A Roman tomb has also been discovered in which the teeth were bound with gold wire, including documentation on the wire’s use as a dental device.

18th Century: A French Development

• The French dentist Pierre Fauchard is acknowledged as the father of modern dentistry. In 1728 he published a book that described various methods for straightening teeth. Fauchard also used a device known as a “blandeau” to widen the upper palate.
• Louis Bourdet was another French dentist who published a book in 1754 that discussed tooth alignment. Bourdet further refined the blandeau and was the first dentist to extract bicuspids, or the premolar teeth between canines and molars, for the purpose of reducing tooth crowding.

19th Century: Orthodontics Defined
• Orthodontics started to become a separate dental specialty during the early 19th century. The first wire crib was used in 1819, marking the beginning of modern orthodontics.
• During this period, gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber, vulcanite, and occasionally wood, ivory, zinc, and copper were used — as was brass in the form of loops, hooks, spurs, and ligatures.
• Edward Maynard first used gum elastics in 1843 and E. J. Tucker began making rubber bands for braces in 1850.
• Norman W. Kingsley published the first paper on modern orthodontics in 1858 and J. N. Farrar was the first dentist to recommend the use of force over timed intervals to straighten teeth.

20th Century: New Materials Abound
• Edward Angle developed the first classification systems for malocclusions (misaligned teeth) during the early 20th century in the United States, and it is still in use today. Angle founded the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901, which was renamed the American Association of Orthodontists in the 1930s.
• By the 1960s, gold was universally abandoned in favor of stainless steel.
• Lingual braces were the “invisible” braces of choice until the early 1980s, when tooth-colored aesthetic brackets made from single-crystal sapphire and ceramics became popular.

Today
As we arrive in the present, you need only look at your own braces to see how far we’ve come. Your treatment plan was probably created with a 3D digital model, and we’ve likely used a computerized process to customize your archwires. Perhaps you have clear aligners, self-ligating brackets, or highly resilient ceramic brackets with heat-activated wires.

Orthodontics has come a long way from the days of Aristotle, and even the bulky wrap-around braces of just 60 years ago. Regardless of your specific treatment plan, the development of high-tech materials and methods has made it possible for your orthodontic experience to be as effective, efficient, and comfortable as possible.

Sources: Angle.org, ArchWired

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 19th, 2012

With Thanksgiving almost upon us, it’s a great time to ask ourselves what we’re thankful for. With our friends and family around us, we celebrate the blessings given to us in the past year. Our staff thought we’d ask: What are you thankful for this holiday season? Do you have any Thanksgiving wishes or recipes you would like to share?

Our entire team would like to wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. It’s a big food holiday, so be careful what you eat with those braces! If you have any stories or photos to share with us, we’d encourage you to send them along or post them below or on our Facebook page!

How to Protect Your Braces During Sports Activities

November 14th, 2012

Proper mouth protection is recommended when you participate in any sports activities. If you wear braces, this protection becomes essential. Injuries to your mouth can not only damage your teeth, but your braces could break and cut open your lip.

Full Facial Guards

Full facial guards are often used in football or hockey, and offer protection to your mouth from most injuries. Even with full facial protection, you may benefit from additional mouth protection. While your face is protected from outside impact, you could still suffer from cuts or damage to your braces from internal impact.

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards referred to as boil-and-bites can be purchased at many retail stores. As the name implies, these guards are boiled in water to heat and soften the material. While the guard is still warm, you place it in your mouth and bite down gently. This causes the guard to form to the shape of your mouth. Unfortunately, these guards do not necessarily offer the best protection or fit.

Custom fitting of mouth guards ensures you of better protection and a comfortable fit. Custom guards are also built in layers for durability. The American Dental Association recommends custom guards for orthodontic patients. Your mouth guard will be designed to provide proper protection for both your teeth and your braces.

No matter what type of sport you participate in, a mouth guard can protect your braces. Even an activity as seemingly harmless as table tennis can result in a contact injury. The Academy for Sports Dentistry states that a properly fitted mouth guard should not interfere with any athletic activity.

Our office will provide you with information on how you can get properly fitting mouth protection, in order to ensure the safety of your braces and your teeth. We will be glad to answer any questions you have so you can continue the activities you enjoy with little concern. If you do suffer any injuries to your mouth or braces during sporting activities, please contact us immediately. The sooner we can care for your mouth, the better the results will be.

Avoiding Common Problems Associated With Braces

November 5th, 2012


While braces play an important part in helping to create a healthy mouth and teeth, you might experience a few side effects while wearing them that are common and can be easily treated.

Even with the best of care, braces can cause soreness to your mouth. As your teeth begin to move, it is natural for your teeth to feel aches and your jaw to develop soreness.

If there are broken wires or loose bands on your braces, a sore tongue, mouth, or canker sore will occur. Canker sores are a common occurrence when braces rub inside the mouth. There are ointments available to reduce the pain and irritation associated with mouth sores. If you experience a sore mouth or any of the following problems, call our office to schedule an appointment.

· Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket temporarily. You might also apply a little between the braces and the soft tissue of your mouth.

· Loose bands: These must be secured in place by our dentist. Try to save the band for repair.

· Protruding or broken wires: The eraser end of a pencil can be used to move the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If you are unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax to the tip. If a mouth sore develops, rinse with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.

· Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned and sometimes replaced.

When Should I Start Wearing My Retainer?

November 2nd, 2012


Braces are an investment in your smile. When your teeth reach a desired straightness, you’ll have a beautiful smile, but it’s important to keep it that way! You can accomplish this with a retainer.

A retainer is a small, custom-fit device that reinforces the new position of your teeth after your braces are removed. But for many patients, especially the youngest ones, wearing a retainer may seem like an annoyance. So exactly how long after your braces come off should you wear your retainer?

Graduation of Wear Time

When we remove your braces, we will evaluate the condition of the bone structure surrounding your teeth and determine how well it is adjusting to the new position of your teeth. For the first few months, we may require you to wear your retainer both day and night, except during meal times and for brushing and flossing.

As the bone and gum tissues adjust to your new smile, we may determine that you need to wear your retainer only at night. After about one year of wearing the retainer every night, you may be able to take a couple of nights off each week.
However, we do not recommend ever stopping permanently. To best secure the position of the teeth, especially through future extractions and oral health changes, wearing your retainer a few nights a week will be necessary for many years.

Considerations

If you are concerned about your appearance when you wear a retainer, there are many that can be worn discreetly. You could choose a clear plastic one that is less obvious during the months immediately following removal of your braces. When you change to night wear only, clear wire retainers are available for minimal visibility as well.
Another option is a lingual retainer. It is placed on the back sides of your teeth so no one will ever know it is there! Lingual retainers are also permanent, so there’s no risk of losing them.

Remember, wearing your retainer is an investment in your smile. If you fail to wear it consistently, the tissues that support your teeth will be unsupported, and you may begin to experience noticeable shifting. You’ve worked hard to get that beautiful smile — your retainer will let you keep it!

Besides Straight Teeth, What are the Benefits of Braces?

October 25th, 2012

Everyone wants a naturally aligned and beautiful smile, and it is no secret that orthodontic braces can help deliver one. However, there are greater benefits to wearing braces than just having straight teeth. You’ll gain many oral health benefits in addition to the cosmetic ones.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Crooked or crowded teeth may overlap each other and create tight spaces in between. These can make it very difficult to brush and floss effectively, allowing bacteria and plaque to build up, and eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. With orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become properly aligned and spaced, which allows for more effective brushing.

Difficulties with Speech

Your teeth play an essential role in speech. When they are out of line or lean too far forward or backward, this can affect your speaking patterns, and possibly cause embarrassment and frustration. Braces can readjust the positioning of the teeth to allow for clearer, more professional speech.

Bone Erosion

Bone and gum tissues begin to erode when there are no teeth to support. This is also true for poorly aligned teeth that leave gaps and spaces or place too much pressure on the jawbone due to a bad bite. With braces, the bones and tissues are less likely to erode and can continue to support the teeth in their new alignment.

Digestion

Your teeth play an important role in digestion. Before food ever enters your stomach, it has been partially digested by the teeth. If teeth are severely out of line, however, they may not play their role in breaking down food as effectively as they should. With braces, your teeth will be straightened into optimal alignment for eating and chewing.

Rubber Band Horoscopes: What Your Color Says About You

October 18th, 2012


One exciting part about wearing braces is getting to choose the colors of your rubber bands. Orthodontists place elastic bands, or ligatures, over each bracket to secure the archwire in place. These rubber bands may be individual or connected, depending on your mouth’s needs. You have the option of choosing the color of your elastics, which are changed about once every month at every visit. Our offices keep a color wheel handy to help you choose which ones suit you best!

Children and teens often enjoy picking different colors each month to express their creativity and coordinate their braces with outfits. Decorating your mouth with your favorite colors is fun for kids and takes some of the stress out of wearing braces. Adults who wish for subtlety have color options that blend in with the metal brackets and archwire. Common choices for adults include silver, clear, and gray tones.

Common Color Combinations for Rubber Bands

With individual ligatures for each bracket, you may choose different color combinations for special events. You can have alternating colors or place an entire rainbow over your teeth. Here are a few options to consider:

• School spirit colors
• Favorite sports team colors
• Patriotic colors
• Holiday themes

Some patients choose only one color to match their mood, personality, or favorite outfits. The palette of choices allows you to make bold statements with your braces or go for subtler tones that blend in with the metal structures. Keep in mind that bright colors make your teeth look whiter, while lighter shades, such as yellow and white, may cause your teeth to appear less bright.

What Your Rubber Band Color Says About You

• Red tones indicate that you are ready for action and take charge of your life with aggressive, forward-thinking steps.
• Blue tones are calm and relaxing. You are conservative and exhibit integrity when dealing with situations.
• Green tones represent growth and balance. You are level-headed and look for opportunities to grow emotionally and spiritually.
• Purple tones attract creative energies. You like to have fun and use your imagination in every aspect of your life.
• Orange tones indicate that you are optimistic and thrive in social situations where communication is open.
• Pink is a romantic color that represents a caring personality. You also enjoy having fun with silly games and endless laughter.

Permanent or Removable Retainers: Which is Right for You?

October 12th, 2012


When the time to remove your braces finally arrives, it is very exciting. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat confusing, too, because you are faced with choosing between two kinds of retainers. Should you go with permanent, removable, or a combination of the two? It is always wise to follow your dentist’s recommendations, but knowing more about the two types of retainer beforehand can be helpful.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers offer the advantage of easy use: you will generally put a removable retainer in at night and take it out in the morning. Regardless of your retainer schedule, you'll be able to enjoy some time with no retainer. However, a removable retainer can easily be forgotten at times, and this means you won't be taking full advantage of teeth retention.

Another potential advantage of a removable retainer is that you can take it out and brush and floss your teeth with ease, which is more of a challenge with a permanent retainer. Although removable retainers can be very effective, they don't tend to be as effective as permanent retainers, especially if they are not used as directed.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are the clear choice for patients who want to “get it and forget it.” Once your permanent retainer is placed in your mouth, you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since it is permanently affixed to your teeth.

Because teeth begin to shift naturally as we age, a permanent retainer typically offers better long-term results for teeth straightening than a removable one. You can't forget to put it in — it's already there! Temporary retainers get lost or are forgotten on trips, and often fail to get used as often as they should be.

One drawback to permanent retainers is flossing. Some patients find it more difficult to floss with a permanent retainer, but we can show you effective ways to floss fairly quickly with your permanent retainer.

Some orthodontists may recommend a combination of the two; for example, a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lower ones because the lower teeth are smaller and tend to shift more.

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing your retainer as directed is extremely important. As long as you follow our orthodontist’s advice, you will get the best results from your retainer, regardless of its type.

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

October 5th, 2012


Can you believe it's already October? For those who don't know, it’s National Orthodontic Health Month. This month-long event is organized by our pals at the American Association of Orthodontists, or AAO.

Our team realizes that this is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene. National Orthodontic Health Month also aims to recognize the dedicated work of orthodontists and other dental professionals.

The AAO recommends patients avoid the following Halloween treats, or recipes with these ingredients:
• Caramel
• Nuts
• Popcorn (including un-popped kernels)
• Taffy
• Jelly beans
• Hard pretzels
• Licorice
• Bubblegum
• Ice

Trick-or-treating safety guidelines:

• Young children should always be accompanied by an adult
• Carry a flashlight
• Wear a light-colored or reflective costume
• Choose face paint over masks for young ghosts and goblins
• Have an adult inspect all treats before the children dig in

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call or ask us on Facebook. Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Cold and flu season is upon us, are you prepared?

September 26th, 2012


It’s that time of year to start thinking about protecting yourself and your family from the flu. Here are some simple steps you can take to help yourself avoid colds and the flu this season.

• Wash your hands before and after brushing
• Allow the brush to air dry after each use, harmful bacteria dies after being exposed to oxygen
• Store the toothbrush in an upright position to allow water to drain and dry faster
• Replace toothbrush after every cold or flu or every 3-4 months when bristles appear worn

To promote a healthy and clean environment, our team gives a great deal of attention to sanitation and sterilization in our office at all times, as well as following all requirements for sterilizing instruments and work surfaces.

For the protection of other patients and our staff, we always ask that patients reschedule their appointments if they have any type of cold or illness that can infect others. We hope this helps and give us a call if you have any questions!

Stay healthy this beautiful autumn!

Treat yourself to a new smile, no matter what your age!

September 21st, 2012

Did you know one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult? We’re living longer and technology is improving, making orthodontic treatment an appealing and safe option for patients of all ages. As the trend toward treatment later in life grows, we’re seeing braces on parents as well as children – and even adult celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani and Nicholas Cage have shown off their braces. It’s never too late to look and feel your best!

Can Braces Work for Adults?

People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The physical process for moving teeth is the same, young or old, which means it’s never too late to address issues such as an overbite or underbite, crooked or crowded teeth, or jaw disorders.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, we’ll make a consultation appointment with you. During this meeting we will perform a general assessment of your oral health, discuss options for treatment, and answer any questions you may have. We will also discuss matters of cost and insurance. The next step is an orthodontic records appointment in which we take x-rays, photos, and an impression of your teeth. This information drives your unique treatment plan.

What Are the Benefits?

Straightening your teeth can improve your smile, your self-esteem, and your dental health. Technologically advanced new treatments make it easier to identify the option that best fits your lifestyle. Modern techniques and materials have made braces and aligners more effective, comfortable and unobtrusive than ever.

If you think you might benefit from orthodontic treatment, give our team a call, so we may set up a consultation to determine what type of treatment best meets your needs.

Foods That are Safe for Braces

September 14th, 2012


Orthodontic braces are used to straighten the teeth, which not only creates a more pleasing appearance, but also helps prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems. Braces are only effective when they are properly cared for, however. Certain foods, for example, are better suited for individuals who have braces, as opposed to hard and sticky foods that can cause damage. So what types of foods should you or your kids eat to protect dental appliances?

The best foods to eat with braces are those that are not high in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. For breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, bacon, wheat toast, or oatmeal. Lunch may steer toward a banana rather than an apple, a salad without nuts, and a glass of water. If you are looking for some after-school snacks for your kids, consider baked tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, or try string cheese with fruit.

A healthy dinner can include most types of vegetables, so long as they are cooked to an appropriate softness. Pair that with a lean protein, such as fish or chicken, and follow up with dessert. Just be sure to brush afterward!

Post-Tightening Foods

As braces begin to adjust the alignment of the teeth, our office will periodically tighten them to continue the alignment process. After tightening occurs, the teeth may be sore and sensitive to certain foods. During this time, it is best to eat soft foods. Examples include:

• pudding
• mashed potatoes
• soup
• ice cream
• cottage cheese
• peas
• pancakes
• pasta

Foods to Avoid

According to the American Dental Association, anyone who wears braces – whether fixed or removable – should avoid excessive snacking and should aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It is also important to avoid foods that could cause damage to the braces, such as:

• hard candies
• gum
• nuts
• popcorn
• certain raw vegetables (for example, carrots)

Considerations

Regardless of what types of foods you eat with braces, it is important to keep the crevices between the teeth and around the braces very clean. That means brushing and flossing after meals to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay. Not only can failing to do so damage the teeth, but it can also cause discoloration.

When Are Two Phases of Treatment Necessary?

September 7th, 2012

Usually patients in orthodontic treatment already have their permanent teeth – they are pre-teens, teens and adults. But in some cases we have to start treatment earlier, even before the patient’s permanent teeth come in. We call this “two-phase treatment.”

When we have patients with clear developmental problems at an early age, it’s best to start work when they are young, before the problems get bigger and more difficult to treat.

Examples include:
• An upper or lower jaw that is not growing correctly
• A mouth growing in a way that doesn’t leave enough room for all the permanent teeth to come in
• A severe malocclusion, or bad bite, which means the jaw doesn’t fit together correctly

In these cases we will start early and do one round of treatment – phase one – while the patient still has their baby teeth. Phase one usually does not involve braces, but can include a different type of appliance that helps the jaw grow into place properly. We’ll follow up with phase two usually a few years later, when permanent teeth are in place. Generally phase two involves braces.

In order to catch early problems, we recommend that children have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven (and so does the American Association of Orthodontists). However, if your dentist or pediatrician sees any sign that early treatment might be necessary, he or she may recommend your child visit our office even sooner.

What questions should I ask during my orthodontic consultation?

August 29th, 2012

Are you thinking about orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth or correct jaw alignment? Consider making your first step an orthodontic consultation. During the consultation we will address your questions, concerns, and talk about a treatment plan that would best suit your situation.

We want you to feel prepared and in charge of your orthodontic treatment decisions, so keep these questions in mind when you come in for your appointment.

• If I do need some adjustments to my teeth, what options will I have besides braces?
(This will help you determine what approaches we use to straighten your teeth.)

• What kind of preparation is needed to get braces? How many visits will it take?
(It’s important to know how many appointments may be needed and what you will need to do between appointments to be ready for braces.)

• Can I expect any pain when getting braces?
(Ask about the ways we address pain management.)

• What determines how long I have to wear braces?
(The length of treatment will vary from patient to patient. During your consultation we can evaluate your teeth and jaw alignment to determine the correct course and length of treatment.)

• How will braces affect my lifestyle? Foods I can eat? Activities I can do?
(You may find that little needs to change in your daily routine to have a successful orthodontic outcome. We can discuss and address any changes so you can be prepared before you get your braces.)

• Who will be involved in the orthodontic work? Whom can I expect to see during my adjustment visits?

• What will my orthodontic work cost? What is the ”average” cost and what could be the maximum?
(Make sure you are clear about what your insurance covers, who contacts the insurance company for pre-authorization, who files the insurance forms, and what flexibility there is to pay the remaining amount not covered.)

Your initial orthodontic consultation may just be the first step in relieving a lot of pain and discomfort in your life. Going in with the right questions will help you to understand the entire process and prepare you to do your part for your own dental health. Be sure to bring a list of your questions!

What are the Early Signs of Orthodontic Problems?

August 23rd, 2012

Visibly crooked teeth are not the only reason to take your child into the orthodontist. There are some subtle things to look for as well, which may indicate the onset of more serious orthodontic issues. Many orthodontic issues are much easier to address if treated and corrected during a child's development.

Waiting until facial development is complete or until the permanent teeth have come in can make correction of many orthodontic issues more challenging. Both children and adults can benefit from orthodontic care at any age, but addressing issues early is almost always the ideal choice.

If you're wondering if you or your child might have need for orthodontic care, there are some things you can be on the lookout for. Here are some of the most common warning signs of orthodontic issues:

• Difficulty when chewing or biting
• Chronic mouth-breathing
• Sucking the thumb, the fingers, or any other oral sucking habits that continue after the age of six
• Overbite - when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth by more than 5mm
• Top front teeth that cover more than 25% of the bottom teeth while biting
• Underbite - when the top front teeth go behind the bottom row of teeth when biting
• Crowded, crooked, overlapped, misshapen, misplaced teeth or extra teeth of any size
• Crossbite - when one or more teeth tilt toward the cheek or toward the tongue causing excessive stress on the jawbone
• The center of the top and bottom teeth don't line up
• Uneven teeth-wearing
• Baby teeth coming out too early for the child's age
• Pain in jaws
• Clicking in the jaw joints
• The jaw shifts off-center while chewing or biting
• A jaw that protrudes, or recedes, too much
• Difficulty speaking or enunciating clearly
• Chronic biting of the inner cheek or roof of the mouth
• Asymmetrical facial structure
• Grinding or clenching of the teeth

If you notice that either you or your child has one or more of these conditions, they could be signs that there is a risk of orthodontic or health problems. The sooner these problems are addressed, the wider and brighter you will be able to smile going forward!

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

August 15th, 2012

Orthodontic treatments vary from dental treatment, in that they primarily address malocclusions, jaw spacing and tooth alignment, rather than the actual health of the teeth. That is why it is often more difficult for parents to determine when a child needs orthodontic treatment than dental treatment. So how can you know it is time to take your child to the orthodontist?

• Bad Bite - As the adult teeth begin to replace primary teeth, bite occlusions can develop. These often become visible to parents between middle childhood and the pre-teen years, although an orthodontist can identify a bad bite with early evaluation.
• Visible Tooth Crowding - If your child's newly emerging teeth are already crowded, you should make an appointment with our office to discuss braces.
• Tooth Grinding (Bruxism) - Children who grind their teeth at night may do so unconsciously, but the condition requires treatment to prevent the development of headaches, TMJ, and tooth damage. Oral appliances are available to correct nighttime tooth grinding.
• Difficulty Chewing, Biting, or Speaking - If your child is displaying difficulty speaking or eating, or if he or she often experiences cheek biting, schedule an orthodontic consultation.
• Asymmetry - If your child's face is asymmetrical, or if his or her teeth do not meet together in a natural way, orthodontic treatment may be necessary.

Evaluation and Preventive Care

Even if your child has no visible tooth or jaw alignment problems, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that every child visit the orthodontist for an initial examination no later than age seven. The reason for early evaluation is because orthodontists are capable of finding subtle problems with the jaw and teeth growth and spacing before they become more pronounced and also more difficult to treat. By bringing your child in for an evaluation, you may be able to treat orthodontic conditions with shorter and more simplified treatments that are also more affordable than treatment during the teenage and adult years.

Preventing Decay While Wearing Braces

August 6th, 2012


Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. Preventing tooth decay can be a big challenge simply because of the tendency for braces to trap food under the wires and between the teeth and the brackets. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:

1.Eat Braces-Safe Foods
Keeping your teeth from decay starts with a proper diet. Foods that are high in sugar or starch can cause more plaque, which is difficult to remove during your brushing. There are certain foods that should be avoided while wearing your braces. First, sticky foods like caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and be difficult to remove during brushing. Next, hard foods such as nuts and candy could bend wires or even break a bracket. Foods that are firm or hard to bite into like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob should be avoided. As much as we like to snack on them, those crunchy treats can harm your braces. Things like chips, ice, and popcorn can also bend or break your braces. On the other hand, bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta all tend to be low in enamel-busting acids.

2. Proper Brushing
You want to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride paste for best results. Rinsing every day will help, too. Rinsing is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can't always reach.

3. Ask About Special Cleaning Tools
There are also special brushes, or other tools, to get under and clean your braces. You can find many of these items at your local pharmacy.

4. Regular Teeth Cleaning
It's important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.
As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth from decaying while you wear braces.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

July 30th, 2012


Orthodontic treatments are used to correct malocclusion, a condition more commonly known as a bad bite. The length of treatment time varies depending on the severity of the bite problem.

What is a "bad bite"?

A bad bite occurs when spacing or alignment problems are present. This often includes teeth that are protruding, crowded, or crooked. Sometimes teeth appear straight, but have an uneven bite because the upper and lower jaws do not align properly. Teeth that are irregularly spaced - either too far apart or too close together - can also cause bite problems.

Frequent causes of bite problems:

• Heredity
• Thumb-sucking
• Premature tooth loss
• Accidents

Benefits of orthodontic treatment:

Appearance -
Correcting a bad bite often creates a more attractive smile, which frequently raises the patient's self esteem.

Preventing Decay -
It also results in a healthier mouth. It is much more difficult to thoroughly clean teeth that are crooked, protruding, overlapped, or crowed. This may allow plaque to build up, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment corrects these conditions, so cleaning can be more efficient.

Avoiding Alignment Issues -
An uneven bite can interfere with the motions of chewing and speaking. This can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel, which may require pricey cosmetic restorative treatments, such as crowns or veneers, to correct. It can also lead to problems with the jaws. Orthodontic treatment lessens the likelihood of those issues, as well.

Types of orthodontic treatment:

Braces: Metal or ceramic brackets are bonded to the front of teeth. Wires and elastics are attached to the brackets to straighten teeth.

Invisalign®: Advanced 3D computer images of the patients' mouth are used to create clear, custom aligners that slowly move teeth. They are nearly invisible and are more comfortable than traditional braces. They are also removable, which makes it possible to continue with normal brushing and flossing.

Retainers: A retainer is a removable piece worn inside the mouth that uses pressure to force teeth to move into proper alignment. They are used after braces are removed.

Length of orthodontic treatment:

Treatment typically ranges from 12 - 36 months. Factors include the age, cooperation level, and growth occurrence of the patient. The complexity of the case also impacts the treatment time.

Elements of Braces

July 27th, 2012

When coming to our office to have braces put on, you may find yourself feeling a bit intimated and nervous about the experience. We hope to help you feel more at ease by explaining exactly what the different parts of braces are, and what they do.

Parts of Braces

• Elastic Tie — This is a very small rubber band, and it holds the archwire in place.
• Archwire — This is the main part of the braces. It is a wire guide that tracks the teeth. The wire may be moved from time to time during treatment to continue straightening a patient's teeth.
• Loop in Archwire — This is not in all braces. If it is used, it is to close a gap left from a tooth extraction.
• Bracket — This piece of equipment holds the archwire in place. Formerly, many patients used colored rubber bands to keep the brackets in place, but now since most brackets are cemented on, this is no longer necessary.
• Headgear Tube — This is a hollow area near the back bands, which allows the headgear to fit into the braces. This is only used on patients who require headgear.
• Coil Spring — If needed, this would fit between a bracket and the main archwire. Its purpose is to open up the space between the teeth. This is not necessarily used on all patients.
• Tie Wire — This is another piece of equipment that is used to keep the archwire in place. It is a thin wire that wraps around the bracket.
• Band — This is a metal band that fits completely around a tooth. It is used to help adhere brackets to the tooth.
• Hook — This is the piece of equipment that is used to attach the elastics, also known as rubber bands, around the bracket.
• Elastic — These elastics are used to connect one point of the appliance to another. The purpose is to apply pressure, and encourage the teeth to move into the proper positioning.

By defining each appliance we hope you or your child will be less apprehensive about getting braces put on. At the end of your treatment, you will have a bright, straight smile to show off to all of your friends.

Sports and Orthodontics

July 18th, 2012


We’re halfway through the summer, and the summer months bring an increase in outdoor activities and a greater chance of kids damaging their precious mouths and pearly whites. If you play sports, it's important that you consult our office for special precautions, such as wearing a mouth guard. A protective mouth guard is advised for playing spring sports such as baseball, soccer, lacrosse and others. Be sure, however, to avoid mouth guards that custom form to your teeth as these will resist any tooth movements we are trying to achieve.

In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, please schedule an appointment with the office. And don’t forget to ask us about how you can get a mouth guard for yourself.

Only by using a mouth guard and other forms of facial protection can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. Please give us a call if you have any questions about mouth guards or your treatment at our office.

Top ten tips to keep your braces sparklin' clean!

July 12th, 2012



Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you have braces! Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you'll experience better results and shorter treatment time. Keep plaque at bay with these top ten tips:

1. One tooth at a time. When you brush, take time with each individual tooth – at least 10 seconds each – and pay careful attention to the spots where your teeth touch your braces.
2. It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down toward where they meet. Brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces with your brush angled up.
3. The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the tooth. While the front surface of your teeth may seem like the most logical to clean, it’s equally important to clean the inner surface of your teeth (tongue side) as well as the chewing surface. And be sure to clean along your gum line – a key spot for plaque buildup.
4. Step 1: eat, step 2: clean. While you’re in treatment, it’s important to brush after every meal. Bits of food can easily get caught between braces and teeth, and these food bits interact with bacteria in your mouth to cause decay. The longer food is in contact with your teeth, the greater opportunity for plaque to form. If you are eating somewhere that you can’t brush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.
5. Like a Boy Scout, always be prepared. The easiest way to be sure you can brush after every meal is to get in the habit of taking a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you wherever you go. Designate a special container just for your teeth-cleaning tools and keep it in your purse, backpack, or laptop case.
6. Remove the moving parts. If you have elastic bands or headgear, remove these parts before you brush or floss.
7. Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste, and rinse with fluoride mouthwash.
8. Pointy brushes reach tiny places. Interproximal brushes (sometimes called proxa brushes or interdental brushes) are cone-shaped and come in very handy for reaching spots around your braces that standard brushes can’t.
9. Find the floss for you. Regular floss works for some patients, but others find it easier to work with a floss threader, which helps you get the floss into tight places. Other patients like an all-in-one product called Superfloss, which comes with a stiff end for easy threading, a spongy section for cleaning wide spaces, and regular floss for narrow spaces.
10. Make time for the pros. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. But make sure to visit your dentist regularly while in treatment, to get the deep, thorough cleaning that only a professional can provide. If you need help finding the right Dentist for you, feel free to contact our office - we’d love to help!

We hope this helps, and remember to give our team a call if you ever have any questions!

Independence Day Facts, Tips, and Party Invitations!

July 3rd, 2012


It’s hard to believe, but July is already here and half of 2012 has already passed! As July 4th approaches, our team thought it would be fun to share some facts and safety tips for celebrating our country’s independence day.

Fun Facts:
• Betsy Ross, according to legend, sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee.
• The major objection to being ruled by Britain was taxation without representation. The colonists had no say in the decisions of English Parliament.
• The word ‘patriotism’ comes from the Latin patria, which means ‘homeland’ or ‘fatherland.’
• The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.
• And what could be more fitting than spending the day in a place called “America”? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, with 21,941 residents. Check out American Fact Finder.

Safety Tips:
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• To prevent a trash fire, be sure to douse the spent fireworks with plenty of water from a bucket or hose after fireworks complete their burning and before discarding them.
• Make sure fireworks are legal before buying or using them.

What are your plans this 4th of July? Share them with us! We’d love to hear what you and the rest of the community will be doing to celebrate! (Don’t forget to make sure there are no restrictions on fireworks! Check out this link to see if fireworks might be an issue for you this year.)

Also, check out these 4th of July party invitations, eGreeting cards, and delicious recipes!

July 4th eCard invitations!

Happy Independence Day eCards

Independence Day Recipes

Photo by shawnajean
Photo by shawnajean

Stay Cool with a Braces-Friendly Summer Treat!

June 26th, 2012

Summer is here! Kids and adults alike will now be spending more time outside being active and enjoying the hotter temperatures. What’s better on a hot summer day than a delicious treat that will cool you down after doing something active in the summer sun? Luckily, our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have just the thing, Watermelon Sorbet! You can find the complete recipe below:

Watermelon Sorbet

Ingredients

•¾ cup water

•¼ cup sugar

•1 teaspoon lime juice

•2 to 3 cups watermelon, diced, no seeds or rind

Directions

In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and lime juice on medium high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Chill this “syrup” at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, place the watermelon chunks in a food processor or blender and liquefy them. Add the chilled syrup to the watermelon puree and blend. Freeze sorbet in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately.

Happy Summer!

Orthodontic Emergency? We can help!

June 18th, 2012

True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment with our office.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you get in to see us…

The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:

Poking Wire: Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
Loose Bracket or Band: If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.
Loose Wire: Using a tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
Loose Appliance: If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
Headgear Does Not Fit: Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, headgear becomes more comfortable the more it's worn, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours.
General Soreness: When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.
Remember, after alleviating your discomfort, it is still very important that you call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem.

Making Your Life Better with Orthodontics

June 11th, 2012


The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you or your child a good bite, meaning straight teeth that work well with the teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier for you to eat, chew and speak. It can enhance your dental health and your overall health, and may well improve your self-esteem. As a part of your comprehensive dental health care plan, orthodontic treatment can help you retain your teeth—and your smile—for a lifetime.
Let your smile express yourself! Nothing can show the world how happy you are quite like a beautiful smile. In fact, it’s one of the first things others notice about you, too. With orthodontics, you can be proud to flash your smile, because you’ll know that your smile truly represents your positive attitude.
Make your mouth healthy! Straight teeth aren’t just pretty, they’re healthy as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean, reducing the amount of plaque buildup and risk for gingivitis. The cleaner you keep your teeth, the longer they’ll last!
Feel free to live your life! Orthodontics is easier today than ever before, with treatment options that fit your lifestyle and schedule. We can personalize your treatment to suit all of your needs!

June marks National Dairy Month!

June 8th, 2012

In honor of June Dairy Month, our team would like to thank all of our hard working families in the Dairy Industry.
In fact, dairy is important to your overall health! A 2008 study from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) found that regular consumption of dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, can lower your chances of contracting periodontal disease (also known as gum disease).
Results of the study show that adults who consume at least 55 grams of lactic acid a day are less at risk for gum disease. Eating dairy is not just healthy for building strong bones, but is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy mouth.
Questions about which foods you should steer clear of and which you should enjoy during orthodontic treatment? Give us a call or ask us on Facebook!

The benefits of a beautiful smile

May 30th, 2012


We know that having an attractive smile puts a spring in your step—or two—as well as increases your self-confidence, no matter if you’re 14 or in your late forties. Smiling not only makes people happy and puts them in a good mood, doing it often can even help you live longer, according to previous studies!

If you’ve been hiding your smile because you have crooked teeth or gaps between your teeth, it’s time to consider orthodontic treatment at our practice. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn how quickly and efficiently today’s most advanced correction techniques can straighten your smile!

Don’t hide your smile any longer — give us a call today to schedule yours or your child’s orthodontic consultation.

Dr. Croco and team, wishing you a relaxing and memorable Memorial Day weekend

May 24th, 2012


Memorial Day weekend is a time when Americans everywhere stop and remember all those men and women who bravely gave their lives for our country.

Memorial Day also marks the unofficial start of summer 2012 and getting out of town for three days after being cooped up in the office or in the classroom means sweet, sweet relief for many folks. We also know Memorial Day weekend is ripe for travel. After all, it’s a season of vacations, adventures and great memories.

What are you up to this Memorial Day weekend? Whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, hitting the great open roads or hanging out in your backyard this weekend, we want to know about it!

Wherever your long weekend takes you, we hope you all have a nice and relaxing Memorial Day!

Why do I need a braces adjustment so often?

May 18th, 2012

When you have braces, your wires will need to be replaced with new ones regularly. It is the slow, steady pressure placed on your teeth that move them into their desired positions, so these adjustments are a vital aspect of your treatment. Your Doctor has set out a specific treatment plan to achieve your optimal results, and keeping up with your appointments will allow your treatment to be completed in the predicted amount of time.

Scheduling your adjustments sooner than planned may result in more pain and discomfort, because your teeth haven’t been allowed to settle into their new positions properly. Skipping appointments or scheduling them farther apart will result in a much longer treatment time. Visiting us every four to six weeks will also allow us to answer any questions you may have, check for damaged appliances, and monitor your progress.

Ask Dr. Croco: "What should I expect during my initial consultation?"

May 9th, 2012


Great question! When you first come in for your initial consultation, Dr. Croco will conduct a comprehensive examination to assess your oral health. This will better enable us to determine the best treatment method for you.

Your orthodontic evaluation will consist of an oral and facial examination to assess your oral health. We will have you take intraoral and facial photographs as well as panoramic and cephalometric X-rays to help determine the proper orthodontic treatment method. Then, an impression of your teeth and bite will be taken to construct a model of your mouth. (This will help us when examining your diagnostic records).

At your second appointment, the Doctor will discuss your options with you. Our team feels it’s important to take the time to carefully examine your diagnostic records after your consultation so that we can more thoroughly prepare for your treatment. This additional preparation will ensure that you receive the best orthodontic care possible. At this time, we encourage you to ask us any questions you may have about your treatment.

If you are seeking orthodontic treatment for your child, our staff asks that both you and your child attend the initial consultation. We feel it is important that both you and your child completely understand the doctor’s recommendations before we proceed with treatment.

Give us a call today and schedule a consultation! We look forward to hearing from you!

May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month!

May 3rd, 2012


At our office, we know image can be everything. At an age when image is so important, the thought of having braces may intensify the already-delicate confidence of today's teens. Well, May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month, and during this time, parents are encouraged to act as positive role models, help stop negative self-images, and improve confidence and security among teenagers.

One of the great ways to improve your confidence is to improve your smile. And that begins with a consultation at our office. After all, what better time to avoid having crooked teeth in your adulthood than coming in for a consultation?

We invite you to give us a call to schedule a consultation or ask us on Facebook!

Celebrating Earth Day by Doing Our Part to Help the Planet!

April 26th, 2012

We are living in an age with a renewed commitment to conservation, and are frequently reminded to recycle, reduce and reuse. Last Sunday marked Earth Day, so today we thought we would discuss some of the things we do to conserve our natural resources and the environment.

Our office is digitalized, which means we can operate without the use of large amounts of paper and printing materials. The information in our office can be sent and processed digitally, which is also more efficient. We take all of the steps possible to be a 'green' office, making us better for the planet and more convenient for our patients.

We would love to hear how you minimize your impact on the environment. Leave us a comment below or post on our Facebook page!

Making Your Life Better with Orthodontics

April 19th, 2012

The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you or your child a good bite, meaning straight teeth that work well with the teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier for you to eat, chew, and speak. It can enhance your dental health and your overall health, and may well improve your self-esteem. As a part of your comprehensive dental health care plan, orthodontic treatment can help you retain you teeth—and your smile—for a lifetime.

Let your smile express yourself! Nothing can show the world how happy you are quite like a beautiful smile. In fact, it’s one of the first things others notice about you, too. With orthodontics, you can be proud to flash your smile, because you’ll know that your smile truly represents your positive attitude.

Make your mouth healthy! Straight teeth aren’t just pretty, they’re healthy as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean, reducing the amount of plaque buildup and risk for gingivitis. The cleaner you keep your teeth, the longer they’ll last!

Feel free to live your life! Orthodontics is easier today than ever before, with treatment options that fit your lifestyle and schedule. From clear braces to removable aligners and totally invisible lingual (behind the teeth) braces, we can personalize your treatment to suit all your needs.

Spring is here! Do we have your current contact info?

April 12th, 2012


Spring is in the air! As you probably know, you can always connect with us on our Facebook page, but we invite you to please contact our office with any updates to phone numbers and addresses, so that we may be able to reach you.

We also encourage you to call us and let us know if you have any new phone numbers or if your contact information has changed!

Thank you! Have a great week!

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 5th, 2012

Visiting your dentist during your orthodontic treatment will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy while you have braces, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. The fact is, every hour of every day in the U.S., someone dies of oral cancer, which is the sixth-most common diagnosed form of the disease. The five-year survival rate is only 50 percent, and oral cancer is one of the few cancers whose survival rate has not improved. Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to take this opportunity to remind all of our patients about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Your dentist is specifically trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Please let us now if you have any questions about your oral health during your next adjustment appointment. Take care of your teeth!

Am I Too Old for Braces?

March 29th, 2012

Orthodontic treatment for adults is becoming more and more common. In fact, the number of adults getting braces has actually climbed 24 percent since 1996! More adults than ever are realizing that orthodontic treatment is not just for kids, and can help improve the aesthetics and health of a smile of any age! In society where appearance matters and can help make the difference between getting a job or a promotion, adults are choosing wisely to invest in orthodontic treatment.

Some of the most common reasons our adult patients come to us considering orthodontic treatment include:
• Teeth that are crowded or spaced apart, sometimes as a result of tooth decay or gum disease
• Pain or pressure from crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw
• A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly

Most of all though, adult patients come to our office seeking a healthier mouth and a more confident smile! Orthodontic treatment at our office can be successful at any age, and adults especially can appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile.

As an adult patient, we recognize that you have different needs than our younger patients, and we will work with you to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.

If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, we would love to have you visit for a consultation. We understand you have a busy schedule, and will work with you to find a time that is convenient for you. Please visit our website or give our office a call to schedule your appointment today!

Our wonderful community, from Croco Orthodontics

March 21st, 2012


We work and play in a wonderful community, and all of us at Croco Orthodontics love Coralville! Coralville is part of the "Corridor" and offers many locally owned restaurants. Downtown Iowa City is also nearby, which is full of unique restaurants and shops.

Other area features include:

- Coralville reservoir (camping and boating)
- Iowa River
- Lake McBride (camping, hiking, fishing)
- Kent Park (camping, hiking, fishing)
- University of Iowa in Iowa City
- University of Iowa Hawkeyes sporting events (in particular, football, basketball and wrestling)
- The Corridor is a fast growing community.
- North Liberty - lots of new restaurants and shops
- Also many small towns not far from here that have their own charm. They are fun to visit for an afternoon.

What is your favorite thing about Coralville and the surrounding areas? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page!

Connect with Croco Orthodontics on Facebook!

March 14th, 2012


We’ve rolled out our new Facebook Timeline page and would love for you to check it out! You’ll find all the useful information that was there before, but now in a fun, new layout. When you connect with us on Facebook, you’ll be able to check out photos of our office, find out about new events and contests, or you can even leave a note about how much you enjoyed your visit at our office. We love hearing your feedback to make our practice serve you and your family even better. To make life even easier, if you “Like” us on Facebook, you’ll automatically receive updates from our office right on your own news feed!

See you on Facebook!

Making our patients feel at ease, at Croco Orthodontics

March 6th, 2012


At Croco Orthodontics, we strive to offer our patients a comfortable experience in a friendly and informative environment. We offer convenient appointment times before school and work, lunch time and after school and work. In fact, on Tuesday mornings we start seeing patients at 7:00 am!

Our dental assistants always ask if the parent or patient has any questions before beginning the appointment. They also make sure to explain new procedures to all of our patients. We find that this makes everyone feel comfortable. After the appointments are complete, the dental assistants walk the patients back up to the front desk and let the parent or patient know what happened during the appointment and what will happen at the next appointment.

Dr. Matthew Croco partners with other dental professionals that have seen his patients to provide them with the best and most cohesive treatment. To ensure the best orthodontic treatment, Dr. Croco likes to see patients beginning at age 7.

Our office uses state-of the-art technology, such as the pan/ceph radiograph machine, comprehensive practice management computer system, 3M Unitek, and Invisalign. We take pride in staying up-to-date with the latest technology to provide only the best treatment.

Croco Orthodontics also has wireless internet, coffee and tea in the waiting area, and DS game systems and iPads in the clinic area for patients if they should have to wait for Dr. Croco. For our younger patients on observation we have Kids Club. The kids can earn points in various different ways. Some examples are good oral hygiene and visiting their general dentist regularly every 6 months.

If you have questions about our practice, or would like to schedule a consultation, give us a call today!

You're Never Too Old to Treat Yourself to a New Smile!

February 29th, 2012

Did you know one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult? We’re living longer and technology is improving, making orthodontic treatment an appealing and safe option for patients of all ages. As the trend toward treatment later in life grows, we’re seeing braces on parents as well as children – and even adult celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani and Nicholas Cage have shown off their braces. It’s never too late to look and feel your best with Croco Orthodontics!

Can Braces Work for Adults?
People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment with Dr. Matthew Croco. The physical process for moving teeth is the same, young or old, which means it’s never too late to address issues such as an overbite or underbite, crooked or crowded teeth, or jaw disorders. In fact, some of our oldest patients have been around 65-70 years old!

How Do I Get Started?
If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, we’ll make a consultation appointment with you. During this meeting we will perform a general assessment of your oral health, discuss options for treatment, and answer any questions you may have. We will also discuss matters of cost and insurance. The next step is an orthodontic records appointment in which we take x-rays, photos, and an impression of your teeth. This information drives your unique treatment plan.

What Are the Benefits?
Straightening your teeth can improve your smile, your self-esteem, and your dental health. Technologically advanced new treatments make it easier to identify the option that best fits your lifestyle. Modern techniques and materials have made braces and aligners more effective, comfortable and unobtrusive than ever.

If you think you might benefit from orthodontic treatment, give Croco Orthodontics a call, so we may set up a consultation to determine what type of treatment best meets your needs.

Dr. Croco, reminding you to protect your mouth

February 21st, 2012

Many of our patients are involved in sports, and Dr. Matthew Croco thought it would be a good time to remind our young athletes wearing braces to take care of both their mouth and appliances while participating in contact and non-contact sports.

More than half of the seven million sports and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by youth between ages 5 and 24. Sixty-seven percent of parents say their child does not wear a mouth guard, yet, 70 percent say their biggest fear when their child plays is that they will get hurt. Despite the risks, many kids are still not wearing mouth guards and facial protection during games and practices.

Many people think a mouth guard is effective just to protect your teeth. But research has shown mouth guards can also reduce lower jaw impact that causes concussions and other dental injuries. Dr. Croco suggests his patients all wear mouth guards if there is any chance they could be hit in the mouth. At Croco Orthodontics we give our patients mouth guards while they are in treatmentn and do not charge extra for them. We also offer custom fit mouth guards to patients after they have had their braces removed and treatment is complete.

We hope this helps you remember to always wear a mouth guard and other forms of protective gear when participating in sports. We encourage you to give us a call if you have any questions about the mouth guard options at our office, or ask us on Facebook!

Ask Dr. Croco: How long does orthodontic treatment take?

February 15th, 2012

Your smile is totally unique, so the time you’ll need to spend undergoing orthodontic treatment will also be unique. Generally, orthodontic treatment will take about two years, and this is for good reason. During this time, your teeth will slowly move into their desired positions, leaving you with a great smile with as little discomfort as possible. Rushing treatment can result in a less than perfect smile with a greater chance of tooth movement after your treatment is complete. At Croco Orthodontics, we don’t want to waste your time with treatment that won’t retain your smile for the rest of your life.

Of course, treatment time will vary depending on your specific situation. Very minor tooth movement may only take a few months to correct, while serious malocclusion (poor bite) may need more than two years to correct. Only Dr. Matthew Croco will be able to accurately estimate the time your treatment will take. But trust us—it’ll all be worth it in the end!

We have found that the best patients are the ones who have a great outlook on the treatment and have fun. A positive attitude is key. Compliance and good oral hygiene are the biggest hurdles to a high quality outcome. Following instructions leads to faster and better treatment.

Has your child or teen visited Croco Orthodontics for a consultation? If not, please give us a call and let us help him or her begin the journey to a gorgeous smile!

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, from Croco Orthodontics

February 8th, 2012


Each February for the past 62 years, the American Dental Association (ADA) has sponsored National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

For kids wearing braces, brushing and flossing can become more difficult, requiring extra time and vigilance to remove food particles that accumulate on and between the teeth and in braces. New options for braces such as Invisalign Teen, which is removable, make it easier for kids to maintain good oral health during orthodontic treatment.

If the health of your teeth is ignored during treatment with braces, the results can be significantly compromised. Dr. Matthew Croco is available and happy to explain why effective brushing and flossing is one of the most critical actions needed from patients during orthodontic treatment. Have you visited us lately? Give us a call and schedule an appointment!

Ask Croco Orthodontics: What's the deal with mouthwash?

February 1st, 2012

While mouthwash is not an alternative to regular brushing and flossing, it can help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. There are several different types of mouthwashes available, and all of them will help do different things for your smile. The most common types of mouthwashes are:

Fluoride – fluoride is the most used type of mouthwash available, and is used to strengthen the enamel of the teeth while preventing cavities and tooth decay.
Antiseptic – an antiseptic mouthwash is used to kill bacteria and germs in the mouth. Most commonly used before and after a dental surgery, antiseptic mouthwashes can also help to fight gum disease, and halitosis (chronic bad breath). Antiseptic mouthwashes can affect your sense of taste and may stain the teeth, so it is recommended that you consult your dentist before using this type of mouthwash.
Combination – a combination mouthwash is designed to help prevent tooth decay, freshen the breath, and maintain the health of your smile.
Prescription – for patients with gum disease, or any signs of gum disease, you may need a prescription mouthwash. Prescription mouthwashes, like Peridex of PerioGard, are used to treat gingivitis, and other forms of decay.

There are also many different brands of mouthwash. Some common brands include:
• Scope
• Listerine
• Act
• Crest
• Tom’s of Maine (all-natural)
• Plax (anti-plaque rinse)
• Breath Rx
• Orajel
• Targon (special mouthwash made for smokers)
• Rembrandt (whitening mouthwash)

If you are curious about which kind of mouthwash would work best for you, be sure to ask us at your next appointment. If you have a favorite mouthwash, let us know by posting a comment for others to read!

Croco Orthodontics

Ask Dr. Croco: “How do I prevent tooth decay during my treatment?”

January 25th, 2012

Great question!

If you are brushing and flossing daily during your orthodontic treatment with Dr. Matthew Croco, we think that’s great! But, don’t forget that it’s also important for you to visit your general dentist every 3-to-6 months in addition to brushing your teeth and flossing (and visiting Croco Orthodontics, of course). Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health, especially during orthodontic treatment.

Tooth decay, which is caused by sugars left in your mouth, can turn into an acid, which in turn can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay because adolescents tend to be lax in their oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines, combined with regular dental visits, help keep tooth decay away.

If you have any questions, please be sure to keep ask Dr. Croco or our team during your next adjustment appointment, or ask us on Facebook!

Thanks to Invisalign, you can have a perfect smile without metal wires or brackets!

January 17th, 2012

At Croco Orthodontics, we know image is everything. For many people, the thought of having metal brackets and wires attached to their teeth for two or more years may be more than enough to delay orthodontic treatment.

If you’ve been considering straightening your teeth but are apprehensive about metal wires and brackets getting in the way of your smile, Invisalign treatment at Croco Orthodontics may be a great solution. Invisalign, which straightens teeth through a series of clear, custom-fit removable aligners, does so in a way that is discreet and hardly noticeable.

If you have questions about Invisalign, or would like to find out if you are a candidate for Invisalign treatment at our office, please give us a call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Matthew Croco.

Have a question? Just ask!

January 11th, 2012

Dr. Matthew Croco and his team are always available to answer your questions about your teeth and orthodontic treatment. We strive to provide our patients with quality care in a warm, family-friendly environment.

We also recognize that the most important questions are our responsibility to answer. Some of the questions that we hear in the office include:

• How long is treatment?
• Does it hurt?
• How much does it cost?
• How often are my appointments?

All of the answers to these questions vary from patient to patient, and we are happy to answer them for each patient! The next time to you have an appointment with us at Croco Orthodontics, please let us know if you have any questions. We want your orthodontic experience to be informative and comfortable.

Happy New Year! From Croco Orthodontics

January 4th, 2012

At Croco Orthodontics, the New Year is a time to look back to the past, and more importantly, forward, to the coming year. Our wish is that our patients continue to keep their teeth healthy, as well as wear their rubber bands, headgear and appliances as prescribed during their treatment.

We look forward to meeting those patients who are planning to begin their orthodontic treatment this year—we think it's a great resolution!

Happy New Year from Dr. Matthew Croco and all of us at Croco Orthodontics!

Make 2012 the year to improve your oral health

December 28th, 2011

Let’s face it- when was the last time you managed to keep a New Year’s resolution? We at Croco Orthodontics believe the key to sticking to a goal is picking one that is both reasonable and attainable. If you haven’t yet picked a New Year’s resolution, consider setting one that will improve your oral health!

For example, resolve to brush twice and floss once a day. Good oral hygiene only takes a few minutes a day, and can make a big difference in your oral health and overall health too! For more oral health-themed resolutions for you and your family, check out this article.

We would love to see what you come up with, share with us by commenting on this post or on our Facebook page. Whatever your New Year’s Resolution, we wish you the very best for 2012!

-Happy New Year, from your friends at Croco Orthodontics

Happy Holidays! From Croco Orthodontics

December 20th, 2011

In this season given to tidings of comfort and joy, and as our team at Croco Orthodontics reflect on the year that was, we’d like to ask you, our wonderful patients: What do you love about the holidays this year? Being with your loved ones? A clean slate for 2012? Opening presents by the fireplace? All the delicious food? Also, what gift are you most looking forward to getting this year?

We’d love if you shared with us all the things you love about the holidays. Stay warm, and don’t forget to stay away from those sweets!

--Dr. Matthew Croco and team

What do you love about Croco Orthodontics?

December 15th, 2011

From your very first visit to Croco Orthodontics our doctor and team strive to provide superior treatment in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. We thought we’d ask you, our wonderful patients: Have you been especially impressed by Dr. Croco's work? Did our team go out of their way to make your day? Are you in love with your new smile?

Whether you’ve just come in for a consultation or your family has been visiting our office for years, we’d love to hear your feedback. Or, you can tell us by posting on our Facebook page or by giving us a call!

Thank you,

The team at Croco Orthodontics

Giving Tree and Food Drive at Croco Orthodontics!

December 5th, 2011


Happy December! This year at Croco Orthodontics, we adopted two families for Christmas and have a Giving Tree in the office. Simply pick a reindeer from the tree, shop for the gift, and return the gift unwrapped to the office on or before December 19, 2011! Help us give these two families a wonderful Christmas.

We are also collecting non-perishable food items for these families. You can drop off your food donations at the office as well!

If you have any questions about the Giving Tree or the Food Drive, give our office a call. Thank you in advance for your support this holiday season!

Are you wearing your mouth guard?

December 1st, 2011

With winter sports right around the corner, many patients here at Croco Orthodontics will once again pick up the ball, bring the cleats out of seasonal retirement and hit the fields and courts for the return of sports action! During this time, however, Dr. Matthew Croco and our team urge our young athletes to play it safe when out on the field. Here are a few ways to ensure your mouth’s safety this fall and winter, courtesy of our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists:

1. Wear mouth guards for contact sports such as basketball, wrestling and hockey
2. Wear a helmet
3. Wear protective eyewear
4. Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin
5. Be alert, even as a spectator

We hope that helps! Dr. Croco and team will tell you protective gear is vital for anyone engaging in tooth or mouth-threatening activities. If you have any further questions about any of these tips, please contact our office or ask us on Facebook. Stay safe!

Happy Thanksgiving from Croco Orthodontics!

November 21st, 2011

Dr. Matthew Croco and team would like to wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. It's a big food holiday, so be careful what you eat with those braces! If you have any stories or pictures to share with us, we'd encourage you to send them along or call our office and ask how.

Gobble Gobble!

Ask Dr. Croco: "I got my braces. Now what?"

November 17th, 2011

We love when patients ask us that question! Now that you’re wearing braces, it’s just as important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen as you did before prior to your orthodontic treatment.

Braces are known to trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or remove plaque, which is why Dr. Matthew Croco and our team at Croco Orthodontics recommend that you brush and floss after every meal. We also encourage you to use a proxabrush to help with the smaller areas where your toothbrush doesn’t reach. We encourage the use of fluoride rinse as well; just ask us for a recommendation!

When your braces are initially placed, your teeth are likely to be very sensitive. You may experience discomfort for up to 3 or 5 days, which is why we encourage you to eat soft foods during that time. Remember, the less pressure you put on your teeth, the less discomfort you will have.

You may also be thinking, “Okay, so what can I eat?” We would encourage you to avoid eating sticky, hard, crunchy or chewy snacks that can stick to your teeth.

Dr. Croco and team will tell you it’s crucial to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our office immediately to schedule an appointment for repair.

Lastly, in addition to visiting Croco Orthodontics during your orthodontic treatment for adjustments, you should visit your dentist for professional check-ups and teeth cleaning appointments about every six months, or as recommended by your dentist.

Questions? Please let us know below or on our Facebook page. You may also give us a call!

Connect with Croco Orthodontics online!

November 9th, 2011

Whether you just began your orthodontic treatment at Croco Orthodontics and have a follow-up question for Dr. Matthew Croco or team, or if you’d simply like to drop us a quick line, we’d love to hear from you! We love connecting with our patients online, whether it’s by sharing news on our blog or communicating ideas on our interactive Facebook page.

Please visit Dr. Croco and team on our social networks for:

- Home solutions to problems or issues that sometimes come up while wearing braces
- Information about the office, hours, staff bios, more info about the team and how we are involved in the Coralville and Mount Pleasant, IA communities
- Information regarding current patient contests and how to enter
- Winners of past contests and their photos
- Fun photos of staff or office events
- In the months November and December our office adopts two local families for Christmas. We will have a giving tree in the office, and it will also be posted on Facebook. Our patients and their parents really enjoy shopping for and donating gifts to these families. Keep your eye on our social networks for more details!

Thank you for staying connected with us online! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask us in the comments section below, on Facebook or by giving our office a call.

5 ways you can avoid plaque, from Dr. Croco

November 2nd, 2011

At Croco Orthodontics, we know nobody likes getting plaque on their teeth. Here are five other ways you can avoid that dreaded enemy of the teeth during orthodontic treatment, courtesy of WebMD.

Let’s start with brushing regularly. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste is vital to a healthy mouth. Make sure you softly brush all the surfaces of your teeth.

Next on the list is flossing daily: a simple daily flossing between teeth clears away plaque before it can cause damage and can also clean plaque at the gum line. Plaque is known to reach the spaces between teeth.

Also, evading a trip to the dentist is probably not a great idea. Let’s say you brush and floss daily. You’re still at risk for plaque. With time, the plaque hardens and turns into tartar. Consider visiting your general dentist at least twice a year or as recommended by your dentist, and you have a lower chance of getting cavities or losing your teeth while wearing braces.

You’ll also want to stop avoiding those fruits and veggies. Believe it or not, there are foods out there that play a key role in keeping plaque off our teeth. They include apples, carrots, cucumbers and other raw fruits and vegetables. You can still eat these types of fruits and veggies if you have braces, but be sure to cut them up into bite sized pieces to avoid breaking off brackets.

Finally, before you pick up that candy bar, remember to not give in to your sweet tooth. Consuming sugary drinks or eating candy or other junk food allows sugar to stick to our teeth. The bacteria, then, becomes plaque, which turns into acid and damages our teeth. Avoiding these five bad habits keeps your plaque in check and your mouth as healthy as can be during your orthodontic treatment with Dr. Matthew Croco. If you have any questions, give us a call or ask us on Facebook!

Cold season is here, from Croco Orthodontics

October 26th, 2011

Cold and flu season is here - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a common cold usually includes sneezing, runny nose, sore throat and coughing. Symptoms can last for up to two weeks.

To promote a healthy and clean environment, Dr. Matthew Croco and our entire staff give a great deal of attention to sanitation and sterilization in our office at all times, as well as following all requirements for sterilizing instruments and work surfaces. For the protection of other patients and our staff at Croco Orthodontics, we always ask that patients reschedule their appointments if they have any type of cold or illness that can infect others.

And remember to constantly wash your hands and avoid contact with those who are ill! Stay healthy!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month

October 20th, 2011

Happy October! For those who don't know, it’s National Orthodontic Health Month. This month-long event is organized by our pals at the American Association of Orthodontists, or AAO.

Dr. Matthew Croco and our team realize that this is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene. National Orthodontic Health Month also aims to recognize the dedicated work of orthodontists like Dr. Croco and other dental professionals in Iowa.

The AAO recommends patients avoid the following Halloween treats, or recipes with these ingredients:

• Caramel
• Nuts
• Popcorn (including un-popped kernels)
• Taffy
• Jelly beans
• Hard pretzels
• Licorice
• Bubblegum
• Ice

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call, ask us on Facebook, or ask us at Croco Orthodontics during your visit this month!

Softly brushing your way to clean teeth

October 13th, 2011

Just as there are so many different types of toothbrushes to choose from, each brush also has a different type of bristle! There are generally three different types of bristles; hard, medium, and soft. Our team at Croco Orthodontics always recommend that our patients, especially children and seniors, use a soft bristled toothbrush.

Using a hard and medium bristled brush can actually harm your teeth and gums by stripping the enamel from the teeth and irritating the gums so that they become red and sore, and can even cause gum recession. If you do use a hard or medium bristled brush as a personal preference, we recommend using an electric toothbrush.

Soft bristles are much gentler on your teeth and gums, and while patients of all ages are recommended to use soft bristled brushes, they are particularly great for children, seniors, patients recovering from a dental procedure, and patients wearing braces.

Soft bristles, and even extra-soft bristles are every bit as effective when it comes to cleaning your teeth; in fact, if you currently use a hard or medium bristled brush, try a soft bristled brush next time you buy a toothbrush and we bet you won’t even notice a difference!

Happy brushing!

Croco Orthodontics at the Ponseti 5K

October 5th, 2011


On Saturday, October 1 Croco Orthodontics participated in the Ponseti 5K! The Ponseti Races is a fundraiser for the research to treat babies with club foot. In fact, "Dr. Ignacio Ponseti pioneered the correction of clubfoot with the non-surgical method known as the Ponseti method. This technique has revolutionized the way clubfoot is treated globally."

All of the proceeds went towards the treatment and care of children and clubfoot research. We had a great time supporting this amazing cause!

Your pal during orthodontic treatment, fluoride!

September 29th, 2011

There are so many ways you protect your teeth throughout your orthodontic treatment at Croco Orthodontics. You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and protect your mouth and appliances from being damaged. But did you know there is another, often forgotten about, way to keep your teeth clean and healthy during your treatment? Fluoride – a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay – can help keep your teeth strong! Fluoride comes in two varieties: topical and systemic. Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth. Topical fluoride includes toothpastes and mouth rinses. Systemic fluorides are swallowed in the form of a dietary supplement.

Fluoride used in the dentist or orthodontist's office is often times a stronger concentration than in toothpaste or mouthwash, but is available at some drug stores or a pharmacy (ask your doctor how to purchase professional strength fluoride). A fluoride treatment typically takes just a few minutes. After the treatment patients may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe a fluoride product such as mouthwashes, gels or antibacterial rinses for at-home treatment.

When choosing your own fluoride product, be sure to check for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined and have met the criteria of the ADA for safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth, and smile bright!

What was your favorite part of Summer 2011?

September 23rd, 2011


Today marks the first day of Autumn! Soon the temperatures will cool down, the leaves will start to change, and we’re sure that you’ll thinking about Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving plans. But wait! First, we want to know: what were your favorite parts of the Summer of 2011? Did you go on a wonderful family trip? Did you pick up a new hobby? Did you try to spend as much time outside and in the sun as possible?

We had a wonderful summer here at Croco Orthodontics. We had our annual Tailgating Appreciation Party, and we were also in the local high school homecoming parade. Summer pictures from these events and more can be found on Facebook.

Now it's your turn to share your favorite memories, stories, or photos with us by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

-Dr. Matthew Croco and team

Age 7 is the magic number for an orthodontic check-up

September 14th, 2011

Many parents assume they must wait until their child has all of his or her permanent teeth to see Dr. Matthew Croco for a consultation, only to discover treatment would have been much easier if started earlier. Did you know the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven?

That’s right—seven.

Ok, so what’s so great about age seven, you ask? Enough permanent teeth have arrived for Dr. Croco to make a determination about whether any problems are present. The first molars have come in, providing an opportunity to check for malocclusion, or “bad bite.” Also, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites and open bites can be detected.

Orthodontic evaluation at an early age provides one of two positive outcomes: For some, early identification or problems will lead to easier or shorter orthodontic treatment in the future. For others, a healthy prognosis will provide immediate peace of mind.

Early evaluation, of course, may signal a need for early treatment. For some children, early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring on years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and are detrimental to good oral hygiene. So, if your child is nearing his or her seventh birthday, give us a call at Croco Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.

Orthodontic Emergency Care with Croco Orthodontics

September 8th, 2011

True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew Croco.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with Croco Orthodontics.

The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:

Poking Wire: Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.

Loose Bracket or Band: If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.

Loose Wire: Using a tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.

Loose Appliance: If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.

Headgear Does Not Fit: Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, headgear becomes more comfortable the more it's worn, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours.

General Soreness: When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.

Remember, after alleviating your discomfort, it is still very important that you call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem.

Breaking bad habits

September 2nd, 2011

At Croco Orthodontics, we know good dental health requires only a few minutes a day. We thought we’d provide some practical advice on how to improve your or your child’s smile between your adjustment visits with Dr. Matthew Croco.

Start by brushing your teeth twice a day. Proper brushing techniques are an essential part of maintaining good oral health during your orthodontic treatment, as well as preventing gum disease. More care and time are needed to adequately brush your teeth when you are wearing braces. Brushing daily helps remove decay-causing plaque from tooth surfaces. Please consult Dr. Croco if you would like us to review brushing techniques with you or your child. The use of a mechanical toothbrush such as a Sonicare or Oral B can aid in removing plaque around braces. Flossing daily will also prevent plaque to build up between the teeth and prevent stains between your teeth. Research has shown the bacteria of gum disease has been linked to coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes and memory loss. Lastly, we encourage you to throw away old toothbrushes and replace them every 2 or 3 months, or after an illness.

We hope this helps! If you have any further questions about any of these tips, please contact Croco Orthodontics or ask your general dentist during your next scheduled visit! Or, ask us on Facebook!

Answering your Invisalign questions, at Croco Orthodontics

August 25th, 2011

Are you wondering what Invisalign treatment is really like, and what effect it will have on your day-to-day activities? Will it slur your speech? Will people know you're in treatment? You're not alone in your concerns! Dr. Matthew Croco and our team thought we’d share this list of questions and answers for anyone pondering Invisalign treatment at Croco Orthodontics.

How exactly does Invisalign work?
Using 3-D computer imaging technology, Invisalign creates a series of custom-made, clear aligners exclusively for your teeth, based on the treatment plan that we specify for you. Each aligner moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.

Will I experience pain during treatment?
Most people experience temporary discomfort for a few days after a new aligner is placed. This feeling of pressure is normal and is a sign that Invisalign is working by sequentially moving your teeth to their final destination.

Can other people see that I'm in treatment?
One of the benefits of Invisalign is that the aligners are clear. You can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing.

Can I smoke during treatment?
We discourage smoking while wearing the aligners as they may become discolored.

Are there any foods I shouldn’t eat while in treatment?
You can eat normally during the entire course of treatment. One of the advantages of Invisalign is that the aligners are removable. Simply take the aligners out before each meal, brush when you're finished eating, then reinsert the aligners afterward.

What about chewing gum?
We recommend removing your aligners for all meals and snacks, as gum and other chewy substances can stick to the aligners.

How often must I wear my aligners?
Aligners should be worn all day, except when eating, brushing, and flossing.

Will my speech be affected by the aligners?
As with any orthodontic treatment, aligners may temporarily affect your speech. If this does happen, your tongue will adjust within a day or two and your speech should return to normal.

How do I clean my aligners?
The best way to clean your aligners is by brushing and rinsing them in lukewarm water.

How often must I visit the office during treatment?
For most patients, visits every 4-6 weeks are frequent enough for us to determine that your treatment is progressing properly. We will provide you with a specific schedule that supports your individual treatment plan.

If you have additional questions about the Invisalign treatment, please give our office a call.

HOW TO: Floss with braces

August 16th, 2011

Dr. Matthew Croco will tell you that keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you have braces. Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you'll experience better results and could possibly reduce your treatment time.

Here is a very concise video explaining the proper way to floss your teeth with braces. Give Croco Orthodontics a call if you have more questions about flossing. Enjoy!

All about braces, with Croco Orthodontics

August 11th, 2011

If you ever sustain damage to your braces and need to call Croco Orthodontics, we can help you more effectively if you can tell us exactly which piece is in trouble! Here’s a handy diagram and corresponding list of all the parts that make up your braces.

Elastic Tie: Tiny rubber band that fits around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Archwire: The main wire that acts as a track to guide the teeth along. It's changed periodically throughout treatment, as teeth move to their new positions.

Loop in Archwire: Frequently used for closing space left by an extraction. Many archwires don't have a loop.

Bracket: Small attachment that holds the archwire in place. Most often, a bracket is cemented directly onto the tooth's surface, eliminating the need for a band.

Headgear Tube: Round, hollow attachment on the back bands. The inner bow of the headgear fits into it.

Coil Spring: Fits between brackets and over archwire to open space between teeth.

Tie Wire: Fine wire that is twisted around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Band: A thin ring of metal fitted around a tooth and cemented in place. The band provides a way to attach the brackets to the tooth.

Hook: Welded or removable arm to which elastics (rubber bands) are attached.

Elastic (Rubber Band): Small rubber band that is hooked between different points on the appliance to provide pressure to move the teeth.

Hope this helps! Give us a call if you have any questions!

Croco Orthodontics strives to put you at ease

August 2nd, 2011

Dr. Matthew Croco and his team understand not everyone enjoys visiting their orthodontist. But we strive to bring you the best and most comforting experience at each visit. Some of the things we do to put you at ease include:

--- We have convenient appointment times. They include early mornings, before and after school, and times during lunch to ensure your busy family can get in and out of our office in a timely manner. If you have to wait, we offer a variety of things to do including iPads, a PSP, a Nintendo DS, and wireless internet.

--- We take the extra time to explain options and procedures to our patients. Every patient has an individualized treatment plan: no two patients are the same. We have a highly trained staff who utilize experience and computer software to not only explain, but show you what you need to know.

--- We partner with our patient's other dental professionals. We work closely with your dentist, and other specialists, to ensure the best possible treatment outcome and achieve a beautiful smile.

--- We use state-of-the-art technology. We utilize the latest in technology to shorten treatment times and reduce discomfort.

--- We make your waiting time as comfortable as possible. We have wireless internet and a beverage station to make your wait enjoyable.

Our highly trained staff, latest in technology, and flexible financing (as well as many other things) help our patients feel comfortable every day. Call Croco Orthodontics and let us WOW you!

Coming soon to our office...

July 26th, 2011

Croco Orthodontics is always trying to make your experience in our office as enjoyable, and comfortable as possible. Therefore, we are excited to announce a new feature coming soon to our office:

Our waiting room will have Apple iPads! They will provide our patients with the ability to watch movies, play games, read, and surf the internet while they are waiting to see Dr. Matthew Croco. You will also be able to watch movies with the iPad while you get your braces. How cool is that!? Next time you're in for an appointment, ask us about the new iPads. We look foward to seeing you!

-Your friends at Croco Orthodontics

Schedule an appointment this summer at Croco Orthodontics!

July 19th, 2011

Here at Croco Orthodontics, we love to see our patients during the summer. Not only is it fun for us, but it is more convenient for you! We have made a list of five reasons why you should schedule an appointment this summer with Dr. Matthew Croco:

1. Get your treatment started before school begins. The school year can be very busy, that's why it is best to start your treatment in the summer. There is more time for you to get into see Dr. Croco, with plenty of time left to enjoy the sun!

2. Keep your absences from school low. Summer appointments allow you to come into our office without missing school. How great is that?

3. Take advantage of our early morning hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We can get you in and out quickly during these hours, leaving you the rest of the day for summer fun!

4. Come in from the heat and enjoy our nice, cool office. While the sun can be quite nice, it is also pleasant to enjoy a cool room. Our office will help you escape the heat until you are ready for more.

5. Our consultations are complimentary! If you have been considering orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, come on in for a free consultation with Dr. Croco. We can tell you the best method of treatment and inform you of how we would move forward.

We hope you are having a great summer! We'll see you at your next appointment.

Patient Testimonials from Croco Orthodontics

July 13th, 2011

Here at Croco Orthodontics, Dr. Croco and his staff have received some great patient testimonials lately. We appreciate what our patients have to say and encourage all of our patients to let us know how we are doing. Today we wanted to share some of the reviews we have received:

"Dr. Croco was awesome! He was always so nice and answered any questions that I had! I'm actually going to miss my orthodontist. weird I know." -- Erin, 16

"I appreciated the friendly staff and Dr. Croco's thorough explanations before treatment started. I felt I could come to the office and relax while I waited. It was very comfortable and everyone was friendly." --Sally, parent

"The staff is friendly and caring. Dr. Croco is a perfectionist, I think that is great. Your office is always welcoming." -- Mike, parent

"The staff is very friend and courteous. Scheduling is flexible and convenient." -- Amy, parent

"We think you have a great staff! They were always friendly, courteous and helpful! Like the location." -- Laura, parent

"Wonderful people, beautiful place, excellent experience!" - Emily, 43

"Always impressed with the continual upgrades and new technology. Recommend to friends often!" -- Lori, parent

"Dr. Croco and his staff are very friendly and knowledgeable. They offer flexible payment plans." -- Greg, 25

"Our family is extremely pleased with the care Dr. Croco's office has provided to us, from the friendly face as you walk in to the professional yet fun assistants. We truly appreciated Dr. Croco's straightforward explanation for his vision of care." -- Brandie, parent

"Dr. Croco and his staff are wonderful! Everyone is so friendly. They make you feel very special. I've been especially pleased with their scheduling flexibility." -- Diane, parent

Thank you so much for the kind words. We love hearing what our patients have to say!

What's on your summer reading list?

July 7th, 2011

With summer in full swing, all of us at Croco Orthodontics wanted to remind all our patients about the importance of reading. Sure it’s easy to keep putting off reading this time of year, but reading during the summer is a vital step in brain development and warding off the dreaded “summer slide.” Plus, it's fun!

In fact, there are a few different reading programs in our community:

--North Liberty Library Summer Reading Program: Tuesdays at 9:30am
--Iowa City Library Summer Reading Program: Thursdays
--Coralville Library Summer Reading Program: Wednesdays

What's on YOUR summer reading list? What are some of your all-time favorites? Out of ideas for great summer reads? Ask us for suggestions, and our staff and Dr. Matthew Croco would be happy to provide a few suggestions. You may also ask a local librarian for some ideas or check out these summer reading ideas that we came across today, courtesy of Barnes & Noble.

If you are looking for a great book series this summer, we recommend:

-- The Twilight Series
-- The Harry Potter Series
-- Boxcar Children Series
-- Magic Tree House Series
-- The Babysitters Club Series

Happy reading! Be sure to share with us your summer picks or your all-time favorites on our Facebook page!

Commonly Asked Questions for Croco Orthodontics

June 29th, 2011

Here at Croco Orthodontics we get a lot of great questions from our patients. Today we wanted to take some time to answer a couple of those questions. Remember, feel free to contact our office with any questions or concerns you may have. Our staff is always willing to help!

"How will keeping my smile healthy keep me healthy as a whole?"

Quite simply, straight teeth are easier to clean. Research has shown a link between diseases of the mouth to those of the heart, kidney, and many others. Therefore, keeping diseases away from your mouth will help you keep your whole body healthy.

"I have always been afraid of having work done to my teeth, what do you do to ease patients' fears?"

Our highly trained staff will be sure to answer any questions you have along the way. We will explain each step in detail to help alleviate any anxiety you may have about your braces.

"I don't see a list of insurance companies on your website, so what is the best way I can find out if you work with my insurance provider?"

Please ask our financial coordinator about any insurance questions. She has handled claims for a myriad of different companies. She can help you with all of your insurance questions and concerns. Just because you don't see your company listed doesn't mean we can't help you maximize your benefit.

"Are my braces going to hurt?"

Your teeth with be sore for a couple days, but a softer diet and ibuprofen will help with any discomfort.

"When will I get my braces off?"

It all depends on the customized treatment plan for each individual patient. It also depends on his/her cooperation during the treatment.

-Dr. Croco & team

June is National Smile Month

June 21st, 2011

According to the American Dental Association, a person's smile outranked eyes, hair and body as the most important physical feature, which is why it's important for our team at Croco Orthodontics to support National Smile Month this June.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to improve your oral health so that you may celebrate National Smile Month for many, many years to come:

- Continue to brush at least 2 times a day.
- Floss every day to clean between your teeth.
- Limit the amount of sports drinks and pop that you consume during your orthodontic treatment with Dr. Croco.
- When planning for those summer vacations, don't forgot to pack your travel toothbrush!
- Be mindful of your retainers and other appliances while on vacation.

If you have questions about any of these tips, we encourage you to give us a call.

"Hey Dr. Croco! What's the deal with flossing?"

June 14th, 2011

Dr. Croco and our staff at Croco Orthodontics will always tell you that proper flossing is just as important for your dental health as brushing regularly. Flossing, you see, cleans food and plaque that builds up between teeth and below the gumline, key areas that brushing simply cannot reach. Today, we would like to discuss a few of the techniques, methods and products we suggest for patients who are just learning how to floss with braces.

We recommend the use of a floss threader to help guide the floss in between the brackets and under the wire. A Water-Pik can also help to reach areas that can be very difficult to floss in the arch. For our patients with braces, the Platypus works great. It has the floss already attached and can easily get underneath the brackets and wires.

During orthodontic treatment, it's especially important for our patients to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing daily. Please let Dr. Croco and our team know if you have any questions about flossing with braces!

At Croco Orthodontics, your comfort is our priority!

June 6th, 2011

From convenient appointments to offering video games and other forms of entertainment in the waiting room, there are so many things our team does to help put our patients at ease. Dr. Croco genuinely cares about each of our patients, and he makes it our priority to provide exceptional orthodontic care in a comfortable environment. Here are a few of the ways that Croco Orthodontics offers superior treatment to our Coralville and Mt. Pleasant patients:

Laser- Used routinely in the office and a great adjunct to treatment. The laser can be used to uncover teeth, soft tissue recontouring, reduce duration and pain associated with canker sores and many other procedures.

Coffee and Patient Appreciation Days- We offer a wide variety of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate at our beverage center. Our office also hosts a monthly Patient Appreciation Days for which we provide fresh baked goodies for all tastes.

Wireless Internet- We are a wireless hotspot, so you can work while you wait!

State-of-the-Art Imaging and Practice Management Technology- We use the latest digital radiography to minimize your exposure to radiation. We are also a paperless office, which minimizes our use of paper.

Personal Video Games- Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, and iPads are available to use while you wait.

Partnering with Dental Professionals- We actively discuss your treatment and coordinate with your dentist to ensure the very best results.

Treatment Options- Every patient receives a personalized treatment to address his or her chief concern. We are always available to answer any questions you may have.

Monthly Patient Contests- Check out our monthly patient contests on Facebook or at the office. You won't want to miss out on our cool prizes!

The Croco Orthodontics Father's Day Grill Giveaway

June 3rd, 2011

At Croco Orthodontics, we truly appreciate all of the moms and dads who visit our office! In honor of Father's Day, Croco Orthodontics would like to give you the chance to win your dad a Char-Broil Gas Grill2Go.

To enter our contest, simply send us a photo of you and your dad and tell us what makes him the coolest. You can email your photos to sandy@crocoorthodontics.com. All entries will be put in a drawing, and we will announce the contest winner on Monday, June 20th.

We look forward to receivign your contest entry! If you haven't already, be sure to "like" the Croco Orthodontics Facebook page so that you can check out all our contest photos.

Good luck, and thanks again to all of our amazing dads!

Your summer smile questions, answered!

May 25th, 2011

Summer is just around the corner, which for many people means vacations, baseball season, days spent at the beach, and fun in the sun! Now that you have braces, it's important to take special precautions to prevent facial injuries and preserve your healthy smile for a lifetime. That's why Dr. Croco and our team wanted to answer a few of the common questions that we often receive from patients and their parents during the summer months.

How can I help prevent my teeth from becoming chipped or broken while I play sports this summer?

Wear a mouth guard. If you have questions about type and fit please contact our office.

If I'm hit in the mouth, and a tooth gets knocked out, what can/should I do?

Gently rinse the tooth off and place it back in the socket and call your dentist. If you can't replace the tooth put it in milk or water and call your dentist.

What should I do if I am injured on a weekend when the office is closed?

If you can't contact your dentist, seek treatment at an emergency room.

Can my teeth be fixed if they are chipped, broken or knocked out?

In most cases, yes. Consult with your dentist about the best way to handle any damage done your teeth.

Are sports drinks bad for my teeth?

Sports drinks contain large amounts of sugar. Limit your intake of sugar and brush regularly.

What can I drink to stay hydrated and keep my teeth healthy?

Substitute water for sports drinks and be sure to brush at least two times a day.

If I wear Invisalign aligners, will they help protect my teeth, or do I still need to wear a mouth guard?

Do not wear your aligners during physical activities. Wear a mouth guard for any contact sports.

Can I still play sports while wearing my retainer, or is it best to take it out?

Remove your retainers for any physical activity.

Can I still wear a mouth guard with braces?

Yes, please contact us for the best style for you.

Ask Dr. Croco: What can Invisalign® do for my oral health?

May 20th, 2011

When considering treatment options, patients often ask us how Invisalign treatment is so different than traditional braces. Well, there are more reasons to smile about Invisalign with Croco Orthodontics than you may know. Invisalign is a series of removable aligners that are nearly invisible, and besides straightening your teeth, can improve your oral health. Here’s how:

Healthy Gums: Straight teeth allow a close fit for gums. This lessens the gum stress that is caused by crowded or widely spaced teeth, thus also reducing red and swollen gums.

Easy cleaning: Invisalign is removable, therefore brushing and flossing is easier and you are able to maintain a healthy mouth. These habits are vital to avoiding tooth decay, plaque and even gum disease.

Improved speech and chewing: Properly-aligned teeth don’t have the discomfort or compound speech impediments that can be caused by crowded teeth or a deteriorating jawbone.

If you have any questions about Invisalign, just ask Dr. Croco the next time you’re in for an appointment. Or, you may post your question on our Facebook page! You can also read this article for more information on Invisalign and your oral health.

Welcome to Our Blog!

May 13th, 2011

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about orthodontics and the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.

Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctor and staff – we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!