How to Choose the Best Orthodontist Near Me in the Oklahoma City Area

When it comes to choosing the best orthodontist in your community, here are a few helpful steps to consider.

Best Orthodontist
Choose the best orthodontist for a relationship that will last the length of your treatment.

Easy Steps to Choose the Best Orthodontist

Certainly choosing an orthodontist is critical. After all, you are trusting your smile, or the smile of your child, to someone you’ve never met. Orthodontic treatment is potentially a long process, so by all means find a doctor and staff that you are comfortable with. Your orthodontist knows that this is an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life. The best orthodontist will want to work with you to ensure that you have plenty to smile about.

Check with friends and family for references to help you select the best orthodontist.

Start by Checking Trusted Sources for Recommendations

Ask someone you trust for a recommendation. Make a list of questions that might only make sense to someone who has been through the experience of seeing an orthodontist.

Selecting an orthodontist is a bit intimidating for those who have never done it before. Therefore, it’s a good idea to ask friends and family for recommendations. Most people are happy to share their experiences. Also, don’t forget your dentist. He or she is a great resource for a recommendation — especially if his or her children have had braces.

Best Orthodontist
Use trusted online sources and reviews when making a decision for you or your family.

Do A Background Check on Best Orthodontists

It’s smart to do your research. In so doing, consider education, experience, and ratings. Ratings can include traditional ratings such as Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and local consumer reports. Also, be sure to check online reviews. However, double-check negative rankings if they seem out of character since these cannot always be trusted in today’s business climate.

Once you have a list of a few orthodontists, do a little research. Find out about their educational background. Where did they go to school and what kinds of continuing education or specialty training do they have? Before you set up your first consultation, make sure the orthodontist is a licensed member of the American Association of Orthodontists. By doing so, you will ensure your new orthodontist is up-to-date on the latest clinical procedures.

Best Orthodontist
Visit with at least two orthodontists before making a final decision.

Schedule a Consultation with at Least Two Orthodontists

Please be sure to get a consultation from more than one orthodontic office. Orthodontists have different treatment styles and different personalities. Keeping that in mind, getting a consultation from more than one office is very important.

For example, some orthodontists offer specific treatment options or products that others may not. Be sure to compare the length of recommended treatment time with the cost of that treatment. Also, does the orthodontist have a digitized practice or are they using traditional methods? What difference does this make in your treatment? Ask your orthodontist to explain.

It’s also important to feel comfortable with your orthodontist. Do he or she have a pleasant manner? Do you feel like they’re listening to your concerns? Is the staff friendly and helpful? Visiting multiple offices helps ensures that you find an orthodontist that meets your needs and your budget.

Best Orthodontist
Ask questions and take notes to review later. This will help you make a decision.

The Best Orthodontists Welcome Your Questions

Remember those questions you wrote down? Don’t forget to take them with you to your consultations. Most importantly, during your consultations, be bold and ask those questions. After all, that’s the reason for your visit. Orthodontic treatment is a big investment in time and resources. Plus, let’s face it, this is your smile we are talking about!

It’s critical that you don’t leave without having a complete understanding of your orthodontic issues and the most effective options to treat them. The more informed you are, the better the decisions you will make.

Best Orthodontist
Take control of the process when selecting your orthodontist. You will be happier that you did.

A Few More Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Orthodontist

Here are a few more items to help you get your personal list of questions ready.

  • Who will oversee your treatment, the orthodontist, or an assistant? Can you meet the assistant during your consultation?
  • Is the office located near your home, school, or work for convenience? Is there more than one office?
  • Does the orthodontist offer extended office hours before or after work or school, or on the weekend?
  • What types of insurance does the office work with and what kind of financing do they offer?
  • Does the orthodontist use digital records and local 3D printing to quickly replace an appliance in case one is broken or lost?
  • Does the orthodontist use 3D printing and alternative materials to help keep your cost down?
  • Do the orthodontist and staff seem interested in making your experience personalized? Do you feel like the office will be welcoming and comfortable for you or your child?
  • Does the office welcome children, teens, and adults? How do they handle these age groups differently?
  • Does the office support sustainable practices?
  • How does the office support the local community and its people?
  • What are the COVID-19 practices?
Success
The time you invest in selecting the best orthodontist for you or your family will result is a long-lasting and successful relationship in the future.

The entire team at Sky Ortho welcomes you to visit one of our offices in the Oklahoma City area. We are happy to show you around and discuss every question on your list. If you are ready to consult with an Oklahoma City orthodontist, please schedule with Sky Ortho today.

Which is Better Orthodontist, Dentist or Both?

better orthodontist

Making the decision about when to see a dentist or an orthodontist can be confusing. There is really no need to decide which is better, orthodontist or dentist. It really just depends on your needs.

When a doctor studies orthodontics, they first become a dentist. Then they study orthodontics, defined as the treatment of irregularities in the teeth and jaws, including the use of braces.

Here are some important things to keep in mind when deciding which is better, orthodontist or dentist, for you. If you have what you consider to be normal teeth and a normal bite when you are chewing your food, and you only need the regular cleanings and occasional fillings, chances are you will be fine with a traditional family dentist.

In most cases, your family dentist will let you know if you or your child need to see an orthodontist. Should this occur, there is no need to panic. An orthodontist is a dentist, too, but one that can make a major improvement in your health and smile. Going to an orthodontist is an exciting experience that will leave you looking and feeling better.

So, if you need to see an orthodontist for a while, don’t worry about the rest of your dental issues. They are all under the control of a master – your orthodontist in Shawnee.

Shawnee Orthodontist Office

The Special Ops of Dentistry – Better Orthodontist with Three Years on the Front Lines of Alignment

Orthodontists go through the same licensing and have much of the same training in the broad medical specialty as a dentist. The main difference is an orthodontist also goes through special training to learn how to straighten teeth.

Dr. Priscilla Larson and Dr. Ryan Fitzgerald of Sky Ortho in Moore and Shawnee both have degrees in dentistry and orthodontics. Dr. Larson has her degree in dentistry from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. In addition, she has a doctorate in dental medicine following her three-year residency in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Fitzgerald has graduated from the University of Oklahoma with Special Distinction in Microbiology. He then went to the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry where he graduated with distinction. Subsequently, he specialized in Orthodontics at NOVA Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale.

better Orthodontist

Orthodontists’ Credentials include both Dentistry and Orthodontics

Many families find a new dentist when they move simply by asking for a recommendation from their current family dentist. Dr. Larson has been practicing orthodontics exclusively in Texas and Oklahoma since 2010. She is so happy to have established and expanded her practice locally to her Oklahoma City area neighbors including Chickasha, Norman, Shawnee, and Moore to six days a week.

And in 2019, she was joined by Dr. Fitzgerald. He has a long personal and family history in the field of orthodontics. While an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma, he worked for his uncle’s orthodontic practice in Norman, OK — the city where he was born and raised.

You can contact the local or state dental society for the credentials of both our doctors. Also, the ADA gives a list of local and state dental societies on its website as well.

Better Orthodontist

A Better Orthodontist, Like a Better Dentist, has Better Online Reviews

  • Whichever professional you are searching for, look for a trained professional, and verify what you read in the dental reviews. A better orthodontist will have better reviews.
  • Ask for recommendations from friends and family, or ask your current dentist if you have one.
  • When you have four recommendations, Google them. You are not only looking for dentists close to you but ones that have established practices and positive reviews.
  • Read the reviews carefully. Ensure that they are legitimate. Find ones that relay personal stories or give details that are like your needs.

Call or Visit the Office in Person and Ask Questions

Take a close look at your own situation. If you or your child have crooked or crowded teeth, a misaligned jaw, or a bad bite, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatments including braces for teens, kids or adults, Invisalign, headgear, retainers, or similar appliances. Better orthodontist options are always open for discussion at Sky Ortho where modern technologies are improving choices every day.

If your child has traditional dental issues such as cavities while undergoing orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may discuss options about treatment. Remember, an orthodontist is a dentist and can do the same work as your dentist.

In special circumstances, your orthodontist might recommend a visit to your family dentist if it makes more sense. Such situations can be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Better Orthodontist

Some Questions to Ask Your Orthodontist

There are many important questions you should ask your orthodontist before visiting. We have answered some of these online for you here on the Sky Ortho website. Just follow our links below. You may call our office for added information or stop by to discuss.

Better Smile

We want to make your first visit to the orthodontist as easy as possible. At Sky Ortho, we try to make a visit to our office feel as close to home as possible. You are welcome to stop by for a visit and meet the Sky Ortho team!

As doctors of dentistry, active members of the community, and investing members of the chamber of commerce supporting the success of local businesses, our doctors and our staff are happy to be your neighbors and to proudly live and work in the Oklahoma City area.

Best Age for Braces Depends on the Need and Growth Stage of Your Child’s Teeth

Best Age for Braces
Best age for braces, or to meet with an orthodontist, depends on when your child gets their permanent teeth.

What is the best age for braces? When should my child see an orthodontist? These are very common questions we are often asked at Sky Ortho. For example, is my child too young to see an orthodontist?  Or, when is the best time for my child to start treatments? Good news! There are some basic rules that you can follow to ensure your child is getting to his or her first orthodontist appointment at the perfect time.

Best age for braces
Once all of the primary teeth are gone, the orthodontist can see where issues will be encountered.

Every Child Ages Similarly But Using Their Own Biological Clock

There is no exact day in the life of your child that is the right day to visit the orthodontist but there are some general guidelines. Most importantly, the easiest way to gauge timing is to wait until after your child has lost their primary (baby) teeth and the permanent (secondary) teeth are growing in.  This is when many of the indicators or needs for treatment present themselves.  For example, it may be a lack of jaw space which leads to overcrowding of the teeth.  Consequently, this may result in an overbite or crossbite, or malocclusion.

Generally, age seven is a good age to visit an orthodontist in Shawnee.  It is an age to spot indicators of what to anticipate as additional permanent teeth erupt through the gums.

Consequently, at this age, children are on the cusp of losing their baby teeth and permanent teeth are taking over. Although some baby teeth may remain, an orthodontist can usually gauge the need for further care.

Best age for braces
Children that are close in age may have a wider age gap in the rate that their smiles begin to mature.

Other Factors that Determine Best Age for Braces

Once the need is identified, the best age for braces is more easily determined. As a result, there are a few factors which come into play as to when is the best time to start treatment:

  • Although there is not a set age to get started, customarily treatment can start once the child has lost most of their baby teeth. This can be anywhere between ages eight to eleven.
  • While there may be initial discomfort, starting as early as possible, especially to correct a severe malocclusion, is best. An early start allows for correction while teeth and bones in gum tissue are still forming and growing. The older the patient, the longer it takes to shift teeth to their correct position. Therefore starting early can shorten the process.
  • The severity of the malocclusion may also dictate when to start the treatment and the type of orthodontics needed. If only moderate corrections are needed, waiting may be advised until more permanent teeth have come in.
Personal History and Braces
Family interviews can help the orthodontist determine the best time for braces.

Family Background and Personal Behaviors can also Influence Best Age for Braces

Parents and caregivers can help by providing clues for the orthodontist about needed treatment and when to get started.  For example, things like:

  • Does the child suck their thumb or fingers?
  • Is your child have any difficulty in breathing or swallowing?
  • Does the patient breathe with their mouth open the majority of the time?
best age for braces
Working with parents helps ensure the child and their family work together for the best results.

Many of these issues will be discovered by Dr. Patricia Larson and Dr. Ryan Fitzgerald during the initial interview. However, having an affirmation from a parent or guardian and commitment to pursue correction is vital to effective treatment.

A young child may not appreciate the reward of early intervention but, the results speak for themselves. Straight teeth provide the basis for excellent oral health while the aesthetic value leads to a lifetime of beautiful smiles.  Contact Dr. Larson or Dr. Fitzgerald by calling (405) 378-4774 or (405) 275-3800 to schedule an appointment today.

6 Good Teeth Foods for a Healthier Smile

good teeth foods
Good teeth foods create summer and fall fun for the whole family with a kitchen garden.

Cultivating a family kitchen garden is a wonderful way to teach young children healthy eating when it comes to good teeth foods. What are good teeth foods? According to family orthodontists Dr. Priscilla Larson and Dr. Ryan Fitzgerald of Sky Ortho in Moore and Shawnee, they are foods that contribute to the growth of strong bones and teeth and support dental maintenance.

This is especially good during the summer months when kids have more time to focus on a project, and the entire family is looking for cool, refreshing treats.

good teeth foods
Ice cream and popsicles are okay for special occasions but can be hard on teeth. Look for cool alternatives to sweet sugary summer treats.

Summer’s Sweet Treats Require Special Care for Teeth

Of course, during these sizzling summer months, cool sugary treats and drinks such as soda, ice cream, frozen pops, and snow cones are favorite go-to for the entire family at the beach, poolside, on picnics and after play. But everyone no matter what age, should brush soon after eating to ensure bacteria does not form.

While desserts are the obvious culprit, did you know pasta and bread can also create dangerous levels of bacteria in the mouth? So, also be sure to rinse and brush after those cold pasta salads, French bread po’boys and endless sandwiches.

Reusable water bottle
Bottled water lacks fluoride. However, a reusable water bottle allows you to fill your own and keeps plastic out of the environment.

Not All Fruits and Veggies are Good Teeth Foods

Milk and acidic foods and fruits can also cause problems. These eat away at tiny cracks in the enamel of your teeth and allow cavities to form. When this occurs, these cracks in your teeth will widen even more when you bite down.

“Drinking fluoride in your water helps but many people now drink bottled water,” said family orthodontist and mom, Dr. Larson. “This does not have any fluoride in it. It’s a good idea to ask your dentist about fluoride substitutes during your next visit if you drink a lot of bottled water.”

Good teeth foods
Gardening is a great activity for the family and the harvest is good teeth foods.

Getting Started on Gardening your Good Teeth Foods

For the sake of family gardening in a small area with children, we will focus on six good teeth foods that you can grow but there are many more.

If you live in an urban area, Dr. Larson also suggests engaging the family in planting a patio garden — or if you have a full-size yard, go bigger. To plant a patio garden with family, you will need the following or watch this easy to follow YouTube video with the Crafty Gemini:

  • Long clay, plastic, or wooden planter boxes (18-24” long x 4-6” wide).
  • Packets of seeds of your choice (one per box such as strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, onions, sweet potatoes, watermelon). You can also do kiwis and figs in a 15-gallon container.
  • Good natural bagged garden soil.
  • Only buy non-toxic sprays and fertilizers!
  • Something to mark your pots so you will know what you have planted.
  • Something to water with (a bucket or watering can).
  • If you have little nibblers in the family, like Dr. Larson and her husband Erick do, you can put on their bunny ears while gardening so they can pretend to be rabbits!
strawberries
Strawberries are a sweet treat for healthy teeth and it brightens them, too!

The Good Teeth Foods Straight from the Garden

1 Strawberries taste like candy and they also whiten teeth if you rinse after.

2 Spinach and other leafy greens are high in vitamins and minerals, plus they have phosphorus, which is good for bones and teeth.

3 Carrots have vitamin A which builds tooth enamel, Dr. Larson says plus chewing raw carrots removes plaque from your teeth and the chewing action produces extra saliva which supports dental health.

good teeth foods
Raw onions have many health benefits for your teeth.

4 Raw onions have many anti-bacterial compounds, removing oral bacteria with every bite. While they might give you bad breath, raw onions do a lot to remove bacteria and improve oral health.

5 Sweet potatoes are another good one for your teeth due to their vitamin D content, a vital nutrient that develops naturally with healthy sun exposure. Unfortunately, in Oklahoma, where the weather is often dangerously hot, people stay inside. Dr. Larson says the vitamin D from sweet potatoes is crucial for healthy skin, heart and teeth, and a smart choice for dental health.

good teeth foods
Watermelon is one sweet treat that is sure to cool off parents and kids alike.

6 Finally, a summertime favorite — watermelon. Watermelon is loaded with essential nutrients like Vitamin A that helps with good vision, Vitamin C which keeps the immune system strong, heals wounds, encourages healthy teeth and gums, and prevents cellular damage. Watermelon also helps prevent summer colds. The Vitamin B6 in watermelon is a nutrient that helps brains function better by allowing our bodies to convert protein into energy. Plus, watermelon is a great source of water and staying hydrated is important during the summer. Watermelon is hands-down, the favorite summertime low-fat, no-guilt, healthy treat.

 

What is an Orthodontist? Where to Go When You Need a Specialist in Dentistry

what is an orthodontist

What is an orthodontist and how are they different than a dentist? This is a question many people ask when they first learn they will visit an orthodontist. Often, they turn to the Internet for an answer and Google it.

Orthodontists are dental specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. They provide a wide range of treatment options to straighten crooked teeth, fix bad bites, and align the jaws correctly.

After completing a four-year bachelor’s degree and a four-year degree in dentistry, an orthodontist undergoes another 5,000 hours (three years) of specialist training in orthodontics. Whether you are being treated with braces or aligners, be sure you’re being treated by an orthodontist for best results.

30% of the Population Need to Know — What is an Orthodontist?

Abnormal alignment of the teeth and jaws is common. In fact, nearly 30% of the population has malocclusion severe enough to benefit from orthodontic treatment. Treatment can take several months to a few years. Often it involves the use of braces and other appliances to slowly move the teeth and jaws around. On occasion, severe malocclusion requires jaw surgery. Treatment starts before a person reaches adulthood since bones can more easily move in children.

In the United States, about four million teens and get teeth-straightening treatment every year — and that doesn’t count the growing number of adults who benefit from orthodontics. Most orthodontic treatments can be done at any age. However, there’s one that is expressly for children whose mouths are still growing. Specifically, this method is interceptive orthodontics. In fact, it has been steadily gaining acceptance in recent years. If you haven’t heard about it, now is a good time to learn. This method has the ability to improve your child’s experience and outcome with orthodontic treatment.

intercepting dental issues

Intercepting Dental Issues Before Permanent Teeth Arrive

Interceptive orthodontics can begin as early as age 6 or 7. At this age, teeth are still developing, and the jaw is still growing. That means certain conditions, such as crowding, may be easier to address.

Because treatment starts earlier than it would via traditional orthodontic methods — as early as 6 to 10 years of age versus the traditional 10 to 12 years of age — most permanent teeth have not yet come in. Also, the interceptive treatment itself doesn’t necessarily involve braces. Instead, it can employ many other techniques. These range from special devices to behavioral modification. Traditional braces or other appliances follow.

The goal of interceptive orthodontics is to influence the growth and development of the jaws (or other oral structures) in a way that would be more difficult or impossible to do at an older age. It is effective only while the body is still growing — that’s why it begins early and isn’t for adults. However, when completed early, this method offers amazing results without longer or more invasive treatments.  As a result, kids get a healthier smile with better aesthetics and improved function.

What is an orthodontist

When Examining “What is an Orthodontist?” Also, Check Out “What An Orthodontist Does”

While orthodontists are known for straightening teeth, they also assist with painful and misaligned bites. In addition, they repair tooth movement caused by bad habits such as thumb sucking and even help with certain forms of sleep apnea.

Plus, if you’re wondering what an orthodontist can do for your smile, make an appointment to have an assessment. No referrals are necessary. Using their knowledge and expertise in facial irregularities and tooth movements, an orthodontist can help you to understand which of the available treatment options will be best for you or your child.

Between fixed and removable plates, metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual (invisible) braces, and clear aligners, there are treatments to suit every need and lifestyle. It is best to make an appointment with your orthodontist before deciding on the treatment option you would like because every case is different and may require a particular orthodontic care option.

what is the difference

What is the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?

Orthodontists and dentists share many similarities – they work together to help you improve your overall oral health – but they work in very different ways. Dentists cover a broad range of oral health issues. An orthodontist, on the other hand, is a dental specialist with a primary focus of straightening teeth and aligning jaws.

For patients to make informed decisions regarding their treatment, it’s important to be aware of a few key differences between orthodontists and dentists:

Dentists

  • A general dentist is similar to your family medical doctor. They are highly skilled general practitioners who diagnose and treat problems and common diseases that affect your teeth, mouth, and gums.
  • Dentists complete a bachelor’s degree and a four-year dental degree.
  • They are experts in general dental care and maintenance for all ages. They also perform cosmetic dental procedures such as tooth whitening, porcelain veneers, and crowns.
  • Unlike orthodontists, dentists have no university training to fit braces or oversee other orthodontic treatments.
  • Most general dentists will refer patients and their own families requiring orthodontic care to a specialist, an orthodontist.

Orthodontists

  • Orthodontists are registered, dental specialists. They have completed an additional three years of full-time university training in orthodontics, facial growth, and development, biology, and biomechanics.
  • Orthodontists are facial growth and dental development experts. They diagnose and treat crooked teeth, bad bites, and poorly aligned jaws.
  • Orthodontists are experts in all orthodontic care options and technologies for children, teens, and adults.

What is an orthodontist

What is an Orthodontist and How Do I Know When I Need to See One?

You should select an orthodontist for your child by the age of 7. When it comes to orthodontic care including early interceptive treatment, braces, and aligners, we recommend that patients see an orthodontist.

Patients should continue to see their dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning throughout their orthodontic care. Dentists play a very important role in maintaining good oral health.

Orthodontists and dentists will always work together to achieve optimal results for you and your children. Although a referral from a dentist is not required to see an orthodontist, it is a good idea to first see your family dentist for a check-up and regularly thereafter. You can request a referral to an orthodontist that your dentist has a working relationship with. Click here to set an appointment with Sky Ortho.