Our Blog

Top Ways to Ensure You and Your Braces Have a Good Relationship

February 8th, 2018

You and your braces will become good friends over the coming months or years, so it’s important to get your relationship off to a good start. Consider the following recommendations to prevent rocky times ahead:

  1. Floss, floss, floss. Yes, it’s a pain to floss around your braces, but it’s the best way to prevent gum disease and other oral health problems. Ask Dr. Thornton and our team for floss threaders to make the chore easier. Just a few minutes per day will ensure that you don’t face significant dental health issues when the braces come off.
  2. Avoid sticky or hard foods. It’s tough to forgo toffee, caramel, gum, and other favorite sticky treats, but your braces will thank you. Sticky or hard foods can break a bracket or wire, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
  3. Chew with your back teeth. If you’re used to taking large bites with your front teeth, it might be time to switch your eating habits. Taking a large bite of food with your front teeth can leave your braces vulnerable to damage. Instead, cut large foods into small pieces and use your back teeth to chew. This is especially important with corn on the cob, which should always be cut from the cob.
  4. Wear rubber bands. Rubber bands and other orthodontic appliances may seem annoying, but failing to comply with wearing them can increase the length of your treatment by months. Wear them now to avoid problems in the future.

Retainers...Some important notes.

October 23rd, 2017

Removing braces signals the end of wires and brackets and the start of something beautiful...retainers! Retainers come in all shapes and sizes and are always customized to a patient's individual needs. Since many patients take the opportunity to customize their appliance with glitter, a design or pictures, the creativity is endless. These small and glamorous appliances serve a important role. All retainers need to be worn consistently, checked regularly and cared for responsibly.

After active orthodontic treatment is complete the surrounding bone and soft tissue takes some time to remodel and provide solid structure for the teeth. Until that happens, the orthodontic correction that Dr. Thornton and your braces have accomplished is at risk. Crowding, tooth rotations and spaces returning are all things that need consistent retention to control. This is why Dr. Thornton will see patients regularly for the first year following their braces being removed. He begins the retention phase by asking patients to wear their retainer all day and night, unless eating or brushing. After about 4-6 months, Dr. Thornton will transition patients to wearing their retainers at night only.

Caring for retainers is an important responsibility. We hate to see families have to replace a retainer unnecessarily because it wasn't cared for properly. Make sure to always put it in the case when it is not being worn. Many retainers have met their end because they ended up on a lunch tray, in a purse or backpack or left on a counter. Also, they make the most untimely dog toys, so watch out for Spot!

All well worn retainers get a little funky, so don't get worried.  Dr. Thornton expects to see some grit and grime when he checks retainers, but we do want to help you keep things as fresh as possible. Retainers that are not cleaned properly will harbor extra bacteria and can contribute to bad breath, and no one wants that! A separate tooth brush, room temperature water and mild dish soap is the best option for daily cleaning. A deep clean can be accomplished with retainer or denture cleaning tablets purchased from the store. It is important NOT to wash your retainer in the dishwasher, microwave or boiling water, as these techniques will likely damage the appliance.

Dr. Thornton always encourages all patients to continue wearing retainers nightly through out life, just to stay in the habit of regular wear. Even if patients choose to cut back on wearing their retainers, it is still very important to follow all the care details closely. With great retainer use, beautiful and healthy smiles will last a lifetime!

Gearing up for Summer!

June 1st, 2017

Here at the office we can smell summer right around the corner. There are plenty of fidgety kiddos, anxious teenagers and even more anxious teachers sitting in our chairs everyday. For us Summer tends  to the the busiest time of the year and instead of winding down for an easy season, we are gearing up for a bonding palooza and other summer events.

We are kicking off June by participating for the first time in The Great Cycle Challenge. This is a nation wide cycling event that lasts the entire month of June and helps raise awareness and funds to fight childhood cancer. When we heard about it, we felt compelled to get involved. We have dedicated our lives to helping kids smile bigger, better and boldly. With that in mind, we felt the least we could do was throw our hat in the ring for all those kids, in our practice and across the nation, who are struggling to stay healthy. Together our team is working hard to ride 950 miles and raise $1000 for this cause. For anyone interested in joining our team, the invite is open to all our friends of the practice. You can get involved by going to www.greatcyclechallenge.com.

Secondly, throughout the summer we will be bonding braces left and right. Many families find that the lazy days of summer fit really well to start working orthodontics into their lives. Last year we helped nearly 250 families take a step toward a healthier smile by either starting care, having their initial evaluation or marking important growth to plan future treatment. Our schedule is already filling up with adults and kids starting their smile adventure in Invisalign or braces. We can't wait to see who this year brings to our practice!

Finally, we are looking forward to the 9th annual Patient Appreciation Pool Party at Amazon Pool. We've set the date for July 30th and are diving straight into making this a stellar party! Back by popular demand, we'll have Dr. Thornton in the dunk tank so guests can playfully unleash any pent up aggression. Pizza, drinks and a killer raffle are also in the works. Don't miss this or you'll be sorry you did! The remaining details will be in an email invitation, so make sure you keep an eye out for it.

Summer at Thornton Orthodontics has always been an action packed, fun in the sun kind of smile party and so far this year is looking like it won't disappoint! We can't wait to hear what all of you have planned.

Our new Itero scanner is our "Magic Machine"

May 3rd, 2017


Everyone remembers the timeless messy impressions at the orthodontist. They fill up a metal tray with this gloppy goo that, if you're lucky, has been flavored like bubblegum. Then they put it in your mouth for what feels like a lifetime, during which you focus with all your brainpower on not tossing your cookies. The entire process is almost a right of passage when it comes to braces...BUT...with Dr. Thornton these memories are a thing of the past! About a year ago we transitioned to capturing most models with our digital Itero scanner and keeping a computer image of your teeth to use for records. These digital records can be easily used to fabricate custom Invisalign aligners, as well as additional custom appliances. Our magical Itero machine has made a huge difference to our smile team and now we welcome the next generation of the technology.

Soon to be delivered, is the latest model of the Itero, the Element. This machine has made dramatic improvements to the already impressive technology. It can now produce a digital model in under 2 minutes with incredible accuracy. Once the model has been completed, it can be uploaded in seconds to provide an alignment prediction and...SHAZAM...you can watch the step by step alignment to your dream smile. From that software Dr. Thornton can submit the desired movements to Invisalign, where he carefully plans each aligner in your series. The digital file also gives him the capability to print a 3D model in our very  own office.

It's true that there are still some situations where a traditional impression is best, but we have still done our best to make that as smooth as possible. We have enough flavors to open an ice cream shop and the material we use sets up in 30 seconds.

Don't miss the demo video of our magical new Itero machine here!

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