Patient Forms: Adult | Youth

Featured, Invisalign, Invisalign Adult, Invisalign Teen

What To Expect During Your First Week of Invisalign

You had your first visit and our orthodontists created a personalized treatment plan for you from the 3D scan of your mouth. If you’re one of our Dunegan & Cole patients, we even showed you what your new smile will look like when you finish treatment on our Invisalign Outcome Simulator. Once the Invisalign lab fabricates your clear […]

You had your first visit and our orthodontists created a personalized treatment plan for you from the 3D scan of your mouth. If you’re one of our Dunegan & Cole patients, we even showed you what your new smile will look like when you finish treatment on our Invisalign Outcome Simulator. Once the Invisalign lab fabricates your clear aligners based on your custom treatment plan, you’ll receive your first Invisalign trays and officially begin your smile transformation journey. 

So, what happens in the first week of Invisalign treatment? Here are 7 things you should know:

1. Mild Soreness is Normal

The good news is, you won’t feel significant Invisalign pain the first week, or at any time during your treatment. However, mild soreness or tenderness with Invisalign is to be expected when you start your first set of aligners and, occasionally, when you switch to a new tray. This is because your aligners are exerting continuous, gentle pressure to shift your teeth into place and align then. If you have a bit of soreness, it just means your aligners are working! 

How long does Invisalign hurt for? Discomfort will go away in less than a week with your first Invisalign tray. With future trays, mild soreness usually only lasts for a day or two. 

Managing Mild Invisalign Pain the First Week of Treatment

  • Stick with foods that require minimal chewing for the first few days. Smoothies, milkshakes, yogurt, applesauce, ripe bananas, oatmeal, soup, scrambled eggs, broth, protein shakes, and mashed potatoes are all excellent for sore teeth. You can jump right back into your usual diet when the tenderness improves.
  • Put your first Invisalign tray in at night. In fact, you might want to make it a habit throughout your treatment to always switch to new aligners before bed. This way, you’ll sleep through the initial hours of tenderness. By the time you wake up in the morning, your aligners will be slightly less tight and discomfort should be beginning to ease. 
  • Swish with a saltwater rinse as often as needed. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Swish the solution around in your mouth for about 30 seconds, spit it out, and repeat until you finish the glass. This is helpful if you not feel the edge of the aligners rubbing against your lip or cheek.
  • Continue wearing your aligners. If your Invisalign hurts, it can be tempting to stop wearing them. But, the more you wear them, the more quickly discomfort will go away. Even if your teeth are sore, wear the aligners for the full 22 hours per day, or even more if possible. 
  • If the tips above don’t help with Invisalign pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever (whatever you’d normally take for a headache). 
  • If a rough edge on your Invisalign aligner is hurting you or causing sores or irritation, give our office a call. We can smooth it down or walk you through how to do it at home. A lot of times, a nail file will do the trick to gently remove an annoying spot on your aligner

2. Your Invisalign Aligners Will be Tight At The Beginning

Each set of Invisalign aligners is designed to achieve very specific tooth movements. When you put in your first Invisalign tray and when changing to a new set, the aligners will feel very snug. As you wear them, and your teeth shift, the aligners will loosen up. 

To improve the way the aligners fit against your teeth, it’s recommended that you use your Invisalign Chewies for 10 to 15 minutes a day. This will help place the aligners onto your teeth for the ideal Invisalign fit. 

3. It Might Feel Weird to Talk

It takes some time for you to get used to to having the aligners in your mouth. Some patients find they have a lisp during their first week of Invisalign treatment. Your best bet is to talk as much as you can. Read aloud to yourself, sing along to your favorite songs, or call a friend and talk on the phone. Temporarily being talkative will help you get used to your aligners more quickly and your speech will return to normal. 

4. You Might Find Yourself Snacking Less Often

You’ll take your aligners out to brush and floss, eat, and drink anything aside from plain water. Afterwards, you’ll put your aligners back in so you can meet the recommended 22 hours of daily wear. 

Because of the need to take your aligners in and out, it makes you much more aware of just how often you snack or sip on beverages throughout the day. A lot of patients are surprised by this at first and find they snack less during their treatment. 

5. While You’ll Become a Pro at Inserting and Removing Your Aligners Soon Enough, but There is a Learning Curve

Speaking of the need to take your aligners out and put them back in, it might seem like a pretty simple thing to do. However, it can be a little bit challenging at first, especially if you have attachments bonded to your teeth. You will get the hang of it in no time and be able to do it quickly and discreetly.

To help, I’m sharing some pointers for inserting and removing Invisalign aligners.

How to Put In Invisalign Aligners:

  • First, make sure you’re putting the correct aligner on the correct arch (upper aligner is going on the upper teeth and lower aligner is going on the lower teeth). 
  • Push the aligner over the front teeth and then apply gentle pressure along the length of the aligner all the way to the back, so that it snaps over your molars. When your aligner is in, use your thumbs to fully seat it. 
  • Don’t force your aligners in or try to bite them into place. If your Invisalign fit seems off or like it’s not tight enough, use your chewies to massage them into place. 

How to Remove Your Invisalign Aligners:

  • To remove your aligners, hook your finger over the edge of the aligner behind your back molar (on the tongue side) and pull it out and away. Repeat the process on the other side of your mouth. You can then hook your finger over the edge of the aligner behind your front teeth. Once the aligner releases, grip both sides and gently pull it all of the way out. 
  • If you’re struggling, you can try to wiggle the tray a little to help get it off.
  • Never stick objects between the aligners and your teeth in an attempt to take them out because it can damage your enamel. 

6. You’ll Need to Make Your Invisalign Case Your New BFF

The fact that Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible and removable is a huge bonus. On the other hand, it also makes them extremely easy to lose. Whenever you take your aligners out to eat and drink (or even to brush and floss if you have pets), put them in your Invisalign case. Setting them down on a napkin or a tissue is a surefire way to accidentally throw them away, and you don’t want to have to dig through the trash to find them. If you have trouble keeping track of your case, consider storing it in a larger case like a cosmetic or toiletry bag or adorning it with flashy stickers. 

7. Cleaning Invisalign Trays is Easy And Necessary

As you wear your Invisalign aligners, spit and plaque will build up on them. To keep them clear and odor-free, clean them in the morning and before bed. It’s also a good idea to rinse them off before putting them back in your mouth after eating.

As for how to clean your aligners, there are Invisalign cleaning crystals and other products available for purchase. But the easiest way is to brush your aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush (don’t use toothpaste because it can scratch the plastic) and then rinse them in lukewarm water. For a more thorough clean, you can also use a mild, unscented dishwashing soap along with your toothbrush. 

Connect with Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics!

Now that you have the details on everything from how to manage Invisalign pain the first week to how to clean your aligners, I hope you feel confident about starting treatment. If you have any questions I didn’t answer, give us a call. Or, if you haven’t visited an orthodontist yet and want to find out if Invisalign is right for you, schedule a free consultation at Dunegan & Cole in Gainesville, VA today!

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Braces, Featured, Uncategorized

Everything You Need To Know About Braces Elastics

What are elastics for braces used for? Will I need elastics on my braces? How long should I wear elastics for braces? How often should I change my elastics?

What are elastics for braces used for? Will I need elastics on my braces? How long should I wear elastics for braces? How often should I change my elastics?

These are just some of the many questions we often get from our perspective or current braces patients. If you’re an existing patient or are about to embark on your braces journey, you may be wondering some of these same questions! Check out some of the most common questions our doctors get and our answers below! 

What are Orthodontic Elastics?

Orthodontic elastics, also commonly known as “rubber bands”, are just that; small rubber bands that orthodontists use to help your braces move your teeth and bite into the ideal placement.

Orthodontic elastics are typically made from a strong and stretchy medical-grade latex material of varying sizes and elasticity for particular needs. 

Why do Orthodontists use Elastics?

The reason is simple. To help correct teeth alignment, your braces work by placing pressure slowly and gently on your teeth and jaw to move them gradually into place.

The point of elastics is to help provide an additional connective force to shift your teeth in specific directions.

If you look at braces closely, you will notice hooks on the brackets where these elastics are attached to move the teeth into a specific alignment. 

Your orthodontist will create a pattern for you to follow depending on the movement they are trying to achieve! 

How Frequently Should I Change My Elastics?

This varies across from one case to the next – but if you are asked to wear them “full time” you will need to replace them 3-4 times in a 24-hour period.

Why? Because elastic bands lose their elasticity over time as they get stretched out and can no longer apply the appropriate force to shift your teeth. 

If you don’t change your elastics and continue using the loose bands, while it may feel more comfortable, it could hinder the progress of your treatment.

Do you Sleep with Elastics for Braces?

Yes! Elastics should be worn all day, every day during the prescribed correction period, with the only exceptions being:

  • Brushing of teeth
  • Eating 
  • Replacing them with new bands

The reason is simple, the longer you keep the elastics on, the more time they have to ensure sufficient pressure on your teeth to move them into the desired alignment. This will help ensure your malocclusion (overbite, underbite, open bite, etc.) is corrected.

The less you wear them, the less effect there is, and the longer the treatment might take.

Can you wear Elastics with Invisalign?

At Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics, our doctors are experts in clear aligners and are able to correct any bite with either braces or Invisalign. For certain bites this necessitates using elastics while wearing your Invisalign clear aligners.

Want to Learn More?

Are you wondering if you will need elastics for your braces or Invisalign treatment or have any other questions about elastics for braces?

Schedule your complimentary consultation online with us at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics and we will help advise what would be the safest and most effective solution for you.

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Featured, Orthodontics

Underbite Correction Treatments: How to Fix an Underbite?

While social media and celebrities tend to portray picture-perfect smiles, the reality is that not many people are born naturally with such perfectly aligned teeth. 

While social media and celebrities tend to portray picture-perfect smiles, the reality is that not many people are born naturally with such perfectly aligned teeth. 

Many people are born with varying degrees of malocclusions – misaligned teeth.

The good news? With advanced medical technology, malocclusions can be easily corrected with the right orthodontic treatments!

In a previous article, we addressed the most common malocclusion – overbite – and how it can be treated with Invisalign or braces. In this blog, we will be focusing on another common dental condition – underbite.

What Is an Underbite?

As the name suggests, an underbite indicates a misalignment where the lower set of teeth protrudes more than the upper set of teeth.

In contrast, the ideal smile is one where both sets of teeth are aligned – with the top row slightly overlapping. 

Both underbites and overbites have significant gaps between the upper and lower teeth, resulting in poorer aesthetics and possible health complications.

Reasons That Cause an Underbite?

Much like the overbite, underbites could be caused by varying reasons, ranging from genes to poor dental habits as a child and adult, such as: 

  • Genetics determine the overall shape of your jaw and size of teeth – while there is nothing you can do to prevent this, it can be easily corrected in your later stage in life.
  • Prolonged thumb sucking or usage of pacifiers could cause the jaw to develop in a different direction.
  • Facial injuries that could affect jaw development 

Does An Underbite Cause Health Complications?

While mild underbites are rarely noticeable, severe cases tend to result in poor esthetics and cause more severe health problems. Hence our recommendation is always to get the condition diagnosed and treated early.

Some possible health complications related to underbites include:

  • Teeth chipping and breakages – due to the allowance between the two layers of teeth
  • Speech impairment 
  • Biting and chewing difficulties
  • Jaw pain and discomfort – could develop into arthritis and chronic pain
  • And many more

How to Fix an Underbite?

Underbite treatments like many other dental issues, vary depending on the severity of the underbite and the age of the patient. So, make sure to head to Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics to review your case and develop an appropriate plan for you.

Curious about the possible treatment methods? Here are some underbite correction treatments that we use::

  • Upper jaw expanders 
  • Braces or clear aligners with orthodontic elastics – suitable for most patients 
  • Tooth extraction – for moderate to severe cases 
  • Surgery – only for adults with severe cases 

Tip: Worried whether you may have an underbite problem? Get diagnosed and seek treatment early!

Looking to Correct Your Underbite?

Whatever your underbite concerns, there are plenty of treatments that are available to you. 

Want to learn more about how we can help correct your underbite? Drop us a message at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics for a free consultation to learn more about our recommended treatments to fix underbites.

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Featured, Gainesville Favorites

Gainesville, Virginia Favorites: Must-Try Weekend Activities as Shared by The Dunegan & Cole Team!

Wondering what to do in Gainesville, Virginia for the weekend? Whether you’re passing through or spending the weekend around town, Gainesville and the surrounding areas have so much to offer. The Dunegan & Cole team compiled our top recommendations of “Must-Try Weekend Activities”. Keep reading to find out more! 

Wondering what to do in Gainesville, Virginia for the weekend? Whether you’re passing through or spending the weekend around town, Gainesville and the surrounding areas have so much to offer. The Dunegan & Cole team compiled our top recommendations of “Must-Try Weekend Activities”. Keep reading to find out more! 

Explore The Great Outdoors

If you love the idea of unwinding in the great outdoors like our resident orthodontist David Cole, check out  Conway Robinson State Forest and the Manassas National Battlefield Park.

Whether you are a beginner or experienced hiker looking to explore new trails, the Conway Robinson State Forest offers an easy, dog-friendly 3.3-mile trail loop!   

Looking for a longer distance to hike, bike, or run? A simple 5-minute drive gets you to Manassas National Battlefield Park where there are more than 40 miles of trails for you to explore, guided tours by park rangers, and a museum to learn about the history of the park. 

A Day Out at the Promenade

If you’re more into shops and restaurants, head to the Promenade for a great day of shopping and fun! It’s our clinical assistants’, Lezy Pinedas and Ashley Ugarriza, favorite way to spend the weekend. 

With more than 120 shops and restaurants to choose from, there is always something new to check out at the Promenade. 

If you’re not a fan of shopping, here are three other activities our staff love to do there:

  • Working out at Onelife Fitness (Jyllian Gerrick, Clinical Coordinator)
  • Catch a movie at Regal Cinema (Kathi Reed, Treatment Coordinator)
  • Grabbing Yobe Frozen Yogurt (Tanya Jovel, Clinical Assistant)

Family Day at The Farm Brewery

Picked by Lorrie Butler (Clinical Assistant), Madeline Snider (Clinical Assistant), and our resident doctor Michael Dunegan, The Farm Brewery is a popular choice among our staff!

This brewery offers plenty of activities to keep adults and kids entertained! Pick from one of their many locally brewed beers, lounge around in their beer garden, enjoy live music, and watch the kids explore the playgrounds and outdoor areas.

What is Your Favorite Weekend Activity in Gainesville?

Is there something great that we missed? Share it with us on your next visit. We can’t wait to add more exciting activities to the list.

Stay tuned for more staff picks!

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Featured, Orthodontics

Overbite Correction Treatments: How to Fix an Overbite

When you think of a perfect smile, images of perfectly aligned teeth tend to come to mind. However, in reality, many adults and children are not born with an ideal set of teeth.

When you think of a perfect smile, images of perfectly aligned teeth tend to come to mind. However, in reality, many adults and children are not born with an ideal set of teeth. Malocclusions – the medical term for the misalignment of teeth – is a widespread phenomenon even in society today.

Fortunately, most of these malocclusions are easy to correct with the appropriate treatment. In this blog, we’ll be focusing specifically on one of the most common types of malocclusions that we treat – the overbite.

What Is an Overbite?

As the term suggests, an overbite describes a misalignment of teeth where the upper teeth overlap in front of the lower set of teeth.

The ideal smile involves the top teeth overlapping the bottom teeth, touching slightly for protective purposes. The problem only comes when there is a larger allowance in between. 

What Causes an Overbite?

While overbites can be genetic due to the shape and size of your jaw or teeth, there are things that you can do as a child or adult that could result in the development of an overbite over time.

Here are some habits that you should try to avoid preventing an overbite from developing:

  • Sucking on thumbs or pacifier use over prolonged periods can cause the back of the teeth to be pushed forward by the tongue, creating an overbite.
  • Habitual biting and chewing behaviors with nails or pencil end also push the teeth forward.
  • Teeth grinding.

Does An Overbite Cause Health Complications?

Apart from aesthetics, overbites could also extend to other possible health complications, so it’s essential to get treated as soon as possible. 

Some possible health complications related to overbites include:

  • Damage to teeth due to misalignment – with a gap between the two layers of teeth, the bottom layer of teeth is exposed and can be damaged more easily.
  • Jaw pain and discomfort while eating.
  • Cause sleep apnea due to the blockage of airflow.
  • Difficulty in maintaining teeth health resulting in poor dental hygiene and related issues.
  • And much more.

How to Fix an Overbite?

Are you interested in getting your overbite corrected? The first step is to visit an orthodontist who will review your case individually and come up with the best treatment plan for you.

Here are some possible overbite correction treatments that we use here at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics:

  • Removal of teeth to allow room for the teeth to become realigned
  • Growth modification gadgets such as expanders to help reposition the jaw (common in teenagers experiencing growth spurts)
  • Braces to slowly realign the teeth to correct the overbite and retainers to keep them in position once an ideal state is present.
  • Surgery for severe skeletal jaw issues (only recommended for adults)

Tip: Don’t wait until your overbite is causing you problems to seek treatment! For children, the earlier you get checked, the more straightforward the treatment will be! 

Are you interested to learn more about overbite correction?

Contact us at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics for a free consultation. Ask us anything about your overbite teeth and learn about our recommended treatments to fix overbites.

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Featured, Gainesville Favorites

Gainesville Virginia Favorites: Must-Visit Restaurants as Shared by The Dunegan & Cole Team!

Whether you’re passing through, just moved, or looking to become a tourist in your own town, the team at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics wants to share with you our local Gainesville, Virginia favorites in our newest blog series!

As a local business in the Gainesville, Virginia area, our team at Dunegan & Cole has had the opportunity to thoroughly explore everything from the local landmarks, restaurants to fun family activities!

Whether you’re passing through, just moved, or looking to become a tourist in your own town, the team at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics wants to share with you our local Gainesville, Virginia favorites in our newest blog series!

In this series, we poll our staff for their takes on “Must Visit Restaurants”!

Read on to learn more!

Jimbo’s Grill

Photo Courtesy of Uber Eats

A hot favorite staff choice, picked by Mary (our Office Manager), Cierra (our Treatment Coordinator), Jyllian (our Clinical Coordinator), Lorrie and Erica (our Clinical Assistants), and Michael Dunegan (one of our resident Doctors).

Jimbo’s Grill, affectionately known to the locals simply as Jimbo’s is a popular hangout for locals and visitors alike! 

Part quintessential sports bar and part casual dining restaurant, Jimbo’s serves up amazing classic American fare (from hearty breakfasts, sandwiches, chips, steak to wings, and more), drinks, and a fun atmosphere throughout the day!

Wondering what you should pick from the menu? Mary and Erica both agree that they have some of the best wings around, so that definitely should not be missed!

Location: 7901 Heritage Village Plaza, Gainesville, VA 20155

Tel: (571) 248-0752

La Finca Mexican Restaurant

Photo Courtesy of Yelp

A personal favorite of David Cole (one of our resident Doctors)

Even though it has been open only a short while (early 2021), La Finca has already worked its way into the hearts and minds of local foodies – just ask Dr. Cole who could not stop raving to us about the great ambiance and amazing food!

As a Mexican-themed restaurant, you can expect regular favorites from tacos, fajitas, chimichangas, burritos as well as many other authentic flavorful Mexican dishes served up in large  portions.

Now you know where to get your Mexican fix whenever you are in town!

Location: 7615 Heritage Village Plaza, Gainesville, VA 20155

Tel: (571) 261-9259

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

Photo Courtesy of BJ’s Brewhouse

Kathi Reed, our treatment Coordinator shares her favorite steak place in town!

Go for their award-winning handcrafted beer and stay for their awesome food!

Can’t decide on what to have for a meal? BJ’s famously extensive food and drinks menu that ranges from pizzas, soups, and salads, a wide variety of entrees, different kinds of pasta, burgers, sandwiches, wines, handcrafted beer, draft beer, and more. Bj’s is bound to be able to settle any cravings you might have.

Location: 13930 Promenade Commons St., Gainesville, VA 20155

Tel: (571) 222-6950

Which Are Your Personal Favorite Restaurants in Gainesville Virginia?

Other staff picks include:

  • Firebirds (Whitney Legue, Business Assistant)
  • Uncle Julios (Brenda Ramos, Business Assistant)
  • Pizza NY Margherita (Lezy Pineda, Clinical Assistant)
  • Rockwood (Tanya Jovel, Clinical Assistant)
  • The Bone (Madeline Snider, Clinical Assistant)
  • Chick Fil A (Ashley Ugarriza, Clinical Assistant)

Is our list missing out on your personal favorite? Let us know on your next visit! We absolutely cannot wait to try out even more exciting food around the area!

Stay tuned for more staff picks coming soon! 

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Featured, Orthodontics

Q&A With a Gainesville VA Orthodontist: What’s The Difference Between a Dentist and Orthodontist?

If you’re looking for a professional for your dental needs but are feeling unsure whether to visit a dentist or orthodontist, we have put together this helpful guide to clear up any misconceptions and to share more information about these two seemingly similar but different professions!

If you’re looking for a professional for your dental needs but are feeling unsure whether to visit a dentist or orthodontist, we have put together this helpful guide to clear up any misconceptions and to share more information about these two seemingly similar but different professions! Read on to learn more about how our Gainesville, VA doctors can help you. 

Different Training

Both dentists and orthodontists begin their study of dental care together – spending up to 4 years of undergraduate school followed by four years of dental school. After graduation, they need to pass a final written and clinical exam to get a license to practice as licensed dentists.

That is where the similarities end. 

Orthodontics is a particular specialty that focuses on jaw alignment and movement of teeth. This requires further studies that go beyond general dentistry. Believe it or not, orthodontists undergo an additional 2 to 3 years of studies in the specialized orthodontic field compared to a peer in general dentistry.

An orthodontist can then go through a board-certification process. This is a voluntary credential that represents a distinct level of achievement and goes beyond state-required licensure. This includes additional education, ongoing assessment, and indicates that an orthodontic specialist is providing lifelong quality patient care. Only about 30% of orthodontists are board-certified.

The Role of a Dentist

Dentists are the professionals you go to for your regular 6 monthly oral health checkups, teeth cleaning, and polishing. 

Regular visits to your dentist can help them identify and treat most general oral health issues ranging from tooth decay, extractions, teeth whitening, gum disease, root canals, and more.

Should they come across more complex dental problems during your checkup, they will likely refer you to a specialist for further treatment.

The Role of an Orthodontist

In contrast, orthodontists are specialists who focus on the study of the alignment of jaws and teeth for a better bite and smile.

As a result, visits to an orthodontist would be most suitable if you are looking to resolve the following dental issues:

  • Correct your teeth alignment
  • Protruding teeth
  • Adjust the spaces between your teeth
  • Adjust an unnatural bite (over or underbite)
  • Jaw issues
  • Trauma or accidents that affect the tooth or jaw

Unlike general dentists, orthodontists have specialized corrective devices to help them with the above dental issues – ranging from braces, aligners, and more.

When to Visit a Dentist or Orthodontist?

Still uncertain about which you should be visiting? Here’s a simple breakdown of the situations when you should be visiting each professional:

Go see a dentist when:

  • You have a toothache 
  • You have wisdom tooth problems
  • You need to do a filling 
  • Looking for cosmetic veneers or bonding
  • Or you need your regular dental checkup

Go see an orthodontist when:

  • You want to correct your smile or jaw alignment
  • You had an accident that affected your teeth and jaw
  • You have an orthodontic device (e.g., braces or aligner) that needs to be adjusted or replaced

We’re Here To Help


Did you know that Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics was recently named the best orthodontist in Prince William? Dr. Dunegan and Dr. Cole are both board-certified orthodontists. You can rest assured that our team at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics is here to help you find the right solution for your orthodontic needs!Drop us a call to learn more at 703.753.4996 or book free consultation online.

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Featured, Retainers

Why Your Teeth Could be Shifting After Braces or Invisalign Treatment

If you are one of the many who has had Invisalign or braces or are thinking of having one of these treatments done, you’re likely hoping that this investment will help your teeth stay straight for the long term.

If you are one of the many who has had Invisalign or braces or are thinking of having one of these treatments done, you’re likely hoping that this investment will help your teeth stay straight for the long term. However, you may be surprised to learn that many patients experience teeth shifting after completing treatment.  In this blog, we will share some of the reasons why your teeth could be shifting after treatment, how to maintain your new smile, and the importance of consistent retainer usage. 

Why your Teeth Could Be Shifting

Whether your treatment lasted for several months or several years, starting to see your teeth shift is never a good feeling. Many of the causes of shifting can be prevented. Check out some of the most common reasons for shifting below:

  1. Teeth Grinding– Or also known as Bruxism, is a very destructive habit that can cause damage to your teeth and cause them to shift. Talk to your orthodontist on ways to prevent this, like using a nightguard. 
  2. Tooth Loss– If you lose or extract a tooth after treatment, other teeth will have more space to move around. See your orthodontist or dentist to learn how you can take preventative measures against this.
  3. Aging– As you get older, your lower jaw grows forward and becomes more narrow which can cause your teeth to shift and become overcrowded over time slowly. 
  4. Damage – Be sure not to purposefully cause any damage to your teeth after treatment. Avoid using your teeth as a bottle opener, chewing ice, and biting your nails. 
  5. Inconsistent Retainer Usage – Inconsistent retainer wear is the most common reason why we see our patient’s teeth shift after braces treatment. After treatment is complete, we recommend wearing your retainer every night while sleeping. We offer several different retainer options to ensure that our patients keep their perfect smiles as long as possible. 

Why are Retainers so Important? 

Retainers are the best way to maintain your smile! Your teeth are surrounded by tiny ligaments which attach to the jaw in your bone. When the braces or Invisalign rearrange your teeth and move them, it stretches these threads as well, similar to a rubber band. Without retainers, your ligaments eventually pull back to their former position with the help of your cheeks and tongue. So, do not let your hard work and time spent wearing braces go to waste! Make sure you are wearing your retainers for as long as your orthodontist recommends. If you feel as though your teeth continue to shift even though you are wearing your retainer religiously, check with your orthodontist to have your retainer adjusted. Remember to brush and floss daily and limit the soda and sugar intake—schedule regular exams with your dentist and orthodontist. 

If you have more questions about retainer wear, braces, or Invisalign treatment, our board-certified orthodontists are here to help. Give us a call or book your complimentary consultation today

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Featured, Retainers

Everything You Need to Know About Orthodontic Retainers

Our teeth are a vitally important part of our lives. That means brushing and flossing, regular cleanings and checkups at the dentist, and getting braces or Invisalign as needed are an absolute must. 

Our teeth are a vitally important part of our lives. That means brushing and flossing, regular cleanings and checkups at the dentist, and getting braces or Invisalign as needed are an absolute must. 

For those of us who’ve had to deal with braces or Invisalign treatment, there’s one other thing we have to add to the list: wearing a retainer. Almost ready for yours, or just want to learn more about the entire process? Here are the basics you should know.

What is a Retainer?

If you’ve heard the word before but aren’t entirely sure exactly what it is, you’re not alone. To clear things up, a retainer is a custom-made dental device typically made from plastic or wires that hold realigned teeth in position, so they won’t revert to where they were before treatment. This means that all who have had certain surgeries, braces, or Invisalign will also have to wear a retainer. After all, you don’t want all of that time and money to go to waste! 

In many ways, retainers are very similar to Invisalign trays. The differences, however, lie in the details. Retainers have a slightly differing design featuring a thicker plastic and higher rigidity. While these aren’t as comfortable as Invisalign trays, always be sure to wear your retainer as prescribed. Your doctor really does know best!

Main Types of Retainers

Dunegan Cole Orthodontics offers several different retainer options to choose from. Both serve the same purpose, but each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a quick breakdown of each one to get you better acquainted:

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers are the most common form of retainer. These molded trays can be popped in and out for meal times and are expected to be worn around 12-ish hours a day or at least overnight to keep teeth nice and straight. Within these are two distinct kinds:

  1. Vacuum form retainer – A VFR uses a regular horseshoe shape that fits snugly over your teeth. These days, they’re almost always clear and are much more aesthetically pleasing since they’re mostly invisible. They’re also usually comfier and less bulky. On the downside, though, they do tend to wear out quicker than other forms of retainers, particularly for compulsive teeth grinders. 
  2. Hawley retainer – Unlike a VFR, a Hawley retainer forms to the roof/floor of your mouth and attached with a wire that slips over the front of your teeth. This allows for greater adjustment and durability. However, they’re far less attractive and make talking and swallowing more difficult than their counterparts. 

Permanent Retainers

The most common type of permanent retainer is a fixed lingual retainer, a wire semi-permanently fixed to the back of your teeth. These are only removed by your dentist and are usually primarily recommended for those with especially complex teeth problems like excessive rotation, crowding, or gaps. 

These dental devices are nice as they’re surprisingly comfortable, and you don’t have to think about taking them in and out. But they’re also tricky to clean, and breakage can require immediate orthodontic attention. 

How Often Should You Wear Them?

As you might anticipate, there is no one answer to this question. How often you wear your retainer will be entirely up to the discretion of your orthodontist, and their decision will be influenced by a number of factors, including your age, teeth condition, overall dental health, your braces/Invisalign experience, and more. Some will wear it nightly for a year, some for several, and some for the foreseeable future. It all depends on how your teeth adapt to treatment. 
If you’d like to learn more about retainers or are ready to get started with your smile journey, book your complimentary consultation with our board-certified orthodontists today!

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Braces, Featured

Braces 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

With nearly 5 million Americans receiving treatment at any given time, braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatments available. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment with traditional braces, here is a quick guide on everything you need to know to get started.

With nearly 5 million Americans receiving treatment at any given time, braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatments available. 

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment with traditional braces, here is a quick guide on everything you need to know to get started. 

What Are Dental Braces For?
One of the key benefits of wearing braces is to help correct the patient’s bite by realigning their smile’s natural position. Both traditional and lingual braces (braces behind the teeth) work by slowly moving teeth into their ideal positions over time. 

When Should You Start Wearing Braces?
You should schedule a consultation with your local orthodontist to get a comprehensive understanding of your dental needs. If required, they will recommend a suitable treatment plan for your smile. Many patients receive treatment beginning in their early teen years, however, depending on the severity of the patient’s dental needs, treatment may begin earlier or later. 

The Benefits of Braces 
Improving self-esteem and gaining confidence from a better smile is one of the main reasons people opt to get braces. 

However, beyond pure cosmetic reasons, braces also help to correct a multitude of other health issues like:

  • Improvement of speech impairment
  • Reduced cavities and gum disease
  • Decrease issues of teeth grinding
  • Minimization of injury from overbites or protruding teeth
  • Overall enhancement of oral health
  • And more…

Additionally, compared to the past, there are now a wide variety of dental braces available to choose from. If you’re worried about the way metal braces look, depending on the complexity of your condition some orthodontists can offer other options like ceramic braces or Invisalign.

The Cons of Braces 
Like most medical treatments, braces require some slight adjustments to your normal ways of life, these include:

Adjusting Your Diet
Depending on the type of treatment that you choose, your orthodontist will recommend to avoid certain types of foods (typically sticky and hard food) to avoid breaking or ruining your braces during treatment. 

This requires quite some commitment, but it is definitely worth it in the end. 

Keeping Up with Your Dental Routine
Having braces may make it a little more challenging to upkeep your dental routine but it is critical that you do, to avoid tooth decay issues down the road.

Brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly after every meal to avoid trapped food in the wires, brackets, or gaps is one essential step we recommend to all of our patients. 

Follow our tips here!

Have other questions about braces?
At Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics, we offer a wide range of dental braces to suit your needs. 

Learn more about how we can help you on your journey to correct your smile – give us a call at 703.753.4777 or request a complimentary consultation online.

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Featured, Invisalign

Is the Cost of Invisalign Worth It?

Clear aligner systems like Invisalign are an increasingly popular alternative to metal braces. After all, Invisalign is less noticeable, more comfortable, and requires less maintenance than conventional braces.

Clear aligner systems like Invisalign are an increasingly popular alternative to metal braces. After all, Invisalign is less noticeable, more comfortable, and requires less maintenance than conventional braces. 

When helping our clients decide which treatment option is right for them, one of the most common questions we receive is, “How much does Invisalign cost?”. Read more to learn helpful information you need to know before deciding whether it is a worthwhile investment for your smile!

The Average Cost of Invisalign

According to the latest findings by the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, the average cost of Invisalign treatments in the U.S is $6,000. However, every patient and treatment plan is unique, and your doctor will provide you with your cost based on your treatment needs and complexity. Dunegan & Cole makes it easy to estimate your costs by providing a cost calculator

What Factors Determine the Cost?

So, what exactly could affect the cost of your Invisalign treatment? Here are some factors to consider:

The Complexity of Dental Issues

A variety of pre-existing dental issues can become a factor that influences the final cost of your Invisalign treatment. For example, if your situation requires extractions to allow for more space to correct overcrowded teeth, additional fees are required for the procedure and a longer treatment time. Conversely, minor alignments will require a shorter duration, resulting in a lower price. 

Pre-Treatment & Aftercare Expenses

The quotes for a similar Invisalign treatment may vary from specialist to specialist, depending on whether they have included the pre-treatment and aftercare expenses that are commonly required for a complete treatment. Dunegan & Cole

Experience of The Orthodontist

The difference in costs for Invisalign treatments between various providers can also depend on the orthodontist’s experience overseeing the treatment plan. Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics is proud to be one of the only Invisalign Diamond Plus providers in Northern Virginia. This distinction is Invisalign’s way of recognizing that our doctors are in the top 1% of all Invisalign providers in North America. Dunegan & Cole brings this expertise to its 400+ Invisalign patients per year.

Is Invisalign Worth the Price?

This all depends on which treatment plan is right for your smile. However, Invisalign offers competitive pricing and several other benefits, as shown above.

If you decide to invest in your smile with Invisalign, at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics, we are happy to help you figure out a suitable financing plan for your treatment plan

Want to get started or simply want to learn more? Give us a call at 703.753.4777 or request a complimentary consultation online.

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Featured, Retainers

How Long Do I Need to Wear My Retainer?

Congratulations on your new smile! If you have just gotten your braces removed or have just completed your Invisalign journey, your orthodontist has likely given you a retainer. One of our most frequently asked questions by our patients is – how long do I need to wear my retainer?

Congratulations on your new smile! If you have just gotten your braces removed or have just completed your Invisalign journey, your orthodontist has likely given you a retainer. One of our most frequently asked questions by our patients is – how long do I need to wear my retainer?

Read on for a simple explanation on how retainers work, and why you should be disciplined in wearing them post-treatment! 

Why Is A Retainer Necessary?

Our teeth alignment is constantly shifting throughout our life. Our chewing habits, grinding teeth, tooth decay, and even aging are a few of many possible reasons that result in the shifting of our teeth

Wearing a retainer that keeps the teeth in the correct position is essential to prevent them from getting misaligned again. It is so important to take these preventative measures to ensure that you won’t have to go through another round of braces or Invisalign. 

Choosing Your Retainer

The good news is, like braces, there are different kinds of retainers you can choose from to suit your lifestyle. 

  1. Permanent or Bonded Retainers: 

    Permanent or bonded retainers are permanently adhered to the back of your teeth to fix them in their existing straightened alignments. The upside? They are not visible like braces and you don’t need to fuss about taking them out when eating. This type of retainer can last for years and is a great option for those who often forget to wear their retainer. 

  2. Removable Metal Retainers

    These retainers are usually made of plastic or acrylic and an accompanying wireframe that holds the teeth in a fixed position. The benefits? It is removable, does not stain easily, and can last for a few years before replacement.

  3. Removable Clear Plastic Retainers

    These are simple plastic retainers molded to the shape of your teeth set that can be easily removed during meals. Our patients love these retainers for their invisibility and comfort. 

Phases of Wearing A Retainer

Wondering how frequently and how long you need to wear your retainers? Here is a simple breakdown of the common phases you will go through: 

Phase 1 ( 2 years):

After completing your braces or Invisalign treatment, you will need to wear your retainer 8-10 hours a night at bedtime for up to 2 years. If you can not wear them in your sleep, wear them 8-10 hours per day.

Phase 2 (Maintenance):

Going forward, most orthodontists would still recommend that you continue with regular retainer wear. While after a few years the bones around your teeth help to keep the new positions in place, there are still chances it can slowly shift over time.

Want your smile to last a lifetime? We would recommend you continue to wear your retainers 3-5 times every week just to keep them in the right place.

Ready to Learn More?

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Gainesville, VA, contact us today to get started on your smile journey! 

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Featured, Invisalign

What Can You Eat or Drink with Invisalign?

Are you wondering if the eating restrictions for traditional braces apply for the revolutionary Invisalign clear aligners too? The short answer is no, you do not have to restrict yourself to a soft food diet that people with braces have to adhere strictly to.

Are you wondering if the eating restrictions for traditional braces apply for the revolutionary Invisalign clear aligners too? The short answer is no, you do not have to restrict yourself to a soft food diet that people with braces have to adhere strictly to. 

However, that is not to say you should go crazy with your choice of food and beverages or do not have to make some slight changes to your routine while in treatment. After all, ensuring that your Invisalign trays are well maintained is essential for an effective process.

To help patients new to the Invisalign process, here are some simple guidelines you can follow to ensure you get the most out of your treatment.

Always Remove Your Invisalign Aligners Before Eating or Drinking
While you can mostly still eat and drink what you want, one important reminder is to ensure you remove your aligners before every meal.

Why? The chewing pressure of your teeth can cause damage to your aligners over time if you leave them in while eating, while colored beverages like coffee, wine, and juices can cause stains as well. 

To avoid cracked, damaged, or discolored trays, we recommend you take them out before consuming any meal or beverage.

The only exception is plain drinking water. It is fine to leave your retainers in since it will not stain the aligners.

Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal
Since your aligners are in your mouth most of the time apart from mealtimes, you want to make sure that they do not trap unwanted food particles and bacteria while in your mouth. 

The best way to avoid such a situation? Brush and floss your teeth after every meal to ensure that your aligners are covering clean and healthy teeth.

Types of Food and Drinks to Avoid
While the benefit of the removable nature of Invisalign aligners is that you can continue to indulge in your favorite food and drinks, there are still some types of food and drinks we would recommend you avoid during your treatment.

Super-hot or cold beverages 
Try to consume room temperature beverages since super-hot or cold drinks can cause the distortion and warping of your aligner trays – affecting your treatment.

Dark Colored Beverages 
Even without braces, dark-colored drinks like coffee and wine are top culprits for staining teeth. With aligners in place, it is only encouraging the staining process if the liquids are trapped between the aligner and your teeth for a long period.

Hard, Sticky, and Chewy Food
Nuts, jawbreakers, and veggie sticks are types of hard food that could apply enough pressure to move your teeth in unplanned directions or even cause cracks in them. As you can imagine, that would set back your treatment quite a bit, so make sure to avoid that.

Sticky and chewy food, on the other hand, can stick to the surfaces of your teeth causing an unwanted build-up of plaque and tartar over time. If you are not diligent in brushing your teeth after every such snack, you could be setting up yourself for tooth decay in the long run.

Have More Questions About Our Invisalign Treatment? 
Check out our helpful guides and tips over on our blog! 

Ready to start treatment? Dunegan & Cole is a Diamond Plus Invisalign Provider. Call today to get started 703.753.4996 or request a complimentary consultation online!

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Featured, News

Announcing The New Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics

We’re excited to announce the new Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics! Along with the addition of our newest Orthodontist, Dr. David Cole, we also have a brand new look.

We’re excited to announce the new Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics! Along with the addition of our newest Orthodontist, Dr. David Cole, we also have a brand new look. 

Our new unified name, brand, and website were created with our patients in mind as we continue to serve as Gainesville’s premier orthodontic experience.

Our patients are our top priority at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics. Our goal for each patient is individualized attention and a customized treatment plan. We want you to feel comfortable with our hometown atmosphere while knowing that you’re receiving high-quality and cutting-edge treatment. 

We strive to follow the Golden Rule in serving as your care provider, that is, to treat you exactly how we would want to be treated.

More about Dr. David Cole

Dr. David Cole is a board-certified 3rd generation orthodontist who specializes in smile esthetics and clear aligner therapy. Dr. David Cole grew up in the Allegheny mountains in Ridgway, PA – very close to where Dr. Dunegan grew up. He comes from a family of dentists and dental specialists and had the amazing opportunity to see how dentistry and orthodontics could impact lives from a young age. 

Dr. Cole graduated at the top of his class from Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, after completing undergrad at Grove City College. He went on to specialize in Orthodontics at the prestigious MCV in Richmond, VA. He is one of few orthodontists certified by the American Board of Orthodontists. Like Dr Dunegan, he is passionate about people and providing outstanding care to his patients.  

In his free time, Dr. Cole enjoys spending time with wife and 4 young kids, serving at his local church, traveling, running, listening to audiobooks, playing fantasy football, exploring local breweries, and watching Disney/Pixar movies with his kids.

Ready to start your smile journey? Book a complimentary consultation to learn more about the perfect treatment plan for you.

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Braces, Featured, Invisalign

Invisalign Vs. Traditional Braces – What Should I Do?

Invisalign Vs. Traditional Braces – What Do I Do? This is a question that we get daily as we consult with patients on the treatments available to achieve that perfect smile. It’s no wonder…a great smile can go a long way.

Scientific research suggests that people who smile are perceived as more attractive and confident than those who do not flash their pearly whites. When it comes time to invest in orthodontics to improve your beautiful smile, choosing the best option can be daunting. Comparing Invisalign to traditional braces is a great way to determine what orthodontics make most sense for your unique smile.

How is Invisalign Different?

Unlike traditional braces, in which brackets are affixed onto each tooth and connected by wires, Invisalign corrects orthodontic problems using multiple sets of clear trays. These trays are specially formed to fit your teeth, allowing you to wear them 24/7.

Aesthetics

One of the primary advantages of Invisalign is that the clear trays are nearly invisible. Particularly for adults self-conscious about appearing professional with traditional braces, Invisalign can correct orthodontic issues without capturing the notice of others. Their nearly invisible appearance is one of the topmost reasons that orthodontic patients choose Invisalign.

The complexity of the Orthodontic Problem

Invisalign works well for people who have relatively minor problems, such as crooked teeth or small gaps in between teeth. For more complex problems, particular issues with bite or vertical problems (i.e., one tooth being significantly higher than another), traditional braces may be better at pulling teeth into alignment.

Eating and Drinking

Invisalign trays are removable, meaning that you cannot eat or drink while wearing them. Unlike traditional braces, however, you are not limited to the food you can eat. Chewy, sticky, or hard foods may be eaten, provided that you brush your teeth before reinserting the Invisalign trays.

In the end, only can weigh the pros and cons of Invisalign versus traditional braces. Consult with us here at Dunegan & Cole to understand how these orthodontic interventions may work for your unique situation. Schedule a complimentary consultation today to find out if you or your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment.

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