Posts for tag: orthodontics

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
August 26, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics  

Orthodontic treatment has many benefits for adults. Braces and other orthodontic methods are often known for creating beautiful, straight smiles, but have several other benefits as well. For instance, orthodontics can contribute to better oral health and alleviate jaw tension and discomfort. We offer orthodontics at our Marion, AR, dental office. Dr. Wayne Cook can recommend the right orthodontic treatment for you.

Orthodontic Treatment

Conventional braces are a highly effective and reliable orthodontic treatment for straightening crooked teeth, correcting spacing issues, and realigning bites. Some of the issues that can be addressed with braces include:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Overcrowding
  • Excess space between teeth
  • Jaw problems
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites

Braces utilize brackets, bands, and wires to gently exert pressure on the teeth and move them in the desired direction. The brackets are cemented to the front teeth, while bands are placed around the molars. Wire strips or bands connect the brackets and bands to one another. Traditionally, brackets have been made of metal, but ceramic is also an option. Ceramic braces tend to be more discreet as the brackets blend in with the teeth. Another discreet option is lingual braces, which involves placing the brackets on the backside of the teeth.

Treatment with braces takes about two years on average. However, adult patients tend to wear braces slightly longer than that to achieve the desired results. Once braces are removed, most patients need to wear a retainer for a period of time to ensure the teeth remain in their new position. We can treat a wide range of issues with orthodontics at our Marion, AR, dental office.

Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment for adults delivers numerous benefits. Orthodontics can improve the appearance of your smile by straightening teeth, closing gaps, alleviating overcrowding, and correcting bite misalignment.

Orthodontics can also contribute to better oral health. Teeth that are crooked or crowded together create places for bacteria and food particles to hide, which can lead to infection, decay, or the development of gum disease. When teeth are no longer crooked or crowded together, there are fewer places for bacteria and food to hide or become trapped. Additionally, brushing and flossing are much easier so you can maintain better oral hygiene.

Another benefit of orthodontics is that persistent jaw tension and discomfort can be alleviated by correcting a misaligned bite. Jaw tension can occur when the top and bottom rows of teeth are not in proper alignment. In addition to causing discomfort, jaw tension can also lead to headaches. Correcting bite alignment helps minimize or eliminate these symptoms by reducing jaw tension and strain.

The benefits of orthodontics are numerous. Orthodontics can help you achieve the smile you desire, while also promoting better oral health. For orthodontics in Marion, AR, schedule a consultation with Dr. Cook by calling our dental practice at 870-739-8799.

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
March 14, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

Sometimes it seems that appearances count for everything—especially in Hollywood. But just recently, Lonnie Chaviz, the 10-year-old actor who plays young Randall on the hit TV show This Is Us, delivered a powerful message about accepting differences in body image. And the whole issue was triggered by negative social media comments about his smile.

Lonnie has a noticeable diastema—that is, a gap between his two front teeth; this condition is commonly seen in children, but is less common in adults. There are plenty of celebrities who aren’t bothered by the excess space between their front teeth, such as Michael Strahan, Lauren Hutton and Vanessa Paradis. However, there are also many people who choose to close the gap for cosmetic or functional reasons.

Unfortunately, Lonnie had been on the receiving end of unkind comments about the appearance of his smile. But instead of getting angry, the young actor posted a thoughtful reply via Instagram video, in which he said: “I could get my gap fixed. Braces can fix this, but like, can you fix your heart, though?”

Lonnie is raising an important point: Making fun of how someone looks shows a terrible lack of compassion. Besides, each person’s smile is uniquely their own, and getting it “fixed” is a matter of personal choice. It’s true that in most circumstances, if the gap between the front teeth doesn’t shrink as you age and you decide you want to close it, orthodontic appliances like braces can do the job. Sometimes, a too-big gap can make it more difficult to eat and to pronounce some words. In other situations, it’s simply a question of aesthetics—some like it; others would prefer to live without it.

There’s a flip side to this issue as well. When teeth need to be replaced, many people opt to have their smile restored just the way it was, rather than in some “ideal” manner. That could mean that their dentures are specially fabricated with a space between the front teeth, or the crowns of their dental implants are spaced farther apart than they normally would be. For these folks, the “imperfection” is so much a part of their unique identity that changing it just seems wrong.

So if you’re satisfied with the way your smile looks, all you need to do is keep up with daily brushing and flossing, and come in for regular checkups and cleanings to keep it healthy and bright. If you’re unsatisfied, ask us how we could help make it better. And if you need tooth replacement, be sure to talk to us about all of your options—teeth that are regular and “Hollywood white;” teeth that are natural-looking, with minor variations in color and spacing; and teeth that look just like the smile you’ve always had.

Because when it comes to your smile, we couldn’t agree more with what Lonnie Chaviz said at the end of his video: “Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. Do you. Be you. Believe in yourself.”

If you have questions about cosmetic dentistry, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
September 19, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   orthodontics  

Wondering whether you or your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment?braces

When children’s permanent teeth start to come in it can be obvious whether they need braces or not. Of course, it isn’t always that easy to tell. This is why it’s a great idea to visit our Marion, AR, family dentist, Dr. Wayne Cook, for an orthodontic assessment.

So, when is the best age to visit our Marion dentist to find out if braces are the best option for your child? There is no perfect age, but if you are bringing them in for routine cleanings and exams every six months then we can often determine whether they should get braces early on when baby teeth are still present or whether braces may be a better option once permanent teeth have fully erupted.

Of course, here are some of the telltale signs that your child may need braces:

  • Baby teeth that fall out too early or too late
  • Teeth or jaws that do not properly align
  • Crooked, twisted or protruding teeth
  • Crowding or gaps between teeth

Most of these issues are genetic, which means that there is nothing you can do to prevent these misalignments and other dental problems from happening. Of course, there are certain factors such as thumb sucking, injuries or a poor diet that can also contribute to these problems.

What is the most common age to get braces?

This will really depend on the issues we need to address as well as other factors but it’s common for children between the ages of 8 to 14 to have braces. Of course, this doesn’t mean that anyone over the age of 14 can’t benefit from getting braces.

On the contrary, more and more adults are turning to braces to get their smiles back and you could, too. There are many new orthodontic treatments out there that offer adults a way to get a straighter smile later in life. No one is ever too old for braces.

It never hurts to sit down and discuss your orthodontic treatment options here in Marion, AR. Whether you think your child could benefit from braces or you want to find out about adult orthodontic options, we are here to serve you. Call us today to learn more!


Wearing braces isn't just for teenagers — straightening teeth can be just as viable a need when you're an adult. For example, it may be necessary to first move teeth away from an empty tooth socket before you obtain a dental implant or other restoration.

But braces could have complications, especially if you have periodontal (gum) disease. These infections caused by plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles, inflame and weaken gum tissues and erode supporting bone. It can be treated and brought under control — but keeping it under control requires daily brushing and flossing, along with frequent office cleanings and checkups.

Braces can make this more difficult: it's harder to brush and floss effectively through the hardware of brackets and wires, which can give plaque a chance to build up. Patients susceptible to gum disease are more likely to have re-infections while wearing braces. The hardware can also cause enamel to come in prolonged contact with acid, which can dissolve its mineral content and open the door to tooth decay.

Clear aligners are an alternative to braces that can accomplish tooth movement while minimizing infection flare-ups for people with gum disease. Aligners are a series of customized clear plastic trays worn over the teeth, with each succeeding tray incrementally moving the teeth further than the preceding one. After wearing one tray for a specified time period, you then switch to the next tray. The teeth gradually move to the desired new position over the course of the aligner series.

This option is especially advantageous for gum disease patients because the trays can be removed temporarily for brushing and flossing. There are also other benefits: we can hide a missing tooth space with a temporary false tooth attached to the aligner; and, they're nearly invisible so it won't be obvious to others you're undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Not all orthodontic situations benefit from this alternative, while some cases may call for a combination approach between aligners and braces. But in the right setting, clear aligners are a good choice for not only obtaining better teeth position, but also helping you avoid a new encounter with dental disease.

If you would like more information on orthodontic treatments for adult teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.

He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”

Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.

There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.

The Science Behind the Magic

There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.

The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.

How’s that for a disappearing act?!

If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

Marion, AR Family Dentist
Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
303 Bancario Rd.Suite 7
Marion, AR 72364
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