Minnesotaorthodontist's Blog


Minnesota Orthodontist Discusses Orthodontic Treatment

Minnesota Orthodontist Discusses Common Misconceptions About Orthodontic Treatment

An orthodontist is a person who specializes in the growth and development of the teeth and jaws. The field of orthodontics is an officially recognized specialty of the American Dental Association (ADA). Did you know that orthodontists have 2-3 years more education beyond dental school? An orthodontist is an experienced, highly trained expert who understands the form, function, and esthetics of a beautiful smile.

Many people wrongly assume that orthodontic treatment is just for children. However, 20-25% of orthodontic patients are adults! Zapfel Orthodontics offers many types of appliances and treatment methods, which is appealing to many adults. We offer Invisalign and clear ceramic braces, which fits the lifestyles of many of our patients.

One common misconception is that braces hurt. Braces are like breaking in a pair of new shoes; there is an initial period of getting used to the braces. When braces or Invisalign aligners are first placed in the mouth, the teeth may ache or be tender, and the lips and cheeks may be sore for a few days. Once your mouth is used to the braces, however, it is uncommon to have much discomfort associated with braces.

Some people think that orthodontists only correct severe or complex orthodontic cases. Orthodontists are trained to recognize and differentiate the simple cases from the complex cases. If a case is complex, an orthodontist has been trained to know what to do.

For other common misconceptions about orthodontists and orthodontic treatment, please visit the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) website at braces.org.

For More Information

Please call (763) 784-0420 or visit www.ZapfelOrthodontics.com for more information or to schedule a complimentary initial examination and x-ray. Zapfel Orthodontics is located at 1130 NE County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park, MN 55432 and serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Roseville, Anoka, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, and Mounds View, Minnesota.



Minnesota Orthodontist Discusses Teeth Whitening

Bleaching Tips for Patients with Braces

After orthodontic treatment, a number of patients choose to have their teeth whitened. Tooth whitening, or bleaching, is a safe, effective way to improve natural tooth color. As we age, teeth can darken. Teeth can also be stained from exposure to certain environmental factors such as certain foods, drinks or habits. Some common things that stain or discolor teeth include red wine, smoking, coffee, and some types of medications.

If you are interested in bleaching your teeth, here are some things to keep in mind:

– There are different types of bleaching systems. Some bleaching systems are available over the counter. Typically, the most effective bleaching systems are custom made by your dentist or orthodontist to specifically fit your teeth.
– If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, the general recommendation is to bleach your teeth after orthodontic treatment is complete. Depending on what type of bleaching you do, the trays may not fit and the bleach not work as effectively as possible if you are still having orthodontic treatment.
– Restorations that you have (including silver, gold, or tooth colored fillings and crowns) will not change shade via bleaching. If you are planning to have restorative work done after orthodontic treatment, it is best to bleach before the restorations are done so they will be made to match your new, whiter tooth color.
– Though bleaching is a safe and effective way to lighten the shade of your teeth, some patients may experience tooth sensitivity. If you have sensitive teeth after bleaching, you may decrease the frequency of bleaching treatment or ask your dental provider for a less concentrated bleaching formula. Your dental provider may also be able to treat dental sensitivity with a separate procedure.

For more information about bleaching or other procedures that Zapfel Orthodontics offers, please visit our website or call for an appointment.

For More Information

Please call (763) 784-0420 or visit www.ZapfelOrthodontics.com for more information or to schedule a complimentary initial examination and x-ray. Zapfel Orthodontics is located at 1130 NE County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park, MN 55432 and serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Roseville, Anoka, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, and Mounds View, Minnesota.



Twin Cities Orthodontist Discusses Tips on Dealing with Jaw Pain

Coon Rapids Orthodontist Discusses TMJ Pain and Dysfunction

Many people, either with or without braces, may experience some degree of pain or clicking in their temporomandibular joints (also known as jaw joints, or TMJs).  Often, painful symptoms can be exacerbated by clenching or grinding, or overuse of the jaw joints (such as excessive gum chewing), or by traumatic injury.

Many mild cases of tempormandibular dysfunction (TMD) can be helped with home care instructions.  Below is a list of things a person could do that may relieve jaw pain.  Please note, this information is not a substitute for a comprehensive exam or treatment by a healthcare professional:

  1. Stay on a pain-free diet.  This means that you may eat whatever you normally would eat, but stay away from foods that cause jaw pain.
  2. Take Ibuprofen if needed to relieve pain and inflammation.  You may take a normal headache dose, or up to 600mg (3 tablets) every six hours if needed.
  3. Apply a moist heat or cold compress to the painful areas of your jaw, whichever feels better.
  4. Limit painful movement (ie: yawning with a wide open mouth).
  5. Avoid gum and caffeine.
  6. Avoid nail biting, chewing on pens, or any other activity that causes unnecessary jaw movements.
  7. Avoid resting your chin in your hands or sleeping on your stomach, or any other activity that causes unnecessary strain on your jaw.
  8. Practice the “Tongue up, teeth apart” rest position (similar to saying the letter “N”).
  9. Monitor symptoms for improvement or worsening.

If symptoms persist or worsen, please contact your orthodontist or another dental professional.  In acute or chronic cases of TMD, a referral to a TMJ specialist may be indicated.  In the event of traumatic injury to the jaw, contact a medical professional to be certain that more serious injuries are not present.

Thank you to Dr. Patricia Fernandes for her help with this blog.

For More Information

Please call (763) 784-0420 or visit www.ZapfelOrthodontics.com for more information or to schedule a complimentary initial examination and x-ray.  Zapfel Orthodontics is located at 1130 NE County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park, MN 55432 and serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Roseville, Anoka, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, and Mounds View, Minnesota.



Blaine Orthodontic Office Keeps Your Mouth Happy

Braces-Friendly Recipe from Blaine Orthodontic Office!

The cool weather is rolling in, and we here at Zapfel Orthodontics want to make sure our patients stay warm and well-fed!  We asked Pat, our scheduling coordinator, what her favorite cold weather recipe is.  Below is one of her favorite braces-friendly recipes: Speedy Spinach Lasagna.  Do you have a favorite braces-friendly recipe to share?  Let us know!

Speedy Spinach Lasagna

1 package spaghetti sauce mix

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 3/4 cups cold water

2 eggs

1 15-ounce container ricotta or 1 pound creamed cottage cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 pound sliced mozzarella cheese

1/2 pound uncooked lasagna noodles, broken in half

Dash of oregano

Empty spaghetti sauce mix into saucepan; add tomato paste, tomato sauce and water.  Heat, stirring, until well blended.  Remove from heat.  Beat eggs in a large bowl and add Ricotta or cottage cheese, spinach, salt and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Lightly grease the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish; cover with a little sauce.  Layer noodles, half of the cheese-spinach mixture, half the mozzarella cheese and half the tomato sauce.  Repeat layers.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and a dash of oregano.  Cover dish with a lightly greased sheet of aluminum foil and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 60 minutes or until noodles are tender.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting in squares and serving.  Serves 8.

For More Information

Please call (763) 784-0420 or visit www.ZapfelOrthodontics.com for more information or to schedule a complimentary initial examination and x-ray.  Zapfel Orthodontics is located at 1130 NE County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park, MN 55432 and serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Roseville, Anoka, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, and Mounds View, Minnesota.



Spring Lake Park Orthodontist Celebrates National Orthodontic Health Month

October is National Orthodontic Health Month

Did you know that October is National Orthodontic Health Month?  In honor of this month, your friendly Twin Cities orthodontists at Zapfel Orthodontics wanted to briefly review a few of the reasons why orthodontic treatment is important for many people.

  • Overall Oral Health:  When teeth are crooked or crowded, it can be more difficult to keep them clean.  If oral hygiene is not properly maintained, it is possible to develop cavities or gum disease.  Orthodontic treatment can straighten teeth, which can make it easier to maintain proper oral hygiene.

  • Confidence Boost:  Having a beautiful smile can increase confidence.  Good confidence is an important part of being a happy and successful individual.  It is amazing how many people feel better about themselves with straighter teeth!

  • Best Function:  Straight teeth that fit together well generally function much better than teeth that do not fit together well.  If you have a malocclusion, or bad bite, your orthodontist can help you achieve your most functional bite.

  • Esthetics:  A nice side effect of orthodontic treatment to obtain the best function is that the teeth will line up, so the result is a functional AND beautiful smile!

There are many other reasons why people seek orthodontic treatment.  If you would like to learn how you can benefit from braces or Invisalign, please visit Zapfel Orthodontics for a complimentary exam.  We can discuss whether or not you will benefit from orthodontic treatment, and which options would best suit your teeth and overall lifestyle!

For More Information

Please call (763) 784-0420 or visit www.ZapfelOrthodontics.com for more information or to schedule a complimentary initial examination and x-ray.  Zapfel Orthodontics is located at 1130 NE County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park, MN 55432 and serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Roseville, Anoka, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, and Mounds View, Minnesota.



Your Customized Orthodontic Plan


Twin Cities Orthodontists customize treatment for each patient

Zapfel Orthodontics is committed to providing excellent service and high quality orthodontic care.  Because no two patients are exactly alike, Twin Cities orthodontists Richard Zapfel and Alisa Madson work hard to customize treatment plans to fit the needs and desires of each individual patient.  Every patient who begins orthodontic treatment at Zapfel Orthodontics will have a comprehensive initial exam.  Before we place braces, we will also collect information at a “records” appointment.  During this appointment, we will take some photos and any indicated x-rays, as well as records of your teeth and how your bite fits together.  With all this information, Drs. Zapfel and Madson will discuss your case in order to present each patient with options and recommendations for his or her most ideal orthodontic treatment plan.

Of course, the main goal of orthodontic treatment is to achieve the best functional and esthetic result for each patient.  There are many types of malocclusions, or “bad bites.”  Treatment for correcting malocclusions may differ from patient to patient.  Some patients may benefit from just braces.  Many patients may need to wear elastics (rubber bands) or other appliances in order to achieve the most ideal correction.  Some patients may also benefit from the use of a “functional appliance,” which can be used to direct growth and development of the jaws toward a favorable direction.  After orthodontic correction is completed, each patient receives customized retainers to wear in order to maintain the beautiful result we’ve achieved together!

During treatment, the goals of each patient may also differ.  For example, some patients look forward to choosing colors to show off their braces.  Other patients may choose clear braces or Invisalign in order to minimize the appearance of their orthodontic appliances.  Whatever your desires are, we can discuss the most effective and efficient treatment that best fits your needs, desires, and lifestyle.

Regardless of the type of orthodontic treatment plan you choose, we strongly encourage each of our patients to continue to see their general dentist for regular exams and dental cleanings.  The best orthodontic results are achieved when the orthodontists, dentist, and patient all work together to successfully follow each patient’s individualized treatment plan.

For More Information

Please call (763) 784-0420 or visit www.ZapfelOrthodontics.com for more information or to schedule a complimentary initial examination and x-ray.  Zapfel Orthodontics is located at 1130 NE County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park, MN 55432 and serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Roseville, Anoka, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, and Mounds View, Minnesota.



Back to School Advice from Twin Cities Orthodontist

Back To School Advice for the Orthodontic Patient

It’s nearly time for the State Fair, which means it’s just about time for many of our patients to head back to school!  With the change in routine, it is important to give a little extra attention to making sure your teeth are well cared for.  Here are some tips from the Spring Lake Park orthodontists near you!

  1. Be sure to set aside a little extra time to properly brush and floss.  Excellent oral hygiene will prevent unsightly scarring or puffy gums from developing.  Many patients keep a toothbrush at work or school so they can brush their teeth after snacking or eating lunch.
  2. If you have removable retainers or Invisalign aligners, don’t forget to keep your case nearby!  Whenever your retainer or Invisalign aligner is not in your mouth, it should be in a case so it doesn’t get bent, broken or lost.  Lunchrooms are a notorious place for losing retainers!
  3. If you are wearing elastics full time, you may ask for a second bag of elastics to keep at school or work.  Be sure to carefully follow all instructions regarding elastic wear.  This will help you get your braces off sooner!
  4. Please see your dentist every six months (at a minimum!) for regular check-ups and cleanings.  Visits to your orthodontist are not substitutes for regular dental exams.
  5. If you have a brace or retainer that’s loose or broken, do your best to make yourself comfortable (for example, use your wax).  Give us a call if you’re not sure whether or not to come in.  If you do notice that something doesn’t feel right, please call and we will be sure to make time to see you as soon as possible.  If you have a loose brace soon before your next visit, give us a call in advance so we can have the appropriate supplies set up.  This helps us to serve all patients in a timely manner.

If you have any questions or have additional tips to share with other patients, feel free to contact us or post your comments on the blog!

For More Information

Please call (763) 784-0420 or visit www.ZapfelOrthodontics.com for more information or to schedule a complimentary initial examination and x-ray.  Zapfel Orthodontics is located at 1130 NE County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park, MN 55432 and serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley and Mounds View, Minnesota.