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 Braces Emergencies

How To Handle Braces Emergencies

The holiday season is upon us, which means that many dental offices are closed a few extra days during the month. Jenny, one of our talented and friendly dental assistants at Zapfel Orthodontics, would like to offer some tips on how to handle orthodontic emergencies!

Wire Poke: One of the most common types of orthodontic emergencies is a wire poke. This more frequently occurs in the beginning months of orthodontic treatment when the wires are more flexible and can shift to the left or right. If you have a poking wire, first try to slide the wire back toward the center, or use wax or wet cotton to cover the area. If this doesn’t work, you may try to clip the wire with a nail clipper, or try bending the wire over with a pencil eraser. If the wire is out of the tube on a molar, you may try to place the wire end back through the tube with a tweezers.

Loose Brace: If you notice a loose brace, just call during open business hours. We can help you schedule a time to come in to have the brace repaired. If the brace is still attached to the wire but is irritating your lips or cheeks, place wax over the brace to relieve the discomfort.

Loose Band: If you notice a loose band (the metal rings around the molars), please call during business hours. We can schedule a time for you to come in to have the band re-cemented. If the band is attached to another wire, or if it is irritating your lips or cheeks, try to place wax over the band or else you may try to clip the wire and remove the band until you can get in. Please bring the band in with you to your next visit. If you were wearing elastics to the loose band, stop elastic wear for the time being.

Soft Tissue Irritation: Use wax to cover any areas of the braces that are irritating your lips or cheeks. Soft tissue irritation is very common in the first days or week of orthodontic treatment, or anytime you have something new placed in your mouth. If necessary, you may take the pain reliever you would normally take for a headache or similar discomfort.

Trauma: If you experience trauma to your mouth while wearing braces, first make sure that you are okay. Seek medical attention if necessary. Often, your lips or cheeks can be cut by the braces if you get bumped in the mouth. If this happens, keep the area clean by using warm saltwater rinses a few times a day. You can also place wax over any brace that is irritating the area. If you have significant trauma to the teeth, please call your dentist to have a thorough evaluation in order to make sure that there are no serious injuries.

Tooth Pain: When the braces or separators are first placed, and occasionally after regular adjustments, you may experience some tenderness or discomfort from your tooth or teeth. If necessary, you may take the pain reliever you would normally take for a headache or similar discomfort. If you develop severe pain that keeps you awake or is sensitive to hot or cold, it is possible that you have a dental infection. In this case, please see your dentist for a complete evaluation.

Bite Changes: As your teeth move, the feeling of your bite will also change. This is to be expected, even toward the end of treatment. If your mouth gets locked shut or open due to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues, please call your dentist or orthodontist.

If none of these tips alleviates your discomfort, please call your orthodontist for an appointment. We here at Zapfel Orthodontics always have someone available to answer our patients’ questions regarding emergency orthodontic care. Please have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

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.



Meet Your Twin Cities Orthodontists

Get to know your Spring Lake Park Orthodontists!

Drs. Zapfel and Madson at Zapfel Orthodontics love getting to know their patients. Here’s your opportunity to get to know Drs. Zapfel and Madson a little better!

What is your favorite thing about being an orthodontist?

Dr. Zapfel: The best part of being an orthodontist is meeting and getting to know so many interesting patients and eventually seeing their smiles the day their braces come off.

Dr. Madson: I love seeing how happy patients are when they get their braces off, and knowing that I played a role in helping them achieve their most beautiful smile. It’s really neat to see the rapid changes in technology, too, with new tools such as Invisalign and mini-implants.

Have you always known you wanted to be an orthodontist?

Dr. Z: No, I didn’t know until fairly late in my dental school training that I wanted to be an orthodontist. Once I saw the amazing things we could do with braces to create great smiles, I knew it was what I wanted to do.

Dr. M: I always knew I’d like to have a job that would allow me to help other people, but it wasn’t until my third year of dental school that I decided orthodontics was definitely what I wanted to do.

Why did you choose orthodontics as a profession?

Dr. Z: By my 4th year at the University of Minnesota Dental school I knew that orthodontics was for me. I had talked to a lot of older students and faculty members and had a good idea of what it would be like to be an orthodontist. I remember especially one of the orthodontists teaching at the University tell me that every orthodontist he knew loved his job and I he was right.

Dr. M: For me, dentistry is the perfect mix of art and science. I like orthodontics in particular because it’s so nice to be able to help improve a person’s self-esteem and confidence through my job. And the patients are great!

Did you ever have braces?

Dr. Z: I did have braces for over 2 years. At that time everyone had braces that were stainless steel and of course there were no colors to put on them. With todays choices of ceramic, gold, or stainless steel braces I think I would pick ceramic.

Dr. M: I had braces as a teenager. I could choose colors for my braces, but Invisalign hadn’t been invented yet, and ceramic braces weren’t as good as they are today.

If you weren’t an orthodontist, what would you be?

Dr. Z: When I was in college I majored in biology and the first Earth Day was during my senior year. I think I would have followed a career in ecology if I hadn’t decided to go to dental school. We are very conscious of having a green office and I think that stems from my ecology background.

Dr. M: I think I’d be a teacher or a music video director. That would be fun!

What is an interesting fact about yourself?

Dr. Z: I am planning a trip to Uzbekistan next spring to visit my daughter who is a foreign service officer in Tashkent.

Dr. M: I love to eat, but I only know how to make one meal from scratch. Some day I’ll take some more cooking classes!


What are some of your hobbies and interests?

Dr. Z: I’m usually active and like to do a variety of things. I can be found on the golf course on occasion. I have been runner for over 25 years and although I don’t run in marathons or other events I hate to miss out on a good jog after work. My hobby is the flower garden in back of the office. It is always a work in progress. Gardening is a bit like orthodontics in that you start out with a plan and help things along. Sometimes it takes a year or two before you see the end result.

Dr. M: I really like watching and playing sports and music. When I have time off, I enjoy traveling, and I like to stay active at the gym and outdoors.

What is your favorite food?

Dr. Z: I really like any kind of seafood and my favorite place to eat is Oceanaire.

Dr. M: I love ice cream! I like anything frozen and sweet.

Where did you grow up?

Dr. Z: I was born in Chicago and lived in the city until I was in second grade. Then we moved to the suburbs of Chicago. I came to Minnesota to attend college and have been here ever since then. I started my practice at the Unity Professional Building in Fridley and moved to Spring Lake Park in 1996.

Dr. M: I was born in South Korea, but I grew up in the Twin Cities. I’ve lived here basically my whole life aside from going to college in western Minnesota. I also studied for a semester in Germany during dental school, which was a great experience!

Do you have any pets?

Dr. Z: No, I don’t have a pet. I have had several dogs and a cockatiel at different times.

Dr. M: No, I don’t have any pets, but I’ve had fish, birds and guinea pigs in the past.

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.



Another Tasty Recipe From Your Friends at Zapfel Orthodontics!

Another Tasty Recipe!

Kim, our Treatment Coordinator, will always greet the patients at Zapfel Orthodontics with a smile! Besides being a great asset to the Zapfel Orthodontics team, Kim is also a fabulous baker. Please enjoy this delicious braces-friendly recipe from Kim!

Pumpkin Bars
4 eggs
1-2/3 cup sugar
1 cup oil
16 oz. can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Beat eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. Add dry ingredients. Stir all together. Spread in jelly roll pan (not greased). Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Frosting
3 or 4 oz. cream cheese – softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
(Optional) Can decorate on top with Pumpkin corn candies or chopped walnuts

Cream the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Frost when cool.

If you have a braces-friendly recipe that you’d like to share, please bring it in at your next visit!

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.