Minnesotaorthodontist's Blog


Twin Cities Orthodontist Discusses Tongue Thrust

Tongue Thrust Habit Explained

“Tongue thrust” is the habit of resting the tongue against or between the teeth. It can be caused or affected by a number of different things, including thumb or finger sucking habits, structural or developmental problems, or mouth breathing. This habit can sometimes cause the teeth to move into an unfavorable position, which makes it difficult for the orthodontist to correct a bad bite, or to keep a bad bite corrected.

Treatment for tongue thrust can range from increasing the patient’s awareness of tongue posture to undergoing myofunctional therapy to tone the muscles and establish a new habit with the correct tongue posture. Generally speaking, it is best to treat the habit at a young age to prevent more serious side effects, and also to allow for the best long-term stability. Changing a habit takes time and effort! We here at Zapfel Orthodontics are here to support you along the way, and to ensure that you achieve your best bite.

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.



The Importance of Orthodontic Timing

Twin Cities Orthodontist on Treatment Timing

For many people, timing of orthodontic treatment is very important. Often, there is an underlying problem in the size of one or both jaws that is causing the teeth to not line up properly. In these instances, early treatment (also known as “Phase I”) may be indicated. If this opportunity for jaw growth guidance is missed, some patients may require jaw surgery for a complete bite correction. In other cases, waiting too long to have orthodontic treatment can allow teeth in poor positions to wear in an unhealthy or excessive pattern, which can require expensive restorative dental work in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.

We at Zapfel Orthodontics always strive to do what is best for each patient. However, we understand that orthodontic treatment requires an investment of time and money. For these reasons, we try our best to accommodate each individual and be as flexible with financing as possible. Our financing is done here at the office, always with zero interest. We feel that every patient deserves to have the best chance at achieving a high-quality result, and we never want finances to be the reason why a great result is not achieved.

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.



Phase I or Early Treatment

Twin Cities Orthodontist Discusses Phase I Treatment

For many people, there is a specific “window of opportunity” for correcting a bite problem. If this window of opportunity is not taken advantage of, the bite problem can worsen and become more complex. This sometimes results in the need to remove permanent teeth, or in severe cases, do jaw surgery.

At Zapfel Orthodontics, we believe that there are certain types of bites that benefit from early treatment, or Phase I. Early bite correction generally addresses and/or prevents jaw growth problems. Later on, usually once all the baby teeth are gone and the permanent teeth have erupted, the child undergoes Phase II, or “regular” braces. Most patients, even those who have had Phase I, benefit from the bite detailing included in Phase II.

So how do you know if your child can benefit from an early phase of orthodontic treatment? The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child be seen for an initial evaluation by an orthodontist by the age of 7. This allows the orthodontist to evaluate the growth pattern and tooth eruption sequence of young patients, while at the same time keeping the “window of opportunity” open in case the child needs pre-braces growth guidance.

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 Thumbsucking

Minnesota Orthodontist Discusses Thumb Sucking

Are you concerned about your child’s thumb or finger sucking habit? Many children like to comfort themselves by sucking on fingers, thumbs, or pacifiers. Generally, this habit should stop by the age of 2-4 years, or before the adult teeth begin to come in. Sucking habits can cause the teeth to move into unfavorable positions. In some cases, especially in children who have a vigorous sucking habit, even the baby teeth can be affected.

If your child’s sucking habit persists beyond age 4, or if you notice that your child’s teeth are shifting, please bring your child in for an evaluation. Your dentist and/or orthodontist can discuss options for eliminating a sucking habit. Some tips for stopping a sucking habit can include:

1. Praise children for not sucking, instead of scolding them when they are. Help the child realize that not sucking is more rewarding.
2. Work on stopping the sucking habit during the day first, then work on stopping it at night
3. Aim to relieve anxiety that may be contributing to the child’s sucking habit. Replace the sucking habit with another comfort (ie: more physical contact, aroma therapy, etc.)
4. If the child is old enough, have him/her help decide on a plan to stop the sucking habit. The dentist or orthodontist can explain the negative effects that might occur if the habit is not stopped
5. Have the child set his/her own plan and goals for stopping the habit
6. Put a band-aid over the thumb, or a sock over the hand at night to help remind the child to stop sucking
7. If none of the above tips work, the dentist or orthodontist can prescribe a bitter coating for the thumb, or even an appliance to use in order to stop the habit

For a complimentary evaluation or for additional information, please call Zapfel Orthodontics or visit the American Dental Association website.

Thank you to Jennifer Connelly, MS-CCC-SLP 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.



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.



Minnesota Orthodontist Discusses Early Treatment

Minnesota Orthodontist Discusses Early Treatment

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every person visit an orthodontist by the age of 7.  By age 7, the permanent teeth in most patients are beginning to erupt.  This is a good time to evaluate facial growth pattern and dental eruption sequence, and to make sure that there are no developmental abnormalities in the growing patient.

If growth and development appear to be normal, orthodontic treatment is often not indicated until most or all of the permanent teeth have erupted.  This is usually around age 12.  In some patients, however, a developing problem becomes evident at a younger age.  Often, if caught early enough, a first phase of interceptive orthodontic treatment can be done in order to reduce or eliminate the developing problem.  Early orthodontic treatment typically lasts a year or less.  Once the developing problem has been corrected, the patient usually wears retainers during a waiting period until the rest of the adult teeth erupt.  A second phase of orthodontic treatment is often indicated in order to complete correction of the teeth and bite, and to fine tune the placement of the adult teeth once they have come in.

The majority of patients who seek orthodontic treatment do not need an early phase of treatment.  However, in patients where an early phase is indicated, complications or the need for more severe and intensive orthodontic treatment can be greatly reduced.  If you or your child would like to be evaluated for orthodontic need, please come in for a no-charge initial exam at Zapfel Orthodontics.  During this time, we can help you decide if and when orthodontic treatment should be initiated.

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.



Hello from Zapfel Orthodontics!

Minnesota Orthodontists at Zapfel Orthodontics say Hello!

Welcome to the Zapfel Orthodontics blog!  Here you will find a series of blog entries designed to more thoroughly answer your questions about orthodontic treatment.  Zapfel Orthodontics is proud to offer a wide variety of services to patients of all ages, including silver braces, gold braces, clear braces and Invisalign.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), it is important for every person to visit an orthodontist by the age of 7.  By that time, adult teeth are usually beginning to erupt and growth and development of the oral cavity and surrounding structures can be monitored.  Sometimes a developing problem exists that can be helped with early orthodontic treatment.  In these cases, a more serious or complicated issue can often be avoided or minimized.

Zapfel Orthodontics is committed to offering the best orthodontic care to every patient, every day.  If you haven’ t done so already, please make an appointment for a no-charge initial evaluation.  At this appointment, we can discuss which options for treatment are indicated, if any!  Our treatment plans are custom-designed for each individual patient, and we strive to offer the highest quality of care in a comfortable and professional environment.

Please feel free to contact Zapfel Orthodontics at 763-784-0420 with any questions or comments you may have.  Thanks for reading, and please check back often for updates and more postings!