Minnesotaorthodontist's Blog


Smiles by Minnesota Orthodontist

More smiles by Zapfel Orthodontics!



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’s Uzbekistan Adventure

Dr. Zapfel’s Uzbekistan Adventure pictures!

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 Adventures of a Twin Cities Orthodontist

Minnesota Orthodontist Travels Around the World

This past May, Dr. Zapfel took an exotic trip to Uzbekistan. No, he didn’t go there to see how orthodontics is done in that part of the world… He went to visit his daughter, Kim, who is living in Tashkent. Kim is a foreign service officer who is spending two years there. Uzbekistan is a republic that was part of the Soviet Union. It plays a critical role for the U.S. government because it shares a border with Afghanistan. In many ways it is a very poor country, yet the capital, Tashkent, has a modern subway system and is becoming exposed to western culture.

Uzbekistan is part of the silk road that has been a trade route from China to Turkey for hundreds of years. To see that part of Uzbekistan, Dr. Zapfel and his daughter Kim traveled by train to Samarkand and Bukhara, two cities that are over 2000 years old that are still part of the silk trade route. Handmade silk rugs are made in small rug factories there. Typically, two women will spend 8-10 months making one average sized rug.

The architecture is a blend of traditional Islamic mosques and Soviet-inspired housing. Most homes are modest, with extended families sharing space in courtyard-style buildings. Kim lives in a very nice newer home. The state department leases homes for their officers that are quite secure.

Finding a good place to eat can be a challenge in Tashkent. Instead of supermarkets, large outdoor markets are common. Numerous vendors sell everything from spices to fermented milk balls there.

If you want know more about Central Asia or Dr. Zapfel’s trip, just ask at your next Zapfel Orthodontics appointment! Check back soon for pictures, too!!

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 Offers Tips for Keeping Your Retainers In Prime Form!

Retainer Tales

Summer is here, and for many people, this is the most active time of year. If you have retainers, be extra careful to keep track of them this busy season! Here are some of the most common reasons why people need new retainers, and some tips on how to avoid these retainer casualties:

– The dog or cat ate the retainer. Keep your retainer in its case anytime it’s not in your mouth!
– The waiter/waitress threw away a retainer that was wrapped in a napkin. Once again, keep your retainer in the case!
– The retainer doesn’t fit anymore. Make sure you wear your retainers as prescribed. Often, the reason a retainer doesn’t fit is because the retainer isn’t worn enough.
– The retainer fell out while swimming. Don’t wear your retainers in the pool or lake! It is especially difficult to find a clear retainer if it falls out in the water.

If you do happen to break or lose your retainer, be sure to call Zapfel Orthodontics right away to get a new impression made before your teeth shift around. Retainers are generally made to hold the teeth where they are, so if you experience shifting, a retainer may not be able to re-correct your 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.



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.



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.



Minnesota Orthodontist on Braces and Sports

Braces and Sports

Many people in braces have active lifestyles.  We here at Zapfel Orthodontics would like to take this time to remind you how important it is to wear mouthguards while playing contact sports.  Wearing a mouthguard is recommended even for sports such as soccer and basketball.  Sports guards, or mouthguards, are very important in protecting your teeth, lips and cheeks, and even your brain (from concussion).  Even a minor bump to the lip can cause a cut in the lips or cheeks of a person wearing braces.

If you do happen to get bumped in the mouth while wearing braces, first make sure that you are okay.  If it is a severe injury, be sure you visit your doctor or go to the hospital for an evaluation.  For more minor injuries, you may use ice for any swelling if needed.  Keep any cuts in the mouth as clean as possible with warm saltwater rinses.  If a brace is loose, please call your orthodontist so they can advise you on what to do.  If a tooth is loose, please call your dentist or orthodontist.  Depending on the severity of the injury, your dentist or orthodontist may refer you to another specialist or a medical doctor.

After braces are removed, it is still important to continue to wear a mouthguard during contact sports.  Your orthodontist can fabricate a special custom-made mouthguard for you, or you may purchase a sports guard at a store.  After completing orthodontic treatment, it is important to protect your investment for a lifetime of beautiful smiles!

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.