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October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

October 5th, 2017

What does the month of October mean to you? For people in the south, October is when the weather starts to get a little chilly; heavy jackets might come out of storage and the summer clothing gets packed away. You might start making plans for the upcoming holidays or admire the beautiful, ever-changing autumn scenery. October means something a little different or team, at McKinney Orthodontics because this is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic clinics all over the country work together to promote their services and inform the community about the important work we do.

National Orthodontic Health Month is an awareness campaign created cooperatively by orthodontists and other dental health professionals. During this month, we make a special effort to promote dental health, orthodontic health in particular. This is a great time to get your questions answered by dental professionals in your community and to learn more about exactly what an orthodontist can do for you and your family. If you have never been to an orthodontist before, you might not know what to expect. Meeting one of us in person before your checkup is a great way to find out what kind of person you'll be seeing during your appointment.

Meeting Dr. McKinney in a relaxed "meet and greet" atmosphere can be especially helpful for any young orthodontic patients in your family. Kids of all ages-and their parents!-can feel anxiety about going to the dentist. Getting to know the person you have an appointment with can make the experience a lot less stressful for everyone. We don't want anyone to avoid seeing a dental professional for regular checkups just because they don't know who we are. Just meeting and talking with the orthodontist you'll be seeing may be enough to make you feel more comfortable about your upcoming appointment.

Dental health is something that affects everyone; healthy teeth and gums contribute to a healthy smile and lifetime of comfort and well-being. Orthodontists are just one of the various dental practitioners you could visit at some point in your life, so taking a little time to learn who we are and what we do is certain to be a helpful experience. We look forward to seeing you and your family this October at our Tuscaloosa, Hampton Cover, Fayette, or Winfield locations.

5 Reasons You Should Smile More

September 6th, 2017

Great power lies within our smile. Smiling has surprising effects on our mood, success and overall health. At McKinney Orthodontics we believe everyone deserves to feel confident about their smile. That is why we offer a complimentary consultation and low monthly payments in order to get you there! Here are 5 reasons why you should smile more today!

1. Smiling Reduces Stress

A study published by the journal of Psychological Science found that those who smile the biggest had a substantial reduction in heart rate and quicker stress recovery when performing a stressful task. This means the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation, try smiling! It may allow you to perform the task better and with less stress.

2. Smiling Makes You More Approachable

A Penn State University study found that waiters and waitresses who smiled more were found to be more likable and friendly to their customers. In fact, the customers felt more satisfied with their overall experience just from having been smiled at. Want to make people around you happy? Try smiling more!

3. Smiles are Contagious

Have you ever noticed how someone you're with will reciprocate a smile after you smile? There's a scientific explanation. Humans posses something called mirror neurons that are activated when  we perform certain actions and see others performing those same actions. If you want to make others around you smile, it can be as simple as smiling at them!

4. Smiles Make You Appear More Trustworthy

In a study done by the University of Pittsburgh, researchers found that the more models smiled, the more trustworthy they ranked. Psychology shows that a person who smiles appears more trustworthy than a person with a neutral expression. In fact, even the intensity of the smile affects the level of perceived trustworthiness.

5. Smiling Make You More Productive

Smiling doesn't only improve your mood, it can actually make you more productive! Studies have found that happiness has a significant effect on productivity at the workplace. The opposite is true as well! Negative emotions can have the opposite effect as happiness and even drain your productivity. Put on a smile at work and get more accomplished!

With all the benefits of smiling what is more important than having a smile you can feel confident about? At McKinney Orthodontics, we make getting a confident smile easy by offering Braces & Invisalign at an affordable price. First appointments are complimentary and we have locations in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Fayette, and Winfield. We look forward to meeting you. SMILE MORE!

If you are interested in taking the first step to having a more confident smile, click here to set up a FREE consultation.

It's All About Balance

August 30th, 2017

"It's All About Balance," that was the topic of conversation last night at our Continuing Education class.

Michelle Wright, with Benco Dental/GC America, came to Tuscaloosa to school local hygienists and dentist on the importance of managing high risk caries patients. Michelle was an amazing speaker, and went over tons of great tips on how to treat high risk caries patients, and the differences between low, medium, and high risk.

Each hygienist/dentist that was in attendance received 2 CE credits, and a delicious meal provided by Taco Mama. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this class possible, and to all the attendees!

How to Get Your Kids Ready for Braces

August 23rd, 2017

Kids - and adults for that matter - can be frightened about the unknown and getting braces can definitely fall into this category. While we go to great lengths at our office to put our patients at ease, there are a few things that you, as a parent, can do to prepare your child for braces or Invisalign. A little planning and positive reinforcement can make the experience stress-free and ensure treatment is successful.

Start 'Em Young

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children first see an orthodontist for screening no later than seven-years-old. While this is really effective for catching growth and development issues early, the additional benefit is they'll get to know Dr. McKinney before they start treatment. Once they're comfortable with his sparkling personality and the sights and sounds of the office, getting braces or Invisalign won't seem like a huge deal.

Give Them a Play-by-Play of the Braces  Procedure

Patients frequently enter our office and leave an hour later with a mouth full of brackets and wires. That whole idea is pretty intimidating, especially to younger kids. Explain to your children exactly what they can expect from the braces or Invisalign procedure and answer their questions as best as you can. We're here to guide the process every step of the way with you, as well. Pointing out that getting braces put on is painless and will not involve injections of any kind will ease some of their fears. Make a list of any lingering questions and bring them to your consultation with Dr. McKinney. He'll be more than happy to educate you and your child on the ins and outs of braces and Invisalign.

Be Realistic About the Options

It can be tempting to want to slap on some metal braces and be done with it but no one knows your kid better than you. Familiarize yourself with all of the treatment options and go with what you think will truly work best for their lifestyle and needs. For example, if you know your teenager is horrible at keeping up with oral hygiene, well ceramic braces probably aren't going to be your friend and Invisalign Teen might be a better option. Set yourself, and your child, up for success.

Does your child need braces? Book a FREE consultation.

Outline Your Expectations

Okay, so this isn't the fun part but it is really, really important. Orthodontic treatment requires a commitment. Before starting treatment let your child know what you expect and how they'll need to contribute, such as regularly brushing and flossing, attending appointments, avoiding certain foods or wearing their Invisalign aligners for 22 hours per day and not losing them. Be frank about the financial investment you're making and any consequences for not keeping up their end of the bargain.

Keep Their Eye on the Prize

To boost their motivation, encourage their long-term thinking and remind them of the end result, which is obviously a gorgeous, healthy smile and improved self-confidence. Talk about your own experience with orthodontic treatment, if you now sport a beautiful smile thanks to braces. Let them look at before and after pictures of other patients or even celebrities.

Stock Up on Supplies

If your child will be getting traditional braces, you'll want to have a supply of floss threaders and dental wax ready to go. Fill the fridge with braces-friendly treats because we all know a milkshake waiting on the horizon  can go a long way. While your child won't need to alter their eating habits or gather supplies if they'll be wearing Invisalign, their teeth may be sensitive for a few days regardless of the treatment they choose, so be sure to have some soft foods and cold drinks on hand.

Be There for Them

Cheer them on and be there to listen and encourage them if they're feeling anxious or need a helping hand during their treatment. Adopting a few of these tips and being prepared in advance for your child's braces or Invisalign treatment can make things run more smoothly. Yet, remember, this is a team effort and McKinney Orthodontics is always available to address any concerns. We educate our orthodontic patients and their parents about what to expect. We'll keep you informed and make sure you're prepared and confident in your child's treatment choices. Contact us today for a free consultation.