Hart Orthodontics

Dr. Patrick Hart
Dr. P. Sheamus Hart

Phone 703-491-4278
Office 12600 Lakeridge Drive
Woodbridge, VA 22192

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Archive for September, 2012

Dont forget your mouth guard for this fall’s sports season!

Friday, September 21st, 2012

At our office we know how important it is to protect your face while playing sports. Fall brings an increase in outdoor activities and a greater chance of damaging your precious mouth and pearly whites. Our team also knows sports-related injuries are common among children. It’s been found that 70 percent of parents said their biggest worry is that their child will get hurt while playing sports. Another 67 percent admitted their child doesn’t wear a mouth guard when playing sports such as football, basketball, baseball and soccer.

That’s why we’re doing our part to spread the word that facial sports injuries can be avoided simply by reminding your kids to wear mouth guards. Ask us—Our team will provide a mouth guard for any patient in active treatment.

In addition, the following tipscan help your kids stay safe on the field. Please remind them to:

• Wear mouth guards during contact sports
• Wear a helmet
• Stretch before and after a game or practice
• Wear protective eye wear
• Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin
• Be observant—even as a spectator

All of these can reduce injuries. Only by using a mouth guard and other forms of facial protection can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries.  Lastly, please give us a call if you have any questions about mouth guards or your treatment with our team!

Foods That are Safe for Braces

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Orthodontic braces are used to straighten the teeth, which not only creates a more pleasing appearance, but also helps prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems. Braces are only effective when they are properly cared for, however. Certain foods, for example, are better suited for individuals who have braces, as opposed to hard and sticky foods that can cause damage. So what types of foods should you or your kids eat to protect dental appliances?

The best foods to eat with braces are those that are not high in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. For breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, bacon, wheat toast, or oatmeal. Lunch may steer toward a banana rather than an apple, a salad without nuts, and a glass of water. If you are looking for some after-school snacks for your kids, consider baked tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, or try string cheese with fruit.

A healthy dinner can include most types of vegetables, so long as they are cooked to an appropriate softness. Pair that with a lean protein, such as fish or chicken, and follow up with dessert. Just be sure to brush afterward!

Post-Tightening Foods

As braces begin to adjust the alignment of the teeth, our office will periodically tighten them to continue the alignment process. After tightening occurs, the teeth may be sore and sensitive to certain foods. During this time, it is best to eat soft foods. Examples include:

• pudding
• mashed potatoes
• soup
• ice cream
• cottage cheese
• peas
• pancakes
• pasta

Foods to Avoid

According to the American Dental Association, anyone who wears braces – whether fixed or removable – should avoid excessive snacking and should aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It is also important to avoid foods that could cause damage to the braces, such as:

• hard candies
• gum
• nuts
• popcorn
• certain raw vegetables (for example, carrots)


Regardless of what types of foods you eat with braces, it is important to keep the crevices between the teeth and around the braces very clean. That means brushing and flossing after meals to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay. Not only can failing to do so damage the teeth, but it can also cause discoloration.

How To Correct Jaw Growth Problems

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Malocclusion, or “bad bite,” is when the upper and lower teeth are not meeting correctly. When young, the jaw growth is a slow and gradual process. Once in a while something may go wrong with this process causing the upper and lower jaws to grow at different rates, resulting in an improper bite.

Leaving an improper bite untreated may threaten the long-term health of your teeth and gums. The jaw joint (TMJ) can also be negatively affected by a jaw misalignment. In addition, jaws of different sizes can affect appearance.

Appliances for Correcting Jaw Growth

Let me explain to you about corrective jaw treatments. We use a process called dentofacial orthopedics to correct jaw problems. The issue you have with your jaw is relatively minor, but some type of corrective measure is going to have to be taken. There are three types of appliances that we use to correct jaw growth problems: Headgear, the Herbst® appliance and the Bionator. I know, the names sound like something out of a science fiction movie, right? However, you have nothing to worry about. All of these appliances are straightforward and easy to use, and all of them will help make your upper and lower jaws more compatible. Let me explain further.


Headgear is one of the most common orthodontic appliances. It works by applying pressure to the upper teeth and jaw. This pressure then helps guide, form, and correct upper jaw growth. It also helps align your upper teeth. Headgear is typically worn between eight and 12 hours. You might find it difficult to sleep with headgear on at first, but in no time at all, you won’t even know it’s there.

The Herbst® Appliance

The Herbst appliance is different. Unlike headgear, it can’t be removed from your mouth. The appliance is fixed to the molars. It works by holding the lower jaw forward, and this helps to create successful jaw growth and teeth positioning.

The Bionator

This is another example of a removable appliance. It enables the upper and lower jaws to grow proportionally. The Bionator holds the bottom jaw forward as well as guides the teeth. It will result in a perfectly aligned and corrected bite.

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