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Thinking About Mail-In Orthodontics? Read This First!

Wouldn’t you love to simply take a selfie, and/or impression of your teeth Young man wearing clear braces.or get your teeth scanned, and receive aligners that straighten your teeth in a few months without even leaving your home? Sounds too good to be true, huh?

This is exactly the type of convenience offered and advertised with direct-to-consumer orthodontics. Companies like SmileDirectClub, Smilelove, SnapCorrect, etc. are appealing because they address the concern most people have about orthodontics: time. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises you to take a step back and look at the overall picture before considering the latest alternative to straighten your teeth. Read More

Vegan Diet And Braces

Vegan Diet McAllen TXWhile we’ve all heard that milk is great for building strong bones and teeth, not everyone drinks milk. Although more Americans are becoming proactive about taking care of their overall health, many of us have dietary preferences that exclude dairy products.

Both calcium and vitamin D are essential to your oral health, but are you getting enough calcium? At the orthodontic office of John A. Gerling DDS MSD, we understand that some of us simply cannot consume foods rich in calcium, like milk, due to lactose intolerance and dairy allergies…even when wearing braces. We also understand that others choose vegan or vegetarian lifestyles that eliminate certain food groups, increasing the risk for calcium and vitamin D deficiency.Read More

Invisalign or Braces: Which to Choose?

Traditional Braces

Orthodontists have been straightening teeth and creating beautiful smiles since 1900 when Edward Angle started the profession.  As we all know, technology creates advancements in techniques and treatments.  Over the years, braces have become much smaller and more sophisticated. High tech, very flexible wires have made treatment more comfortable and diminished the need for extraction of teeth.

There’s even a completely new approach to achieving the perfect smile.  It’s called aligner therapy and Invisalign is the major player in this field.

Aligner therapy

With aligner therapy, the teeth are digitally scanned, meaning no impressions. This scan produces a virtual, or computer model, on which the teeth can be progressively straightened, step by step to achieve alignment and a good bite. This is accomplished by a series of clear aligners that incrementally move teeth.

It takes much training and some level of experience to achieve proficiency with this technique. In addition, some tooth movements require what we call attachments.  They are little white bumps of composite material on the tooth that give the aligner a “handle” to move the tooth.


Traditional Braces

  • Tried and true technology
  • Can be used on all cases
  • Compliance is virtually guaranteed as there are no decisions about whether to wear or not to wear them
  • Different color O – ties (these hold the wires in the braces) can be changed every appointment for fun or fashion

Aligner Therapy

  • Virtually invisible for aesthetic appeal
  • Very comfortable
  • Office visits can often be spread out over fewer appointments
  • Can be removed to eat, brush, and floss


Traditional Braces

  • Metal (or even ceramic) brackets and wires are visible.
  • Possible discomfort from poking wires or brackets that rub the inner portion of the lips
  • Broken brackets can cause “emergency appointments
  • Oral hygiene can be more challenging

Aligner Therapy

  • Compliance can sometimes be a challenge, especially with younger patients
  • Lost aligners can delay total treatment time
  • Attachments are sometimes visible on some front teeth
  • Certain cases are not good candidates for aligner therapy

What’s Right for You

The decision to opt for aligner therapy, such as Invisalign, over braces can be a difficult one and there are many factors to consider for both the patient and orthodontist. Aligner therapy allows for more freedom and is virtually invisible compared to braces, but compliance is key. Further, aligner therapy may not be the best option for everyone.

Before making your decision, remember there are trade-offs with each treatment, and you will need to consult your orthodontist to determine the most effective option to perfect your smile!

Contact us today for a free consultation! We offer flexible financing solution with a credit management system and will help your child smile with confidence! Click below to schedule an appointment.

The Truth About Mail Order Orthodontics

Would you consider undergoing orthodontic treatment to improve your smile without ever having to step foot inside an orthodontic or dental office? In the last couple years, there has been a significant increase in the purchase of mail order orthodontics and at-home teeth straightening kits, especially with teens. What’s the hook? It is advertised as a more cost-effective and convenient way to achieve a better smile. Watch this video!

Read More

Orthodontic Treatment – When should I get my child checked?

Orthodontic Treatment McAllen TXMost parents understand the importance of starting children young with an at-home oral care routine. While children start their dental care routine in their toddler years, do you know the best age to start them with orthodontic treatment? Some parents choose to wait until all of their child’s permanent teeth have come in, but what is the real answer? Lucky Number 7

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7 (http://parents-guide.aaoinfo.org/parent-s-guide-post/understanding-early-check-ups/ ). At McAllen Orthodontic Group, Dr. John Gerling and Dr. Joseph Ryan suggest bringing your child in for an orthodontic evaluation at age seven because this is the age when the first molars usually come in. While your child will have a mix of adult and primary (baby) teeth, we can identify any abnormalities or problems. These problems can include crowding, deep bites, crossbites, large overjets, restricted airway issues, thumb habits and open bites.

Early Treatment Benefits

Taking a proactive approach to your child’s oral health could prevent physical and emotional trauma as they mature. For example, large overjets (space between upper front teeth and lower front teeth) can lead to an increased risk of trauma to the upper front teeth. In addition, starting early can decrease the possibility of needing teeth taken out in the future.

In some cases, early treatment can help regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches through expansion. Dr. Gerling and Dr. Ryan began doing expansion 25 years ago mainly to reduce the threat of impacted permanent teeth and reduce the need for extractions. While expansion worked great to make more space, we also found that many parents would come to subsequent visits after the expansion was completed and they would say that their child was breathing better through their nose, not snoring anymore, had a greater attention span and was doing better in school. Some would even claim that their child had fewer sore throats and colds. This has now been recognized as “airway friendly orthodontics” and is rightfully gaining much-deserved attention.

How Soon Will Treatment Begin?

Keep in mind that while you can have your child evaluated for early orthodontic treatment, the treatment itself may or may not begin that same day depending on your child’s individual needs. Sometimes early treatment is indicated and sometimes a wait and see approach is indicated.

It is important to note that not every treatment plan is the same. Dr. Gerling and Dr. Ryan work with each patient to develop a custom plan for treatment based on their needs. If treatment is not yet necessary, patients are placed on our orthodontic supervisory program in order to monitor progress.

Is your child’s seventh birthday coming up? If you suspect that your child may need an evaluation, contact our office to schedule your complimentary consultation. The sooner we meet, the better our chances of ensuring your child has a healthy smile and even brighter future.

Alcohol And Oral Health

Alcohol and oral health McAllen TXYou already know the effects alcohol can have on your body, but do you know how it can affect your oral health? At the orthodontic office of John A. Gerling DDS MSD, our job is to educate adult patients on how to keep their teeth healthy during orthodontic treatment. Before you pick up that glass of your favorite alcoholic beverage, consider what’s inside.

Acid – Most alcoholic drinks are very high in acid content. Mixed drinks made of soda or fruit juices typically have the most acid. If left on the teeth too long, acid can erode the enamel on your teeth, making you prone to disease-causing bacteria.
Sugar – Whether you can taste it or not, your alcoholic drink of choice most likely has sugar in it. Sugar is bacteria’s best friend. Bacteria feed on the sugar left on your teeth and leave acid behind.
Dyes – Many wines and spirits contain dyes that can stain your teeth. Avoid colorful drinks and red wines to keep your teeth bright and healthy. Drinking white wines causes no discoloration.

Tips for Drinking Alcohol with Braces

  • Don’t babysit your drink. While sipping on your drink over time saves you money and keeps you from becoming intoxicated too quickly, it can have a negative effect on your teeth. Your mouth does not get time to balance its pH, helping bacteria to thrive.
  • Drink water throughout the evening. Not only can drinking water between drinks keep you hydrated, but it can also rinse away some of the acid and sugar from your drinks. Occasionally swish it around before you swallow.
  • Don’t skip your nightly routine. No matter how tired you may be, remember to brush and floss before bed. You don’t want your first breath the next morning to taste like last night.
  • Be smart and drink in moderation. Remember to drink responsibly and pace yourself. Try not to overdo it and be sure to have a designated driver or other transportation to get home safely.

On a Serious Note…Did you know that regular consumption of alcohol can increase your risk for oral cancer? A study by the American Cancer Society found that people who drink alcoholic beverages often are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than someone who does not. Of those diagnosed with oral cancer, 75-80% are regular consumers of alcohol.

Be Proactive

The best thing you can do for your teeth is, to be honest about your alcohol consumption and proactive when it comes to dealing with its effects. Keep the above tips in mind when drinking alcohol. Together, we can make sure you have the healthy, bright smile you’ve always wanted. Contact our McAllen TX office with any questions you may have or to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.