Breakfast with Braces


We all have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a healthy breakfast provides energy, improves concentration, and leads to making healthier food choices throughout the day. Research has also shown students who eat breakfast perform better academically. It can be a challenge at first to eat while adjusting to braces. We have listed some braces-friendly breakfast ideas that can help you start the day off right.

For you cereal lovers, substitute oatmeal for those crunchy cereals to get your grains. Crunchy cereals can be risky with braces as you can break a bracket or pull the wire out. For those wanting something sweet in their oatmeal, try adding honey or fresh fruit. Read More

Retainer Care



Retainers play an important role in orthodontics by maintaining your teeth’s new position once your braces are removed. They should be worn as prescribed by Dr. VanderWall and cleaned properly on a regular basis. For everyday cleaning, you can simply rinse your retainer with warm (but not hot) water and scrub with a spare toothbrush. For a more thorough cleaning, you can use one of the following methods depending on your type of retainer.

Hawley Retainers (wire bow and acrylic), Essix (clear retainers), and Clear Aligners:

  • Soak in a mixture of half water/half white vinegar for about 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
  • Soak in a mixture of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach for about 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
  • Use a commercial persulfate cleanser (e.g., Retainer Brite, Efferdent), as directed.

Hawley Retainers with Solder Joints:

If your retainer has solder attachments to hold the metal wires together, then you should avoid using persulfate based cleansers, bleach, and vinegar which can corrode and weaken the solder joints. Use a non-persulfate cleanser such as Dentasoak (, as directed.

Helpful Hints

  • Avoid exposing your retainer to excessive heat. Never boil them, put them in the dishwasher, or leave them in your car on a hot day.
  • Keep your retainer away from dogs who may chew on them.
  • Don’t wrap your retainer in a napkin to avoid accidentally throwing them away.
  • Always bring it with you to your retainer check appointment.

If you have any questions about your retainer, please ask one of the team members at VanderWall Orthodontics.

The Power of a Smile



Wikipedia defines a smile as “a facial expression formed by flexing the muscles near both ends of the mouth.” But, we all know that a smile can be so much more. Smiles are used to convey happiness, amusement and pleasure. They are a social communication tool that crosses international, racial, cultural and language boundaries. Lesser known are the positive and lasting effects that smiling can have on your life. Multiple studies have explored the physiologic and psychological benefits of smiling. “The Hidden Power of Smiling,” a TED* talk by Ron Gutman takes a closer look at some of these studies that affirm the power of a smile. A study at University of California Berkley linked the size of a person’s smile in their old yearbook photo to their current life’s well-being and success. Those with the widest smiles consistently scored better on standardized tests for general happiness, had higher rates of marriage happiness and length, and were found to be more inspiring to others. A Wayne State University study researched smiles on baseball cards in the early 1950’s. It found that the players who smiled in their photos lived, on average, seven years longer than the non-smiling players. A Penn State study showed that people appear more attractive, more likable and more competent when they smile. Smiling also make us feel better by producing endorphins and reducing levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. So now that you know the power of a smile, we hope that you’ll smile big and smile often!

*TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. You can learn more about TED and view the talks at