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What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment?

May 27th, 2020

Parents usually have numerous questions about orthodontic treatment for their children. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment for children should start at around seven years of age. This allows Drs. Eichholz, Lin, and Tomassetti to evaluate the child’s existing and incoming teeth to determine whether or not early treatment might be necessary.

What is early orthodontic treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment, known as Phase One, usually begins when the child is eight or nine years old. The goal is to correct bite problems such as an underbite as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. It also helps to make room in the mouth for the permanent teeth to be properly placed as they come in. This will greatly reduce the risk of the child needing extractions later in life due to his or her teeth getting crowded.

Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?

There are several ways that you can determine whether your child needs early treatment. If you observe any of these characteristics or behaviors, you should talk to Drs. Eichholz, Lin, and Tomassetti.

  • Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
  • Late loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
  • The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
  • The child is a mouth breather
  • Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
  • Protruding teeth, typically in the front
  • Biting or chewing difficulties
  • A speech impediment
  • The child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
  • The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb

What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?

Early orthodontic treatment is begun while the child’s jaw bones are still soft. They do not harden until the children reach their late teens. Because the bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces work faster than they do for adults.

In short, early treatment at our Appleton, WI office often allows your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, and surgery in adulthood. Early treatment is an effective preventive measure that lays the foundation for a healthy, stable mouth in adulthood.

COVID-19 Update

May 18th, 2020

Image may contain: possible text that says 'APPLE CREEK ORTHODONTICS LTD of Appleton'

To the Patients and Families of Apple Creek Orthodontics,

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health.  Our communities have been through a great deal over the past few months and we truly appreciate your patience and understanding while we have been shut down during this COVID-19 pandemic.  While many things have changed, one thing has remained constant: as your orthodontic healthcare providers, our commitment to the health and safety of our patients and team members is our primary concern.

We will resume direct patient care on June 1, 2020.  During our practice closure, we have been incredibly busy preparing for our return to clinic and would like to inform you about our plans as well as significant changes we are making at our practice.  Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and we strictly adhere to all infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We closely monitor the activities of these agencies so that we are up to date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued.  We do this to ensure that our infection control procedures are current and follow the recommendations of each agency.

However, due to COVID-19 and its highly infectious nature as a respiratory, airborne, and contact transmission virus, the doctors at ACO feel that we need to take our infection control protocols to a higher standard.

So that we may return to clinic in the manner which best protects our patients and team members, we are implementing the following protocols to maintain social distancing guidelines of the CDC and to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission:

  • Our practice will be using an online mobile check-in system from your car. Instructions will be provided to you with your email/text appointment reminders.
  • We will ask the patient/guardian to complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire prior to being brought into the practice.
  • We ask that you arrive to our practice approximately 10 minutes prior to your appointment to allow completion of the screening questionnaire and mobile check-in.
  • We have reduced our seating capacity in our reception area and ask that only the patient enter the practice for most appointments.
  • We now have a mandatory mask protocol in place for all our practices. We ask that all patients wear their own masks, if possible. If you do not have a mask, we will provide you one when checking in.
  • We will be performing daily temperature checks with an infra-red thermometer for all team members, patients and guardians to ensure no one has a temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Any team member with a temperature reading above 100.4 F will be sent home and any patient with a temperature reading above 100.4 degrees F will need to reschedule their appointment.
  • We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the practice. Hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout the practice for anyone to use as needed.
  • Our waiting room will no longer offer coffee, tea, water, magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
  • We are installing glass sneeze guards at the front desk for each Scheduling Coordinator.


  • To ensure the safest practice environment, the doctors are also making significant improvements to our clinical treatment areas:
    • Atmos Air - https://atmosair.com/ - is a medical grade air purification system. In contrast to traditional HEPA air filtration, Atmos Air is a bipolarizing ionization technology which is connected to our central HVAC systems and continuously circulates bi-polar ions throughout ambient air. As we know the virus is spread via direct and indirect contact, the continuous application of bi-polar ions emitted to ambient air by the Atmos Air System disinfects both the breathing space and surfaces. In our opinion, this is the most effective system available for continuous cleaning and decontamination of indoor air.
    • ADS Oral Aerosol Vacuum - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pStSV2P5xKg&t=3s - is a high-powered evacuation system which reduces oral aerosols up to 90% (see image below).  This self-contained unit includes Ultraviolet C lighting which kills all pathogens and a 3-layer HEPA filtration system.

    • We are installing glass dividers between the clinical chairs for privacy and additional protection of our patients.
    • Until we become acclimated to our new systems, we will be limiting the number of patients in the clinical area. We hope to be back on our normal schedules in the near future.
    • We have upgraded our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and protocols with face shields, KN95 masks, scrubs for all clinical team members, disposable gowns and head caps.

Due to our new infection control protocols and equipment installation, we ask for your patience as our entire team needs time to ensure we are practicing our new infection control systems correctly.  We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have.  Thank you for being our patient.  We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.

How does wisdom tooth removal affect orthodontic care?

May 13th, 2020

The purpose of braces and other forms of orthodontic treatment at Apple Creek Orthodontics is to correct malocclusion, also known as crooked or crowded teeth, or “bad bites.” Past orthodontic practice dictated that wisdom teeth be removed, especially in cases of crowding.

The wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in, and are officially known as the third molars. The teeth typically erupt, or break the surface of the skin, in young people between the ages of 13 and 20.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth are impacted. That means they cannot break through the gum tissue. This typically happens when the mouth or jaw is too small to accommodate the teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, and some dentists and orthodontists may want to remove them as prophylaxis to prevent possible future infection.

Justification for removing wisdom teeth

Drs. Eichholz, Lin, and Tomassetti will tell you that in some cases, wisdom teeth attempt to come in the wrong way, either tilting in the jaw, or sideways. If the mouth is too small to accommodate these additional teeth, they inevitably become impacted. Swelling or infection of the gum flap above an impacted wisdom tooth may cause pain. The greatest danger is pericoronitis, a potentially dangerous infection that can occur in the gum area around an impacted wisdom tooth, or around a wisdom tooth that has erupted.

Orthodontists base their decision to remove wisdom teeth on each patient's individual circumstances. To learn more about the impact wisdom teeth have on orthodontic treatment, or to schedule a visit withDrs. Eichholz, Lin, and Tomassetti, please give us a call at our convenientAppleton, WI office!

May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month!

May 6th, 2020

The month of May has the unique distinction of being National Teen Self-Esteem Month. What does that mean?

National Teen Self-Esteem Month was created to raise public awareness about how low self-esteem can negatively affect teens. Especially during May, parents and guardians of teens are asked to be positive role models. If teens can receive positive re-enforcement and their negative images of themselves are improved, then their self-esteem has a better chance of developing in a positive direction.

Drs. Eichholz, Lin,and Tomassetti and our team at Apple Creek Orthodontics know there are a lot of young adults living in America are struggling with depressed self-images. These can affect all aspects of their everyday lives. Some evidence shows learning abilities and increased risk of eating disorders can originate in a teen’s low self-esteem. It can also lead to abuse of drugs and thoughts of suicide. Dating violence among high school teens is now more common than previously thought.

What can be done to help?

So what can adults do specifically to help their teens? The National Teen Self-Esteem Facebook page offers a variety of suggestions and positive messages for teens and parents alike. Of all the pages your teen “likes” on social media, perhaps he or she should include this page. Some of the tips offered include:

  1. When you stumble, get right back up.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
  3. Do things that make you feel good about yourself.
  4. Open yourself up to compliments.

Another great way to build self-esteem is to have a beautiful, health smile, and that’s where our team at Apple Creek Orthodontics come in! Whether your teen is due for a simple cleaning, could benefit from cosmetic treatments, or needs orthodontic care, we can help bestow a confident smile he or she will be proud to show off.

Overall, a more positive approach to life will help us all. It is a very important trait to instill in our teens. As parents, a big part of our responsibility is to show our children there is always another day and bumps in the road are just that. We need to help guide their self-esteem and reinforce their positive traits. We can help them recognize the value of who they are.

We should make our children’s self esteem a priority — not just in May, but throughout the year. Let National Teen Self-Esteem Month serve as the impetus for new levels of self-esteem.

For more information on this topic, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Eichholz, Lin,and Tomassetti, please give us a call at our convenient Appleton, WI office!

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