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Types of Dental Careers

April 13th, 2021

What does a career in dentistry look like? Being a dentist is an incredibly rewarding career, and beyond helping our patients maintain lifelong healthy smiles, we hope our team inspires at least a few budding dentists out there!

Private Practice Dentists Aren’t the Whole Story

The dental career everyone is most familiar with is the private practice dentist, meaning an individual dentist or a partnership working with local patients in their own practice. Not everyone who graduates from a four-year dental program goes in this direction.

Other Types of Dentists

Academic dentists add a teaching role and help usher in the next generation of dentists. Research dentists get to be on the cutting edge of new advancements in treatments and technology. Some dentists go international and work with organizations like the WHO, UNESCO, and FAO. Finally, there are dentists who work alongside physicians in hospitals.

Dental Specialties

About 20% of dentists undergo additional years of training in one of the nine dental specialties: Dental Public Health, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics.

The Team Is More Than the Dentist

Aside from the dentists themselves, other essential roles in the field of dentistry are hygienists, assistants, and lab technicians. Hygienists and assistants interact closely with patients to ensure a high level of care, while dental lab technicians work behind the scenes designing the dentures, crowns, and appliances used by dentists.

And of course we wouldn’t get far without our office staff!

Interested in more ortho-related careers? Check out Dr. Ahl's career fair video below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yy6PLa63zA

Braces Aren’t Just for Teenagers

March 23rd, 2021

Anyone out of their teens might think they missed their chance for straight teeth, but that’s not true! Modern orthodontic treatment is for adults too. While it’s true that our teeth can be guided into place more easily when we are younger, they will still respond to orthodontic appliances. And whether or not we had braces as teens, our teeth can still shift over time if retainers are not worn as instructed.

Mesial Drift

In a process called mesial drift, our teeth slowly move towards the front of our mouths as we age. Other factors, including enamel loss, teeth grinding, and tooth loss, can move our teeth out of alignment too. The result is an increasingly crooked, overcrowded smile that is harder to keep healthy.

How Daily Habits Shift Teeth

Some of the things we do every day without even thinking about it can contribute to our teeth shifting over time. Stomach sleeping and resting our heads on our hands when sitting can both be culprits of dental shifting, but good posture and side or back sleeping will minimize this effect.

Healthy Teeth Stay Put Better!

Good oral hygiene is also important for keeping our teeth where they should be, because it helps reduce enamel loss over time. So keep up with that daily flossing and twice daily brushing, and don’t forget about regular dental appointments!

Adults Make Better Ortho Patients!

One advantage adult orthodontic patients have over teenagers is that they typically have the self-discipline to carefully follow the orthodontist’s instructions, ensuring better, timelier results!

Benefits of Having Straight Teeth

February 16th, 2021

Straight teeth aren't just about looking good. People with straight teeth are perceived as being wealthier, happier, and more attractive than people with crooked teeth, and it can definitely be a nice confidence boost. What we want to focus on, though, are the very real health benefits that come with having straight teeth.

Straight Teeth Help With Clear Speech

Crooked or crowded teeth or a bad bite (such as a severe overbite or an underbite) can make it harder to enunciate clearly when speaking. We need our tongues, teeth, and lips in the right places to make the correct sounds, and if our teeth aren’t where they should be, then we have to try to compensate for it, which isn’t always very effective. Orthodontic treatment can help with that. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to figure out how to speak clearly around braces or a retainer. That will all be worth it at the end of treatment!

Straight Teeth Help With…Digestion?

It might sound strange, but yes, having straight teeth does help improve digestion. Chewing is a crucial step in the digestive process, and not just because it breaks food into small enough pieces to swallow. As our teeth grind up the food, digestive enzymes in our saliva begin to break it down chemically.

Poorly aligned teeth make it hard to get the most out of this step in the process, which puts a heavier burden on the rest of the digestive system and leads to gastrointestinal issues. It can even make it more difficult to lose weight!

It’s Easier to Breathe With Straight Teeth

First speaking, then eating, but breathing? What does breathing have to do with a straight smile? It’s about the way our teeth fit together. If you aren’t able to comfortably close your jaws when resting, then odds are you’ll end up breathing through your mouth more often. Mouth breathing is linked with many negative health effects, from dry mouth (which makes gum disease and tooth decay more likely) to bad breath to lower energy levels and difficulty focusing.

Straight Teeth Are Easier on the Jaws

A bad bite makes problems with the jaw joint (such as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMD) much more likely. Symptoms of a jaw problem include clicking sounds when moving the jaw, jaw pain, and even frequent headaches.

It’s Easier to Clean Straight Teeth

Teeth that overlap each other and are crowded together can be harder to effectively clean. There are more tight spaces that are hard to reach and easy to miss, leaving them more at risk of decay. It’s much easier to clean all the surfaces of straight teeth and keep that plaque at bay!

Let’s Get Started on a Straighter Smile!

Even if the aesthetics of a crooked smile have never bothered you, you could still be missing out on the health and function benefits of having a properly aligned smile. Just about everything we need teeth for works better when our teeth are straight. If you have any questions about the advantages of a straight smile, just give us a call!

We love helping patients achieve their smile goals!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

New Lewes Location to Open Monday, October 26th!

October 21st, 2020

We are so excited to be in our new location!

17425 Ocean One Plaza, Lewes, DE 19958

We are in suite #3, above L'occhio Eyecare.

COVID-19 Office Policies and Procedures

July 22nd, 2020

  1. Please fill out the "Informed Consent" and "Health Questionnaire" online the day before your appointment. NEW patients should fill out the "New Patient Registration Form" as well. (https://www.aoortho.com/forms)
  2. When you arrive at the office, text us (at the numbers below) with the patient's full name and date of birth letting us know you have arrived. You will receive a reminder text before your appointment, please do not reply to this text, we will not see your response. 
  3. We will verify you have filled out the necessary forms and then text you when it is time to enter the building.

DOVER OFFICE: (302) 678-3000
MILFORD OFFICE: (302) 422-6007
LEWES OFFICE: (302) 644-4100

Please read the letter below for the temporary changes within our office.

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the past few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to you.

This letter will provide you with updates to our office policies and procedures as it relates to COVID-19. To provide a safe environment for our patients and team members, as well as comply with governing body regulations, we are implementing the following:

  • No walk-ins will be allowed into the building. As always, an appointment is required to be seen.
  • We are strictly adhering to appointment times. Late arrivals will not be seen.
  • When you arrive for your appointment, please text us the patient’s full name and date of birth. We will reply letting you know when to proceed into the building. Upon entry, the patient’s temperature will be taken. We are asking that ONLY the patient enter the building. If your child is not able to attend their appointment alone, ONE parent or guardian may accompany them. New patients are seen in a private room, so all minors must be accompanied by one adult. We are complying with the Governor’s mandate that all individuals 13 and older wear a mask in public, so please don’t forget your mask!
  • Please brush your teeth before you arrive for your appointment. Our toothbrush stations are closed. Also, no one with gloves will be allowed into our building.
  • Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As always, we will continue to follow the activities of these agencies to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations, as well as any mandates from the state of Delaware.

We look forward to seeing you again, and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. All of our phone numbers shown above are now textable, so feel free to call or text us with any questions or scheduling needs! We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends!

Sincerely,

The AO Team

Updated Office Policies and Procedures

May 18th, 2020

  1. Please fill out the Informed Consent and Health Questionnaire online the day before your appointment. New patients should fill out the New Patient Registration Form as well. (https://www.aoortho.com/forms)
  2. When you arrive at the office, text us (numbers below) with the patient's full name and date of birth letting us know you have arrived. 
  3. We will verify you have filled out the necessary forms and then text you when it is time to enter the building.

DOVER: (302) 678-3000
MILFORD: (302) 422-6007
LEWES: (302) 644-4100

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the past few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to you.

With that being said, we are ecstatic to announce that we will be reopening our practice soon! We have missed our amazing patients and families so much, and are thrilled to be back. This letter will provide you with updates to our office policies and procedures as it relates to COVID-19. To provide a safe environment for our patients and team members, as well as comply with governing body regulations, we are implementing the following:

  • All appointments have been rescheduled. We will be sending out text and email reminders with your new appointment day/time. It will take our system a few days to send out all reminders, as we have rescheduled hundreds of appointments. If you have a conflict with your new day/time, please contact us. Available appointment times are extremely limited. No walk-ins will be allowed into the building. As always, an appointment is required to be seen.
  • We are strictly adhering to appointment times. Late arrivals will not be seen.
  • When you arrive for your appointment, please text us the patient’s full name and date of birth. We will reply letting you know when to proceed into the building. Upon entry, the patient’s temperature will be taken. We are asking that ONLY the patient enter the building. If your child is not able to attend their appointment alone, ONE parent or guardian may accompany them. New patients are seen in a private room, so all minors must be accompanied by one adult. We are complying with the Governor’s mandate that all individuals 13 and older wear a mask in public, so please don’t forget your mask!
  • Please brush your teeth before you arrive for your appointment. Our toothbrush stations are closed. Also, no one with gloves will be allowed into our building. We will be asking you to wash your hands upon arrival and before exiting the building.
  • Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As always, we will continue to follow the activities of these agencies to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations, as well as any mandates from the state of Delaware.
  • Sadly, at this time we are going to pause our rewards program to limit hand to hand contact. Once our new protocols become second nature, we will happily reinstate it.

Please remember, at this time, we have a LOT of patients who need to be seen. There are some with emergent needs, and some who were the first to be canceled. Please help us keep our phone lines clear in order to reach out to our patients. We are extending office hours and adding extra days to accommodate our patient’s needs to the absolute best of our ability.

We look forward to seeing you again, and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends!

Sincerely,

The AO Team

COVID-19 *Update*

March 19th, 2020

In light of the rate at which the COVID-19 virus is spreading, with heavy hearts, our best intentions, and an abundance of caution, we at Ahl and O’Connor Orthodontics have made the decision to temporarily close our office and cancel appointments until April 6, 2020.

In our previous communication, we acknowledged that the situation surrounding the coronavirus is fluid and that we would reevaluate our office hours as the situation evolved. The American Dental Association has recommended that all dental offices nationwide postpone elective dental procedures for three weeks.

We appreciate your understanding, and as always, the trust you have put in us to take care of your orthodontic needs. Please be patient with us as we contact scheduled patients to let them know of this decision.

We will continue to be here for you! If during this time, you find that you are or your child is experiencing an orthodontic emergency, please call us at (302) 678-3000 and a member of our team will be available to further assist you.

The health and well-being of our patients, our team members, and our community has always been and continues to be one of our top priorities. Please continue to keep an eye on our facebook for any future updates.

-The Team at Ahl and O’Connor Orthodontics

 

COVID-19

March 16th, 2020

Dear Ahl and O’Connor Orthodontics patient families:

With the rapidly changing challenges brought about by the threat of COVID-19 Coronavirus we are taking steps to ensure that our patients and our team are protected. In an effort to keep you informed of the measures we are taking and of our schedule, we ask that you please read the following.

We will continue to operate on a normal schedule and as always, we will follow OSHA guidelines for infection control.

Patients With Symptoms:

  • As always, during cold and flu season, we ask you to reschedule your appointment if you feel ill, have experienced a fever in the last 72 hours or have been exposed to someone with these symptoms.
  • In the event that an orthodontic patient or family member has symptoms related to those associated with the Coronavirus (fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath) we ask that you do not come to the office.
  • Please contact us so that we may postpone your next visit until an appropriate time.
  • To date we have no team members or patients that have known exposure to, symptoms related to, or confirmation of the coronavirus.

Extra Family Members at Appointments:

  • As a temporary measure, we ask that you limit the number of people accompanying the patient to one extra person.
  • We ask that additional extra family members wait outside of the office. We understand that some parents will need to wait in the car with other children.
  • As long as you have your mobile phone with you, we can update you and make the next appointment while you are outside the office.
  • We will keep this measure in effect until April 10th and then reevaluate.

Schedule & Appointments:

  • We will continue with normal business hours for the time being.
  • Normal business hours could change based on how this situation progresses within our community.
  • In the event you wish to reschedule an appointment for a later date, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Check In Station:

  • Our protocol for check in will be changing during this time.
  • The self check in computer will be shutdown.
  • We ask that you check in at the front desk verbally with a team member.
  • Please remember that we may not know you have arrived if you do not check in.

Temporary Reception Room Changes:

  • We will be removing communal items that may be touched by multiple people throughout the day such as our coffee / tea bar and magazines.

Measures We Are Taking:

  • We are staying current with the CDC guidelines and updates.
  • Our facilities have always been cleaned and disinfected daily and are given a deep cleaning on a weekly basis.
  • In addition to this we are taking extra measures and adding a disinfectant wipe down to commonly touched areas throughout the day.

The safe care of our patients is of the utmost importance.
Any questions or concerns may be addressed via phone at 302- 678-3000.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and remember to keep smiling.

Sincerely,

Ahl and O’Connor Orthodontics

Welcome, Dr. Patel!

August 27th, 2019

Drs. Ahl and O'Connor are pleased to announce that Dr. Sita Patel will be joining the AO team! She will be working side by side with both Drs. Ahl and O’Connor in our Dover, Milford, and Lewes locations. We are excited to welcome Dr. Patel, as she shares our passion for excellence in patient care!

Dr. Patel is a Delaware native, graduating from Caesar Rodney High School. After finishing her undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland, she studied dentistry at Temple University Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry in Philadelphia.

She completed her orthodontic residency at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania where she earned her Master of Science in Orthodontics and certificate in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. While there, she was exposed to various treatment methods to allow her to create the best result for each patient. Dr. Patel is a member of the American Association of Orthodontics and Middle Atlantic Society of Orthodontics.

Dr. Patel lives in Middletown with her husband, Kunal, where she enjoys cooking new cuisines, reading, travelling, and playing tennis.

Please help us in welcoming Dr. Patel to the AO Family! 

What’s Stopping You From Getting Braces?

January 2nd, 2019

MANY adults mistakenly believe that they missed their chance to get braces because they didn’t have them as teenagers. However, the number of adult orthodontic patients has risen dramatically over the last few decades, and today we’re going to debunk all of your excuses for not getting braces and show you why orthodontic treatment is still a wonderful option for adults with dental alignment issues.

“It’s Too Late; My Teeth Won’t Move”
It may be preferable to start young for orthodontic treatment, but there is no age limit to getting a straighter smile. We can help determine the best treatment for your circumstances. One advantage that adult orthodontic patients have over teens is the self-discipline that comes with maturity; adults will often be better at following instructions for their treatment, which means it will go much smoother.

Check out how much this woman’s teeth moved in one year with adult braces!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3E6wGQAfZc

“I’ll Be Fine If I Keep My Crooked Teeth”
If you’ve been living with crooked teeth your whole life, you might think there’s no point in getting orthodontic treatment. But having straight teeth isn’t just about appearances — it’s also about improved oral and overall health. Straight teeth are easier to clean and make it easier to speak, chew, and even breathe effectively, whereas crooked teeth cause difficulties in all of these areas and can grow more crooked over time.

“Having Braces Will Make Me Look Unprofessional”
Some adults who would like straighter teeth may still hesitate to seek orthodontic treatment because they worry that spending a year or longer in braces could impact their personal lives or careers by making them look immature or unprofessional. Luckily, there are several low-profile orthodontic treatment options for patients who don’t want to broadcast their treatment to the world, such as invisible aligners and clear ceramic braces. With these, you can straighten your teeth without anyone noticing your hardware!

“Orthodontic Treatment Is Expensive”
Orthodontic treatment can certainly cost more than a regular dental appointment, but it’s also an investment in your future, saving you from the expenses of problems that come with crooked teeth or a bad bite. If you aren’t sure you can fit braces into your budget, schedule a consultation with us. Together, we can find the best and most affordable option for you.

Leave Your Braces Excuses In 2018
This year is nearly over, and what better way to welcome the next one than by leaving your braces excuses behind and getting on the path to a healthier, straighter smile? We can’t wait to help you get the smile you deserve!

Don’t let excuses keep you from your dream smile!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original. The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions. Ahl and O'Connor Orthodontics provides top-quality orthodontic care in Kent and Sussex counties with offices located in Dover, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware.

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