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Gehring Orthodontics’ Blog

How do you choose an orthodontist?

People are often faced with many choices when it comes to choosing orthodontic care for themselves or their children. In the past, people were usually referred to an orthodontist by their general dentist, and this frequently still occurs. However, many general dentists are now performing orthodontic treatment themselves and may try to convince you to get treatment directly from them. Only an orthodontist has graduated from an accredited orthodontic program, and a specialist will have the advanced training in the latest diagnostic methods and advanced treatment technology. To find a uniquely trained orthodontic specialist, check out these resources:american-association-of-orthodontists

  • The American Association of This website can help you find an AAO orthodontic expert in your area.
  • American Board of Orthodontics – Many orthodontists have gone a step further to achieve specialty board certification from the American Board of Orthodontics. This website will assist you in determining if your orthodontist is board certified.

Another great resource in choosing an orthodontist is word of mouth. Ask your friends and neighbors! They will give you their honest opinion on their orthodontic experience. Other dental specialists, such as an oral surgeon, can also provide insight on the quality of treatment and care they see from area orthodontic professionals.

In addition to the websites listed above, you can also visit the orthodontist’s website. Our website provides a glimpse into the daily activity of our office while also providing the valuable information you’re looking for. On the internet you can also find online reviews, although you always need to be wary of what you are reading. A consistent pattern of positive or negative reviews can be very telling. Our practice has been blessed with consistently positive online reviews.

Finally, perhaps there is no better way to determine if an orthodontist is right for you than personally visiting the office. We do not charge for initial exams in the hope that people will not hesitate to seek an orthodontic opinion with us. Once you have had the chance to see our facilities and get acquainted with my staff and me, you should have a good feeling for how you and your family will be treated here. Our goal is to make you comfortable and confident that you have made the right choice, and we will stop at nothing to earn your trust. And of course we hope you will take the time to share your positive experience with others!

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Why are extractions sometimes necessary for orthodontic treatment?

AAO_Clarise_142There are certain conditions in which the removal of permanent teeth is recommended to provide the best solution to an orthodontic problem.  This sometimes causes concern with families since the teeth that are removed are often healthy permanent teeth.

Extractions are typically recommended for problems including crowding, bite issues, protrusion, and asymmetries. We are all conditioned to try to avoid losing our teeth, which is good motivation to take good care of our mouths.  While I always prefer treatment modalities that do not involve extractions, there are many instances in which extractions are simply the most appropriate treatment option to obtain the best orthodontic result for that individual.

Since this decision may create concern among patients and their families, the best way to ensure you are receiving the most appropriate care is by undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by an orthodontic specialist. Only after obtaining a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan can all treatment options and their associated advantages and disadvantages be understood.  It is important to take the time to make sure that all of your questions are answered before making a final decision on treatment.  This will ensure you are receiving the best care for your particular situation, even if it involves extractions.

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Do you dread getting dental impressions?

Dental impressions are required as part of our dental records as well as to make retainers and other appliances including Invisalign. The gagging, mess, and discomfort that can accompany  impressions make them one of the least favorite experiences our patients encounter.

I have often been asked, isn’t there a better way?

Now there is! In January our practice took delivery of one of the most impressive technological advances available to orthodontists, the iTero Element Scanner.  Featuring cutting edge laser and optical technology, the iTero scanner digitally captures the structure of your teeth and gums using a convenient wand.  It only takes a few minutes to scan your entire mouth, including the soft-tissue structures, rendering a perfect 3D digital impression without the discomfort and gagging associated with conventional dental impressions.  The real-time digital display of scans allows for immediate verification, assuring accurate scans and eliminating the distortion that can occur with conventional impressions.

iTero          impressions
Previously our patients starting Invisalign had to endure several cumbersome impressions that had to be shipped to Invisalign to start the process. With the iTero Element Scanner, scans can be sent to Invisalign within minutes since the iTero scanner is seamlessly integrated with Invisalign.  This enables greater accuracy and faster turnaround time, allowing our patients to start their Invisalign treatment weeks sooner.

While conventional impressions may still be needed for certain procedures, we are using the iTero scanner whenever possible to replace impressions. Our patients are just as excited as we are to incorporate this wonderful new technology into our office!

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Celebrating 20 years of making smiles perfect!

August 2nd of this year marked the 20th anniversary of opening my Gehring_David-dpractice in Cedar Rapids. I had just completed my orthodontic residency at the University of Iowa and decided to open my own office rather than join an existing practice. I ended up “hanging a shingle” in a small office with two employees that is just a few doors down from my current office. While opening my own practice was not easy, I was blessed with the help and support of many dentists who entrusted their patients’ orthodontic needs to me. I also had the help of great employees, several of whom are still with me today. I am very grateful for this support and continue to strive to provide the finest quality care in a pleasant environment.

Twenty years seems like a long time, but in many ways it feels like it has gone by quickly! As I look back on the last two decades, there have been many technological advancements that have made orthodontic treatment more efficient and comfortable, resulting in a much more pleasant experience for our patients. However, there are many more traditional treatment methods that have withstood the test of time and continue to play a large role in our treatment planning. As a specialist, I have the unique perspective of having extensive experience in more traditional orthodontic techniques, but am always seeking new and better ways of treatment through continuing education opportunities and technologies that are available only to orthodontic specialists.

I have already had the experience of some of my earliest patients bringing THEIR kids to me for orthodontic treatment! This is the ultimate compliment to our office, and I feel a great sense of gratitude to my patients and families who have trusted their orthodontic care to us. We are eagerly looking forward to the next 20 years!

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We want to see you flashing your smile this summer!


Share a photo of you during your vacation or other summer activities wearing your Gehring Orthodontics t-shirt, and enter to win some great prizes!


  1.  Like our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram (gehringortho)
  2. Post a photo of you on our Facebook wall or your Instagram account on vacation, at camp, or just out and about showing off your smile. (Don’t forget to wear your Gehring Orthodontics t-shirt!!)
  3. Remember to tag us (@gehringortho) and use #GehringSmiles
  4. Encourage your friends & family to “Like” your picture!

Submit your pictures by August 17th! Two (2) lucky winners will receive a $50 gift card to Lindale Mall.

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Summertime Smiles!

AAO_Staci_And_Megan_127School is almost out, which means it is time for vacations, camps, and great memories that summer brings for our patients at Gehring Orthodontics.

We hope the summer fun gives all of our patients plenty of reasons to show off their smiles.  In order to keep your smile looking healthy and white during the summer months, we have some tips to help!

With the summer heat it is important to stay hydrated, especially during physical activity.  Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, tea, or dark colored juices. In addition, pop and soda are especially damaging to teeth due to the high sugar and acid content.  The best way to stay hydrated is to drink cold water!  Your body and teeth will thank you.

With the change in routine that occurs once summer begins, it is easy to overlook the importance of thoroughly brushing after snacks and meals.  If it is simply not possible to brush after a snack or meal, swishing and rinsing with water is a good alternative.

And remember, whether you are headed on a camping trip, vacation, or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it!  We want to see your photos from your vacation OR staycation!

Send us photos of you during your vacation or other summer activities wearing your Gehring Orthodontics t-shirt, and enter to win some great prizes! Be watching for contest details and information on how to enter in the upcoming weeks!

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Do I need to wear a mouth guard?

This is a question I hear often, especially now that the outdoor sports season is upon us.  April is National Facial Protection Month, so this is a good time to emphasize the importance of routine use of mouth guards.MouthGuard1

It is well established that mouth guards can protect the teeth and jaws from serious damage and trauma, especially for somebody with braces on.  Many people are surprised to learn that mouth guards also play an important role in the prevention of concussions.


While mouth guards are typically required equipment for sports such as football and wrestling, I am often asked if mouth guards should be worn for other sports.  My answer is an emphatic YES for any activity involving bats, balls, goalposts, elbows, foreheads, pucks, sticks, clubs, or walls, because I have seen serious mouth injuries occur from all of these.
mouthguard3 The worst injury I ever treated involved an incident during a high school P.E. class—where they were playing GOLF!  The unfortunate student caught the tail end of a golf swing and lost several teeth and part of the upper jaw.  Obviously, such protection is typically not needed for golf (unless perhaps I’m on the course….), but this helps make the point.  Mouth guards are important!


The best protection is provided by a custom mouth guard made from a dental impression of the teeth.  However, this is not practical for an orthodontic patient since the teeth are constantly moving.  There are many different varieties of mouth guards available for people with braces, and we can help determine what may be best for you.  But the type of mouth guard you use is less important than the fact that you are using one!


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My Orthodontic Assistants ROCK!

Last week we celebrated Dental Assistant’s Week, when dentists Orthodontic Assistantsthroughout the country recognize their dental assistants for the variety of duties they perform and helping them provide patients with quality dental care.  This year’s theme, “Dental Assisting: Embracing the Changes of the Profession,” acknowledges the growing importance of dentistry’s role in health care and the responsibilities of dental assistants.

My first employee Kay started with me 20 years ago working as our receptionist.  She gradually started doing lab work for us and is now our talented, full-time laboratory technician.  In fact, all of my assistants have been with me a minimum of ten years.  I am fortunate to have a dedicated long-term team that is committed to providing the finest quality of orthodontic care in a fun and friendly setting.  Dental specialists (such as orthodontists) play a vital role in providing the highest quality of care using the most advanced and proven procedures and techniques, and the highly trained members of our office team are also “specialists” in their own way.  In addition to being Registered Dental Assistants as required by the State of Iowa, our assistants have all taken additional steps to become Certified Orthodontic Assistants.  While this certification is optional, it is one more way that our patients can be assured they are receiving the highest level of quality care.

So hats off to my wonderful team, and we look forward to providing the best orthodontic experience to our patients for many more years to come!

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Are retainers forever?

We see many adults who come to us seeking orthodontic treatment, many of whom were treated as teenagers.  They often tell me that they were told to wear their retainers for two years and then they could stop.  Unfortunately, many of these individuals are back at the orthodontist because their teeth have shifted, sometimes dramatically.  They often report that they would have worn their retainers longer if they knew their teeth were going to shift later.

These days we make it a priority to remind our patients that long-term retainer wear is required to prevent the inevitable shifting that occurs with age.  Why do the teeth move so easily?  As we find out as we get older, our bodies change significantly as the years go by.  Our skin, muscles, bones, and teeth can change—many times in ways we don’t like.  When you consider that a half ounce of force applied over a long enough period of time can move a tooth, it is really not surprising that teeth start to move as our bodies change.  But I like to remind people that unlike all of the other changes that happen as we age, tooth movement is one of the few that we can prevent!

The best long-term solution to this problem is to continue nighttime retainer wear for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight.  It’s really that simple.

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Early Treatment Misconceptions

Braces Early TreatmentParents often wonder “When should I bring my children to the orthodontist for the first time?”  There is a common misperception that the child needs to have all of their permanent teeth prior to seeing an orthodontist, which is definitely not the case.  There is also a misperception that your dentist needs to make the referral to the orthodontist, but no referral is ever required to schedule a complimentary orthodontic evaluation at Gehring Orthodontics.

In fact, the best time for an initial orthodontic evaluation is around seven years of age.  This is an ideal time to assess the bite and screen for other potentially damaging problems.  At this stage the upper and lower front teeth are usually erupting which allows us to evaluate for problems such as crossbites, overbites, underbites, openbites and problems related to excess crowding or spacing – all common orthodontic corrections.

Many times these early orthodontic problems do not require immediate treatment.  Sometimes the problems are mild enough that treatment can be delayed several more years.  However, early treatment intervention with fairly simple treatment methods can often greatly reduce the severity of a problem, resulting in much simpler treatment once all of the remaining permanent teeth erupt.  Sometimes cosmetic issues can also have a negative effect on a child’s self-esteem and emotional health, which can be another valid reason for simple early orthodontic treatment and intervention.

While it is never too late to schedule an orthodontic evaluation for your child, the age of seven or eight is an ideal time to schedule an appointment for a complimentary initial examination at Gehring Orthodontics.

Schedule your free initial examination now!

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