Patient Rewards—Another Way Orthodontic Arts Makes You Smile!

Orthodontic Arts is excited to launch its brand new patient rewards program! Our patients and their parents will now be able to earn points that they can exchange for valuable gift cards. When you’re part of our rewards club, we’ll give you your patient-rewards-cardvery own Orthodontic Arts rewards card. Each time you come, bring your card, and we’ll award you all the points you’ve earned for that visit. Earning points is easy and there are lots of ways to participate. For example, just coming to our office for a complimentary new patient exam or wearing your Orthodontic Arts t-shirt to appointments will add points on your card. You can log in to the program through our website or the Patient Rewards Hub app to discover more opportunities to get rewards. Entering and winning fun contests, sharing reviews, completing surveys—these are all ways to rack up points. Maintaining great oral hygiene while you’re in braces is another way. You can even earn points for interacting with us on social media. Then get the prizes you redeem with those points delivered right to your door!

gift-cardsAnd talk about awesome prizes! How would you like to receive a gift card for Amazon, Toys “R” Us, Game Stop, Macy’s, Best Buy, Bath and Body Works, Walmart, Pier 1 Imports, or Lowe’s, just to name a few? You pick the prizes and you use your gift cards to shop for what you want! Have we whet your appetite yet? Well, in case we haven’t, we also offer prizes you can use at eateries like McDonald’s, Panera, Cold Stone, Cracker Barrel, TGI Friday’s, Outback, and Olive Garden.

kids-club-cardUse your rewards to put some pep in your step with a caffeinated pick-me-up from Starbucks. Fix up—and fill up—your ride using prizes for Auto Zone and Shell. Explore more sports and outdoor adventures with a gift card to Golfsmith or Cabela’s. Treat yourself to a night out watching the latest action-packed blockbuster at a Regal or AMC theater with tickets you’ve earned through our program. Or enjoy hours of entertainment by redeeming your Apple iTunes rewards. It’s our way of making your orthodontic experience more engaging, successful, and fun! Even if it’s not time yet to begin your braces treatment, you can still enjoy activities and start saving points through our Kids Club for when you are ready to get started.

Think about it–we not only give you a better smile; we give you lots of reasons to use that smile. How rewarding is that?!

by Karen Allard

Braces…at My Age? 5 Reasons to Say Yes to Senior Orthodontics


“I’d encourage every adult to not let age stand in the way of getting the smile they really want.”—Fred A.

Teeth can be moved safely at any age, as long as there is no active periodontal disease present. Yet, sadly, many older adults and their dentists fail to even consider orthodontics as a viable option, thinking it’s a younger person’s game. Consequently, a large segment of the population is being underserved, suffering needlessly in silence. Maybe you’re among that group. Maybe you’ve been secretly longing you could do something about your crowding, spacing, bite, or TMJ problems. But you’ve felt hopeless, thinking the time to make any improvements has passed. Or perhaps you’ve been fortunate enough to have had good teeth all along or had braces previously, but suddenly you’ve noticed that things are starting to change and you’re concerned about what will happen if that trend progresses. If so, read on to see why orthodontics for seniors—and we don’t mean seniors in high school—is worth investigating.

1. Americans are living longer now. The average life expectancy in the US is now age 79.* That means you could expect to be around for nearly three decades beyond your 50th birthday. That’s a long time to walk around with a smile or a bite you’re not happy with. You’ll want to hold on to your natural teeth for the duration—unless dealing with decayed and missing teeth, expensive crowns and implants, or a mouthful of dentures for the next few decades sounds appealing to you! Investing, on average, a year or two in orthodontic care doesn’t seem impractical when you consider how many years you may still have ahead of you. And you’ll be part of a growing trend; we are seeing more and more adult patients at Orthodontic Arts, and the over-50 set accounts for an increasing part of that group.

2. Many seniors are preparing for new beginnings. Retirement doesn’t look like it used to. Today’s seniors aren’t typically sitting quietly at home in their rocking chairs. They’re starting new businesses, engaging in community outreach, pursuing new sports, hobbies, and adventures. And their dating and social lives can be more active than that of the average teen! You’ll want to enhance all that interaction with a healthy, attractive smile—because there’s still plenty to smile about! Remember, people enjoy being around confident, happy people, and the self-confidence that a great smile brings is valuable no matter one’s age.

3. Orthodontics can promote health and prevent problems. Orthodontics is about a lot more than just aesthetics; it’s also about proper function and maintenance. For example, orthodontic treatment can:
A) Improve efficiency. Chewing efficiency can be significantly diminished when the teeth don’t fit together the way they were meant to, such as in cases of open bite or excessive overjet (protrusion). Not being able to eat what you want can be very frustrating—just ask anyone on a diet!
B) Correct alignment for better oral hygiene. Crooked teeth are simply harder to keep clean. If you can’t clean them properly, they’re likely to decay and be lost, requiring costly repairs or replacements.
C) Fix your bite to avoid tooth wear. The bite tends to deepen as we mature, and a deep bite can contribute to tooth wear. Once the enamel is worn down, it doesn’t grow back. Then you may need to restore tooth length with veneers or crowns.
D) Combat negative changes. Teeth can shift over time. When they do, they need attention just like any other part of your body would. You wouldn’t say, “I’m too old to correct my vision.” So why would you feel you’re too old to fix your teeth?
E) Avoid/limit future problems. Being proactive about your orthodontic care can help you avoid even bigger difficulties down the road. For example, Fred A., one of our patients at Orthodontic Arts, came to us with a crossbite, open bite tendency, and crowding. Although he had never been truly comfortable with his smile, he had never pursued orthodontic treatment. But at age 60, he found that his crossbite was getting worse, causing discomfort. He was biting his cheeks constantly. Dr. Sterne likened Fred’s crossbite to hammering a nail at an angle; each time he bit down, Fred was driving his teeth farther to the side, and left untreated, he ran the risk of eventually driving his teeth out of the gum and bone. After 19 months in braces, Fred’s teeth were aligned and his crossbite was corrected. “I’m so glad I finally had braces treatment,” says Fred. “It really improved how my teeth look and function. I’d encourage every adult to not let age stand in the way of getting the smile they really want.”

4. There are more options available now to correct relapse of previous treatment. So maybe this isn’t your first time to the rodeo. Maybe you had braces as an adolescent. But back then, the science behind wearing retainers after braces wasn’t as evolved. Many patents were told they could throw their retainers away after a prescribed period of time. And many experienced relapse of the same issues they had before their braces. Perhaps this happened to you. Or maybe you simply weren’t as faithful with your retainers as you should have been in the first place. Now you’re older and wiser and can appreciate the importance of compliance with your orthodontic program. Some things really are better the second time around! And more orthodontic options are available now. Limited or partial treatment with braces or retainers, clear plastic aligners, and clear braces are a few considerations.

5. Freed up time and resources = opportunity for self-investment. Orthodontics wasn’t as commonplace when most of today’s seniors were growing up, and some families simply couldn’t afford it. But when many of these individuals had families of their own, they recognized the value and invested in their children’s orthodontic care. With their kids now grown, many older adults feel that they can finally focus their attention and use their resources on their own needs that they’ve put aside for so long. Remember, taking care of yourself isn’t selfish; in fact, it ensures that you’ll be at your best for those you care about.

So, don’t be shy; call us to set up a free consultation with Dr. Sterne or Dr. Prillaman to see how orthodontics can benefit you. After all, you weren’t born yesterday; you know what’s good for you. And you know that a beautiful, healthy smile is ageless.

–by Karen Allard

*“The World: Life Expectancy (2016) – 100+,”

Learning Can Be Fun…in the Florida Sun!


The doctors and staff of Orthodontic Arts recently attended the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) annual meeting, held this year in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center, with events at some of the local theme parks. The AAO is the oldest and largest dental specialty organization in the world, and its yearly event allows orthodontic practitioners from around the globe to mingle, have fun, and learn more about our wonderful profession.

We had a whale of a good time at the Opening Ceremonies at SeaWorld’s® Shamu Stadium. We sat up front in the “splash zone,” so when those majestic orcas used their mighty tails to kick up a playful tsunami onto the audience, those of us who were brave enough not to run away got the full force of it. Did we leave the stadium soggy? Yes, but also refreshed and happy. Other SeaWorld® favorites we enjoyed were the Kraken® and the Journey to Atlantis®
rides. There was plenty of lively music throughout the park, too, which prompted Dr. Sterne to show off his…ummm…interesting…dancing skills!

The AAO Gala was held at Universal Studios, where we had the whole park to ourselves! We could have used a little wizardry from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ to stop the torrents of rain that fell that night, but we still had a blast indoors on the thrilling Revenge of the Mummy® rollercoaster.2

Back at the convention center, exhibit booths showcased the latest advances in orthodontic tools and equipment. And classes covered a wide range of topics, including delivering top-notch customer service, utilizing technology and social media in the orthodontic practice, improving clinical skills, mastering communication, and living a balanced life. There was even one called “Naked in Paradise,” in which Gary Zelesky, a truly gifted motivational speaker, imparted pearls of wisdom about the power of innovation and a positive attitude that
he gleaned when he unexpectedly–and alarmingly–found himself quite literally naked in a paradise vacation resort!
3The conference provided a great chance for team building and unwinding, but it also highlighted our dedication to educating and motivating ourselves in order to offer our patients the most cutting-edge technology with the highest quality personal touch. We’re keeping our skills sharp so we can not only be our best, but give our best to you!

by Karen Allard



Designing Your Perfect Smile: The Art of Orthodontics

Any orthodontist worth his or her salt understands the mechanics of moving teeth to improve their alignment. But how can you be sure that the smile you end up with will be the most attractive you can achieve—in your eyes? As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What if your orthodontist is focused more on functionality than appearance, or doesn’t view beauty in quite the same way as you do? At Orthodontic Arts, we involve our patients in the treatment process. They’re your teeth, after all. You’re the one who’ll be beholding them the rest of your life. There are so many choices, nuances, and subtleties that can affect the outcome of an orthodontic treatment. And those factors can mean the difference between teeth that are straight and a smile that truly wows. That’s the art of orthodontics, and since you’re the commissioner of the work, the canvas, and the most important art critic of the finished creation, we feel you should have a say in designing your perfect smile.

Our very name, Orthodontic Arts, reflects the blending of both mechanics and design. Dr. Prillaman credits his parents for helping him appreciate the balance of the two in his profession. His father was an engineer; his mother, an artist and teacher. As a product of their union, Dr. Prillaman incorporates an engineer’s understanding of forces that produce motion in aligning teeth, while maintaining an artist’s eye toward proportion and shape, which affect the aesthetics of a person’s smile. He then educates our patients as to the options available so that they can participate in their care and make the choices that are right for them. Likewise, Dr. Sterne shares this same creative and collaborative philosophy. He believes in assisting and empowering our patients to make their own decisions based on sound information. He’s happy to share what he would do with his own child, but he won’t impose his choice or simply do what seems best or easiest to him. Your input is valued and welcome.

So, what are some of the choices—the artist’s tools—we can use together in sculpting your ideal smile?


Profile before using a bite corrector.


Profile after using a bite corrector.

Extraction versus nonextraction or expansion treatment or bite correction. Orthodontic Arts is a face-first practice, meaning that we take into consideration not just how we’re changing the position of your teeth, but how those changes affect your profile and overall appearance. Extracting teeth to correct crowding may reduce lip support, while treating without extractions or actively expanding the dental arches may preserve lip support or increase fullness. To correct protrusion in conjunction with a retruded chin, a bite corrector can be used to position the lower jaw forward to produce a more balanced profile. We’ll help you know what you can expect with your particular profile, depending on your choice.

Compensations for tooth size discrepancy. Many people carry a gene that causes certain teeth to be narrow or peg-shaped. While orthodontics can’t change the size and shape of your teeth, we can coordinate with your dentist to leave just the right amount of space around any teeth you feel look too small, and your dentist can build them up to the appropriate size.


Less gum tissue displayed after braces.


Gum tissue displayed before braces.

Tooth and gum height positioning. If you want to reduce how much gum tissue you display when you smile, we can intentionally place your braces in such a way as to raise the teeth up. We can also work with a periodontist to align your teeth to the appropriate height in conjunction with a gingivectomy (reshaping of the gum tissue), or work with your dentist to position your teeth at just the right height for your dentist to then restore vertical length to worn or chipped teeth by adding composite, veneers, or crowns.

Smile width change. We offer a variety of braces to help customize your treatment. For example, we’re currently the only practice in the Lynchburg area to use Damon braces, which are more effective at widening the arches to produce a broader smile. If you see dark areas in the corners of your smile, Damon braces may be a good choice for you.

So, let’s turn that painted-on smile into a true work of art. Because at Orthodontic Arts, we’re not just moving teeth; we’re creating masterpieces…one smile at a time.

by Karen Allard


Retainer Types

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Bite Splint—made of a thicker plastic than an Essix, this retainer can protect the teeth from wear due to a bruxing habit.





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Bite Block—made of thick acrylic, this appliance is used to prop the bite open, which is especially helpful during braces treatment to correct a crossbite.




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Wraparound—made of acrylic and a wire that wraps around the full arch and crosses over to the palate in the posterior to maintain alignment.




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Spring—made of acrylic and wire, this retainer is equipped with springs to actively effect mild to moderate tooth movement.




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Lingual Bond—a wire attached to the back of the anterior teeth. This type of retainer is especially helpful to prevent vertical or spacing relapse, but it’s difficult to clean around. We recommend that an Essix retainer be used in conjunction with the lingual bond because the lingual bond doesn’t maintain the result of all the teeth. Also, the wire may break or come loose undetected until the teeth have already shifted. An inlaid lingual bond is another option, where the retainer is actually embedded in the back of the teeth.



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Hawley—made of acrylic and wire, this retainer can be adjusted and may be preferred when there are primary teeth that have not been lost yet, as it doesn’t cover the surface of the teeth and won’t impede natural eruption. This type of retainer can also be made with a thick plate of acrylic in the palate that can help open up a deep bite.




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Essix—a thin, clear plastic tray that fits comfortably over the surfaces of all the teeth.





To Have and to Hold—How Retainers Will Keep You Smiling for a Lifetime


Getting braces is an exciting milestone in a person’s life, and it involves a serious commitment, not unlike entering a marriage. You’re agreeing to partner with your orthodontic practice as you work together in a positive relationship to achieve a common goal—in this case, a beautiful, healthy, and functional smile. And the intent is “to have and to hold” that beautiful smile for the rest of your life. So before you say “I do” to braces or clear aligners, let’s take a moment to talk about what you’ll need to maintain the results of your treatment for a lifetime—retainers.

After the active phase of moving your teeth with braces or aligners, you will enter the retention phase of your orthodontic treatment. Once your orthodontic appliances are removed, your orthodontist will fit you with retainers customized to your exact bite. Just as there are different types of braces, there are various styles of retainers to choose from (see “Retainer Types”), and your orthodontist will work with you to select the best ones for your particular orthodontic needs. You will be asked to wear your retainers faithfully for a prescribed period of time to stabilize and hold your result. At Orthodontic Arts, we typically have our patients wear their retainers every night while they sleep for the first two years after treatment. After that, we recommend trying the retainers in a couple of nights a month. If they slide in and out easily, you don’t have to do a thing, as the result is stable. However, if the retainers feel tight, it means that your teeth are trying to move, so you’ll want to sleep in your retainers for several nights until they feel comfortable again and you get back to your finished result. We tell our patients to never throw your retainers away! They’re your insurance policy. You’ve invested valuable time, effort, and financial resources in your orthodontic treatment, and you would never want to lose everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Years ago, it was thought that we stopped growing and changing after a certain point, but now we know that we are not static creatures; we’re changing throughout our lifetimes, so retention is essential long-term. Now, some of us will be more prone to change than others, and more so at various times of our lives. For example, in the late teens and early twenties, there is late-stage jaw growth that can occur, potentially causing the bite to deepen and the teeth to shift or relapse. In the past, these changes were often blamed on the eruption of the wisdom teeth, but such changes also occur in individuals who are congenitally missing their wisdom teeth, so we know that it has more to do with jaw development than eruption. There are other stages of life when the teeth will be more inclined to shift as well—periods of significant hormone changes, for example, such as during pregnancy or menopause. You may find that you’ll need to wear your retainers more frequently during such stages of life to keep your teeth from moving.

If your retainer should break or be lost, call your orthodontist immediately. The longer you wait before replacing your retainer, the more your teeth will have the opportunity to shift, and once they shift beyond a certain point, you may not be able to get the correction you desire without going back into braces or aligner treatment.

Remember, the goal is not only to have a terrific smile, but to hold it for the rest of your life. Braces and retainers go hand in hand. If you vow to be faithful wearing your retainer, you and that terrific smile can live happily ever after!

-Written by Karen Allard

Celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month with Us!

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This October, as you celebrate the changing colors of the leaves, the crispness of the autumn air, and all those Halloween goodies, costumes, and parties, we at Orthodontic Arts invite you to join us in another October celebration—National Orthodontic Health Month.

Each year, the American Association of Orthodontists designates October as a time to remind everyone about the importance and benefits of orthodontic care, and Halloween time is the perfect occasion to do that. After all, there are a lot of people walking around out there who feel that their teeth look mighty scary! Some people even have fangs—that aren’t part of any costume! These are exactly the kinds of problems that an orthodontist can fix. Drs. Prillaman and Sterne are specialists who’ve been serving our community in the Lynchburg, Bedford, Madison Heights, Farmville, and Keysville areas for years, transforming many a jack-o-lantern smile into a thing of beauty.

So, whatever your orthodontic concern is—crowding, spacing, overbite, crossbite, tooth impaction—or even if you just want to speak with our doctors to make sure the aesthetics of your smile and the functionality of your bite are the best they can be, treat yourself to a complimentary consultation at Orthodontic Arts. We serve children, teens, and adults and offer a wide variety of options to customize your treatment plan to your specific needs, including metal and clear braces, retainers, Invisalign and ClearCorrect aligners, palatal expanders, and bite correctors.

Are you a little spooked about seeing an orthodontist? No worries. Our friendly staff and doctors, game room, massage chairs, and coffee bar will help make your experience a pleasant one, laying to rest any horror stories you may have heard.

If you’re one of the four million children or one million adults in America already in orthodontic treatment*, remember that National Orthodontic Health Month is for you, too. It’s a time to celebrate all you’re doing to improve your smile. Your efforts will definitely be worthwhile! We want to encourage you to stay on track with your orthodontic and dental appointments and maintain good oral hygiene. And as you enjoy Halloween, remember to choose treats that are brace-friendly, like nut-free candies and soft candy bars, sugar-free gum, and peanut butter cups. Avoid foods that are sticky, gooey, hard, or crunchy. If you follow all your orthodontist’s instructions, your treatment will go as smoothly as possible and your mouth will go from monstrous to magnificent! Could there be any treat sweeter than that?

–Karen Allard

*According to the American Association of Orthodontists

Should You Get Braces?

Do you think that braces are only for teenagers? Think again.

The power of a smile can help you feel more confident at any age. Are fears of a painful, bulky, metal mouth holding you back from braces? Here at Orthodontic Arts there are several reasons why we think you should reconsider braces.

1. According to a survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 40% of women and 35% of men agree that an imperfect smile makes someone less appealing than a person with a perfect smile.

2. 71% of women and 58% of men agree that teeth are the first thing they notice in a potential partner.

3. 8 in 10 adults who got braces felt they lives where positively affected.

So what’s stopping you?

Many adults believe that braces are unsightly and bulky. Today’s metal brackets are much smaller than in years past.  And thanks to clear, aesthetic braces, you can show off your smile instead of your braces during treatment. We are proud of to offer clear braces as well as clear aligner treatments which don’t use any braces attached to the teeth. We use both Invisalign and ClearCorrect to solve the insecurity of having an unattractive mouth.

Treatment times are faster than ever due to technical advances in orthodontic materials.  Your time in braces will be based on the amount of tooth movement needed.  Call us today for a free consultation to see how long we believe you will need your braces for! It might be shorter than what you think.

We are proud to offer flexible payment plans to help fit the cost of braces into your budget. Also, make sure you check with your insurance provider to see how much they will cover – some cover as much as half of the cost!

We have the latest advanced technologies that make braces less invasive and less painful. Straightening your teeth with braces or clear aligners can actually prevent pain by properly aligning your bite.

Getting braces can give you better facial balance and aesthetics, a full and wide smile and fewer dark corridors within the corners of your mouth! Braces can help smooth cheek contours which make narrow smiles look fuller and more inviting. We want to give you straighter and less crowded teeth. Now that’s something to smile about!


Natural Institutes of Health,, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry,

National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Happy February! Did you know that it’s National Children’s Dental Health Month? We are so excited to share the following facts and information with you!

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. If your child is older than 7, it’s certainly not too late for a check-up! Patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs; our goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time. Please call us today for a free consultation!

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 5.01.55 PMThe American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children, at age 7, see us because at that age we are able to spot potential problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.  As a parent, it is easy to assume that dental and oral health is fine because your child’s teeth are straight, but there could be an issue that you might be missing!

An orthodontic check-up may confirm that your child’s bite is fine.  Or, the orthodontist may identify a developing problem but recommend monitoring growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time for the child. In other cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment to prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.

We want to encourage you to come in to see us for a free consultation.  Dr. Sterne and Dr. Prillaman are available and would love to meet with you and your family!

To stay connected with office events, dental facts and encouragement please visit our Facebook or Instagram page! We love our patients and are so glad you’ve chosen Orthodontic Arts as your orthodontists!!

Want Straight Teeth Fast? AcceleDent is the Answer

by Sonya Prillaman

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Traci B. (Actual Patient)

We often have patients who come in to Orthodontic Arts to discuss straightening their teeth who are concerned about the length of time that the orthodontic treatment will take.  Adults are especially anxious to have their teeth straightened quickly.  Traci is one of our adult patients who works in a professional position.  She was interested in improving her smile and bite and wanted to move the progress along as quickly as possible.  Kasie is another patient and college student who wants to finish her orthodontic treatment as soon as possible so she can feel confident for job interviews.  Another patient, Howard, waited until he was retired to correct his teeth.  He wanted the process to be as quick as possible. Read the rest of this entry »