Can Smiling Reduce Stress?

If you have ever wondered, “Can smiling reduce stress?” the answer is yes. Through scientific research studies and health evaluations, smiling has a great effect on reducing stress. Not only that but there are additional results that suggest smiling can have beneficial effects on your overall health. Are you ready to get your smile on?

Stress Can Have a Negative Effect on Your Smile

Why do people frown? Normally, sadness can bring on a frown, or dissatisfaction, or something bad happening to ruin your day. Stress can also bring on a frown and affect your entire body. In a study of 2,412 participants published in 2016, it was found that psychological stress can contribute to oral health problems.

The study included socio-economic factors as well. Those with dental insurance coverage did fare better than those with the additional worry of how to pay the bills. The study also concluded that stress can contribute to other chronic health conditions including:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Childhood obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Type II diabetes
  • Tobacco and drug use
  • Cancer

Among the oral problems linked directly to stress that can affect your smile are gum inflammation, teeth grinding (Bruxism), and dry mouth.

Gum Inflammation

Stress can be a direct cause of gum inflammation and periodontal disease in some people. Under stress, your body creates excess cortisol (an anti-inflammatory hormone). Cortisone released in the gums creates additional proteins which increase inflammation. This can progress to periodontal disease, pain, and have a negative impact on your smile.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism can be a response to anger, fear, and stress. This clenching is often done unconsciously and even during periods of sleep. Grinding can create many problems including:

  • Broken or damaged teeth
  • Jaw popping
  • Face pain
  • Headaches
  • Swelling
  • TMJ

As you can see, stress-related teeth grinding can result in many physical problems of the head, neck, and face.

 

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Dry Mouth

Extreme stress can cause increased acid reflux. Because acid slows down saliva production, it can result in a dry mouth. Without the necessary flushing of saliva, your mouth can become a haven for bad breath, bad tastes, and increase the prevalence of tooth decay. Having a dry mouth can affect your smile in a negative way.

The Science Behind Your Smile

To reclaim the happiness of our youth would be awesome. Children smile on average about 400 times every day. Adults smile much less. A happy adult may smile from 40 to 50 times per day, while a typical adult only manages about 20 smiles.

Smiles can open doors, make you more likable, and even increase your productivity at work! But how does that work? Your body is an amazing machine that works together on every level. One thing begins a chain reaction that keeps moving through your entire body.

In the case of smiling, when you smile your brain releases neuropeptides (little molecules) that fight off stress. Next come other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Serotonin is your body’s natural anti-depressant. Endorphins are natural pain relievers.

The release of the secret weapons in your brain can create a loop that includes the people around you too. When we see a person smile, our natural reaction is to return the smile. We’ve all heard the old adages about “A happy workplace is a productive workplace” and other cliches linked to smiling. Turns out they have a real basis in science! Happy workers are more productive and express more creativity.

Creating a Healthier You With a Smile

There are many different ways to increase your daily smile ratio and all of them will have a lasting impact on your overall health and well-being. Practicing your smile in the mirror each morning can start your day on a happy note. If you don’t like your smile, you can always seek orthodontic treatment to create the smile of your dreams. In the meantime, use the smile you have to brighten your day!

When you smile and laugh regularly you will begin to feel better. Laughter yoga, laugh therapy, and other methods to teach people the benefits of laughter are rekindling this natural healing mechanism. There are many other ways to get your smile back:

  • TV programs and funny movies
  • Theater and comedy shows at local clubs
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Look for things to laugh about throughout the day

Go to the zoo — the monkeys are always hilarious. Take a walk in a park near your home with a playground — the laughter of children is infectious. While we struggle behind our masks during the current pandemic, it may seem that no one is smiling, but that isn’t true. They may be hidden, but people are still smiling and you can too!

Benefits of Smiling and Laughing

We mentioned earlier that smiling can have beneficial health effects. In addition to relieving stress, smiling works miracles on your entire body. Smiling can also make you feel better about yourself. Among the benefits are:

  • Reduced pain
  • Less stress
  • Stronger immune system
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Greater endurance

Give it a try — smile into the mirror and see if your reflection smiles back at you.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It — Does It Work?

What if life is just so overwhelming that you can’t muster a real smile? The good news is that your brain can’t tell the difference between a real smile or a fake smile. When you smile, the movement of the muscles still creates the same release of happy juice from your brain (endorphins).

 

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What that means is that even when you “aren’t feeling it,” you can still use smiling to boost your level of happiness. While laughter and smiling are not a substitute for professional care if you need it, they can create at least a temporary boost.

If you are feeling stressed, try smiling or even laughing to combat it.

Can Smiling Reduce Stress? Try It and See!

If you don’t like your smile, contact Pitner Orthodontics to discuss how Invisalign® can give you the perfect smile you have always dreamed of.

Interested in reading more about smiles? Check out our blog series on The Science Behind Your Smile:

Dr. Duchenne’s Smile
A Smile is Universal
What Makes Babies Smile?
Does Smiling Create Happiness?
Can Just Smiling Make You Happy?

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Signs to Get a New Toothbrush Head

Knowing the telltale signs to get a new toothbrush head will keep your brushing habits on the upper tier. Using an old head on an electric toothbrush reduces the efficiency of your brushing. This may leave plaque or other debris on your teeth, causing decay or worse.

Physical Signs to Get a New Toothbrush Head

There are definitive physical signs that you should change your toothbrush head. Manufacturers will recommend that you change every three months with or without the physical signs of degradation. Some manufacturers also employ a color-changing system to let users know when to change. New heads have brightly colored bristles that fade over time. When the color is gone, it is time to change the head on your toothbrush.

Some of the telltale signs that are visible on your toothbrush head:

  • Frayed or worn bristles
  • Brushing seems less effective
  • Old toothpaste is “stuck” around the base of bristles

Although many people believe that manufacturers only recommend changing the toothbrush head to sell more products, it is more complicated than that. Bacteria develop over time. Even when you rinse or clean your brush regularly, bacteria are still present. It is also a fact that new bristles remove more plaque.

 

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This brings us to subscription services. There are several available through manufacturers and online retailers. They work on a fairly simple plan. Once you purchase your electric toothbrush, you enroll in a service. Every three months, they send you a new toothbrush head. When it arrives, you change it out. Simple and effective, computerized, and no burden on you other than paying the fee for the service and the cost for new heads.

Other Times It Is Good to Replace Your Toothbrush Head

Health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) have also weighed in on the great debate. They recommend that people replace toothbrushes and toothbrush heads every three to four months.

There are other circumstances when you should replace your toothbrush head early:

  • If someone else has used your brush
  • When a child (or frustrated adult) has chewed on it causing premature fraying
  • If it is dropped on the floor
  • After anyone has been ill, especially with things like strep throat

It is always better to err with caution in mind. To quote an over-used cliché, “Better safe than sorry.”

When You’re In Doubt — Just Change it Out

Toothbrushes and toothbrush heads are relatively inexpensive. There are times when you might use a brush for one month, and sometimes longer than the recommended four months. The bottom line is that if you are wondering if it is time for a new toothbrush head — it is.

If you have additional questions about the signs to get a new toothbrush head, please ask us at Pitner Orthodontics. Our knowledgeable staff is always eager to help!

If you are ready to explore different ways to perfect your smile, contact Pitner Ortho for a FREE Smile Assessment. This package, with a value of $249, will offer alternatives to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. We have three locations serving the Columbia, SC area, including one office dedicated to adults only!

Please visit our pages on Facebook and Instagram. Also, check out the great information on our orthodontic blog.

Invisalign in Newberry SC

If you need Invisalign in Newberry SC, look no further than Pitner Orthodontics. With two locations in Columbia and the third office in Chapin, Pitner offers Invisalign, affordability, and convenience. Let us show you why it is worth the drive!

Pitner Orthodontics — Invisalign in Newberry SC

Whether you live in Newberry and commute to Columbia for work, you will appreciate the Downtown Office. The only one of its kind, the Downtown office is dedicated to adults only. In fact, you likely drive right past our Chapin office frequently, too.

In the past, many patients were told that Invisalign was not right for them. Whether you have ever been given that sad news or not, we have great news for you now!

 

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Align Technology has been working continously to expand the efficacy of this unique, almost invisible tray alignment system. As a result of their innovative design improvements, Invisalign is able to handle almost all orthodontic problems from minor to complex.

Whether you are in for a first-time visit or to ask us for a second opinion, Pitner Orthodontics is ready to help.

South Carolina’s #1 Invisalign Provider

Dr. Leslie Pitner and Pitner Orthodontics have earned their reputation as South Carolina’s #1 Invisalign provider. Align Technology, the creators of Invisalign, use an 8-tier rating system for providers. Pitner holds a Diamond+ rating, which is in the top 1 percent of all providers.

Dr. Pitner makes it easy to get an evaluation to see if Invisalign treatment is right for you by offering a free initial consultation. This Smile Analysis includes digital x-rays and a complete examination. At a value of $249, this is only the beginning of your savings at Pitner Orthodontics.

How Invisalign Works

Beginning the Invisalign process is fairly easy. First, we make a 3D model of your teeth. The model allows Dr. Pitner to create a custom treatment plan for each patient. After your exam, we create a series of almost invisible alignment trays for you.

The trays are worn for 20 to 22 hours every day. Depending on your treatment schedule, you will switch to a new set of trays every week or two. The trays work by putting pressure against your teeth to shift them into the correct positions. As you switch through the tray sets, your teeth will gradually become straighter until they reach proper alignment.

Because Invisalign trays are removable there are no problems with oral hygiene or dietary restrictions. Patients remove the trays to eat, drink, and perform oral hygiene.

Three Locations Near Newberry

We have three locations near Newberry. The nearest office is our Chapin location on Old Bush River Rd. Our other locations are both in Columbia, one on Westcott Rd and the Downtown office on Main St. Whether you want Invisalign for yourself or are making an appointment for a child or teen, Pitner can help.

Making your first appointment is as easy as clicking on the “Book Your Free Consult” button, filling in some information, and submitting the form.

Please visit our Instagram and Facebook pages for info, fun stuff, and news.

Best Orthodontist in Columbia SC

When you are searching for the best orthodontist in Columbia, SC, Pitner Orthodontics will cover all your needs. Whether you are an adult seeking Invisalign treatment for yourself or a parent needing braces for a child, Dr. Leslie Pitner, and her dedicated staff will ensure you receive great treatment.

How to Find the Best Orthodontist in Columbia SC

When looking for a new orthodontist, you probably already have a list of requirements that include:

  • Family practice equipped for patients of all ages
  • More than one location
  • Experienced orthodontist and staff
  • Highly respected among peers
  • Offers more than one type of treatment

Although your list may have slightly different items, beginning with a list of what you want is a great place to start. Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry. While all orthodontists are also dentists, they complete an additional two to three years of education centering on orthodontics. A dentist is concerned with the overall care and condition of your teeth, while an orthodontist focuses on the structure of your jaw and the alignment of your teeth.

Pitner Orthodontics is Right for the Whole Family

Perhaps you are an adult seeking Invisalign or clear braces. Pitner Orthodontics has an office specifically for adult patients in downtown Columbia! That’s right — no dodging kids in the waiting room and worrying about a juice box squirting on you from across the room. Whatever your comfort zone, Dr. Pitner has created an environment to keep you at ease during treatment.

Likewise, Pitner Orthodontics has a second office in Columbia and another in Chapin that cater to family treatment. All three Pitner offices have highly-trained staff that will make your treatment as comfortable as possible.

Dr. Pitner is South Carolina’s number one Invisalign orthodontist. As a Diamond-Plus Invisalign provider, she is in the top one percent of all Invisalign providers! She has roots in the Chapin area, so she is also your neighbor. In fact, Dr. Pitner is eager to be your first choice for your family’s orthodontic care.

 

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As part of an introductory offer, she includes a complimentary consultation for all new patients. This comprehensive exam includes a complete smile analysis with digital x-rays. The overall value of the introductory package is $249!

Get a Jump Start on Your Perfect Smile

To schedule your free consultation, click on the button on our website that says “Book Your Free Consult.” Follow the prompts and fill in the necessary information, then submit the form. If you have additional questions you may call any of our offices and our staff will gladly assist you:

Columbia Office: (803) 859-4442
Chapin Office: (803) 859-4377
Downtown Columbia Office: (803) 859-4346 (Adult-only Office)

Whatever your orthodontic needs are, Pitner Orthodontics has earned its rating as the best orthodontist in Columbia, SC. With their generous free initial consultation, you can begin the journey to a new, straight, and healthy smile today!

For more information, visit our orthodontic blog and our social media pages on Instagram and Facebook.

Best Invisalign Around Elgin

To discover the best Invisalign around Elgin, SC, you need to look no further than Pitner Orthodontics in nearby Columbia and Chapin. With three locations, Dr. Leslie Pitner and her staff are ready to guide you on a journey to find your dream smile. As a Diamond+ Invisalign provider, Dr. Pitner is among the top one percent of all providers in the nation.

Finding Invisalign Around Elgin

Whether you have already decided on Invisalign treatment or are just exploring options, Pitner Orthodontics can help. You can begin with a Virtual Consultation — just fill in the form to start right now. Dr. Pitner also offers a complimentary Smile Assessment which includes digital X-rays and a complete examination, valued at $249.

In addition to offering family treatment for all ages, Pitner has a dedicated office for adults. So whether you are a parent seeking treatment for a child or teen, or an adult seeking “grown-up” treatment, Pitner has what you need. Our downtown office, at 1201 Main St, Suite 900 in Columbia is perfect for busy adults. This is the only adult-only orthodontist office in the southeastern United States.

 

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Our two family offices are located at 814 Old Bush River Road in Chapin and 5953 Wescott Road in Columbia. Whether you are in Columbia, Chapin, or nearby in Elgin, one of our locations is near you. Our staff are all highly-trained and continue enhancing their training regularly.

More About Invisalign with Pitner Orthodontics

Invisalign is a popular treatment because of the almost invisible tray aligners. It is a patient-centered treatment, meaning that the patient has more control of treatment than with traditional braces. Tray aligners are available for children in Phase 1 Treatment, teens in Phase 2 Treatment, and adults.

When comparing the cost of Invisalign against traditional metal braces, there is not much difference. Technology has given Invisalign the advantage in ease of treatment, duration, and cost. Using a 3-D scanner, a model of your teeth can be made. Using this and sophisticated computer software, a custom treatment plan is created.

Trays are worn for 20 to 22 hours per day. Patients remove the trays to eat, drink, and perform oral hygiene. Every two weeks, the patient will shift to the next set of trays in the series. Each tray set works to gradually shift the positions of the teeth to create a perfect smile.

The duration of your treatment plan depends on the severity of your beginning alignment problems. While some plans can be as short as six months, the average is between 12 and 18 months.

If you are ready to explore Invisalign in Elgin, please call Pitner Orthodontics to set up an appointment.

Make Your Appointment to Find Your Perfect Smile

New patients can contact us using any of the links on our home page to set up a Virtual Consultation or an in-office Smile Assessment. You may also use the form on our Contact Page. Please be sure to specify which of our three offices you would to visit.

Whether you are a new patient or a current patient, we look forward to hearing from you. Patients can also call any of our offices for questions or to set up appointments.

Please be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for fun stuff, information, and updates.

Invisalign Braces in Columbia SC

If you are looking for Invisalign Braces in Columbia, SC, Pitner Orthodontics is ready to help. As a Diamond+ Invisalign provider, Dr. Leslie Pitner and her entire staff are experts. In fact, they have earned the title of Number 1 Invisalign provider for the entire state of South Carolina!

What is a Diamond+ Invisalign Provider?

Align Technology, the makers of Invisalign, use a rating system to grade orthodontists who offer Invisalign treatment. For each successful treatment plan, Align Technology awards a point value. Orthodontists accumulate points to reach different levels of service:

  • Bronze = 0 to 4,999 points
  • Silver = 5,000 to 23,999 points
  • Gold = 24,000 to 29,999 points
  • Gold+ = 30,000 to 59,999 points
  • Platinum = 60,000 to 99,999 points
  • Platinum+ = 100,000 to 139,999 points
  • Diamond = 140,000 to 199,999 points
  • Diamond+ = 200,000 points and above

Only one percent of all Invisalign providers reach the Diamond+ level. As you can see by looking at the above scale, the higher up the grading scale, the more difficult it becomes to advance to the next level. Basically speaking, a provider that attains Diamond+ provider status has completed a lot of successful Invisalign treatments. You can be confident that Pitner Orthodontics is very knowledgeable about Invisalign treatment.

Invisalign Braces in Columbia SC

Whether you need minor alignment correction or some major adjustment, Pitner Orthodontics will prescribe the most effective type of treatment for you. The process begins with a virtual consultation. After that, our staff will assist you in setting up an in-office consultation.

The initial consultation (with a treatment plan) is complimentary. This is a $249 value that includes X-rays and digital images of your smile. Dr. Leslie Pitner will meet with you, complete an examination, and discuss your treatment options with you.

 

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Although not everyone is a candidate for Invisalign treatment, technological advances have made the scope of treatment much wider. Invisalign can now treat cases from minor malocclusion to more complex issues. Among some of the problems that can be addressed with Invisalign are overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, overcrowding, and gap teeth.

The entire process for Invisalign treatment is streamlined for efficiency. It begins with the use of integrated 3-D technology that creates a map of your smile and mouth. Each tray is custom and specific to your teeth and jaw structure. They will gently guide your teeth into the correct positions over a period of time. You will switch to a new set of alignment trays about every two weeks.

Although some treatment plans can be as short as six months, the average time is 12 to 18 months. During that time, you will need to wear your trays for 20 to 22 hours each day, only removing them for meals and brushing. While this may seem difficult at first, it will eventually become a habit that will result in the smile of your dreams.

Contact Pitner to Begin Today

Whether you opt for Invisalign or a different treatment method, Pitner Orthodontics will be right there by your side. As a family orthodontic office, we handle all ages. Our early treatment (Phase 1) begins for children who have lost most of their primary teeth and have some of their adult teeth in place. Phase 2 treatment occurs in pre-teen and teen years and includes adults with no previous orthodontic history.

If you are ready to begin exploring treatment options, please contact Pitner Orthodontics. We offer three convenient locations, with our downtown office dedicated to adult orthodontics. Additionally, we understand how important your time is. We make every attempt to keep appointments on time, with minimal waiting periods, and fast, efficient service.

To schedule your initial consultation, you may use the “Book Your Free Consult” button on our site or fill in the information on our contact form. Alternately, you can call any of our three offices to schedule an appointment:

Columbia Office: (803) 859-4442
Chapin Office: (803) 859-4377
Downtown — Orthodontics for Adults: (803) 859-4346

Also, don’t forget to stop by our social media pages on  Facebook and Instagram.