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?

Please visit and like our pages on Facebook and Instagram.

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.

Best Cleaning Practices with Invisalign

When you invest in orthodontic treatment, it is important to learn the best cleaning practices with Invisalign. Although there are many different methods in use, not all are effective. We explored both commercially available products and household items that work well.

Why Cleaning Your Invisalign Trays is Important

Keeping your Invisalign trays clean is vitally important. Bacteria and food particles can collect on the trays causing tooth decay and other potential problems. Not cleaning your trays may also cause staining and lead to bad breath.

Developing a few good habits will help keep your tray aligners cleaner. These practices, in addition to brushing and flossing, will keep your mouth and your trays free of bacteria.

The first habit is to rinse your trays every time you remove them to remove saliva residue. You should place the trays in the carrying case while they are not being worn. This protects them from dust, airborne debris, and damage or loss.

Secondly, you should always brush and floss after a meal before reinserting your aligners. Leaving food particles on your teeth can cause decay. If you are unable to brush, you should rinse thoroughly and brush at your earliest opportunity. When you brush your teeth, you should also gently brush your tray aligner.

These simple practices will help keep your aligners clean. This will protect your teeth, the aligners, and keep bad breath away. You should also deep-clean your trays daily, either at night or first thing in the morning.

Best Cleaning Practices with Invisalign

Brushing: We mentioned brushing your trays every time you brush your teeth. While they don’t require anything except water, you should use soap at least once per day. Most orthodontists recommend a drop of dishwashing liquid, which is gentle and effective. Brush gently and rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Non-abrasive toothpaste is acceptable but can dull the aligners.

 

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Soaking with Cleaning Crystals: Trays should be soaked once daily. Invisalign offers Cleaning Crystals for this task, although there are alternatives. With Cleaning Crystals, the trays should be placed in lukewarm (never hot) water with one package of crystals. Allow the trays to soak for 15-20 minutes. Gently brush and rinse trays after soaking.

Soaking with Denture/Retainer Tablets: Soaking trays using lukewarm water and a regular cleaning tablet is effective also. Do not use colored tablets, as these may stain your trays. Soaking should be at least 15-20 minutes. After soaking, gently brush and rinse your trays.

Baking Soda Soak: Baking soda is a handy cleaning aid. To use this product as a soaking agent, mix one-half cup lukewarm water with one tablespoon of baking soda. Once dissolved, soak your trays for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and brush gently after soaking.

Vinegar Soak: Mix one part white vinegar to three parts lukewarm water. Once well mixed, place your trays into the solution for 20-30 minutes. Rinse, then brush gently.

Call Pitner Orthodontics if You Still Have Questions

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush on your trays to avoid damaging them. Remember to rinse your trays whenever you remove them. Using any of the deep-cleaning processes will be sufficient to keep your trays looking and smelling great. If you have any questions about the care of your trays, please contact Pitner Orthodontics at one of our three offices:

Columbia — (803) 859-4442
Chapin — (803) 859-4377
Downtown (Adults) — (803) 859-4346

Please check us out on  Facebook and Instagram too!

Braces Near Elgin SC

If you are looking for braces near Elgin, SC, look no further than Pitner Orthodontics. As a full-service orthodontist, Dr. Leslie Pitner has three locations in the Columbia, SC region. Pitner Orthodontics uses the latest Invisalign technology, maintains a Diamond+ Invisalign Provider rating, and offers affordable pricing. There are several types of braces to choose from.

Exploring the Options for Braces

In years past, getting braces meant wearing metal brackets and wires for what seemed like decades. Now there are many options for braces. Traditional metal braces are still available, but Invisalign and clear ceramic braces offer variety.

Traditional braces have evolved slightly over the years. The brackets are affixed to your teeth, and then the archwire is stretched between the brackets. The wires apply the pressure necessary to shift your teeth into new positions to straighten your smile. Small elastic bands hold the archwires in place. Although very effective, traditional braces are losing the popularity contest lately.

Clear braces, or ceramic braces, function the same as traditional braces. Ceramic brackets are affixed to your teeth, with archwires to do the heavy shifting. The difference is that the clear brackets are less noticeable. When used with white archwires, they blend very well within your mouth. Ceramic braces are popular with adults who can’t get or don’t want Invisalign. Clear braces are also a hot commodity on the teen scene. The addition of multi-colored elastic bands can make a statement, show school spirit, or make your smile colorful.

Lingual braces use brackets and wires, but they are installed on the backs of your teeth. This hides your braces, so very few people will ever notice you have them.

Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are the most popular type of corrective appliances. Patients wear the almost invisible alignment trays for 20 to 22 hours per day. Most people you meet won’t even realize you are wearing braces. When you eat and drink, you remove the tray aligners. After brushing and flossing, simply clean and reinsert the trays. Unlike traditional braces, there are no dietary restrictions with Invisalign.

Pitner Orthodontics for Braces Near Elgin SC

As you can see, there are choices when it comes to wearing braces. When you receive your free initial consultation (a $249 value), you will have a chance to ask questions and get more information on each type of braces. Dr. Pitner will discuss which treatment system will be the most effective for you.

With three office locations, Pitner Orthodontics is convenient. The downtown office is for adults only. If you are hesitant to seek orthodontic care because children and teens make you nervous, we have you covered.

Treatment duration will vary depending on your alignment corrections. Each patient receives a custom treatment plan unique to them. For that reason, it is difficult for us to assess the cost and duration of your treatment before your consultation. With a free consultation, you have nothing to lose.

We Are Ready When You Are

When you are ready to schedule your consultation, click on the handy widget on our website and fill out the information. You may also contact any of our offices directly to schedule.

Pitner Orthodontics: Columbia Office
5953 Wescott Rd.
Columbia, SC 29212
Phone: (803) 408-7372

Chapin Office
814 Old Bush River Rd.
Chapin, SC 29036
Phone: (803) 345-6767

Pitner Downtown: Orthodontics for Adults
1201 Main St., Suite 900
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 667-3909

Visit our blog to learn more about orthodontic treatment.

You can also find us on social media on Facebook and Instagram.

Invisalign Braces Columbia SC

Is Invisalign right for you? Your dentist has said that you may need braces and they have referred you to an orthodontist. The one thing you remember from the TV commercial is that the trays are almost invisible. Where do you go to find out more information? If you don’t currently have an orthodontist, or are not happy with them, please consider Dr. Leslie Pitner at Pitner Orthodontics for Invisalign braces in Columbia SC.

Preparing for Invisalign Treatment

The Invisalign alignment tray system first received approval from the FDA in 1998. They became widely available after 2000. Since then, the system has undergone revision and improvement. Today, it is one of the most effective tooth-straightening methods in use.

Although Invisalign can’t fix all alignment problems, it has been successful in straightening the smiles of  over 8 million happy people. That figure includes over 1.4 million teens. If you think Invisalign might be right for you, contact Pitner Orthodontics by completing the virtual consultation form.

After we receive your contact information, we may ask you to submit additional information. During your virtual consultation, we will discuss our initial findings. We may discuss several treatment options so that you can select a plan that fits your needs and your insurance.

If we determine that Invisalign is right for you, you will have an in-person examination. Dr. Pitner will use 3D imaging equipment to make a map of your teeth and mouth. Handy-dandy computer software will configure a series of graduating tray liners. The liners will gently shift your teeth into correct alignment as you wear them.

What to Expect During Treatment

At the beginning of your treatment program, you will receive several sets of tray liners. You will wear each set for approximately two weeks. As you shift into a new set of liners, you may experience minor discomfort that will only last a couple of days.

You will wear your tray aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day. This includes wearing them to sleep. Removing trays for eating and drinking (except for water) can sometimes be inconvenient. One of the best perks of the Invisalign system is that there are no dietary restrictions. Oral hygiene is crucial — remember to brush and floss before reinserting your tray liners. Failure to properly clean your teeth can accelerate tooth decay.

Depending on your treatment plan, you will have periodic appointments for Dr. Pitner to check your progress. Minor adjustments may occur in your tray schedule, and you will receive additional tray sets.

Although some Invisalign programs are as quick as six months, the average treatment period is 12 to 18 months. Because the trays are almost invisible many people won’t even realize that you are wearing braces.

Invisalign Braces in Columbia SC

Invisalign braces are available in Columbia, SC through Pitner Orthodontics which is a Diamond-Plus Invisalign provider. Dr. Pitner and the entire staff in any of our three offices are ready to welcome you.

Our Columbia office:
5953 Wescott Rd.
Columbia, SC 29212
Phone: (803) 408-7372

Downtown Office:
Pitner Orthodontics: Orthodontics for Adults
1201 Main St. Suite 900
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 667-3909

Our Chapin Office:
814 Old Bush River Rd.
Chapin, SC 29036
Phone: (803) 345-6767

We are also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Invisalign Near Me

If you are looking for an Invisalign provider, you undoubtedly searched “Invisalign near me” and the answer was two million pages of results. Shorten your search and bookmark Pitner Orthodontics.

How Invisalign Rates Providers

Align Technologies uses a system of points to rate dentists and orthodontists providing Invisalign service. Each level corresponds with a set number of points:

  • Bronze – 0 Points
  • Silver – 5,000 Points
  • Gold – 24,000 Points
  • Gold Plus – 30,000 Points
  • Platinum – 60,000 Points
  • Platinum Plus – 100,000 Points
  • Diamond – 140,000 Points
  • Diamond Plus – 200,000 Points

Doctors earn points by providing treatment and the points are accumulated as follows:

  • Full Treatment — 1,000 Points
  • Teen Treatment — 1,000 Points
  • Assist Treatment — 1,000 Points

Dr. Pitner is rated as a Diamond Plus Invisalign Provider. There is no higher rating, which is why Pitner Orthodontics can boast that they are the best Invisalign provider in South Carolina.

Because your smile is a part of who you are, you want it in the best possible hands. Just fill out the Virtual Consultation request to get a start today.

Invisalign Near You

Invisalign is a system of nearly invisible alignment trays that are worn over your teeth. They gently nudge your teeth into the correct position. Since the trays are removable, you don’t have to worry about special diets. Simply remove the trays for eating and drinking, then brush and floss before reinserting the trays.

Although using Invisalign does require some dedication from you, they are an excellent way to improve your smile without the stigma of traditional braces. You will need to wear the trays for 20 to 22 hours per day. If you skimp on the daily wearing, your treatment period may be longer. You are in charge of your treatment with Invisalign.

Even if you have been told in the past that you don’t qualify for Invisalign treatment, we encourage you to take advantage of our free consultation. Our Smile Assessment, a $249 value, includes digital x-rays and complete smile analysis. Simply use the handy “Virtual Consultation” button on our website to begin your journey to a great smile.

If the cost concerns you, relax. During your Smile Assessment, we will discuss cost, insurance options, and easy payment programs. Our goal is to make your smile perfect and we can’t do that if you’re frowning!

Invisalign is perfect for busy teens and adults. They are almost invisible and most people won’t even realize you are wearing braces.

Ditch the Rest and Go With the Best

Ditch your search results and bookmark Pitner Orthodontics. When it comes to your smile, why settle when you can have the best? With three offices in South Carolina, there is definitely one near you. Dr. Pitner is eager to be your Invisalign provider.

Columbia Office:
5953 Wescott Rd., Columbia, SC 29212
Phone: (803) 667-3909

Chapin Office:
814 Old Bush River Rd., Chapin, SC 29036
Phone: (803) 345-6767

Pitner Downtown: Orthodontics for Adults:
1201 Main St., Suite 900, Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 408-7372

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Don’t wait — set up your Free Smile Assessment today.