Everything You Need to Know About Palatal Expanders

When correcting a misaligned bite, Dr. Feil has the training and experience to give you comfortable treatments and outstanding results. He accomplishes this using a variety of orthodontic appliances, including palatal expanders. This important tool helps prevent or eliminate more severe jaw and teeth problems that may not leave enough room for permanent teeth to grow correctly. 

At Feil Orthodontics, we believe that everyone deserves healthy, beautiful smiles! We’re committed to giving you and your family a lifetime of healthy smiles in Bismarck, Dickinson, Mandan, and Beulah. Let’s take a closer look at what palatal expanders are, how they work, and what they can do to improve your child’s smile!

What is a palatal expander? 

A palatal expander is a device that works with the natural changes that occur as the teeth and jaw develop to create more space in a child’s mouth by gradually widening the upper jaw. This may sound a little scary, but the upper jaw develops as two separate halves that don’t entirely fuse until after puberty. Each half can be gently separated and stabilized with a palatal expander until that happens. This treatment is time-sensitive because expanders work with the teeth and jaw as they grow. 

Palatal expanders have two pieces that connect in the middle with a screw and are customized to fit over a few top teeth in the back of a child’s mouth. You activate the device by turning the screw in tiny increments each day with a small key. This creates tension at the junction of the two palatal bones, gradually moving them apart. Once we reach the desired expansion, Dr. Feil will keep the appliance in place for a few more months so the new bone can form in the gap and stabilize the expansion. Children typically wear palatal expanders for about six months in total.

Everything You Need to Know About Palatal ExpandersWho can benefit from palatal expanders?

Permanent teeth usually replace children’s baby teeth between 6 and 13. Some children’s jaws are too small to accommodate their adult teeth, leading to crowded teeth and misalignment. Palatal expanders can: 

  • Reduce or eliminate overcrowding—expanders create space for all of a child’s upper teeth to erupt in the correct positions
  • Reduce the risk of developing impacted teeth—when other teeth block an unerupted tooth, we can create room for it to emerge by widening the upper jaw
  • And correct a crossbite—the upper teeth should close around the outside of the lower teeth, but a narrow palate can cause the upper teeth to bite inside the lower teeth. An expander can correct this before serious asymmetrical jaw growth, restoring facial symmetry.

Expanding the upper jaw with a palatal expander can also improve a child’s smile aesthetically, limit tooth extraction, and may shorten treatment time if they need braces or clear aligners when they’re older. 

The different types of palatal expanders

The palatal expander we use for your child will depend on their age and the unique shape of their palate. There are fixed and removable options, and every expander we use is custom-made and fitted by Dr. Feil to accommodate your child’s natural palate shape and size. The most common types of palatal expanders include:

Rapid palatal expander

The rapid palatal expander, or RPE, is one of the standard expander types. It has a center screw with four branches attached to the paralleled back teeth of the upper jaw. You’ll get a small key that you’ll turn each day to activate the expander and create tension on the two palatal bones. Over time, this will widen the palate to the desired size and shape. 

Removable palatal expander

The removable palatal expander is another standard option for treating children, particularly in cases that require minimal expansion. The device is similar to a clear retainer, like those we give patients once they complete orthodontic treatment, but it also has a center screw. This center screw works similarly to the RPE and requires the same gentle daily expansion for 3-6 months.

Everything You Need to Know About Palatal ExpandersFind your child’s healthiest smile at Feil Orthodontics

Orthodontic care can benefit patients of all ages, including children. A child’s mouth changes rapidly, with a great deal of shifting and moving as they lose baby teeth and the permanent teeth erupt. If there’s any misalignment or other issue, it’s often easier to treat at a younger age while the jaw and palate are still developing. 

Experienced orthodontists like Dr. Feil can identify potential problems and encourage a healthier smile using the appropriate orthodontic tools, including palatal expanders. 

If you’re looking to improve your child’s oral health, we’d love to meet you both and see how their smile is developing so far! Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with our offices in Bismarck, Dickinson, Mandan, or Beulah.

5 Things You Won’t Get with Mail-Order Orthodontics

The internet has made it easy and convenient to get nearly anything you want with the touch of a button. This trend is gaining popularity in the orthodontic world, with direct-to-consumer aligners making DIY treatment seem quick and easy. But are mail-ordered orthodontics worth it? Feil Orthodontics explores five things you won’t get with mail-order orthodontics and why in-person treatment is the best option for your smile.

Mail-order aligners claim lower prices and more convenience since there are no trips to the orthodontist for checkups and adjustments. We understand how mail-ordering orthodontic treatment can seem appealing, but you might be surprised to know that most orthodontists and dentists won’t recommend this process. 

Let’s look at some things you won’t get with mail-order orthodontic treatment and how Feil Orthodontics can give you the smile you deserve efficiently and effectively!

What are mail-ordered aligners? How do they work?

The companies that offer clear aligners through the mail are a form of “online orthodontics.” Instead of visiting an orthodontic office for an in-person exam, every step of the treatment process is entirely virtual. 

You’ll apply to the company of your choice and, upon approval, have a kit sent to your home to make a 3-D mold of your teeth. A technician or dentist will then use that mold to create a series of clear aligners that will slowly move your teeth into straighter positions.

Like in-office treatment, this process can take several weeks to months to complete. During this time, you’ll provide photos of your mouth at regular intervals to monitor your teeth. 

This may seem relatively straightforward, but anyone considering these companies should proceed cautiously. Several risks and concerns are associated with this kind of care, and some can have a lasting impact on your oral health. Here are some benefits of choosing a respected orthodontic practice over mail-order companies!

Lower Cost and Quicker Results

This is the biggest misconception about mail-ordered aligners. The old saying that you get what you pay for is never more true than when it comes to your orthodontic treatment. While mail-order options may seem quick and inexpensive, the potential risks can cost you more in the long run since you won’t have the supervised care that a trained orthodontist provides.

When you choose care from a trained orthodontist, you’ll have access to the best orthodontic options for your unique needs. Dr. Feil will give you personalized care to ensure the best treatment and results for your smile. 

Here at Feil Orthodontics, we also make orthodontic treatment affordable. We offer a variety of patient-specific payment plans and accept most orthodontic dental insurances to provide outstanding value for a reasonable price. 

In-Person Clinical Exam

The best way to get the results you want is to evaluate your starting point thoroughly. During your initial examination, Dr. Feil will look closely at the tissue and bone supporting your teeth using digital photographs. We’ll also take full mouth X-rays and a digital scan that eliminates the need for goopy impressions. 

This detailed information helps us determine the best orthodontic appliance for your treatment and avoid complications later from cavities, gum disease, and other related problems not picked up in impressions or photos. 

With mail-order aligners, the first step is receiving your in-home impression kit. Some options ask you to include intraoral photos, but the information they use to determine eligibility is fundamental. Once you mail the impression back, a dentist or technician will review it and decide if you are a good candidate for clear aligners. 

This is based on your current tooth alignment and does not factor in many essential components of the orthodontic process. Without considering all the variables, you may have subpar results, which could cost you more time and money. 

5 Things You Won't Get with Mail-Order Orthodontics

Customized Treatment Plans

Your teeth and gums should always be in good condition before attempting tooth movement to avoid unexpected problems. While clear aligners are an excellent option for many patients, they aren’t for everyone. Some cases are much more severe or require specific treatments before starting the movement of your teeth. In cases where more precise or complicated movements are necessary, you may save time and money by opting for traditional metal or clear braces. 

At Feil Orthodontics, we always consider your individual needs and goals before creating your treatment plan. We want to be sure the treatment plan we offer will make the best use of your time and goals while utilizing our expertise in orthodontic care. We use the information gathered during your in-office consultation and the data from your imaging to determine what will fit your lifestyle with the best results. 

Supervision During Treatment

During your treatment, your teeth may move slower or faster than we anticipate, things can come up that require minor adjustments, or we may need to modify your treatment plan. This is why having regular check-ins with our expert team is crucial during your aligner process. 

When you opt for mail-order aligners, you are given a treatment timeline to follow. This timeline is based on your initial teeth impressions and what should happen over time but does not account for any deviations that may pop up unexpectedly. This hands-off calendar approach can cause severe damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw. 

Treatment for Other Orthodontic Issues

Many orthodontic issues lie below the gum line and with the jaw, where messy impressions and cell phone images can’t capture the details. Mail-ordered aligners can’t treat these issues and can get worse by using them. This treatment method can’t do things like widening your jaw, aligning your bite, and correcting rotations.

It is more effective to know your specific orthodontic concerns ahead of time to have the best possible outcome. Dr. Feil can assess your condition throughout the process, allowing any adjustment to your treatment plan to get your perfect smile. 

5 Things You Won't Get with Mail-Order Orthodontics

Trust Feil Orthodontics for Efficient and Effective Treatment

You wouldn’t go on a road trip without researching the best route to get you there that aligns with your needs and goal. Don’t start your orthodontic treatment without the same consideration!

Our expert team at Feil Orthodontics takes pride in making your experience pleasant and personalized, from the initial consultation to your final checkup. If you are wondering what the best route to your perfect smile is, schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Feil in Bismarck, Mandan, Beulah, or Dickson, and let us help you navigate this journey with confidence. Keep in touch with us on social media!

What Are The Different Types Of Braces?

Here at Feil Orthodontics, we know that no two smiles are the same. That’s why it’s important to work with an expert who is committed to finding the perfect treatment option for your unique smile. The first step towards a Feil Smile is a consultation with Dr. Feil in one of our four conveniently located offices. During this visit, you’ll receive a brief oral examination and have some photographs taken of your mouth. This is what allows Dr. Feil to form a diagnosis and build a treatment plan around your specific needs and goals. 

This customized plan will include a recommendation for the treatment method that is likely to be the best fit for your smile. Our practice has a variety of treatment options available, and we use the latest in orthodontic technology to make it easier than ever to achieve a confident smile! Today’s appliances are comfortable, efficient, and affordable, offering exceptional results our patients love. Let’s take a look at the treatment options we offer and how they can help straighten your teeth and improve your oral health! 

Back to the basics of braces

Braces are the most popular orthodontic treatment and with good reason. They’ve been around for centuries in one form or another and come with a long history of successfully correcting bad bites and misalignments. Braces can be particularly effective for patients dealing with more complex or severe cases. They tend to work fast at closing gaps and aligning the teeth, with the average treatment time lasting anywhere from 12-24 months. Minor signs of improvement can often be seen in a relatively short period, which can be encouraging for patients new to the process!  

There is some maintenance involved with traditional braces, which can be a learning curve. Your dental hygiene routine is a good example! Brushing and flossing regularly is an essential part of oral care for all of us, but it’s even more important for orthodontic patients. You may find it trickier to keep your teeth and gums clean when wearing braces since it can be challenging to navigate around the brackets, wires, and bands. Fortunately, it only takes a little patience and practice to get the hang of it! For the best results, we recommend patients brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time and floss every night before bed.

Food restrictions are another necessary part of the orthodontic process with braces.  During treatment, you’ll need to avoid anything sticky or crunchy since these foods can damage the brackets and wires. While there’s no denying this takes some getting used to, perspective is key. Remind yourself that nothing lasts forever (even if it sometimes feels like it!) All your hard work will pay off once your braces are removed, and we reveal your beautiful new smile. 

What Are The Different Types Of Braces?

Follow-up visits are also essential for the success of any treatment plan. These appointments are usually scheduled for every 6-10 weeks or so in the office of your choice. During these checkups, Dr. Feil will ensure the teeth are moving in a healthy way and change the bands attached to the brackets. He may choose to replace the wire at this time as well. These appointments tend to be pretty quick so we can get you back to school or work as soon as possible, but they do help us produce the best results in the least amount of time. If you can’t make one for any reason, let us know as soon as possible and we’ll be happy to reschedule it for you. This will keep your treatment plan on track and our office running smoothly.

What are the different types of braces available?

Modern orthodontics comes with cutting-edge technology and efficient techniques that are comfortable and customizable. The variety of treatment choices available allow Dr. Feil to give you the results you desire without surgery or extractions in most cases. These options include the following. 

Traditional metal braces

Today’s metal braces are better than ever, with stainless steel brackets that are smaller and more comfortable than previous versions. These brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth then connected by a flexible wire. Dr. Feil will adjust the wire throughout the treatment process, which slowly repositions the teeth into the proper alignment. Patients can also add a pop of personality by choosing colorful elastics or go for a more subtle option with clear bands.

Clear ceramic braces

Ceramic braces work just like metal braces but have the added benefit of clear ceramic brackets. These match the color of the natural teeth much more closely, giving patients a discreet way to straighten their teeth, especially when paired with clear or tooth-colored elastics! Although these braces are durable, the ceramic material can make the brackets a bit more susceptible to damage. For this reason, we tend to recommend these clear braces for our older teen and adult patients.  

Clear aligners

Clear aligners are technically an exciting alternative to traditional braces, but we think they’re worth talking about, too! Instead of brackets and wires, these systems use a series of customized trays to straighten the teeth. These trays are made of a soft thermoplastic resin and customized to fit snugly but comfortably over your teeth. They’re also designed to be removable for short periods, like when you’re eating or brushing your teeth, giving you an extra measure of flexibility throughout the treatment process.  

Patient compliance is important with any clear aligner system. The aligners need to be worn for 20-22 hours per day throughout the treatment process to work. They must also be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. If you’re worried about your ability to keep up with these requirements, metal or clear braces that are fixed in place may be a better choice for you. 

What Are The Different Types Of Braces?

Find the best braces for you with Feil Orthodontics

Every treatment option has its own list of pros and cons, and not every method will be suitable for all patients. This is why Dr. Feil will create a personalized treatment plan for you based on your specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. 

You’ll never find any “cookie-cutter” treatment plans here at Feil Orthodontics! Dr. Feil will only ever recommend the treatment that is the best fit for your unique smile. 

If you’re in Bismarck, Mandan, Beulah, or Dickinson, we’d love to meet you and walk you through all the treatment options available to you. Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation and take the first steps towards the confident smile you deserve!

How Long Will Treatment Take With Feil Orthodontics?

Here at Feil Orthodontics, we hear one question more than any other: how long will my treatment take? Every patient is excited to get started on their brand new smile and can’t wait to see the results! While our team can offer an estimate for how long we think a patient will need braces or clear aligners, there’s no “one size fits all” answer to this question since there are many factors to consider when determining the total treatment time. We’ll explore some of these factors below to help you better understand what to expect from the orthodontic process! 

What is Dr. Feil treating?

While every smile is unique, some generalizations can still be made when it comes to treatment times. For example, a complex case will likely require more comprehensive care than a simpler one. If someone has a relatively healthy bite with only minor issues, their treatment will probably take less time, while severely displaced teeth or a seriously misaligned bite will need more time to correct. 

How old are you? 

This might seem like a strange question, but how old you are when you begin orthodontic treatment can play a part in how long the process will take! While Dr. Feil can successfully move teeth at almost any age, it can be easier to treat children and teens since they’re still growing. They have pliable bones that aren’t fully developed yet, making the treatment process faster and allowing Dr. Feil more control over the bite correction. 

However, our jawbones stop growing sometime in our early twenties, and orthodontic treatment initiated after that point may require more time and effort. That doesn’t mean you can’t successfully improve your smile if you’re an adult, though! There are still many treatment options available to you that will straighten your teeth, address your bite, and improve the overall function of your mouth. You’re never too old to experience everything orthodontics has to offer!

How Long Will Treatment Take With Feil Orthodontics?

Are you following Dr. Feil’s guidelines?

While Dr. Feil is in charge of guiding your teeth into their new positions, you also have an important role to play in how successful your treatment is. Complying with the guidelines you’re given for treatment is a key factor in completing treatment within the estimated time frame. One part of this process is maintaining a solid oral hygiene routine, as problems with your dental health can sometimes slow treatment down.

Follow-up visits are also an essential part of any treatment process. These appointments allow Dr. Feil to assess how your teeth are moving and make any necessary adjustments. While we understand that you may need to cancel or reschedule an appointment from time to time, you should stick to the schedule as closely as possible to ensure your treatment plan stays on track.

Treating your braces or aligners recklessly can also push your treatment schedule back! While this tends to be more of an issue with braces, clear aligners can also break and crack. You can do your part by avoiding crunchy or sticky foods if you’re in braces since they can weaken the bond strength of the brackets. It’s not an emergency if a bracket breaks or comes loose, but Dr. Feil will want to rebond it as soon as possible. No active tooth movement can occur when a bracket isn’t adequately bonded to the teeth, so be sure to contact our office if you experience any damage to your appliance.

How is your body responding to treatment?

Even if their cases are similar, no two patients will have an identical response to the treatment process. There are many factors that can impact how someone responds to treatment, from bone density and chewing patterns to gum tissue thickness. Oral habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth can also affect the process. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced orthodontist! Dr. Feil takes a personalized approach to every case, building custom treatment plans based on the patient’s specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. This helps ensure the best results in the shortest amount of time possible!

The wait is worth it

Whatever treatment method you choose with Dr. Feil, it’s important to remember that even if it feels like it, nothing lasts forever. Your orthodontic treatment will be complete eventually, and you’ll be saying hello to your beautiful new smile before you know it!

Here at Feil Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer a range of affordable treatment options to move your teeth comfortably, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. While you may not have an exact date for when your treatment will finish up going into your orthodontic journey, we’ll give you an estimated time before you begin. This will vary depending on the specific issues we’re treating, but in general, the average treatment time for braces can be anywhere from 12-36 months. If you’re using a clear aligner system like Invisalign, it may take slightly less time to achieve your desired results.

How Long Will Treatment Take With Feil Orthodontics?

Get the confident smile you desire with Feil Orthodontics

Even if you aren’t sure when the active phase of your treatment will be complete, there’s one thing you can always count on—world-class care and exceptional results from our expert team! Patience may be a virtue when it comes to the treatment process, but there’s no reason to put off straightening your smile any longer. Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation and let’s get started!

Sports Safety During Orthodontic Treatment

Do you have a Little League superstar gearing up for orthodontic treatment? Maybe your quarterback is scheduled to have braces placed before the season kicks off this fall? Baseball, softball, soccer, football, volleyball—whatever sport your child loves to play, Feil Orthodontics is proud to support them and work with them to achieve a healthier smile! However, many of our athletic patients worry that treatment will leave them sitting on the sidelines as we straighten their teeth. Fortunately, that’s not the case! Orthodontic patients can still participate in any sport they normally would as long as they take a few extra steps to protect their mouth. Let’s take a look at what that entails!

Mouthguards: simple, effective, and widely available

Mouthguards are the simplest and most effective solution when it comes to keeping your child’s mouth safe during sporting activities. You can find this essential appliance in regular and orthodontic models, both of which are affordable and widely available. Since it only takes a small amount of pressure on your child’s braces to irritate their gums or cheeks, it’s important to know which model best fits their needs. 

While regular mouthguards do offer some level of protection, they’re made from a thermoplastic material that heats up as it sits in the mouth. This molds it to the teeth and brackets, meaning the mouthguard can’t move with the teeth as they shift towards their new positions. This can actually work against what we’re trying to do by interfering with the straightening process, which may lead to extra appointments or longer treatment times.  

On the other hand, orthodontic mouthguards are specifically designed for orthodontic patients and fit comfortably over traditional braces. Instead of a thermoplastic material, they use high-grade silicone that provides better cushioning for the lips, preventing them from bumping up against the teeth and braces. This reduces the risk of oral injury significantly. 

Who should wear a mouthguard?

Mouthguards are suitable for anyone who plays sports, but they are especially beneficial to orthodontic patients who wear braces. As the parent of an athlete, you probably already know how common dental injuries are, but the good news is that many of these can be prevented with a properly-fitted mouthguard! Whether your child plays competitive or recreational sports, a mouthguard will help keep their smile safe, particularly if they participate in anything involving impacts or collisions.

Sports Safety During Orthodontic Treatment

What are the different types of mouthguards?

There are typically three types of mouthguards available. These will vary in cost, comfort, and protection levels, but wearing any one of them is safer than not wearing any mouthguard at all. 


Stock mouthguards are ready-made, so you won’t need to visit a dentist or orthodontist to purchase one. In fact, they can usually be found in most sporting goods stores! Keep in mind, however, that they come in a more limited range of sizes and also require the mouth to be shut to keep them in place. Since they’re not customized to the patient’s mouth, these models  can be less effective than others.


This type of mouthguard softens when placed in hot water. Once it’s cooled down, it’s placed in your child’s mouth to set. The pressure of their bite further shapes it, resulting in a more personalized option that can still be readily purchased at many sports stores. Our team is happy to help your child with a final molding if needed.  


You’ll find custom mouthguards in most dental and orthodontic offices. We can create these appliances using an impression of your child’s mouth, providing them with the most accurate and comfortable fit possible. Although this option is a bit more costly and requires a visit to our office, the customized protection they offer your child’s smile simply can’t be matched by over-the-counter models! 

When choosing a mouthguard for your child, make sure it fits in their mouth comfortably and securely. It should also have high-impact energy absorption, be easy to clean, and never restrict their breathing in any way.

How to handle orthodontic emergencies

Mouthguards offer active kids a great deal of protection, but accidents can still happen. While true orthodontic emergencies are rare, they do occasionally occur. What do we mean by orthodontic emergencies? In general, this refers to:

  • any serious injury or trauma to the face, neck, mouth, teeth, or gums
  • swelling, infection, or bleeding of the gums or mouth
  • severe pain or discomfort in the teeth, mouth, face, or neck

If your child’s mouth takes a direct hit while playing sports, let us know as soon as possible so Dr. Feil can assess the situation. Depending on the circumstances, he may recommend an emergency appointment to get a good look at any damage. If you feel that a visit to urgent care or the ER is necessary, don’t worry about it interrupting your child’s orthodontic process. We can always pick up where we left off or adjust their treatment plan once the emergency has passed and things have settled down.

Sports Safety During Orthodontic Treatment

Protect your child’s smile with help from Feil Orthodontics

Your kid may be a tough nut, but even minor dental injuries can be upsetting. That’s why we recommend mouthguards for every athlete, whether they’re practicing or heading out for a big game! We’re committed to helping your child continue playing the sports they love while we straighten their smile. If you have any questions about protecting your child’s mouth throughout the treatment process, get in touch any time and we’ll be happy to go over the options with you!

5 Tips for Brushing with Braces

Getting braces is an exciting journey with a great outcome: the straightest, shiniest, happiest smile you’ve ever had! Sometimes, however, improper brushing during treatment gets in the way of that shiny smile you’ve been dreaming about. While we work together to craft your smile, our team at Feil Orthodontics always has our eyes on that end goal. When the day finally comes – removal day, that is – we want to be sure you are happy with the results.

Everyone knows how important brushing your teeth is. After all, we’ve been learning about the best way to brush since we grew our first tooth! What everyone doesn’t know is that getting braces comes with a huge learning curve, and when it comes to brushing your teeth with braces, you may have more than a few questions. Luckily, Feil Orthodontics has put together the ultimate list of tips for brushing with braces, so you feel confident.  

1. Brush With Care

You are probably already used to keeping up with your oral hygiene, but brushing with braces comes with its own set of rules. Because of all the additional surfaces in your mouth, our first tip is to brush your teeth carefully and mindfully. 

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush in gentle circles over and around each bracket for 30 seconds in each section of your mouth. Knowing your angles is essential in this step! By holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, clean the tops and bottoms of the brackets. Don’t forget to brush the back of your teeth, tongue, and gum line as well!

2. Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal

Before your braces are applied, the general rule of thumb for brushing is morning and night. This dental routine helps prevent plaque from building up on your teeth and causing cavities. When Dr. Feil puts on your braces, though, the rules of the dental hygiene game change!

Plaque is that sticky substance that coats your teeth in between brushes. When you have braces, plaque has many more areas to hide, making it more challenging to clear away. Over time, plaque can cause cavities, tartar buildup, or even gum disease – so removing it quickly is key. Using the routine in tip #1, be sure to brush your teeth after every meal to reduce the risk of plaque buildup.

5 Tips for Brushing with Braces

3. Use Your Home Care Kit

Feil Orthodontics will provide you with a home care kit the day we put your braces on. This kit comes with various tools to help you keep your teeth in tip-top shape, including a toothbrush, proxabrush, and floss threader. Each of these tools allows you to clean around and between each bracket and tooth. 

Dr. Feil recommends a soft-bristled toothbrush for brushing. The soft bristles protect the metal on your brackets and allow you to brush your gum line without irritation. Your proxabrush is designed to scrub between brackets and underneath the wires so that you don’t have to worry about missing any sections. Some orthodontic toothbrushes even come with a proxabrush head for convenience! Your floss threader works like a needle to help you to floss beneath the wires and make sure all food particles and hidden plaque are removed. 

4. Rinse Your Mouth Often

Swishing with water after meals is a great way to quickly remove leftover food particles from between your teeth in a pinch. Mouthwash is another excellent way to loosen up sticky particles while freshening your breath, too! 

Rinsing your mouth as often as possible is a low-maintenance way to keep your teeth clean and white throughout your experience with braces. Removing food particles from the hard-to-reach places in your mouth is essential – you don’t want to “save your food for later”!

Water flossers are perfect tools for keeping your mouth rinsed and clean. Like regular dental floss, water flossers like the WaterPik use a steady stream of water to dislodge food particles from those hard-to-reach places in your mouth. Although they can’t replace regular dental floss, they are a perfect supplement for your rinsing routine. 

5. Know Why Brushing is Important 

If you have been brushing your teeth your whole life, it makes sense to wonder why you have to change your routine with braces. After all, isn’t brushing obvious? While the simple 2-minute method of brushing that your dentist taught you is the best way to manage your teeth without braces, it is only a foundation for brushing with braces. There are multiple extra steps you need to take when it comes to brushing with braces, and knowing why makes all the difference. 

Typically, poor brushing isn’t very noticeable until the day your braces are taken off. We sometimes find discoloration around the area the bracket was attached when this happens. Permanent white spots may form on your teeth, causing a bleached-out look on only some parts of each tooth. Because these spots form around the bracket, it can be very apparent that they are due to poor brushing around braces. In other cases, even more noticeable brown spots are left behind. 

It can be very disappointing for patients who have worn braces for years to wind up with straight but spotty teeth. That’s why our list of tips for brushing with braces is about to become your best friend!

5 Tips for Brushing with Braces

Choose Feil Orthodontics: We’ll Make You Smile.

Above all else, finding the right orthodontist to guide you through your journey to a straighter smile is essential. At Feil Orthodontics, we look beyond the braces and see the person behind them. Let us walk you through life’s milestones to achieve a smile that you can feel confident in. 

Haven’t set up a free consultation yet? Don’t hold back – schedule it today!

#NoFilter: Can Orthodontics Fix Facial Asymmetry?

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all spent much more time communicating virtually with our inner circles. Social media has led that charge, making this communication much more accessible, streamable, and relatable. But while social media has its perks, it certainly isn’t immune to error. How is social media relevant to orthodontics? That answer lies in the filtering process that many social media outlets allow their users to apply to their faces. 

Face-tuning effects have placed a high value on facial symmetry and a high burden on users who find themselves feeling insecure when the camera is turned off. The trend is causing more and more patients to turn to their orthodontists with one question in mind: Can orthodontics fix my facial asymmetry

While facial asymmetry may be a source of anxiety for many of our patients, and while the team at Feil Orthodontics promotes a healthy body image, we are here to explain the orthodontics behind facial asymmetry and ways you can regain your self-confidence with #NoFilter. 

What is facial asymmetry, anyway?

Facial asymmetry is the appearance of an imbalance of an individual’s facial structures. Dr. Feil wants you to know that nearly everyone has some degree of facial asymmetry. It is part of being human to have some slight asymmetry which could be caused by genetics, facial growth as a part of the aging process, or the way your jaw is structured. 

Usually, this slight asymmetry goes unnoticed or is even considered to be an integral part of what makes you you, but in some more severe cases of asymmetry, anxieties and insecurities may arise. Asymmetries may cause what is known as a “weak” chin, sunken cheeks, or even double chins, and many patients with more noticeable cases feel pressed to find a solution. 

When it comes to the orthodontic side of facial asymmetry, we typically chalk it up to the type of bite you have…

Underbites, Overbites, and Crossbites, Oh My!

Everyone’s mouth is different, and everyone has some type of bite that falls into one of several categories. Each bite pattern is telling of your jaw structure, and jaw structure plays a huge role in facial symmetry. The first step your orthodontist will take toward addressing your facial asymmetry concerns is determining your bite pattern. 


Overbites are arguably the most common bite pattern. If your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth when your mouth is closed, you may have an overbite. Not every overbite is in need of correction, but more severe overbites may cause your chin to have a receding appearance known as a “weak” chin. 


Underbites are recognized by a protruding lower jaw that causes the bottom teeth to rest in front of the top teeth when your mouth is closed. People with underbites may see the greatest change in facial symmetry with the implementation of an orthodontic treatment plan. 


Crossbites consist of what looks like a mix of the above two malocclusions (bite patterns), so that in this pattern, some of the front teeth overlap the bottom teeth and some rest behind the bottom teeth. 

Open Bite

You will recognize an open bite by the distinctive gap between the top and bottom teeth – they don’t meet in the middle. While this bite pattern can pose a range of issues including difficulty chewing, it can also cause the face to appear longer, meaning that people with this bite pattern may also see significant results with orthodontic treatment. 

#NoFilter: Can Orthodontics Fix Facial Asymmetry?

How can my orthodontist help with asymmetry? 

Asymmetry is best addressed when caught at a young age. This is because your jawline is still growing and changing which means it is much more readily influenced by orthodontic treatment. Even still, facial asymmetry can still be corrected in older patients as well with the use of braces and, in more severe cases, corrective jaw surgery. 

Typically, however, depending on the unique characteristics of your teeth, your orthodontist will use one of several treatment methods to attempt to bring your bite pattern to a more neutral position in a process called intercuspation. The goal of intercuspation is to align your teeth, and the hope is that by aligning your teeth, the angles of your face and jaw are adjusted to produce a more symmetrical effect without actually, physically changing any of your other facial features. Feil Orthodontics offers the treatment options below to help you feel more attractive. 

Metal Braces

As the traditional option, metal braces are often the first that come to mind when considering orthodontic treatment. These braces work by tightening the wire attached to a bracket glued to each tooth. With gentle, continuous pressure, your teeth are aligned over a period of 12-36 months, depending on the severity of your case, your mouth’s response to treatment, and your desired outcome.

Clear Braces

Clear braces work the same way as metal braces. The difference is that clear braces use white, ceramic brackets that blend in with the color of your teeth and provide a less noticeable appearance.

Clear Aligners

This removable treatment option uses a series of clear trays that adjust your teeth without the use of wires or brackets. Because they are clear, this option allows you to straighten your teeth with a look that is almost invisible. By wearing these trays for 22 hours per day for 9-15 months, you’ll see results in no time. 

Feil Orthodontics Gets the Job Done

At Feil Orthodontics, we work one-on-one with our patients to get them the results they desire. Although we sincerely hope you don’t let insecurities around facial asymmetry get in the way of your unique and beautiful smile, we know that orthodontic treatment can be a step in the right direction to addressing your concerns. If you’re ready to meet with one of our doctors to discuss how orthodontics might help you, schedule an appointment here for one of our free consultations!


What You Should Ask Before Choosing An Orthodontist

Thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology over the years, it’s easier than ever to align your bite and achieve a beautifully straight smile. There are numerous treatment options available, from traditional braces to clear aligners. To ensure the best results, it’s important to choose a qualified provider you feel comfortable with. An orthodontist will have the training and skills to create the smile you’ve always wanted, but with so many out there, you may not be sure where to begin! Let’s take a closer look at what you should ask before deciding on an orthodontist. 

Back to basics: what is an orthodontist?

At Feil Orthodontics, we believe you should always start with the basics! So what exactly is an orthodontist, anyway? In the simplest terms, an orthodontist is a dentist who has had extra years of education and training that focus on identifying, preventing, and correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. 

While both dentists and orthodontists follow the same path for a while, these diverge after dental school. From there, an orthodontist must complete a minimum of two years of study in an orthodontic residency program that’s been accredited by the American Dental Association

These programs tend to be highly competitive. In fact, they usually accept only the top students in any dental school’s graduating class! Aspiring orthodontists participate in intensive full-time training on identifying and correcting orthodontic issues safely and effectively. By the time the residency is complete, they will have:

  • studied how the teeth and jaw grow
  • been introduced to a variety of case studies
  • developed diagnostic skills
  • learned specific biomechanical techniques to move the teeth properly
  • studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and positively affect the facial  growth of younger patients

As you can see, there’s a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into becoming an orthodontist like Dr. Feil! Speaking of…

What education and training does the orthodontist have?

Dr. Feil completed his undergraduate studies at the University of North Dakota, received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree at Creighton University in Nebraska, and earned his Master of Science (MS) and Orthodontic Certificate from the University of Colorado. He has served as president of the longest running dental education meeting in Colorado. He is currently a member of the American Association of Orthodontists and an active member of Spear Education, an innovative dental continuing education initiative. That’s a pretty significant amount of extra experience and additional training! It’s no wonder less than 10% of dentists also choose to become orthodontists.

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

We’re proud to offer patients of all ages a range of affordable treatment options! They include the following. 

Traditional metal braces

Traditional metal braces have been used in one form or another for hundreds of years, and today’s version is better than ever! The high-grade stainless steel brackets are smaller than they used to be, and more comfortable, too. These are bonded to the front of each tooth then connected by a wire. We’ll adjust the wire throughout the treatment process, which slowly repositions the teeth into the proper alignment. Patients can also add a pop of personality by choosing colorful elastics or go for a more subtle option with clear bands.

Clear ceramic braces

Ceramic braces work just like metal braces but have the added benefit of clear ceramic brackets. These match the color of the natural teeth much more closely, giving patients a discreet way to straighten their teeth! Although these braces are durable, the ceramic material can make the brackets a bit more susceptible to damage. For this reason, we tend to recommend these clear braces for our older teen and adult patients.  

Clear aligners

Clear aligners an exciting alternative to braces that use a series of customized trays to straighten the teeth instead of brackets and wires. They’re designed to be removable, which offers patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than braces do. The trays are made of a soft thermoplastic resin and custom-designed to fit snugly but comfortably over the teeth. 

Patient compliance is important with any clear aligner system. The aligners need to be worn for 20-22 hours per day throughout the treatment process to work. They must also be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. 

Not all types of braces are appropriate for every case, which is why Dr. Feil creates personalized treatment plans for every patient based on their unique needs and goals. 

How often are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

Whatever treatment option you decide on, you should expect regular follow-up visits throughout the process. These are usually scheduled for every 8-12 weeks or so, depending on your custom treatment plan. Since you’ll be seeing the orthodontist regularly over this period of time, it’s extra important to choose a practice that you feel comfortable with!

During these visits, Dr. Feil will check how your teeth are moving and ensure the treatment plan is proceeding as it should be. If you’re wearing braces, he’ll also make adjustments as needed and replace any worn-out bands. He may choose to change the wire at this time as well. These appointments are an essential part of your orthodontic journey, so you should always do your best to keep them! Failure to do so can lengthen the total treatment time.

Is Feil Orthodontics the right fit for your smile?

Choosing an orthodontist is a big decision, and we know it’s not one you take lightly! We work hard to earn your trust with our world-class care, customized treatment plans, and exceptional results. With convenient locations in Bismarck, Mandan, Beulah, and Dickinson, it’s never been easier to get the smile you’ve always wanted! Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with our expert team. 

10 Braces Myths You Need to Know

Are you thinking about pursuing orthodontic treatment in 2022? This thought process may come along with some hesitancy about braces, especially if you have heard some of the myths and rumors surrounding the treatment process. Braces will require an adjustment period, but rest assured that most of the pesky rumors you’ve heard are mostly false. Let’s take a look at the 10 braces myths you need to know and set the record straight about what you can expect from your journey with Feil Orthodontics

#1 Braces have to hurt in order to work

We hear from people every single day who are worried that braces will cause them pain. Don’t let this myth scare you because your braces won’t cause any long-term pain or discomfort. This is one of the largest concerns we see in new patients regarding the treatment process, and fortunately, it’s completely unfounded. When you first receive braces, you may feel some discomfort, but this is only temporary. Following your adjustment appointments, you may also experience soreness or irritation, but this will resolve itself after a short period of time.

#2 Braces will severely limit what you can eat

Food restrictions are probably one of the biggest learning curves to overcome on any orthodontic journey. However, it is important to avoid anything crunchy or sticky while in treatment. This also includes raw veggies like carrots or apples, popcorn, and candy with chewy bits, caramel, or nuts. Just remember that there are plenty of other delicious foods you can enjoy, and this will only be temporary! When you see your beautiful new smile, the minor inconvenience of food restrictions will be more than worth it! 

#3 Braces will inhibit your ability to play certain instruments

This may be one of the biggest rumors surrounding orthodontic treatment, but it shouldn’t affect you or your child’s decision to move forward with braces. There will be a slight adjustment period for certain instruments, but you’ll be able to continue making music without missing any practices or performances. With the help of a simple orthodontic mouthguard, your child can continue playing sports safely.

Every instrument is unique, just like your smile. Brass instruments will take more getting used to as they require players to press their lips directly onto the mouthpiece. However, woodwind instruments utilize a mouthpiece that requires indirect contact and makes it slightly easier to adjust.

#4 Braces are only effective for teens

Many people associate the term “orthodontics” with a teen in a complete set of metal braces. This stereotype has come to life over the years in pop culture. However, new patients at Feil Orthodontics are always surprised when they learn the benefits of orthodontic treatment for patients of all ages. So whether you’re a child, teen, or adult, just know that there is no age limit on achieving the stunning smile you’ve always wanted. Not only will this better your oral health, but it can also help improve your self-confidence.

#5 The metal in your braces will set off metal detectors

This is often brought up by our patients who travel frequently. We all know that going through airport security is stressful enough, so you shouldn’t need to worry that your braces will set off the metal detectors! Brackets and wires are made from high-quality metals and are not the same materials that metal detectors look for. So next time you’re somewhere with a metal detector, there’s no need to worry that your braces will cause a scene.

#6 Braces straighten your teeth forever

This may be more wishful thinking than a myth! Braces are a great solution for correcting your bite and straightening your teeth, but your teeth will continue shifting throughout your life. This is why wearing a retainer regularly post-treatment will help minimize that shifting and keep your newly straightened teeth in place for years to come!

#7 Braces take years to straighten your smile

Orthodontic patients at Feil Orthodontics will spend anywhere from 12-36 months in treatment, but this will vary since everyone’s smile and goals are unique. The estimated treatment time will depend on several factors, such as the severity of the case, how your teeth respond to treatment, desired improvements, and more.

In most cases, you will see signs of improvement in a short period of time. This glimpse of your new smile will be exciting and an extra boost of encouragement as you continue the process. 10 Braces Myths You Need to Know

#8 The wires on your braces will require frequent changes

It’s essential to attend regular follow-up visits throughout your treatment process, and while the wires will need to be adjusted occasionally, this won’t happen every time. Your regular visits will consist of Dr. Feil making minor adjustments and checking on the progress of teeth movement. 

It’s important to give your mouth time to grow the support it needs to once your braces are removed. In the first year post-treatment, your teeth can start shifting in as little as a few days. As we mentioned before, you will need to use a retainer to apply more pressure and make sure your teeth stay in the new placement. Retainers do apply some pressure, but it’s less than what your braces did and is essential for keeping your teeth in place. 

All of that to say, by wearing your retainer regularly, you will help ensure that your newly straightened teeth stay where they need to be. This also allows them to heal fully post-braces and permanently settle into new positions. 

#9 Braces are only useful for straightening teeth

Braces are great at straightening your teeth, but they also help resolve other oral health issues such as misaligned jaws or teeth. These are things that can cause difficulty in everyday tasks like caring for your teeth, eating, and speaking. Our Dudley Smiles team will be able to address and correct these issues through orthodontic treatment. Braces also have other hidden benefits, including improved chewing, speech, oral health, and digestion. 

#10 Braces are the only option for straightening your teeth 

In our offices in Bismarck, Mandan, Beulah, and Dickinson, we offer a variety of effective ways to straighten and correct your smile aside from traditional braces including ceramic braces and Invisalign clear aligners. Each of these options can help fix any issues you may have and give you the smile you’ve always wanted. It is important also to remember that what works well for one patient may not be the best fit for another. When you schedule your free consultation with Dr. Feil, he’ll be able to examine your teeth and recommend the option that will work best for your specific needs.

10 Braces Myths You Need to Know

Find your best smile with braces by Feil Orthodontics

Choosing to pursue treatment with braces is a big decision and we appreciate you trusting in our expert team along your journey. Our top goal is to provide you with a personalized treatment plan and a rewarding orthodontic experience so that you can see exceptional results. Whether you are considering braces or already have an appointment, we’re here for you! Get in touch to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Feil or to talk through your concerns with us! Your satisfaction is as important to us as your smile. 


Why Your Child Should See An Orthodontist By Age 7

For many years, braces were seen as a rite of passage for teens. Even now, most people associate orthodontics with tweens and teens in a full set of metal braces, but treatment can actually benefit patients of all ages! Here at Feil Orthodontics, we’ve worked with children, teenagers, and adults, and seen how beneficial our expert care can be. Regular orthodontic check-ups are especially important for kids. In fact, these are such a useful tool that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children receive an evaluation by about the age of 7!

Some parents are surprised by this recommendation. After all, most young children still have many baby teeth. But it’s this mix of primary and permanent teeth in a developing mouth that can work to our advantage! Not only are we able to identify any current or potential problems, but correcting them in the early stages can simplify any future treatment. In some cases, it can eliminate the need for future treatment altogether. Let’s take a look at why early orthodontic evaluations are so beneficial and how you can schedule one with us! Keep reading below to learn more.

What to expect from early childhood evaluations with Feil Orthodontics

When you schedule a complimentary consultation for your child with Dr. Feil, he’ll perform a painless but thorough oral examination. In doing so, he’ll be able to assess their bite, jaw growth, oral habits, and the eruption of their permanent teeth. This will help him identify any issues and determine if early treatment is necessary to correct them.

Even if immediate treatment isn’t recommended——and this is true for many of the young patients we see—these evaluations are still valuable! Most children will develop all their permanent teeth between 11 and 13, and by the time they reach their late teens and early twenties, the jawbone has hardened and stopped growing. Any orthodontic treatment undertaken after this point may require more time and involve more invasive measures, like tooth extraction or oral surgery.

Early treatment can help patients avoid invasive procedures like these. Even if additional work is needed in their teen or adult years, the total treatment time can be significantly reduced. A proactive approach to orthodontic care makes comprehensive treatment faster and more effective, giving children the benefit of a healthier smile as they grow! Here’s a breakdown of some common issues Dr. Feil will be looking for during your child’s orthodontic evaluation.

Why Your Child Should See An Orthodontist By Age 7

Tooth loss and eruption

Baby teeth usually fall out in a fairly specific order. If your child deviates from this pattern, it may signal a developmental issue that needs our attention. By the age of seven, most children will have at least four permanent molars and two to four permanent incisors. If your child has more or less than this, it could be due to missing, crowded, or extra teeth.

Problems with crowding or spacing

By the time a child is seven, their first adult molars are coming in. This helps establish the back bite and allows an orthodontist like Dr. Feil to assess it front-to-back and side-to-side. He’ll be able to identify any problems with excessive crowding or spacing this way, including premature tooth loss, too-small teeth, and those that are spaced too close or too far apart.

Misaligned teeth and jaws

Crooked teeth can be challenging to clean, increasing a child’s chances of developing cavities and tooth decay. They’re also susceptible to uneven damage and wear, which may compromise the shape and position of the surrounding gum tissue. In addition, these misalignments can cause discomfort, headaches, and a variety of other symptoms.


Front teeth that noticeably protrude are often seen as a cosmetic concern, but they can also increase the risk of injury to a child’s permanent teeth and may affect how they speak. Although we can’t permanently correct an overbite until the child’s mouth has finished growing, we can help reduce the severity of the issue in the meantime.


With an underbite, the lower jaw grows too far forward. This can develop due to problems with either the teeth or jaws. As with an overbite, we’ll usually need to wait until the patient has finished growing to correct the problem permanently. That being said, early treatment can still prevent bite shifting or damage to the front teeth! Children who receive early treatment for an underbite tend to be much less likely to need jaw surgery when they get older.

Posterior crossbite

A posterior crossbite can lead to crowding or cause the jaw to shift to one side. Some crossbites can also cause asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw, leading to permanent facial deformities if not corrected at a younger age. We do not recommend waiting until all the permanent teeth have emerged to begin treatment in cases like these.

Anterior open bites and deep bites

A deep bite can indicate a small lower jaw, with the child’s top teeth covering the bottom ones when biting. With an open bite, the overall bite doesn’t overlap enough. The latter can be caused by harmful oral habits like extended thumb sucking, bottle feeding, or pacifier use. Our team is happy to work with parents to help eliminate these practices early on, allowing the child’s dental development to continue normally.

Why Your Child Should See An Orthodontist By Age 7

Give your child’s smile the best start with Feil Orthodontics

If you have a child ready for their first orthodontic evaluation, we’d love to meet you both and take a look at how their smile is developing so far! Introducing regular visits with an orthodontist now can save them extra visits in the future, and if any problems are present, we can get a head start on treating them. As a family-friendly practice, you can trust our team to deliver world-class care in a comfortable environment! Get your child’s smile off to the best start possible by scheduling their FREE consultation with Dr. Feil today.