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What to Expect at Your First Consultation with Prairie Ridge Orthodontics

June 30th, 2021

We have seen thousands of patients at Prairie Ridge Orthodontics over the years and we have had every type of patient sit down for their very first consultation from the jitterbug to nerves of steel. It’s only natural to feel a little nervous at your first orthodontic appointment. One thing to keep in mind is that this is your first step on the way to a beautiful, healthier smile.

To help you feel more comfortable, we outlined exactly what will happen during your initial consultation with Prairie Ridge Orthodontics. Remember, our team’s focus is your health and safety. No matter how many new smiles we create for our many patients, each one is unique and deserves personal time and attention.

Meet the Team

Before anything else, we want you to meet our wonderful staff. Here at Prairie Ridge Orthodontics, we pride ourselves on our knowledgeable, friendly team of orthodontic professionals. From the moment you walk into our office and meet our front office team to getting to know Dr. Loveless, every single one of us has a responsibility to ensure your experience is as wonderful as possible. Just like with your amazing new smile, we pride ourselves on first impressions.

Oral Examination and Digital Images

Speaking of impressions, your next step is to slide into the examination chair where we will begin the nuts and bolts of the consultation process. Don’t fret! You can forget about that icky feeling that came with the traditional way to make impressions of your teeth. At Prairie Ridge Orthodontics we have invested in the latest and greatest in orthodontic technology. Our Itero Digital Scanner takes 3-D digital images (impressions) of your mouth, allowing us to permanently retire that uncomfortable, gooey, putty material that is typically used. At the same time, it provides more precise information for better fitting appliances and enables shorter appointment times. The results are faster turnaround time, comfortability, and accuracy in the treatment plan.

Treatment Plan Options

Once we scan your teeth and check your dental records, we will talk to you about your treatment plan options. As we said, every patient is different, with a different idea of the perfect smile and how they want to get there. We will present the options and work with you to get the most out of your orthodontic treatment with us. This is also a good time for a Q&A. Ask everything and anything you want to know about the options we present and your hopes and fears about the process. We want to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible with the journey we take to get you a better, healthier smile.

Payment Options

As well as offering the most up-to-date orthodontic digital technology and treatment options, at Prairie Ridge Orthodontics we want to make sure you have a payment option that works for you.  Once we decide on a treatment plan, we make sure we create a payment schedule that fits into your budget. No one should forgo needed oral care, so we make it as easy as possible to discuss finances, often one of the most difficult conversations to have when it comes to medical care. We will go over your insurance and offer flexible payment plans so you don’t ever have to worry about affording orthodontic treatment.

Scheduling Your First Appointment

Next, we will get you set up with your first appointment to start you on your way. At this point, we hope we have answered all of your questions, addressed your concerns, and made you feel comfortable with your journey with Prairie Ridge Orthodontics to create your best smile ever.

Let’s Be Perfectly Clear!

February 24th, 2021

One of the most common reasons for choosing clear aligners is that they are just that—clear! You can achieve a healthy, beautiful smile without the more obvious wires and brackets of traditional braces. But if your aligners are noticeably stained well before it’s time to replace them, you can be facing days or weeks of self-conscious smiles.

Luckily, this problem is preventable. Let’s look at some of the common causes of aligner discoloration and how to avoid them.

  • Beverages that Stain Teeth Stain Aligners

You take your aligners out to eat, of course, but do you always remember to remove them when you drink a beverage? Red wines, coffee, tea, dark juices, and sodas don’t just cause enamel staining—they can discolor your aligners as well. Even worse, drinking an acidic or sugary drink with your aligners on gives that acidic, sugary beverage an opportunity to bathe your teeth in acids and sugar over a period of time. Keep your aligners (and your enamel) protected by removing them when you drink anything other than water, and brush your teeth before you replace them. If you absolutely can’t remove aligners, a straw will reduce the risk of staining.

  • Soaking in Mouthwash

Mouthwash is a way to keep your teeth and mouth fresh-smelling and free from bacteria. You also want your aligners to stay fresh and bacteria-free. So, what could be the problem in giving your aligners a good soak? Well, sometimes a colorful mouthwash can stain your aligners to match! If you’re not a fan of tinted aligners, talk to us about the safest ways to use mouthwash with your appliance.

  • Using Harsh Cleaners

There are products specifically made for aligners which will keep them their cleanest and clearest. Harsh cleaners and even toothpastes can be abrasive, leaving visible scratches or cloudiness. We’re happy to recommend the best and safest cleaning products for your aligners.

  • Inadequate Cleaning

Plaque, that bacteria film that can stick to your enamel and around your gum line, can also stick to your aligners. If you notice a white film on your appliance, it could be plaque. Thorough and regularly scheduled cleanings are essential. Talk to us about the best schedule and methods for keeping your aligners not only clear, but sanitary.

What if, despite taking precautions, your aligners do get stained? If your aligners are new, we might be able to offer you some suggestions to get you through the next week or so. If you are almost ready for your next set of aligners, you might have no problem waiting. But the simplest solution to stained aligners is prevention.

Talk to Dr. Jeff Loveless at our Faribault, Zumbrota, or Owatonna, MN office about how to keep your aligners looking their best—and least visible. Whether it’s diet suggestions or the most effective soaking and cleaning techniques, we have the answers to ensure your brightest, most confident smile. After all, isn’t that one of the reasons you chose clear aligners?

Covid and How We Are Working To Keep You Safe

February 18th, 2021


COVID safety can make the process of starting Orthodontic Treatment seem stressful. We understand your concerns—we’re living it too! That’s why we work hard to ensure that your visit to our office is comfortable and safe. 

Safety First

At Prairie Ridge Orthodontics your safety is our top priority. We protect our team and our patients with the latest recommended personal protective equipment. We also have all of the latest sterilization protocols in place to ensure our facilities and clinics are ready for your arrival. To provide you with the best service, we have added a Concierge Program to guide you through your visits with us. Due to restrictions on the number of guests that we can have in our facilities at one time, our Concierge Team will facilitate your check-ins, procedures, and check-outs.  We will anticipate your arrival, check you in for your appointment, and even deliver aligners from the comfort and safety of your car! When it is time for your appointment, we will let you know and guide you to your appropriate treatment area.

Listening and Explaining

We care about you and your kiddos. That’s why we start every visit with a conversation. You are invited to tell us about their day and any concerns you may have about the appointment. We follow up with an explanation of what we’ll be doing during the visit. Often children (and adults!) will lose their fears by simply understanding what is happening, when and why. We also know how important it is to keep parents in the loop about their children's treatment progress. That’s why we are implementing a send home checklist of everything we accomplished during the visit.

An Experienced Team You Can Trust 

Our team specializes in working with kids as young as 6 years old. We know how to keep them positive and relaxed. We are highly experienced in identifying and addressing orthodontic issues that present themselves during early childhood. Dr. Loveless will thoroughly examine your child and recommend the most appropriate treatment. Every child is different and the right balance of growth monitoring and interventional treatment will set your child up for a lifetime of happy smiles. 

It’s Easy to Get Started

At Prairie Ridge Orthodontics, we are happy to offer complimentary consultations at our Owatonna and our Zumbrota offices. You will receive a personalized orthodontic assessment. This will include a proposed treatment plan and a pricing outline, as well as examples of orthodontic treatments similar to yours so that you can get an idea of what your end results will look like. Call our office or visit our website to get started today! 

Call us today at (507) 451-5993 or (507) 732-7312, or click below to schedule a free consultation: 



Where you receive your care is important: 

Dr. Loveless’s passion for orthodontics stems from “being able to witness a person’s change in self-confidence from the creation of a beautiful smile they are proud to show the world!”

Dr. Loveless is a Diplomate and board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. (Fewer than 14% of orthodontists nationwide earn the distinction of being an ABO Diplomate.)

Dr. Loveless places a high priority on attending classes and lectures, to stay up to date on all the latest technologies used in orthodontics

In addition, Dr. Loveless highly values continuing education as an active member of several study clubs, as well with the following organizations:

  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • Midwestern Society of Orthodontists
  • Minnesota Association of Orthodontists
  • American Board of Orthodontics
  • Minnesota Dental Association
  • American Dental Association
  • Omicron Kappa Upsilon

The Best Brush of the Day

February 17th, 2021

Imagine that you’re only going to brush your teeth once tomorrow. Don’t worry, we know you would never skimp on your dental hygiene like that, but let’s just pretend for a moment. When would be the best time to brush? When you wake up? During the day? Or perhaps before you go to bed?

Actually, whenever you choose to brush, you’ll receive important overall dental benefits as well as specific benefits tied to the time of day. Let’s explore your daily schedule to see why.

Brushing in the Morning

Brushing when you first jump out of bed produces several positive results.

  • Cleaning plaque from your teeth

Plaque is a sticky film made up of oral bacteria, food particles, and saliva. As you sleep, these oral bacteria multiply and produce acids which attack the minerals in your enamel, leaving weak spots which, over time, can become cavities. Brushing removes these bacteria and acids from your enamel before they cause serious harm.

Moreover, plaque hardens if it’s left undisturbed, turning into tartar in a relatively short time. And once plaque becomes tartar, it must be removed by a dental professional. Brushing first thing in the morning removes this plaque buildup and helps prevent tartar from forming.

  • Fresh breath

That bacterial growth we mentioned? It’s also responsible for morning breath. If nothing else, brushing when you wake up means greeting a fresh day with fresh breath, and that’s reason enough to pick up your brush in the morning.

Brushing During the Day

Brushing after meals and snacks also has a lot to recommend it.

  • “Leftovers” lead to cavities

Foods, especially foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, are converted by oral bacteria into acids which weaken enamel and lead to cavities. When food particles remain in the mouth after a meal, bacteria have more time and more fuel to manufacture these acids.

  • Acidic foods also affect your teeth

If you have eaten something acidic, such as citrus fruits, sodas, or pickled anything, the acids from these foods can temporarily weaken the mineral strength of your enamel. But brushing immediately after eating or drinking acidic foods can damage weakened enamel. Better to rinse well with water and brush after half an hour or so.

  • When you wear braces

One of the first things you discover when you get your braces is that you might need to brush more often. In fact, it’s best to brush after every meal and even every snack while you’re in braces.

Why? First, because no one wants to smile with food particles sticking to brackets and wires. Even more important, though, the filmy plaque which sticks to your enamel can be harder to remove with those brackets and wires in the way. Since plaque causes weakened enamel and cavities, brushing thoroughly is more important than ever when you wear braces.

  • When you wear aligners

Wearing clear aligners means you don’t need to worry about food trapped in brackets or cleaning around wires. After all, you take them out when you eat. But this doesn’t mean you are home free. Brushing after every meal is also a good idea when you wear aligners.

Our teeth have an organic way to help wash away food particles, acids, and bacteria between brushings—saliva! Your aligners, while covering your teeth, decrease their exposure to saliva. It’s really important, then, to make sure you brush after eating. Otherwise, food particles and acids which remain on your teeth after eating are trapped in your aligners, increasing the risk of enamel erosion and decay.

Whether you wear braces or aligners, you’re especially at risk for food particles sticking around your teeth and in your orthodontic appliances. Talk to Dr. Jeff Loveless about when to brush your teeth after eating and how to keep your braces or aligners clean throughout the day.

Brushing at Night

Growing up, you probably received regular reminders to brush before bedtime—for several really good reasons:

  • Saliva production slows while you sleep

During the day, saliva helps to wash away food particles and neutralize acidity in our mouths. It also contains proteins and minerals which help keep tooth enamel strong. But as we sleep, saliva production slows dramatically, and our bodies can’t remove bacteria and acids as effectively.

  • Food particles fuel bacterial growth

If you haven’t brushed since morning, you’ve accumulated a whole day’s worth of food particles from meals and snacks. Remember, oral bacteria use the sugars and carbs we eat as fuel to produce the acids which attack our tooth enamel throughout the night.

  • Brushing helps prevent both of these problems

Brushing your teeth before bed not only cleans away the accumulated food particles of the day, but also eliminates the plaque and bacteria which would have a much easier time sticking to your teeth without that daytime saliva flow to wash them away.

So, When’s the Best Time to Brush?

In the morning, during the day, at night—there are solid advantages to brushing any time of day. The question isn’t so much when to brush as how often you should brush.

While many dental professionals consider brushing before bedtime as the most important brush of the day, brushing at least two full minutes, at least twice during a 24 hour period, is a necessity for basic dental hygiene, along with flossing at least once a day.

When you’ve been eating sugary snacks, when you’re showing signs of gingivitis or getting more than your share of cavities, when you want to reduce the chance of plaque and tartar buildup, or when you simply want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to maintain your overall dental health, brushing after meals is also highly recommended.

And when you wear braces or aligners, frequent brushing (and flossing) is the very best way to make sure your teeth stay clean and cavity-free.

Talk to Dr. Jeff Loveless about your brushing habits at your next appointment at our Faribault, Zumbrota, or Owatonna, MN office. No need to use your imagination to plan your best brushing schedule. We have all the answers you need to help you brush your way to your best—and healthiest—smile!

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