Orthodontic Dentistry

When is It Time for a Check-up?
- PDF Download
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7.

Here's Why:


  • Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.

  • While your child's teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.

  • A check-up may reveal that your child's bite is fine. Or, the orthodontist may identify a developing problem but recommend monitoring the child's growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time for the child. In other cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.

  • Early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

  • Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:
    - Guide jaw growth
    - Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
    - Correct harmful oral habits
    - Improve appearance
    - Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
    - Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face

  • Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you'll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile.


If your child is older than 7, it's certainly not too late for a check-up.


Because patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs, the orthodontist's goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.


Information from www.braces.org

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Problems to Watch for in Growing Children - PDF Download
Malocclusions ("bad bites") like those illustrated below, may benefit from early diagnosis and referral to an orthodontic specialist for a full evaluation.

Top teeth are
behind bottom teeth

Top teeth are to the
inside of bottom teeth

The lower teeth sit in
front of upper teeth when
back teeth are closed

Front teeth do not
meet when back
teeth are closed

Sucking on the
thumb, fingers, etc.





In addition, if you notice any of the following in your child, check with your orthodontist:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Jaws that shift or make sounds
  • Speech difficulties
  • Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
  • Facial imbalance
  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth

* Final treatment decisions should be made among the parent, child's dentist and orthodontist.
* For more information visit the American Association of Orthodontist Web Site at www.braces.org

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Brushing & Flossing - PDF Step by Step Pictured Guide Download

How to Brush

  •  One - Brush the front and back of each of your front teeth. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and use slow, circular motions.

  •  Two - Work the brush between the wires and brackets of your braces. Go slowly. Make sure you cover each part of the appliance. Gently brush the gums, too.

  • Three - Brush the top and sides of each back tooth. Also brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Rinse with water. Then use other rinses or gels as directed.


How to Floss

  •  One - Put 1 or 2 feet of floss into a floss into a floss threader. Thread the floss between your teeth and the wires of your braces. Remove the threader.

  • Two - Wrap the ends of floss around your fingers. Pull to make a "V" shape. Rub the floss up to the gums and then down the sides of the teeth. Do this between each tooth.

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*** EMERGENCIES *** - PLEASE DOWNLOAD Pictured Emergency Guide
Please download the following orthodontic emergencies and their treatments list (PDF listed from least to most severe). Only the most severe emergencies may require immediate attention by an orthodontist. The majority of these are easily treated with a follow-up by the patient's orthodontist. The PDF Pictured guide here will help you to determine if you have an emergencie.

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What Can I Eat?
Most foods are OK for you to eat, but please avoid hard, sticky, crunchy foods and carbonated beverages while wearing braces.

Examples of hard foods are: Raw Carrots, Apples, Nuts, Popcorn, Pizza Crust, Hard Breads, Hard Candy, Chips and Ice.
Examples of sticky foods are: Chewing Gum (unless it is an orthodontic approved brand), Taffy and Caramels.

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Home Care
It is normal for your braces to cause some discomfort during the first few days after placement and for a few days after an adjustment. To increase your comfort it is helpful to do the following:

- Eat only soft foods for the first few days
- Place wax over any part of the braces that is causing irritation
- Use warm saltwater rinse after brushing

Good oral hygiene is important while wearing braces. The braces themselves do not harm the teeth; however, much greater care must be exercised in flossing and brushing the teeth and gum tissues. .

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Your General Dentist
We require you to visit your dentist every 6 months while your braces are in place. It is your responsibility to schedule and keep these appointments.

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The Orthodontist

Robert N. Galbreath, D.D.S., M.S.

General Info - Born and raised in Richmond, VA. Attended George Mason University and VA Commonwealth University for undergraduate education. Graduate of MCV School of Dentistry 1998, Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency in FT Campbell, KY 1999, Graduate of University of Louisville Department of Orthodontics with Masters of Science in Oral Biology 2005, Chief of Orthodontics in FT Irwin, CA 2005-2007, Board Certified Specialist with the American Board of Orthodontics.

Associations and Committees - American Association of Orthodontists - Southern Association of Orthodontists - American Dental Association - Virginia Dental Association - Tidewater Dental Association - American Board of Orthodontics - World Federation of Orthodontists - College of Diplomats of the American Board of Orthodontics.

Interests - Water sports, boating, softball, basketball and volleyball.

Kristen Benes D.D.S., M.S.

General Info - Born in Coventry, Rhode Island. Undergraduate education from University of Richmond. Graduated MCV/VCU Dental School in 2001. Graduated from the University of Oklahoma with an MS in Orthodontics in 2003. Practiced orthodontics in Arizona from 2003-2010.

Associations and Committees - American Association of Orthodontists, Southern Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Virginia Dental Association, Tidewater Dental Association.

Interests - Running, golf, crafting and spending time with my husband and daughters.

Personal Message - I’m happy to be back in Virginia after 10 years. It’s exciting to be given the opportunity to be a part of the wonderful team of dental professionals at LWSS. I look forward to creating beautiful smiles for families all over the Suffolk area.

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