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LET’S DO A QUICK EXPERIMENT right now! Look across the room and catch someone’s eye. Now smile at that person. Did they smile back? We’re guessing they did. Smiles are amazing in that way! New studies show that your smile is much more powerful than you think.

Happiness (expressed through your smile) Is Contagious

A recent UCSD/Harvard study documented how happiness spreads through the interactions we have with others—AND how it continues to spread beyond those we have direct contact with! You don’t even need to be close friends or family to be influenced by someone else’s happiness—it’s passed on to neighbors, schoolmates, and friends of friends too.

Smiles Spread More Than Frowns

A North Dakota State University smile study concluded that smiles are way more likely to spread to others than frowns—even though researchers assumed before the study that they would be equally contagious.

In this crazy world, isn’t it nice to know that positive vibes move more quickly and efficiently than negative vibes?

It’s Another Reason Your Smile Is So Important

When you unleash the powerful potential of YOUR smile, you can make the world a better place. So keep your smile healthy. Brush and floss every day, with special care for your braces, and be sure you’re having regular checkups and professional cleanings.

As Always, Thank You

We try not to be annoying by badgering you for referrals. However, if you have an extended family member, coworker, neighbor, or friend (even that sort of odd guy who grooms your poodle) who’s looking for great orthodontic care, please share our practice with them. We love the new patients who come to us through you—our current patients. They typically become our favorites. Thanks.

We appreciate you!

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Most of us associate braces with the early teenage years.  Getting them on around 12, then off a couple of years later.  If only it were always that simple!

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child be seen by an orthodontist around age 7.  This is a "milestone" year for your child, and should be etched into your pediatric health plan along with immunizations and pediatrician checkups.  Even if your child appears to have perfect teeth, this checkup is critical!  Why 7 you ask?

  • Permanent teeth should be coming in.  6-year permanent molars should be erupted, and many of the front teeth should also be on their way in.  A simple panoramic xray lets us know if your child has all of their teeth and if they are on track to erupt properly.
  • Save your child from jaw surgery.  There is a golden window of opportunity which generally falls between ages 7-10.  During this time we are able to help change the growth of the jaws and correct more severe skeletal problems that, if uncorrected, may then require corrective jaw surgery.  These include crossbites, openbites, and asymmetric jaw growth.
  • Keep your teeth.  Permanent teeth that have no room to come in or erupt into an improper position can cause major problems!  If these teeth don't erupt properly into healthy gum tissue, you could be looking at future gum grafts, limited oral surgery, or even extractions of permanent teeth.  Getting early arch development can set your child up for a much simpler set of full braces later, leading to a better smile.
  • Plan for success.  Many times, a simple retainer during these developmental years can help adjust the bite to make treatment in the teenage years quicker and more effective.

Let's review a sample case from my practice:


Patient LS, age 8.5.  Note the underbite, and associated poutiness of the lower lip.  This child is on track to have jaw surgery if not corrected early.

Patient LS, age 10.  Limited early braces have restored patient's smile and proper function.  Note the improved balance in the lips.  Now he's likely avoided surgery and is on track for a speedy straightening phase of braces around age 12.


Parents, be proactive!  I am a strong advocate of preventative and early interceptive orthodontics because I get to see the difference it makes in these children day in and day out.  I also have to see the consequences of not being screened early; teenagers whose first visit to my office includes a difficult discussion of severe dental and skeletal problems that could have been avoided with a simple free screening.

Consultations are complimentary.  Call 615.355.2055 to set up your Age 7 screening!

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There has been a lot of discussion through the media and among the dental community about a recent article in the journal Cancer creating a possible link between dental x-rays and brain cancer.  This study has many flaws, and even it's authors warn against over-reacting.  Do dental x-rays cause brain cancer?  See for yourself:
What many people don't realize is that we are exposed to natural radiation every day.  A single dental x-ray is roughly equivalent to one extra day of life!  So please don't put your health at risk due to these fears.  X-rays are required for us, as dental professionals, to take great care of our patients.  In fact, I would argue that cancerous tumors of the head and jaws are more often diagnosed earlier than they otherwise would have been thanks to routine dental x-rays!  Food for thought...


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Some of the most frustrated people I meet are those whose child is a thumb-sucker.  Thumb-sucking begins in the womb, and, consequently, develops into a comfort mechanism for most children.  For some it only happens around bedtime; for others it is a daily addiction!  Either way, it is important to wean your child from their thumb before the permanent front teeth begin coming in.  Otherwise, thumb-sucking can have very negative effects on both the teeth and jaws.  To help your child avoid developing serious, severe orthodontic problems, follow these tips:

Give Praise

Congratulate them when they don't suck their thumb.  Motivate them with a book or toy if they stop the habit.  Studies have shown that if you break any habit for a full two weeks it is likely to not return, so make that their goal.

Look For Dental Consequences

One of the main signs that your child's thumb-sucking is affecting dental development is when the front teeth do not overlap each other.  This is called an open bite, and it is due to the thumb blocking proper tooth eruption.  Speech is also usually negatively affected.  If you notice these signs, give us a call for a complimentary consultation.

It's Not Always A Thumb

Even though the thumb is the most common comfort mechanism for children, many other things can cause the same problems.  Fingers, tongue-thrusts, pencils, pacifiers; I've even seen a child who chewed on the corners of DVD cases!  Watch for bad intraoral habits.

Let The Orthodontist Do The Talking

Sometimes, having a professional educate the child on the consequences of thumb-sucking can do the trick.  I prefer empowering the child to stop him or herself, which is surprisingly effective.

Consults By Age 7

Whether a thumb-sucker or not, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that <a href =">all children be screened by an orthodontic specialist by age 7.  By this time, permanent front teeth should be coming in.  If you notice, however, any of the above problems prior to age seven it is better to have the child screened early.

If your child has a thumb-sucking habit, call Dr. Damon Barbieri for your complimentary consultation.  615.355.2055


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Welcome to our new website!  Check back here often for new information on cutting edge braces, fun facts about smiles, and tips on taking care of your pearly whites.

For now...

Check out our girl Kennedy Noel!  She's our Barbieri Orthodontics budding superstar, appearing on The Hub's "Majors & Minors" alongside celebrities like Brandy, Avril Lavigne,, Jordin Sparks, and more!  Sundays at 6 pm on The Hub.  More info here.


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