Become a Retainer Defender

Taking care of your retainer is easy! Read on to find out how to keep your retainer well-cared for.

After your braces come off, it is important to remember that your responsibility for your orthodontic treatment is not over yet. Retainers are essential to maintaining your perfect smile once braces come off. Your teeth are alive and always want to move, so ensuring you wear your retainer and prevent it from being lost or damaged will ensure you keep your smile perfect.

  1. Keep your retainer in its case: Your retainer is small and might be clear, which means it can be easily lost or overlooked as it can fall into tiny places and also seem invisible. Retainer cases, however, are larger and usually bright in color, ensuring your retainer is not lost or thrown away by accident. *Extra tip: Be sure to fill in the sticker on your retainer with your name, address and phone number so if you lose your retainer and someone else finds it they can easily return it to you!
  2. Leave your retainer at home: If you are just going to spend the night at a friend’s or relative’s house, it might be best to leave your retainer at home. Your retainer might fit a little tighter the next time you put it in, but its better to deal with a night of a tight retainer than have it lost in transit. *Note: If you will be out of town for more than a night or two, take your retainer with you, but be sure to keep it in its case when its not in use!
  3. Contain the retainer in a drawer: This tip is especially useful if you have a dog, as they love to chew on retainers, but keeping your retainer in a drawer when not in use prevents your retainer from being knocked to the floor.
  4. Remember to wear it: Your retainer does no good if it is not worn, and you spent all that time in braces for nothing if you do not maintain your straight smile. Be sure to wear your retainer every night. *Extra tip: For those who struggle to remember, try taping a note to your mirror reminding you to wear your retainer, and get in the habit of putting it in immediately after you brush your teeth for the night.
  5. Keep your retainer clean: Use dish soap and warm water to keep your retainer clean as needed. Do not use overly hot water as this can disfigure your retainer and will result in it losing its perfect fit.

By following the tips above, you are well on your way to ensuring that your retainer lasts a long time. If you find that your retainer has been lost or damaged, be sure to contact your orthodontist quickly to ensure they can get you in quickly to have a new retainer made. Do not wait too long as your teeth might move without the retainer to hold them in place.

For additional questions regarding retainers or orthodontic treatment in general, we would love to hear from you! Please call our Fishers office at 317-570-0011, or our Indianapolis office at 317-849-0110.

We Love the Damon System! Here’s Why…

All about the Damon System. What it is, and why you should care about the bracket system your orthodontist uses.

At Walker Dixon Orthodontics, we have used the Damon bracket system for our braces for almost 10 years with amazing results. Many patients, upon arrival to our office, do not even realize that there are different bracket systems that can be used for orthodontic treatment, and are surprised when we show them the difference between traditional braces and Damon braces.

Unlike traditional braces which use either wire ties or colored rubber bands to hold the wire, Damon braces have brackets which feature small doors that can be opened and closed for wire placement and removal. This reduces the friction experienced with traditional braces, and provides lighter forces and freer tooth movement on the wire. Arch width is developed naturally by these forces, which eliminates the need for those uncomfortable expanders. Differences such as these mean less pain and a quicker treatment time for our patients.

Patients with Damon braces also are seen every month and a half to two months on average, versus monthly appointments usually needed for traditional braces, which means patients miss less school and work.

Damon brackets are also smaller than traditional brackets which makes maintaining great oral hygiene much easier. The brackets come in standard metal coloring and also clear, for those who prefer a more subtle orthodontic experience. While colored bands are not needed with Damon braces, they are still available to our patients who want to express themselves with a little splash of color.

We, at Walker Dixon Orthodontics, are very enthusiastic about the Damon system and the great results it offers our patients. For more information about Damon Braces, you can visit our website at, or you can call our Fishers office at 317-570-0011 or 317-849-0110 for our Indianapolis office.

The Daily Grind

Why you might be grinding your teeth, and why you might want to get help.

Grinding of teeth, also known as bruxism, is quite common, and almost everyone has done it at some point in their lives. While it is most common to grind your teeth at night in your sleep, there are some who even do it during their waking hours.

Why do we grind?

Bruxism has a number of potential causes, and not everyone grinds their teeth for the same reasons, but there are a couple of causes that might lead to bruxism.

Stress and anxiety
An abnormal bite and/or crooked/missing teeth
Side effects: medication and alcohol and tobacco use can sometimes cause grinding
Age: young children tend to grind their teeth but this usually goes away with age
Caffeine: consuming caffeinated beverages in the evening has been linked to some cases

Should you seek help?

Again, almost everyone will grind their teeth at some point in their lives, however persistent and severe bruxation often requires intervention. If you grind your teeth frequently, you may experience temporomandibular joint disorders, damage to your teeth and pain in your face, teeth and jaw.


Wisdom Teeth

Why your Orthodontist might say they need to go!

What is a Wisdom Tooth?

Wisdom teeth are commonly referred to as a third molar, and they are usually the last teeth to develop. Contrary to their name, wisdom teeth have nothing to do with an individual’s wisdom, but get their nickname from their time of eruption, which usually occurs in early adulthood.

Do I Need to Get Them Removed?

Whether or not an individual can keep their wisdom teeth varies. Generally, most people do not have enough room in their jaws to allow for their wisdom teeth to stay. It is believed that in the long-distant past, humans had longer laws that allowed the wisdom teeth to erupt, but over time, human jaw size has been reduced, leaving the wisdom teeth with nowhere to go! So, when it is time for the wisdom teeth to emerge, they can become impacted, or only partially emerge which can result in tooth decay on the partially exposed tooth. Wisdom teeth can also travel in directions that can pose a threat to your other teeth, especially if they are traveling in the direction of your molars’ roots.

There are rare instances where wisdom tooth removal is not needed. If an individual is missing a tooth, sometimes a wisdom tooth can be beneficial. Some individuals are even born without wisdom teeth altogether, which would eliminate the need for their removal.

Your dentist or orthodontist will make the recommendation if your wisdom teeth need to be removed, so consult with them if you have questions on the timing of wisdom tooth removal. If they believe it is time, they will be able to write you a referral to an oral surgeon for the procedure.

The Top 10 Things Not to Do While in Braces

What can you avoid doing while in braces to ensure your treatment is a success? We will give you the breakdown of the top 10 things you should know to avoid.

Being in braces, you will find that you are able to do just about everything you did prior to treatment. There are some things you will want to avoid doing while undergoing orthodontic treatment, however. In this post, we will outline the top ten things that will cause problems for you and your braces, so your experience in braces is problem free!

Eating Hard Foods

Hard candy and foods might be tempting, but they can cause problems for you and your braces. When you chew on something hard, you can cause the brackets to break off of your teeth, and you can cause the wire to come out of the brackets, which might poke your cheek and gums causing pain for you! Some examples of hard foods and candy include jaw breakers, sweet-tarts, hard pretzels, hard breadsticks, and nuts.

Eating Sticky and Chewy Foods

Sticky and chewy foods can be delicious, but they are often the causes of problems with braces. Non sugar-free gum, taffy, caramels, and other similar foods can get stuck on braces and pull lose your brackets and wires, which can cause you discomfort if wires start to poke from being pulled loose. Stick with drier foods that are easier to chew and wont adhere to your brackets and wires the way sticky foods will.

Chewing on Things Other Than Food

If you like to chew on pencils, pens, mouth guards or other non-food items, this is a habit you will want to break immediately before pursuing orthodontic treatment. Not only are these items bad for your teeth in general, but they can bad for your braces, too. Chewing on non-food items can result in brackets coming loose or breaking off and can also result in wires being knocked loose, so learn to curb that habit sooner rather than later.

Not Brushing Teeth After Eating

While it might seem inconvenient to have to brush after every meal, excellent oral hygiene is absolutely necessary when you are in braces. Braces act like shelves on your teeth and can hold food on your teeth and gum line, causing irritation that can result in swelling, bleeding and eventually cavities. Keep a small pouch with a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste at work, school or in your car to make it more convenient to brush.

Not Flossing

Flossing your teeth is definitely more of a challenge when you have braces, but with the right tools and a little patience, it is possible. Flossing is also necessary when you have braces as the brackets and wires can hold and hide food in places not easily visible to you. Left on your teeth and gums, the food will decay causing gum swelling, bleeding, bad breath and eventually cavities. Use flossers designed especially for braces, floss threaders, or invest in a Waterpik to ensure you are flossing effectively.

Playing With Wires

It might feel strange at first to have braces on your teeth, and when you are bored, it might be easy to reach into your mouth and play with your wires. However, when you choose to play with your wires, you run the risk of breaking the wire, which can result in a wire poking into your cheek and gum line causing you pain. Doing this can also result in a bracket breaking off of your teeth, which might mean an extra trip to the orthodontist’s office. Try to keep from playing with your wires, and if you suffer from fidgety hands, perhaps find another outlet for your boredom such as a stress ball or fidget spinner.

Picking at Brackets

When a bracket is rubbing, or feeling strange to you, you might be tempted to pick at the bracket with your fingernails or other objects. As tempting as it may be, you must refrain from picking at your brackets. Doing so can result in brackets coming loose and causing you additional discomfort and trips to the orthodontist. If a bracket is really bothering you, use orthodontic wax to cushion the irritation, and maybe call your orthodontist if you feel as if the problem is more severe.

Removing the Wire

While you might have figured out how to open the doors on your brackets to remove your wire, you should never do this. It might make brushing and flossing easier, but you run the risk of not putting your wire back in properly, or not being able to get the wire back in at all. Putting a wire in improperly can result in incorrect tooth movement, which might delay treatment completion, and can also in more extreme cases, even cause root damage. Leave the wire removal to your orthodontist, and learn to become a pro at your oral hygiene routine with your wire in.

Playing Sports Without a Mouthguard

If you enjoy playing sports, you will want to get a mouthguard to protect your braces and teeth. Even if you have never had an accident while playing a game, one can happen at any time, and it is better to be protected. Ensure you get a mouthguard, such as the Shock Doctor, that is designed for braces. We sell them at a discount to our patients, but if you are in another state, check with your local orthodontist to see if they offer mouth guards at their office or if they can direct you to a supplier.

Not Wearing Elastics

The biggest thing that is guaranteed to delay your braces coming off is not wearing elastics that your orthodontist recommends to you. Your elastics are essential to correcting your bite, and if you do not wear them, your bite will not change, and your orthodontist will not take off your braces until it is correct. So, wear those elastics day and night!

In conclusion, while it might seem like there are a lot of things you should not do while you are in braces, luckily, these are all things that are easy to avoid or stop doing. If you have further questions on whether or not something will harm your braces, call your orthodontist to ask. They will happy to answer your questions on how to keep your braces and teeth in great shape while you are in treatment.

Waterpiks and Braces

Benefits and Drawbacks to Using a Waterpik While in Braces.

So you, or your child, are in braces and your orthodontist has suggested a Waterpik to assist in maintaining great oral hygiene while in treatment. You might be wondering what the benefit is to having a Waterpik, and you might also be wondering if there is anything else you should be aware of before making the purchase?

What is a Waterpik?:

A Waterpik is a oral hygiene device composed of a wand connected to a canister that is filled with water before use. The Waterpik propels the water from the canister through the wand with a strong force which, when aimed at teeth, is effective at dislodging food particles that might be stuck between teeth or stuck in appliances such as braces and permanent retainers.


Braces are composed of a lot of small parts that adhere to teeth. These parts, such as the wires, elastics, coils and brackets, make for perfect food traps, and therefore, present more of an obstacle to brushing and flossing. For children where dexterity and attention to detail might still be a work in progress, even with brushing and flossing, some things might be missed. A Waterpik can assist in dislodging stubborn or hidden food particles missed with regular brushing and flossing.

Since it uses streams of water to “floss,” the Waterpik can often reach challenging areas with greater ease than with regular dental floss alone. As an extra “insurance policy” in an oral hygiene routine, a Waterpik might help reduce the risk of cavities and decalcification while in orthodontic treatment.


Many individuals might think that having a Waterpik is a substitute to regular flossing. While a Waterpik is certainly effective in dislodging food particles, regular flossing is still essential during treatment, and using a Waterpik is not a substitute for great brushing and flossing while in braces. If you purchase a Waterpik for a child, it is essential that your child knows that they must continue to brush and floss in addition to the use of their Waterpik.

As a device that is designed to shoot water at a great speed and with a considerable amount of force, Waterpiks can also understandably be quite messy for those not expecting the speed and rate at which water is expelled from the device. To minimize the mess, ensure that children are supervised and possibly use the Waterpik over the bathtub or in the shower until its use is mastered.

In Conclusion:

A Waterpik can be an asset during orthodontic treatment as it can help dislodge food particles that might have been missed with regular brushing and flossing. However, keep in mind that it is not a substitute for great oral hygiene practices including brushing, flossing and using a fluoride rinse daily. It can be messy at first, but once mastered, the mess should be minimized. For those who want or need an extra bit of help with their oral hygiene routine, a Waterpik can be an excellent choice.

Walker Dixon Orthodontics is proud to offer Waterpiks to our patients at a discounted price. For patients wanting to ask questions or purchase a Waterpik, or for those with questions on orthodontic treatment, please call our office. For the Fishers location, call: 317-570-0011, or for our Shadeland location, call: 317-849-0110.

Elastics in Orthodontic Treatment

Elastics: Why you need them

So, you are at your orthodontist for an exam or for your regular appointment, and the doctor tells you that you will need to wear elastics during your time in braces. This may leave you wondering what elastics are and why you need to wear them in the first place? Read on to get the full scoop on the what and why of elastics in orthodontic treatment.

What Are Elastics, Anyways?

Almost everyone who has braces will at some point be told they need to wear elastics. The elastics resemble tiny rubber bands, but they are composed of latex, though non-latex elastics are available to those who are allergic or sensitive to latex. They come in a variety of sizes, which, in our office, are given animal names to help you remember which elastics you are wearing. The elastics are worn by attaching them to hooks that are placed strategically on your brackets.

Usually, you can place the elastics with your fingers. It takes a little practice, but given time, you will be able to put them in and take them out without even looking. You may have a few appointments before you have to wear elastics, and when its time to start wearing them, your orthodontist will instruct you on how they want you to wear them.

Why Are Elastics So Important?

Your orthodontist and the orthodontic assistant at your appointment will probably stress your cooperation with elastic wear when it is time to start wearing them. Something so small might seem like its of minor importance, but elastics are incredibly important to orthodontic treatment.

Your elastics are designed to retrain your jaw, and wearing them as recommended by your orthodontist will help correct your bite in ways that the wire and brackets alone cannot. Make sure to pay attention to the instructions as there are a number of ways the elastics can be worn, and you want to make sure you are wearing them correctly.  You can even request a diagram from your orthodontist that you can reference after your appointment to ensure you are wearing your elastics correctly long after you leave their office.

If you do not wear your elastics as often as you are told, or if you wear them improperly, your treatment can go on longer than originally estimated. Your orthodontist can always tell if you have worn your elastics properly, so make sure to be diligent and consistent in their wear, and be honest with your orthodontist if you could have done better with wearing them since your last appointment.

For additional questions on why elastics are important, or if you have questions on how you should be wearing them, do not hesitate to call your orthodontists’ office. If you are a patient of Walker Dixon Orthodontics with questions on elastics wear, or if you are interested in pursuing treatment with us, call our Fishers office at 317-570-0011, or our Indianapolis location at 317-849-0110.

Cleaning Your Retainer

Keeping your retainer clean has never been easier!

Since your retainer is a lifetime commitment, you will have your retainer a long time, so it is important to know how to care for your retainer. This care includes keeping it clean. Luckily, keeping your retainer clean is easy and requires just a little of your time.


There are a couple of methods recommended for cleaning your retainers. Dish soap and warm, not super hot, water is the most recommended way to clean your retainer. You can use a soft bristled toothbrush or proxabrush to get into the cracks and crevices, but remember to scrub gently to avoid unsightly scratches. Denture cleaner is another option that is easy to use and is inexpensive to acquire. Simply soak the retainer in the cleaner for the recommended time frame on the cleaner’s packaging.

Some methods are not recommended for cleaning your retainers. First and foremost, do not use any cleaners that are toxic to human consumption to clean your retainers. Make sure to read labels, and contact your orthodontist if you have questions on whether a product can be used on a retainer. Not only are some chemicals toxic to you, but they might also be too strong on your retainer and can cause damage!

Toothpaste is another substance to avoid. Toothpaste is designed to be abrasive to remove plaque and stains from your teeth, and this abrasiveness can make your retainer cloudy and cause scratches. Any colored cleaners, such as mouthwash and rinses, should also be avoided. They will kill off bacteria, but they will also stain your retainer and might be too strong. Lastly, do not boil your retainer. The high temperature can cause the retainer to become disfigured or even melt altogether!

For additional questions about cleaning retainers or about orthodontic treatment in general, contact your local orthodontic specialists at Walker Dixon Orthodontics in Indiana. For the Fishers office, call 317-570-0011, or for the Indianapolis location, call 317-849-0110.

All About Retainers!

What is a Retainer, and Why is It Important?

What is a Retainer, and Why is It Important?

A retainer is a device used to keep your teeth in their perfect positions after your braces come off. It is important to wear your retainer consistently after your braces come off to ensure your teeth do not shift back to their pre-treatment state. Since your teeth are always alive, they are always going to want to move, therefore retainers are a lifetime commitment, and should be replaced relatively soon if they are lost or broken.

What are the Different Types of Retainers?

Because all mouths and teeth are different, your orthodontist may recommend a retainer that might be different from your friends’ retainers. The type of retainer most people think of is the kind of retainer that has a wire that goes around your teeth and a plastic piece that fits on the roof of your mouth. This type of retainer is known as a Hawley. Since it has a wire, the Hawley retainer can be adjusted when there are changes being made to your teeth. Your orthodontist might give you this type of retainer if they know you are going to lose teeth, or if your teeth have moved after your braces have come off.

Another type of retainer is the Acrylic Overlay. This retainer is a clear plastic tray that looks like a hollow model of your teeth at first glance. It fits right over your teeth, and is barely noticeable when worn. Your orthodontist will often give you this retainer if they want to keep your teeth exactly as they were, and is not adjustable, although it can be trimmed when baby teeth are lost to maintain its fit.

The last type of retainer is the 3-3, or as it is commonly known, the permanent retainer. A subtle, small piece of wire, your orthodontist will attach this retainer to the back of your bottom six front adult teeth at the end of your treatment. As these teeth are the most prone to fast movement, this retainer with faithfully keep your bottom teeth right where they need to be at all times.

If you have additional questions about orthodontic treatment, retainer wear, or if you need to replace a lost or broken retainer, contact your local orthodontic specialists at Walker Dixon Orthodontics. For the Fishers office, call 317-570-0011, or for the Indianapolis location, call 317-849-0110.