Preventative Dental Care & Early Dental Visits

Our children’s dentists stress the importance of making sure children see the dentist starting at an early age.  Doctors Mayhew, Conn and Hardaway have many years of experience in children’s dental care and know how to show kids that there’s no need to be afraid of the dentist.

To get your child ready for the first visit to our office, speak positively about the trip and about your own dental experiences. You can read your child some books about kids going to the dentist and talk about what the dentist will do at the first appointment.

A child’s first dental appointment is typically short and usually involves very little treatment. We’ll gently examine your child’s mouth, teeth and gums and will review how you should help you child brush and floss each day. We’ll also evaluate any adverse habits like thumb sucking and suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.

When you start bringing your young child in to see the dentist regularly, you’ll be helping your child develop a lifetime of good oral health.

Preventative Care is Important

Tooth decay and children don’t have to go hand-in-hand. Our Boone and Wilkesboro, NC pediatric dentists are focused on all aspects of preventative care. We use the latest dental sealant technology to protect children’s teeth. Dental sealants are a transparent material that we apply to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay often occurs. Acting as a barrier, dental sealants protect the teeth from harmful bacteria and acids that attack the enamel. When sealants are used, a child has a lower risk of developing cavities and tooth decay so they’re definitely well worth it.

The depressions and grooves on the back teeth are challenging to keep clean because toothbrush bristles cannot reach deeply enough into them. By coating the back teeth with the dental sealant material, the chances of decay developing is greatly decreased.  The dental sealants we use are designed to flow into the grooves and depressions that are present on the back teeth where decay often starts. Sealants are easy to apply and the procedure is painless.

If you’d like to schedule your child’s first appointment with us, please fill out and submit our appointments form. One of our team members will then contact you to set up an appointment time. We look forward to meeting you and your child soon!

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I got my braces. Now what?

Our Boone and Wilkesboro orthodontists strive to make your treatment a positive experience!  We are fully committed to providing you with the very best care and results possible! Now that you’ve taken the first step toward a healthier and more beautiful smile by getting braces at OP Smiles, you’re probably wondering what comes next.

The first week in braces is the period when you’ll be making the biggest adjustment and there’s a lot to learn in this short time. However, there is no need to worry, as your braces will feel completely natural in just a few short weeks.

The First Week

It’s common for your braces to feel rather odd for the first few days, as it will take time for you to get used to wearing them. It’s common to feel some soreness or pain the first week.. Most people feel the most uncomfortable the second and third day after getting braces put on. Most of this pain & discomfort can be dealt with by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol.

 Eat soft foods for the first few days like mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, soup, yogurt and macaroni & cheese, as this will help you deal with the discomfort.

Dealing with Sore Spots

Your tongue and cheeks will be getting used to your new braces just as your teeth are. You may develop sore spots on the inside of your cheeks and tongue where the metal of your braces rubs against soft tissue. Orthodontic wax can help heal these sore areas if they do develop. To use the wax, simply break off a small piece and roll it into a ball. Then wrap the wax around the sharp part of the metal to protect your cheeks or tongue.

Avoiding Breakage

It’s important that you avoid eating hard foods that can break or loosen your braces. Habits like opening packages with your teeth should be avoided as they can loosen the brackets on your teeth that are attached with special adhesive. If your braces do happen to loosen or break, call our Boone and Wilkesboro orthodontics office right away so we can fix the problem. In addition to hard foods, you also should avoid chewy, crunchy and sticky foods as these types of foods can damage or break your braces.

Caring for Your Teeth with Braces

Practicing good oral hygiene is always important but it’s even more important when you’re wearing braces. With the brackets, wires and bands on your teeth, it can be challenging to clean in and around all the hard-to-reach areas. However, by simply spending a bit more time when brushing and flossing, you’ll be able to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your treatment process.

When brushing your teeth, be sure to brush between the brackets and gums to reach those spots where food can become stuck. An interdental toothbrush is a special small brush you can use to clean those hard to reach areas such as under the archwire and around brackets. Use this small brush carefully so you don’t do any damage to your braces.  You should floss at least once per day using a floss threader. This handy little tool will help you reach between the archwire and the teeth. When you’re done brushing and flossing well, always rinse your mouth with water or an antiseptic dental rinse.

Most people are completely used to their braces after about a month. Your teeth may hurt again for several days following your monthly adjustments, but by then you’ll be used to it wherein it won’t bother you as much. Wearing braces can seem inconvenient at first, but the experience is well worth it as you’ll end up with a straight, beautiful smile you can be proud of for the rest of your life!

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October is National Orthodontic Health Month!


In honor of October being National Orthodontic Health Month we will be celebrating within our office all month long!  However, we will be celebrating outside of our office this Saturday, October 12th at the Boone Mall!  We will be there from 10 am-4 pm with our mascot Pearl E. White!  We will be handing out just what you need to keep your smile in tip top shape!  Be sure to come by and see us!

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Importance of Calcium for Pediatric Dental Patients

Milk Kid

The doctors and staff here at OP Smiles – your leading Boone & Wilkesboro, NC orthodontic & pediatric dental practice, would like to educate the community on the importance of calcium for our young patients.

In order to grasp how important calcium is for dental health, it’s necessary to understand tooth structure. The inner pulp of the tooth is fed by blood vessels and connects to a nerve bed in the gums. Around the pulp is dentin, a calcified tissue that is less brittle than the tooth’s outer layer of enamel. The enamel layer of the tooth is the white part, of which 96% is made up of minerals including calcium phosphate.

Calcium contributes to bone growth and strength and it forms an important part of the solid enamel that surrounds each tooth’s inner pulp. Calcium is a mineral that’s found in many foods including dairy products, kale, fish and grains. For calcium to be effective in bone and tooth growth and development, it’s important that your child gets enough Vitamin D as this vitamin helps the body absorb calcium from food.  If your child is lacking in calcium and Vitamin D, his or her teeth can soften over time, making them more susceptible to decay and periodontal disease.

How Much Calcium Does your Child Need?

A one-cup or 8 ounce serving of milk equals 300 milligrams of calcium.

Preschool aged children require 500 to 800 mg of calcium daily.

School-aged children require about 800 mg of calcium daily. Once they begin puberty, their calcium requirements increase to about 1200 mg per day.

Adolescents require 1200 to 1500 mg of calcium daily. This is because their growing bones need more calcium than adult bones.

The most common sources of calcium are daily products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Other sources include calcium-fortified soy products and juices, canned salmon with bones and sardines and dark leafy vegetables. Calcium is usually shown on food packaging as a percentage. This is on the general basis of 1000 mg recommended daily intake. To figure how much calcium is in a food, simply add a zero to the end to get the number of milligrams of calcium the food product contains. For example, if the label states that the food item contains 12% calcium, it has 120 milligrams (mg) of calcium in it. If it states it contains 35% calcium, it contains 350 mg.

Adding Calcium to Your Child’s Diet

The good news is that you’ll probably only need to add calcium to your child’s diet if your child is on a vegan or dairy-restricted diet. For kids who do not like or whom cannot tolerate milk products, dark leafy vegetables and/or soy-based products can be introduced to add the extra calcium boost growing teeth need.

Fun treats kids love like ice cream, frozen yogurt, cheese cubes, pudding and custards are good sources of calcium for children who don’t like milk. These food items can be healthy in nature when given in appropriate amounts.

Why Choose Us as Your Pediatric Dentist?

We understand that choosing the right dentist for your child is a big decision to make. We focus on offering each child the personalized and compassionate care they deserve so you can be confident in choosing us for all of your child’s dental care needs. We aim to establish a long-term, positive relationship with our young patients so that they are excited about their dental care for years to come.

Our office is conveniently located in Boone and Wilkesboro, North Carolina. We provide outstanding care and treatment to patients living in Boone, Wilkesboro, West Jefferson, Lenoir, NC and Johnson City, TN.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for your child, please fill out and submit the ‘Appointments’ form that is on our website. One of our team members will then contact you to set up an appointment time.

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Adult Braces-It’s Never Too Late

 At OP Smiles, your leading Boone & Wilkesboro orthodontic & pediatric dental practice, we provide patients of all ages with outstanding orthodontic treatment and care. A great many of our orthodontic patients today are adults. This is because an increasing number of adults are realizing that braces are not just for kids anymore. Recently, superstar Faith Hill smiled for the cameras at the Grammy Awards, showing off her new braces. When asked why she was wearing braces, the 45 year old responded honestly saying that she had braces when she was young, but she didn’t wear her retainer as directed.

 Many Reasons Adults are Wearing Braces

Braces have evolved considerably over the past several years. Today, there are many more options available other than just traditional metal braces as now patients can enjoy more comfortable, lightweight and cosmetically-appealing braces. A main reason so many adults are choosing to undergo orthodontic treatment is because they want a great smile and know that straight teeth can make a real difference in both their personal and professional lives. And, with more and more adults wearing braces, many people either know an adult who is wearing braces or they’ve witnessed their kids go through orthodontic treatment and want the same great results for themselves.

There are also health reasons for getting braces. When your teeth are aligned it is easier to brush and floss, reducing chances of developing cavities and periodontal disease. Additionally, when your teeth are straight and in proper alignment you can chew food properly which leads to good digestion. These are just a few of the reasons adults today are choosing to undergo orthodontic treatment.

Once we provide you with a thorough examination and we’ve determined that you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, our Boone and Wilkesboro orthodontists will take the time to help you decide on the type of treatment that best fits your lifestyle. We are proud to say that Dr. Michael Mayhew and Dr. Nicole Scheffler are Advanced Damon Providers, so you can rest assured that you will receive outstanding treatment from the best orthodontists in the area!  In addition to Damon braces, we also use Damon Clear braces and the Invisalign System.

If you’re interested in finding out if you are a candidate for braces, please contact us at our Boone, NC office today. One of our friendly team members will help you set up an appointment time. We are excited to meet you and look forward to helping you improve your smile!

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