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Give Your Teen a Healthy Smile

Have you ever wondered if getting braces or clear aligners is only about achieving straight teeth? We get this question a lot and thought we would address why having straight teeth not only helps with confidence, but also provides many lifelong health benefits. 


The advantages of braces and clear aligners are not merely an aesthetic end result. It has been proven that crooked teeth are more difficult to brush and floss. Food tends to be easily lodged between misaligned teeth. Poor oral hygiene results in the buildup of bacteria and food debris on the teeth and gums. With time, this causes some dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. By straightening teeth and improving your teens’ oral hygiene, you will prevent the onset of these diseases which are the leading cause of tooth loss. 


Aside from straightening your teeth, braces and clear aligners can also fix other issues such as malocclusions (which are when the teeth don't fit together properly). This is an aspect that is sometimes disregarded but it has great benefits for your oral health. When left untreated, a malocclusion becomes worse over time and results in pronounced clenching and grinding of your teeth. 


In addition to malocclusions, protruding teeth are more prone to dental injuries. Braces and clear aligners can shift these teeth back into their ideal positions and prevent any injuries. Sometimes, we encounter crooked teeth that can affect speech and cause lisps. This can make people feel very self-conscious, but tends to be corrected after braces or clear aligners. Rest assured, our expert team is here to guide your teen every step of the way during this process. 


Orthodontic treatment is more than just a radiant smile. It’s about setting your teen up for a lifetime of good oral health that may even help boost their self confidence! Bring them to Alpine & Rafetto Orthodontics today to give them something to grin about in the years to come. 


For a complimentary consultation click or call below: 



Or call us at (302) 239-4600 

We offer bilingual services at all offices for your convenience! 

4901 Limestone Rd., Wilmington, DE 19808

2005 Concord Pike, Ste 201, Wilmington, DE 19803 

42 Hiawatha Lane, Dover, DE 19904 


Tiny Teeth, Big Smiles: Early Orthodontics for Growing Grins

Parenthood is a journey filled with countless decisions, especially when it comes to your child's health and happiness. One topic that often pops up is early orthodontic care. Yep, we're talking about those braces and retainers! But it's not just about straightening teeth; it's about setting your little one up for a lifetime of smiles and confidence. So, let's dive into why early orthodontics is so important and how you can tell if your kiddo might need a little extra dental TLC.

Why Should We Care About Early Orthodontics?

Okay, picture this: your child's smile is like a work of art in progress. Early orthodontic care is like having a skilled artist gently guide the masterpiece into its full potential. Early orthodontic intervention, also known as interceptive orthodontics, focuses on diagnosing and treating dental issues in children at a younger age, typically between the ages of 7 and 11. Here's why it matters:

Preventing Big Problems: Catching dental issues early can prevent them from becoming big headaches later on. By nipping problems in the bud while your child's still growing, we can often avoid more complicated treatments down the road.

Making Chewing and Talking a Breeze: Crooked teeth or wonky jaws can make everyday tasks like biting into an apple or chatting with friends a bit tricky. Early orthodontic treatment helps straighten things out, making life easier and more comfortable for your little one.

Boosting Confidence: Let's be real – a smile you're proud of can make a world of difference in how your child feels about themselves. Early orthodontic care can give them the confidence to show off their pearly whites and take on the world with a grin.

Keeping Things Simple: Starting treatment early often means less time in the orthodontist's chair later on. Plus, it can mean fewer invasive procedures – nobody likes the sound of that drill, right?


Signs Your Kiddo Might Need Some Orthodontic Love

Now, you might be wondering, "How can I tell if my child needs braces?" Here are some clues to keep an eye out for:

-Wiggly Teeth: Baby teeth falling out too early or hanging on for dear life longer than expected could signal trouble brewing beneath the surface.

-Chew, Chew, Chew: If your child struggles with biting or chewing food, it could be a sign of misaligned teeth or jaw issues.

-Thumb War: Persistent thumb sucking or other oral habits might seem cute, but they can wreak havoc on dental development if they stick around too long.

-Crowded or Crooked Teeth: If your child's teeth resemble a game of Tetris gone wrong, it might be time for a chat with the orthodontist.

-Clickity-Clack: Clicking noises or noticeable shifts in the jaw when your kiddo opens and closes their mouth could point to underlying issues that need attention.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, folks – the lowdown on early orthodontic care, Remember, you're not alone on this journey. Alpine and Rafetto Orthodontics is here to help guide you and your child towards a smile that shines bright. By recognizing the signs that may indicate the need for orthodontic evaluation, parents can take proactive steps to ensure their child's oral health and overall well-being. Remember, a consultation with an orthodontist can provide valuable insights into your child's dental development and guide you towards the most appropriate course of action. Embrace the journey towards a confident and radiant smile for your child – start early, smile often!


Or call us at (302) 239-4600 

We offer bilingual services at all offices for your convenience! 

4901 Limestone Rd., Wilmington, DE 19808

2005 Concord Pike, Ste 201, Wilmington, DE 19803 

42 Hiawatha Lane, Dover, DE 19904 




Teens with braces, clear aligners and Invisalign orthodontic treatment


Clear Aligners or Braces: Which to Choose for Your Teen?


At ARO we are all about people, smiles and confidence. That’s why we offer options - every person and every smile is unique…and everyone’s confidence relies on different factors. We know that when it comes to straightening smiles, traditional braces are what might first come to mind. Yet we, at ARO, have also seen excellent results with clear aligners like Invisalign and Spark. In this post, we will discuss our perspective as well as the merits and drawbacks of each treatment.


Traditional Braces


In the past, traditional braces have been the only option to correct issues like crowding, spacing, overbite or underbite. Brackets cemented to the face of the tooth hold a wire that runs lengthwise to apply pressure, moving teeth into place with ties that secure wires to the brackets. A patient sees slight changes over time as the orthodontist makes adjustments every eight to ten weeks.


Clear Aligners


Aligner therapy uses clear BPA-free plastic appliances that offer patients an alternative to traditional metal, or even ceramic braces. Your orthodontist takes a digital scan of the teeth, creating a 3D image that’s used to produce a series of trays (aligners) made from a clear material worn by the patient almost all day (they should only be taken out to eat and brush/floss). Each aligner is configured to adjust the teeth according to a predetermined treatment plan mapped out by the orthodontist.




Traditional Braces

- Tried and true technology

- Office visits every eight to ten weeks

- Compliance is virtually guaranteed as there are no decisions about whether to wear or not to wear them


Clear Aligners

- Virtually invisible for aesthetic appeal

- Office visits can often be spread out over fewer appointments

- No limitations regarding food or oral hygiene

- Most patients are candidates




Traditional Braces

- Metal (or even ceramic) brackets and wires are visible

- Discomfort from poking wires or brackets that rub the inner portion of the lips

- Broken brackets that cause extra repair appointments 

- Oral hygiene more challenging


Clear Aligners

- Compliance can sometimes be a challenge, especially with younger patients

- Lost aligners can delay total treatment time

- Must watch certain foods and beverages high in sugar/acid


What’s right for you


The decision to opt for clear aligners over braces can be a difficult one and there are many factors to consider for both the patient and orthodontist. Clear aligners allow for more freedom and are virtually invisible compared to braces, but compliance is key regarding successful results. Further, clear aligners may not be the best option for everyone.


Before making your decision, remember there are trade-offs with each treatment, and you will need to consult with an orthodontist, like Dr. Mark Fiss, to determine the most effective option to perfect your smile! Our goal is for you and your teen to smile and feel confident throughout treatment as well as with their finished smile. At ARO we offer complimentary consultations, so there’s no risk in exploring your options with us. Click below to get started! 

Or call us at (302) 239-4600 

We offer bilingual services at all offices for your convenience! 

4901 Limestone Rd., Wilmington, DE 19808

2005 Concord Pike, Ste 201, Wilmington, DE 19803 

42 Hiawatha Lane,, Dover, DE 19904 



Seventh Birthday Approaching? Time For a Visit to the Orthodontist!


Many parents associate braces and orthodontics with their teen years but you may be surprised to learn that the best time for your little one to have their first orthodontic visit is around their 7th birthday. We know, we know - they’re still running around the jungle gym and definitely not exhibiting any tween behavior (at least we hope not for your sake!). That said, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends children be seen by an orthodontist at the age of seven and we at Alpine and Rafetto Orthodontics absolutely agree. 


Why by age seven?


By age 7, your child’s mouth has matured enough for a trained orthodontic eye to spot current and future issues. We can then make corrections that will help guide their jaw and teeth into a healthier place for an easier straight smile later on. 


There are many benefits to starting orthodontic treatment as a child; these include shorter treatment time, fewer impacted permanent teeth, and a reduced chance of needing to remove teeth. That’s because with early orthodontics we can:


- Guide teeth into desired positions early 

- Guide jaw growth

- Minimize crowding/creating room for erupting teeth

- Correct the results of oral habits like thumb and finger sucking 


Who to trust with your child’s smile? 


There are many different options when looking to begin your child’s smile journey. All these options might leave you wondering who to turn to. The answer is simple: You should take your child to see a certified orthodontist. The doctors at Alpine and Rafetto Orthodontics have devoted additional years after their general dental education, to exclusively study orthodontics - because moving the bones in a child’s face is a complicated endeavor. When it comes to your child’s smile, you should trust an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Fiss.


At ARO, our doctors think of early orthodontics as a two-phase solution. 


- Phase 1 works with your young child to make space for his or her permanent teeth. 

- Phase 2 begins once those teeth have arrived. 


If you recommend early orthodontics for my child, does that mean they won’t need braces as a teen? 


Early treatment (phase 1) can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent additional problems from developing, and simplify future treatment, but oftentimes, additional treatment is still necessary. That said, children who have undergone early orthodontic treatment typically wear braces or Invisalign for a shorter period of time in the teen years than those who have not undergone early intervention. This makes life easier for both them and you, as both of your schedules get busier and busier.


If I bring my child to you at age 7 are you definitely going to recommend early orthodontics? 


Nope! Every child is different and we customize every treatment plan to the individual. Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years when all permanent teeth have come in; some skeletal orthodontic problems should not be addressed until growth is more advanced or complete. Our team will develop a customized treatment plan based on each individual child’s needs.


In order to create a custom treatment plan