Orthodontic Emergencies – the temporary home fix

Lets talk a little bit about orthodontic emergencies.  Halloween is just around the corner.  Hand in hand with trick or treating is the dreaded orthodontic emergency appointment due to broken brackets and pokey wires.  For a generalized list and description of how to survive Halloween with braces, please read our blog post from October 15, 2015 – Happy Halloween – foods that are safe to eat with braces.

Here at Kruse Orthodontics we typically see several patients daily for orthodontic emergencies the first week after Halloween due to patients forgetting to stay away from hard/chewy candy.  Please, think about what you are eating before you put it in your mouth not after, as you are finding the broken bracket or poky wire.

Just remember, if you have a problem with something, chances are good you can temporarily fix it at home and then call to schedule an appointment to have it repaired at the office.   If you have an emergency, do not come directly to the office. Call first to allow us to schedule an appointment so you will be seen in a timely manner.  Please use the information below to help you troubleshoot the most common problems that arise around Halloween.  You can also visit our website Kruse Orthodontics, under the New Patient tab, for a more complete list of problems and how to resolve them.

POKEY WIRES: Wax may be placed over the wire end or the wire may be clipped using a pair of nail clippers. Remember, dry off the area prior to placing the wax or the wax will not stick. Call the office to schedule an emergency appointment on a normal business dayimages

LOOSE BRACKET: If the bracket (or band) is attached to the wire, please leave it in place or move it over to the next attached bracket and then place wax over both brackets. The wax will stabilize the bracket and provide comfort. Remember; dry off the area prior to placing the wax or the wax will not stick. If the bracket is at the end of the wire and comes off, as long as it is not uncomfortable, leave it and call the office to schedule an appointment. If uncomfortable, please use the suggestion above to trim the wire. Call the office to schedule an emergency appointment on a normal business day.

CEMENTED APPLIANCE COMES LOOSE: Please call the office for an appointment on a normal business day.

Hopefully, now that this information is a readily available you will not have to deal with any orthodontic emergencies this Halloween.  Enjoy trick or treating and scare up some fun.  Check out our Facebook page Kruse Orthodontics to enter our current Halloween contest.  Happy Halloween.

Social networks in the Orthodontic world

Social Networks…you can argue for or against them but we all agree that we are exposed to them on a daily basis.  Since it is summer vacation for most of our patients at Kruse Orthodontics, we thought we would take a break from the technical aspects of orthodontics to touch on how we are embracing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to better stay in touch with our patients.

Kruse Orthodontics social networks presence started about two years ago when we opened a Facebook account.  Many of our patients have participated in contests and shared photos, comments and reviews with us via Facebook.  Our Facebook page can be found at Kruse Orthodontics.  We have recently opened Twitter and Instagram accounts also where photos can be viewed and shared.  Find us on Twitter at Kruse Orthodontics@kruseorthoMI and on Instagram at #kruseorthodontics.  Please check in periodically to follow and share with us.


Kruse Orthodontics is now happy to announce we have stepped up our social network presence again. Our office is participating in a program that encourages our patients to share their experiences here at the office with their friends and family.  We are able to take fun pictures of them in the office and then they are able to share these picture with their social network sites.  Photos taken of our patients are added almost daily to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages so they are encouraged to visit frequently to see if there are any photos to comment on or share.

We are currently holding a contest through our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.  Our patients are being asked to submit photos or videos of themselves enjoying the summer.  Please visit our Facebook page for more details if you are interested in entering.  Entries need to be submitted at #summerbracesatkruseorthodontics.  We are encouraging our patients to spend a minute letting us know the fun they are having between their orthodontic appointments.  One winner will be selected from all the entries to be awarded a $100 gift card to Target for back to school purchases.  This contest ends in August so please enter soon.

So, please follow us on the Social Networks and feel free to share your lives with us as we all learn to navigate and enjoy the experiences these networks can offer.




Retainers – keeping those teeth straight

So, you had your braces for all those months, wore your rubber bands, and even stayed away from all (well, almost all) the foods that were on the “don’t eat with braces” list. The day has finally arrived and your braces are off, what an amazing day. But…. what? They are telling you that you have to wear retainers (you actually knew this, you just filed if deep in the recesses of your brain) and you need to have impressions taken to make them. What a way to ruin an amazing day!

All kidding aside, retainers are as important to your orthodontic treatment as the braces (or clear aligners) themselves. They hold those perfectly straight teeth in their correct positions until the bone is solid enough to hold them. Here at Kruse Orthodontics we recommend our patients wear their retainers full time for at least the first year and then while sleeping after that.

We thought it would be interesting to show how those retainers are custom made for all our patients at Kruse Orthodontics in our on-site lab.

We start with the impressions. Plaster is poured into each impression and when set, the impression and plaster are separated. Now there is a model that looks exactly like your teeth.  The retainer will be made on this model.

In the next step, the retainer wire is bent to fit the teeth so they are held in the correct position.  Clasps are also bent and added to help hold the retainer in place when it is worn.

adding the acrylic to the retainer

The retainer wire is then held in place with wax as the acrylic (and sometimes glitter) is applied to the model.  This is all done by hand so these retainers are truly custom made for individuals and no two retainers are alike, even if they are made for the same person.  The model is then placed into a pressurized pot to cure the acrylic.

trimming the acrylic on the retainer

When the acrylic is cured, the model is removed from the pot and the retainer is taken off the model.  The retainer is now trimmed, polished and ready to go.

The finished retainer

If worn properly and cleaned daily, this retainer will last for years. Always remember, retainers need to be kept in a retainer case when not being worn because they can break or be lost.

Remember, you worked hard to achieve your beautiful smile.  Please work just as hard to maintain it by wearing your retainers as prescribed. Remember, those retainers need to be brought to every future appointment.


The topic of conversation this time is malocclusion.  This is a term you will hear from Dr. Kruse when you visit our office as a new patient.  A malocclusion is a misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches when they approach each other as the jaws close. In common terms, when you bite together and your teeth don’t fit correctly.  The word literally means “bad bite”.

Your orthodontic treatment is based in part on the type of malocclusion you have.  This diagnosis is instrumental in determining the length of treatment, if extractions of teeth are necessary, whether rubber bands or Herbst/Forsus appliance will be necessary or even if you will be a candidate for orthognathic surgery.  It can even have an effect on the type of retainers you will be required to wear when your active orthodontic treatment is completed.

Types of Malocclusion

There are three types of malocclusion (as established by Dr. Edward Angle, the father of Orthodontics). To learn more about Dr. Angle visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Angle.  The specific type of malocclusion is determined by the way the upper first molar fits with the lower first molar on each side of the mouth.  A normal fit occurs when the upper teeth are slightly forward of the lower teeth and when biting, a small portion of the lower teeth are covered by the upper teeth (view A of diagram).

  • Class I malocclusion – upper and lower molars fit together properly but teeth can be crowded or spaced unevenly. Cross bites, rotations and constricted jaws (arches) can also occur with this type of malocclusion. (view B of diagram)
  • Class II malocclusion – the lower molars fit further back on the upper molars which results in the chin being drawn back (sometimes called a weak chin). The same issues as stated for a Class I malocclusion can occur here.  A Herbst or Forsus appliance is occasionally utilized to help correct this type of bite.  Sometimes, orthognathic surgery is required to correct a Class II bite.(view C of diagram)
  • Class III malocclusion – the lower molars fit too far forward of the upper molars and this results in a prominent jaw where the lower teeth fit in front of the upper teeth. Again, teeth can be crowded, spaced, rotated, in crossbite, or constricted arches with this bite.  In severe cases, this can require surgery to be completely corrected. (view D of diagram)


Please visit our “before and after” page to see some examples of these types and the results that were attained.

Keep in mind that your actual treatment plan is determined by this malocclusion along with other factors, such as:  crowding, crossbite, growth pattern, age, rotations, constricted jaws to name a few.  Also realize that family members can have completely different malocclusions which translate into different treatment plans and lengths.

If you have questions, call our office at 616-656-4155 for a complimentary exam.  If you are a current patient, just ask at your next visit.





Kruse Reef


Many of you with young children have probably noticed our reef tank at Kruse Orthodontics. The kids are usually drawn to it immediately. Have you ever noticed that a lot of dental offices have fish tanks in their reception room. Believe it or not, our tank is more than just beautiful, it also has therapeutic benefits. Various studies have found that the mesmerizing effects of watching fish and corals can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and help to alleviate hyperactivity.

At Kruse Orthodontics, we have a salt water reef tank full of live corals and a variety of fish, some of them not commonly seen in aquariums.  We have a mated pair of clown fish, a yellow tang, a cleaner shrimp (all of “Finding Nemo” fame), green chromis, a chalice coral, and a green anemone just to name a few of the inhabitants.  Just in case you were unaware, all the corals are alive and are not plants.  They are actually animals because they do not make their own food.  If you are interested in finding out more about our tank please inquire at the front desk. There is a paper available that lists the fish in the tank and a little about each fish.  You can also look up aquarium inhabitants on the internet for even more information.

Our tank is cared for by a former patient of Dr. Kruse.  This young man comes in every week to do a water change and monitor the health of the ecosystem.  If necessary, he adjusts the chemistry of the water to maintain the health of all the inhabitants.

So, the next time you are here, please take some time and let yourself enjoy the little bit of the ocean we call Kruse Reef.

Happy Halloween – foods that are safe to eat with braces

Baces pumpkin

Welcome back to Straight Talk the Kruse Orthodontics blog page. I thought with Halloween just around the corner this would be a great time to talk about the foods and candies that fill up your Halloween bags. Halloween is a fun time for patients and parents alike, especially if care is taken to stay away from things that can damage braces or expanders. Please keep in mind this is a generalized listing of items and anything similar should also be avoided.

The number one thing to remember is:  you can still enjoy your candy from Halloween, you just have to avoid the things that are too hard or sticky/chewy. You can always trade candies with friends or family.

Examples of candies that are too hard: peppermints, jolly ranchers, butterscotch disks, suckers, tootsie pops, etc. If the candy cracks when you bite it, it is too hard.

Examples of candies that are too sticky/chewy: GUM (regardless of what your friends say), caramel, taffy, gummy snacks, etc. If the candy is sticky enough to stick to your teeth, then it is sticky enough to pull things off.

Remember, caramel apples fall under the sticky food category and candied apples will fall under the hard food category so both should be avoided.

That still leave countless varieties of candy to enjoy after your run through the neighborhood. It is also sometimes fun to freeze any candy that is too hard or sticky/chewy until the braces or expanders are removed. Then, the frozen goodies can then be thawed out and enjoyed.

Please remember to brush thoroughly after enjoying your trick or treating adventure.

Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.  See you soon.


Welcome to Straight Talk


Welcome to Straight Talk the blog page of Kruse Orthodontics. My name is Marty and some of you may know me as one of the assistants you see when you come to your appointment. The first topic of discussion is BRACES. After all, that is why we are all here. Most patients start orthodontic treatment with a vague understanding of braces. Hopefully, this post will give KruseOrtho patients a better understanding of braces and what the actual components are.

Brackets – these are the small metal (or ceramic) pieces that are attached to the teeth with orthodontic glue. This is the handle that allows tooth movement. At KruseOrtho, we use Damon brackets. You can get more information on this type of bracket by visiting www.damonbraces.com .
Bands – sometimes, small rings are placed around teeth instead of brackets on teeth. They also serve as a handle. Usually, bands are cemented because better anchorage is required for an appliance attachment or a bracket just will not stick to the tooth surface.
Arch wires – these are the wires that run through all the brackets of either the upper or lower set (arch) of teeth. The wires are actually what move the teeth.line them up. At KruseOrtho we use wires that apply light continuous forces so treatment is slow and steady and usually quite comfortable.
Ormolasts (colors)- these are small colored rubber bands that go around individual brackets to allow the patient to personalize their braces. Damon brackets do not require ormolasts and in fact, the clear Damon brackets do not allow for placement of ormolasts, so if you want colors make sure to request metal braces.
Elastics – these are the dreaded rubber bands. Elastics are used to make the top and bottom teeth fit together properly. Rubber bands stretch from the top to the bottom arch and the patient is given detailed instructions on how to wear them.
This is a brief description of braces. Future blogs will provide information about expanders, Herbst/Forsus appliances, TADS, retainers, and a host of other topics. If you have any suggestions for future topics, please send them to marty@kruseortho.com. Please visit the KruseOrtho blog page frequently.
Thanks, Marty