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  • Prom Can Still Be Great with Braces

    Your prom can be great even with braces.

    Prom season is just around the corner and you might wish your braces were going or be removed before the big day. Braces shouldn’t be a problem even during your fancy night out.

    We recognize braces have a sneaky way to keep food hidden between brackets. If you are going to eat out before the prom, you might want to carry a small interdental toothbrush in your purse or in some other concealed place. You can always go to the restroom, brush quickly and throw the brush away.

    Of course, you should have been brushing, flossing and using mouthwash prior to the date. Which, you probably were or you probably wouldn’t be going out. (Just saying.)

    Cleaning your mouth not only gets rid of any embarrassing particles, but it is the best way to reduce bad breath.

    Another thing you can do to reduce the chances of bad breath is to drink lots of water during the day. Water will help your mouth stay moist which helps wash away bacteria.

    Another thing to consider, if you are concerned about bad breath is to stay away from highly caffeinated drinks like coffee. Coffee does the exact opposite of water, it actually makes your mouth dry by slowing saliva producation. This results in an increase in bacteria. So, if you want to impress a date for the night, grabbing a cup of joe to keep you awake may not be the best idea. Not only can coffee give you major halitosis, but it can also stain your teeth. If you can’t survive without your coffee, try ordering it iced and drinking it through a straw.

    Straws are a good idea for many drinks. Using a straw means you are pushing stain-causing dyes past your teeth. If you are drinking a Coke, sports beverage, smoothies or tomato juice you should always ask for a straw. These are some of the highest staining liquids and if used repeatedly can have long term effects on the color of your teeth.

    Sometimes kids who are planning to go to prom think they will improve their smile with some whitening bleach. When you are wearing braces, this is not a very good idea. Many of the chemicals used to whiten may cause the exposed part of your teeth to be much whiter than the area the brackets were covering.

    For white teeth the best thing you can do is brush with a non-whitening toothpaste.  This will help remove the surface stains on your teeth with its polishing agents.

    If you have any questions about your braces, or if you want a special color for the night, give us a call at Columbia Orthodontics. We want your night to be fun and safe. Call (360) 883-3800.

  • Spring Break May Be the Time to See an Orthodontist

    Spring break might be the time to stop playing for an hour and have your teeth checked.

    is may be a perfect time to get in to see Dr. Croft.

    If you presently have braces, the scheduling may be a lot easier without school considerations. So you might want to plan an appointment.

    If you have thought about braces for a child, this may be the perfect time to come in. Without having to work around school, you will feel less rushed and can really communicate with Dr. Croft about what options would work best.

    There are several suggestions he might make. Maybe your child isn’t ready for braces. Maybe there is some prep work which needs to be done before braces. Maybe right now is the perfect time table.

    No two people are exactly alike. Everyone’s treatment will be slightly different. At Columbia Orthodontics, we want to get a good understanding of what is right for you. We also want to make sure you have a good understanding of every option.

    As spring break is just barely a month away, this might be the perfect time to make a call to Columbia Orthodontics.

    If you have been thinking about improving your smile, now is the time to give us a call at Columbia Orthodontics. We have three convenient locations. Call today. We welcome children, teens, and adults alike. Call us today for an appointment! 360-883-3800.

  • Confident Children Grow Into Productive Adults

    We are all about helping children grow in to confident adults.

    When kids, teens, and adults like their smile, they will smile more, appear friendlier, and become even more confident. A strong feeling of confidence and self-worth can even translate into academic areas. A confident child might earn better grades or even make friends more easily.

    Confidence is only one of the products of seeking orthodontic care. Successful pediatric orthodontist treatment also can accomplish the following:

    • Averted jaw damage
    • Improved speech
    • Improve pronunciation
    • Improve the ability to eat and drink better
    • Increase oral health.

    Children should see a pediatric orthodontist around 7 years of age (10 to 13 years at the latest). This is especially important if there are any of these warning signs.

    • Losing baby teeth earlier or later than the other kids do.
    • Habits such as thumb or finger sucking.
    • Teeth that are very displaced or blocked out.
    • If there consistent biting of the cheek or roof of the mouth.
    • Abnormally meeting of the teeth, or teeth that don’t meet at all.
    • Upper and lower jaw do not match.

    Many serious problems can be treated early by correcting them through techniques like pulling out baby teeth to make room for permanent teeth to erupt. By using early intervention, the time spent in braces can be condensed considerably, the orthodontic cost is lower, and the eventual effects can be better.

    Come on in to Columbia Orthodontics. We can answer any questions you have about what type of treatment your child does or doesn’t need.

  • Invest in More than Your Child’s Smile, Invest in Them

    Your child’s junior high and high school experiences are notorious for being hard on their self-confidence.

    Some things teenagers have to deal with just don’t change over the decades.  There is the need for acceptance, the increase in hormones, and changes in the body. All of these things are part of the package of growing up.

    But there are things which are unique to the teens of today. These things cause pressures unheard of in previous generations. The social media aspect of their lives takes regular teen issues to a whole new level.

    Of course, this isn’t exactly breaking news for you, but even so, a lot of teens are saying that adults don’t fully understand. If you as a parent can’t understand, then it is very difficult to help.

    Parents have to recognize there will probably always be things teens don’t share with them. Discipline is important, but also understanding the reasons why a behavior is present can be crucial. This understanding is difficult because teenagers tend to mask many of their emotions.

    The disconnect between parents and teens may be fueled and exacerbated by how this generation communicates. Social media binds teens to their peers in a very firm grasp. This often means that teens today are subject to the pressures of maintaining and image online as well as in-person.

    Whatever your child does can now be easily documented and posted online for everyone to see.  Often, they don’t dare act the way they want to act because they’re afraid they’ll be judged by a large group of people.

    This pressure can create a hesitation to leave the comfort of home. Some teens would sooner stay inside, texting, tweeting, and adding to Facebook, instead of actually leaving the house.

    This desire for isolation stems from the understanding that nothing your teen does is ever private. All of those previous private moments are now public.

    Just understanding this about your children may explain some behavior. Spend time with your children. Let them know that they can trust your time with them is private and precious.

    We believe it’s important to invest in your child’s smile. We feel it is even more important to invest in your child’s emotional development. 

    If you have any questions about improving your child’s smile, now is the time to give us a call at Columbia Orthodontics. We have three convenient locations.  We welcome children, teens, and adults alike. Call us today for an appointment! 360-883-3800.

  • Meet Dr. Croft and Have Your Questions Answered

    At Columbia Orthodontics, we aren’t just worried about straightening your teeth, we are also concerned about improving your oral health. We always welcome phone calls in between appointments and find it a great way answer questions and keep up to date with progress.

    Making our patients more comfortable while taking care of their braces increases the likelihood that they will complete their treatments successfully.

    We want you to know that if you should ever have any questions about your orthodontic treatment, whether it’s during your adjustment appointment or after hours, we are always here for you and your family.

    When you become a patient of Dr. Croft’s at Columbia Orthodontics, we try to provide you with everything you need to make your experience a good one.

    If you want to know more about Dr. Croft before meeting him in person, you are welcome to Click here. 

    Pick up the phone and give us a call today at: 360 883-3800

  • Different From Dentists – Orthodontists Are Specialists

    Dentists and orthodontists are two different disciplines.

    Orthodontists don’t just treat children and teens. This is the first misconception that we would like to clear up.

    There aren’t a lot of misconceptions about dentists. Everyone understands that a dentist is the doctor who takes care of teeth.

    That said, what is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist? Let’s take a look at a couple of the myths and inaccuracies about orthodontists.

    Perhaps the biggest misunderstanding about the orthodontist is that they are just like your family dentist. In actuality these specialists are very different. While it’s true that both orthodontists and dentists are concerned about helping their patients have long a lifetime of good oral health, the two disciplines go about it differently.

    For instance, you won’t make an appointment to see an orthodontist if you just need to have a cavity filled.  A dentist is also great at treating gum disease, tooth decay, toothaches, and other common oral health problems.

    People see an orthodontist for very specific services. Most of the patients we see at Columbia Orthodontics are here because they have braces, or they need to be fitted with braces or another form of tooth-straightening device. In other words, you access an orthodontist if you have any concerns about the alignment of your teeth.

    Children’s teeth may come in crooked. This happens for a number of reasons. Ideally, an orthodontist would take a look at a child’s teeth at around seven years of age. This is when it becomes possible to identify any problems with tooth alignment. Often family dentists refer children to an orthodontist once the adult teeth have fully grown in.

    Another common misconception about orthodontists is that they only treat children. Granted, many orthodontic clinics, including Columbia Orthodontics have a lot of younger kids in the waiting room. We also have a lot of teenagers, several college students, and a large number of adults in there too.  This is because crooked teeth can be caused by a number of different factors. 

    You can come in and see us at one of our three southwest Washington locations, or give us a call at 360-883-3800. Click here to learn more about Dr. Croft.

  • Valentine Ideas for Those Wearing Braces

    Prim roses are a creative idea for Valentine’s Day.

    If your Valentine has braces, you will want to take a little extra consideration on what you get him or her for the romantic day.

    Here are a few suggestions from Columbia Orthodontics on what to give to show your love and affection.


    Many people really enjoy getting flowers. It is starting to turn into spring, so if you don’t want to buy roses or another type of bouquet, you can always go with a wonderful pot of colorful flowers.

    An Adventure

    Think of something the two of you can do together. There is a place over in the Portland area that simulates sky diving. You are actually only about 6 feet off the ground in a wind tunnel, but it’s a great ride.

    If sky diving simulation is a little too outside the box, consider taking a cooking class or dance lessons together.

    Ice Cream

    This will provide a  treat for your Valentine that actually feels good on the braces.

    Make a Special Meal or Treat

    Here is a really great recipe called Melt Aways. They do just melt away when you put them in your month. Regardless of whether you or your Valentine just recently got braces or have had them for a long time there is nothing in this cookie which can cause pain.

    The oven should be preheated to 300 degrees.

    Powder sugar is a key component in these great melt away cookies.

    You will need the following ingredients

    1 cup flour

    ½ cup cornstarch

    ½ cup powdered sugar

    ¾ cup butter, room temperature

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    The following is needed for the frosting:

    ½ cup margarine or butter, softened

    ¼ cup milk

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    4 cups powdered sugar


    Cream butter and powdered sugar together. Add vanilla. Add in flour and cornstarch; mix well.

    Refrigerator the dough for about 45-60 minutes.

    When dough is cooled roll into 1″ balls. Use the bottom of a glass to just slightly flatten each cookie. To keep the glass from sticking dip it in powdered sugar.

    Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. Be careful not to overbake these cookies!

    Let cookies cool for 5-10 minutes on their pan.

    These cookies are very delicate and must be handled carefully.

    In a medium bowl, mix together the frosting ingredients until well-blended and frost each cookie.

  • Don’t Let Little Things Spoil Valentine’s Day

    When they were little, my children spent several evenings putting names on Valentines. They carefully choose the nice pictures and sayings for those fellow students with which they had the closest connections.

    I often volunteered to help with the elementary school parties where students decorated sugar cookies with red icing and exchanged valentines with their classmates.

    At one party in particular, As I helped in my first grader’s class, an announcement came over the school’s intercom.

    “Could Garrett’s mother, please, go to his classroom?”

    Curious, but not alarmed, I left the crumbling sugar cookies and moved down the hall to the third grade wing.

    My young son looked up sheepishly as I entered the room. He was alone. The rest of the class was crowded around tables on the opposite end of room occasionally glancing at him and then giggling nervously.

    “I think he’s sick,” the teacher suggested.

    “I’m not,” Garrett protested.

    “He threw up,” the teacher explained.

    Eventually, the teacher and I decided Garrett was not contagious, but had eaten too much candy.

    Over the years, Valentine’s Day only got better and better for Garret.  Even when he had braces, he had plenty of Valentines.

    Braces don’t have to hamper your Valentine’s Day fun. A few soft chocolates area fine as long as you remember to brush and floss afterward.

    If you have any questions about your braces now or future braces you may have, contact us at Columbian Orthodontics.

  • Oral Hygiene For Kids

    Your teeth should last you an entire lifetime, so we need to care for them properly. This means you should start when you are young.

    Our first set of teeth called primary teeth begin appearing as young as six months. They are destined to be replaced by permanent teeth starting at about age six.

    These first primary teeth are just as important as permanent teeth for chewing and digestion. Primary teeth are also indispensable in our learning to speak and developing correct pronunciation. These first teeth are also part of the proper growth and spacing of permanent teeth.

    Unfortunately, the enamel of primary teeth is less densely mineralized than the enamel of permanent teeth, making them particularly susceptible to tooth decay. That’s why it is crucial for caretakers to limit sugary snack and drinks for children.

    Here are some suggested dental hygiene techniques all children should learn, courtesy of Colgate.

    • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque. This is the sticky film on teeth that’s the main cause of tooth decay.
    • Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under the gum line. Plaque which is left on the tooth will eventually become tartar. The only way to remove tartar is by having your teeth professionally cleaned.

    Brushes miss the food particles between teeth. So as parents, you should floss for your children by the time they are about 4-years-old. By the time they are 8-years-old most children can begin flossing by themselves.

    If fluoride is your child’s greatest protection against tooth decay, then frequent snacking may be the biggest enemy. The sugars and starches found in many foods and snacks like cookies, candies, dried fruit, soft drinks, pretzels, and potato chips combine with the plaque on teeth to create acids. These acids attack the tooth enamel and may lead to cavities

    If you have questions about the health of your child’s teeth call Dr. Croft at Columbian Orthodontics. He can help you understand what treatments he or she may need in the future.

  • Black History Month–Time to See Us All As the “Human Race”

    Today marks the beginning of Black History Month.  During these are the weeks, we focus on the historical contributions of people of African descent.  Here are some great references to understanding the importance of Black History month.

    These siblings raised together recognize the need for Black History Month. Their mother talks about their experience in the book, “Motherhood in Black and White.”

    In the book, Motherhood in Black and White, the author, ViAnn Prestwich, discusses the joys, laughs and concerns which come from raising black and white children in the same home. She understands the need to help her black children appreciate their biologically ancestry. There is a need for her children, raised with a white father, to have role models which look more like them.

    The book is available here.

    This author is not the only one who sees a need to celebrate and connect with the contributions of African Americans. Much of black history has been hidden or unreported. Black History Month is an opportunity to correct many of the misrepresentations, misunderstandings and fallacies of African American culture.

    Jemar Tisbyco-founder of the Reformed African American Networksays, “Black History month promotes opportunities for open dialogue and personal interactions between many cultures. These conversations and interactions can lead to a better understanding and appreciation for what experiences and daily dilemmas each of us goes through as we all try to make contributions to our families and our larger society.

    “Eventually, Black History Month will be recognized as one of the first real frontal attacks of this social construct known as “race.” Perhaps then people will come to understand that there is only one race in this world and that is the human race.”

    What a great day that will be, when we all just see each other as the “human race.”