• Second Time’s The Charm: Getting In The Groove

    • December 8, 2017
    • 2 min read
    • Featured writers

    After a hectic Thanksgiving break and the official start to the shopping season with Cyber Monday and Black Friday, I’m back again with another blog post!

    Over Thanksgiving break I managed to hit a milestone: it’s officially been one month since I started my second journey with braces. I haven’t had any breakage yet! However, I did have a few close calls with some pesky foods that didn’t appear to be a culprit but almost were. No worries, nothing broken, just a mental note to be more careful with foods in the future. Here’s a look at what I’ve learned in the first month:

    1. Taco Bell is doable. Crunchy tacos, not so much. I’ve forgotten how easily the pieces of taco shells become lodged between my brackets and gums. That feeling is no fun.
    2. Ice cream’s been a life-saver. The cold sensation coupled with the fact that I didn’t have to chew on anything really felt nice on the days when my teeth were especially sore.
    3. Clear braces really are like the invisible tooth ninjas. I went to my high school reunion and people barely noticed! Plus, it makes me feel pretty good about the photos I took.

    Since starting braces, I had opted for my favorite color combination of pink and black. But since I was a month in and the colors appeared a bit louder now than I preferred, I opted to switch them out for something more subtle. I took inspiration from the impending colder months and holiday season and went with light blue and silver. I am so incredibly happy with this combination! It looks very subtle and looks more subdued and mature. Plus, the colors are lighter so they tend to blend in with the brackets.

    Sadly, this will be the last color combo I get to have. Dr. A will be starting to close up my spaces on the top so I’ll be moving to a solid color power chain in a few months. I’m sure some of you have scratched your head or are reading puzzled at the mention of “power chain”. Here’s an example:

    A power chain is a stretchy length of loops used to close spaces in teeth. Depending on how the doctor wants to close the space, the chain comes in loops that are spaced farther and closer. The closer the loops, the tighter the closure.

    I know this may sound scary but it’s not! Of course there’s the usual soreness, but that’s to be expected. I am super excited to be moving on to this next step in treatment as it means we are getting a little bit closer to the end result. But as always, one step at a time.

    Stay tuned for a special holiday post coming soon!

    May all the smiles be with you,

    Clinical Care Specialist (and resident clinical Jedi).

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How To Use Invisalign

While Invisalign trays are the most discreet ortho treatment available, there are some additional steps that go into caring for clear aligner trays as opposed to traditional braces. Here’s what you need to know about using this invisible orthodontic treatment:

Getting Started

• Each tray is numbered according to the order you’ll wear them through the course of your treatment. In other words, you’ll start with tray #1, then use tray #2, and so on.

• To begin, you’ll wear each set of trays for 2 weeks at a time, unless specified otherwise by your doctor.

• It’s perfectly normal to feel a little extra pressure or discomfort when you start wearing each new set of Invisalign trays.

Food + Beverages

• You will be wearing your trays throughout the day for approximately 22.5 hours, only taking them out to eat and drink beverages.

• You may only keep your trays on to drink water.

• After eating, make sure you have brushed your teeth before wearing your trays again. If you have no access to a toothbrush, rinse thoroughly. Invisalign trays always have to go back onto clean teeth.


• Do not leave your trays unattended. Make sure they are kept in the Invisalign case anytime they aren’t worn.

• Cleaning crystals are great for keeping trays odor-free and clear. But
washing them with a small amount of dish soap and a toothbrush works just as well. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid a soapy taste.

• Do not use toothpaste on your aligners – it is too abrasive for the Invisalign material and can make the trays look cloudy when worn.


• If you have attachments, you’ll be coming back to the office to have the attachments placed at the end of your 4th week (i.e when you are on the last day of tray #2). We’ll go over any new instructions and potentially increase the frequency of tray change to 10 days.

• Avoid foods with potent colors such as curry, turmeric, tomato juice, coffee, etc. These foods can stain your attachments, causing them to take on a bright yellow or red appearance, depending on the color of the food.

• In case you have already consumed something colorful, rinse as soon as possible in order to reduce the chances of staining.

• Using a straw to drink coffee (while your trays are out) helps avoid direct contact with the attachments.

While clear aligner trays require more attention than other ortho treatments, you’ll hear many Invisalign patients say the diligence is worth enjoying your smile as it transforms. Keep up with your orthodontist, follow these care instructions, and you’ll be sharing a stunning smile before you know it.

If you’ve been thinking about improving your smile and feel that Invisalign may be right for you, let’s talk. During a free consultation, our orthodontists can discuss your goals and concerns after evaluating your smile.
At West Loop Orthodontics, our Board Certified Orthodontists are known to handle some of the most complex braces and Invisalign cases in the city of Chicago. With most insurance plans accepted and payment plans available, we make a confident smile accessible for everyone.

Meet Your Team: Nick

With so much growth over the last few years, we knew we would need more hands on deck to organize our patient’s ortho treatments. Which is why we’re excited to introduce Nick, our Scheduling Coordinator and newest addition to the team!

Whether it’s setting up patient appointments or staff meetings, Nick handles all things scheduling. He weighs out the length of time a procedure will take to perform and coordinates that with the open clinic chairs, assigned staff, prescribed time in between appointments, and your availability, of course.

During his free time, Nick enjoys creating elaborate meals and hosting festive dinner parties. As a long-time culinary devotee, he’s the go-to expert for the latest and greatest spots to eat around town. But after a long day in the kitchen or office, he enjoys kicking back at home with his husband and Morgan, their senior Labrador pup.

Before joining West Loop Ortho, Nick was a salon manager at some of the top hair salons in Chicago. He began styling hair in his home state of North Carolina at the age of 19 because he loved helping others look and feel their best. But after knowing the ins-and-outs of the hair industry far too well, he decided to pursue his interest in healthcare administration.

Nick brings such a fun energy with his quick witted comebacks and musings, all while maintaining a ship-shape front office. Although career changes are never easy, we’re really glad he chose that route since it’s been amazing having him on the team.

Here’s How We’re Staying Safe

As you’ve probably heard from every news outlet, we’ve been experiencing a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE, such as masks and gloves) across the nation. We’ve been working to secure our PPE supply since March and have been extremely fortunate to attain the appropriate masks, face shields, garments, gloves, and more, to protect ourselves and the wellbeing of our patients.

In other words, this is our new getup:

Even with our newly increased coverage, we’re still scrubbing down, sanitizing, and switching between our gear as per the CDC and American Dental Association dental practice guidelines during the pandemic.

But, that’s not all. There’s been a little re-decorating done around the office:

And our staff has made some changes to their everyday routines, such as recording their temperature, checking for symptoms, maintaining a separate change of clothes for the clinic, and washing their hands immediately upon arrival.

We’ve been spreading word of our new office visit protocol through emails and social media. But, in case you missed it…

Here is what you should expect during your next visit:



If you’re currently receiving treatment and haven’t been scheduled for an appointment you missed during our closure, please reach out to us at info@wlortho.com or give us a call at 872.222.9567

With all that said, we’ve missed our patients and can’t wait to see how everyone’s smile has progressed during this time. Hope to (safely) see everybody soon!

Our New Safety Protocol

Wearing a mask is a given, but many locations have additional safety measures in place that are necessary to meet their establishment’s needs. Before coming in for your appointment, take a minute to check out the new safety protocol at the West Loop Ortho office:


Once you arrive, check-in to our virtual waiting room here:


(passcode: 312)