• Second Time’s The Charm: Sugar and Spice

    • December 21, 2017
    • 3 min read
    • Featured writers

    The holiday season brings hot chocolate, quality family time, and of course, presents. During this time of year, many offices like to exchange special gifts with one another. The most common in particular is food. So naturally, we can’t help but indulge. But a huge stoplight got put in front of me this year; Being in treatment means I am restricted to what I can and can’t indulge in (unfortunate, I know). We’ve received some incredibly yummy treats this season (shoutout to our wonderful referring doctors and their teams) but take a word of advice from me. There are some hidden culprits that you will want to watch out for.

    1. Apples: seems harmless enough? Can be eaten in small bites when sliced up and are still very yummy. However, if you are looking to indulge in that yummy decorative apple you received as a gift, beware! Hidden amongst those layers of chocolate is, caramel. While yes it tastes incredible, caramel is not a friend to those of us with braces. Lots of sticky goodness can turn into a big problem. Sorry folks, avoid this one if you can.
    2. Candy canes: a common holiday treat. We hang them on our trees, they sell them in almost every store, and if you’ve been lucky enough to catch the wonder that is the Jewel Osco Christmas Train, elves hand them out when you board. Being part of the hard sticky and chewy group of foods to avoid, these treats can also cause a lot of breakage and issues quickly. Err on the safe side and pass these guys up.
    3. Chestnuts: ….roasting on an open fire (okay, joke over). From what I’ve been told, chestnuts aren’t too terribly hard, but I’m leery. They fall in the nut family and I just feel more comfortable avoiding them altogether. If anyone has had experience in chestnuts let me know!

    Don’t get me wrong, this all sounds like you shouldn’t have ANY holiday treats but quite the contrary! There are many treats that you (and I) are still able to enjoy even with braces.

    1. Hershey’s kisses: mmmmm! These are one of my favorite candy treats during the holiday season and I love how they practically melt in your mouth. The white chocolate ones are my favorite! The hot chocolate flavored kisses make me weak at the knees.
    2. Fresh baked sugar cookies: This is my absolute favorite holiday treat. My mom usually makes batches of these for the holidays and they’re soft and yummy. Keep in mind, the key word there is soft. Also, use caution around sprinkles and other cookie decorations that are sometimes hard and crunchy. But don’t let this stop you from enjoying this classic holiday treat, just be careful.
    3. Marshmallows: If any of you have visited our office during the month of December, you’ve probably seen the jar full of marshmallows at the front desk for our holiday contest. These fluffy bites are perfectly soft and go well by themselves or in a big mug of hot chocolate. Feel free to indulge!

    I could go on all day about the multitude of holiday treats to enjoy. The key here is to be cautious and use moderation. Many of these treats tend to have a lot of sugar and can cause cavities. Remember to brush thoroughly after a lot of sugary snacks and drinks. Your teeth (and orthodontist) will thank you.

    With that being said, I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday! Travel safely and enjoy your time with family and friends (and if you see/saw the new Star Wars movie, let me know what you thought!)

    May all the smiles be with you.

    Clinical Care Specialist (and resident clinical Jedi).

Suggested Posts

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)