Thinking About Mail-In Orthodontics? Read This First!

Wouldn’t you love to simply take a selfie, and/or impression of your teeth or get your teeth scanned, and receive aligners that straighten your teeth in a few months without even leaving your home? Sounds too good to be true, huh?

This is exactly the type of convenience offered and advertised with direct-to-consumer orthodontics. Companies like SmileDirectClub, Smilelove, SnapCorrect, etc. are appealing because they address the concern most people have about orthodontics: time. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises you to take a step back and look at the overall picture before considering the latest alternative to straighten your teeth.

Ask Questions, Gather the Facts

First off, find out who is making the decisions about your treatment. Will you be seen by a licensed dentist or orthodontist? Some online orthodontic companies do not require an in-person visit to an orthodontic practice or in-person supervision during treatment. Are you comfortable with proceeding without expert advice and a comprehensive examination?

Orthodontic treatment involves more than just straightening teeth, it also affects your bite, jaw position, and jaw joint function. For these reasons, it is crucial to have a certified orthodontic professional guiding your treatment from start to finish.

It is common for patients undergoing regular orthodontic treatment to run into problems here and there. If you run into an orthodontic emergency using direct-to-consumer orthodontics, who do you contact? This is definitely a question that should be answered before choosing to start treatment with any business. Check the policies on situations like these so that you can have an idea of how your oral care will be managed, especially in the case of an emergency.

Take Your Oral Health Care Seriously

Your health and well-being are extremely important. This is why, at Robinson + Ries Orthodontics, we strive to provide resources that both educate and stress the importance of quality orthodontic care.

While the convenience of online orthodontic companies promote sounds promising, it is important to remember that orthodontic treatment is not a product or device, but a professional, medical service that should be treated as such. When your orthodontic treatment is overseen by a member of the AAO, you can be certain you are in the hands of an experienced and trusted orthodontic specialist.

Before signing that contract to start direct-to-consumer orthodontics, ask yourself this one important question: Are you willing to gamble with the first thing people see when you walk into a room… your smile?

Contact our office for more information about direct-to-consumer orthodontics compared to traditional orthodontic treatment and which is the best option for you.


What Sets Us Apart

LollipopPhotography_1_RT3_2331.jpgA beautiful smile is one of the greatest investments you will ever make, and we understand it is a very big decision. A beautiful smile is one of the most attractive characteristics of any person, and it can increase self-esteem and confidence. Choosing the right orthodontist is an important decision, so we invite you to read through the below to get to know our office better and learn about the significant details that make us unique.

  • Experience! Robinson and Ries Orthodontics has been serving Columbia for over 31 years and has created thousands upon thousands of beautiful smiles!
  • We have an enthusiastic, well-trained, and experienced staff. Most of our assistants have been with the practice over 5 years; some over 15; some even over 25 years! You will always see the same smiling faces! Our orthodontic assistants are all experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate people. Our entire team strives to provide each patient a positive, fun, and caring experience.
  • Patient Centered Approach to Treatment – Most orthodontic practices have only one type of bracket system that they employ, and the patients’ needs and demands must fit into that office’s systems and approach. At Robinson and Ries Orthodontics, we have mastered various systems that allow for a patient centered approach to treatment. A few examples of the systems our doctors use include Invisalign Clear Trays, Damon low friction self-ligating braces, 3M clear ceramic aesthetic braces, Titanium (Nickel Free) Orthos brackets, Herbst and Forsus overbite correctors, and both Bonded and Banded palatal expanders. Our knowledge and skill with various systems will allow us to truly customize treatment to your needs.
  • Less Visits –Outstanding Results. We employ techniques that allow us to maximize the work completed at each appointment, thus eliminating the need for monthly appointments. Most patients are on an 8-12 week appointment interval without increasing overall treatment time, and some treatment can be tailored for even larger intervals when appropriate.
  • Accelerated options – If length of treatment is the most important factor for you, we can customize your plan to include additional techniques such as AcceleDent or Propel for trimming 20-40% off treatment time.
  • We use the very latest treatment technology available. For example, our office utilizes the brand new iTero scanner to digitally scan teeth for Invisalign. This means our Invisalign patients don’t have to do impressions, and we can virtually show them what their smiles will look like at the end of treatment!
  • In house lab – This allows for higher quality and customization of appliances.
  • Invisalign expertise- Dr. Ries has completed the most Invisalign cases of any orthodontic specialist in Columbia, MO.
  • Adults Welcome – Over 25% of our patients are adults! Our range of patients is from 7 years old to 77 years of age. You are never too old to consider the benefits of orthodontic treatment.
  • NO ANSWERING SERVICE here- Dr. Ries provides his personal mobile number on the answering machine. You can call or text him any time with questions, concerns, or emergencies.
  • Parents are always welcome in our treatment area. We believe in communication with our parents and even have chairs in the treatment area for our parents to sit with their children, if desired.
  • Bonded Retainers – Ask any hygienist, and they will tell you that Robinson and Ries Orthodontics fixed retainers are the easiest to clean and maintain good oral hygiene. We are the only office in town that places easily cleansable lower bonded fixed retainers after treatment. Our custom fixed retainers are permanently bonded to only the lower canine teeth, but custom adapted not bonded to the remaining teeth. Thus, easy to floss and NO Floss threaders. (However, if you don’t want a fixed retainer we have removable options as well – YOUR Choice!)
  • Many area dental professionals such as family dentists, oral surgeons, periodontists and their staff members have given us the privilege of treating themselves, their spouses and their children. This is the highest compliment we can receive, when other professionals in our field trust us with their loved ones!
  • Office and diagnostic procedures are integrated by means of the most sophisticated orthodontic computer systems available. Patients can access both their account and appointment information 24 hours a day via the internet with a specific code assigned to each family. From scheduling appointments, to taking pictures and x-rays, to financial functions, we have streamlined the process to make it as “hassle free” as possible.
  • We utilize an automated appointment confirmation software program that will call you the night before every appointment to remind you. We also have an available automated e-mail appointment reminder system, as well as text messaging reminders.
  • We follow the guidelines established by the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and routinely replace our sterilization equipment to assure all sterilization methods are current and safe for our patients.
  • As a courtesy, we file your insurance for you and accept payments directly from your insurance company.


In summary, orthodontic treatment is a gift to your child or yourself that will have a lifelong effect! We hope that you have found this information helpful, and we would love to have you join our family of patients. We encourage you to talk with other families who have chosen our office for their orthodontic needs and ask them about their experience. It would be a privilege for our entire team to treat you or your children! We hope you sense the excitement we have for all the benefits that modern orthodontics has to offer! Our team is committed to making sure your treatment is a positive experience, and we will do everything we can to ensure you finish with the most beautiful result possible!

June is National Smile Month: Show off your smile!


The community health awareness group, Oral Health America has reported that 82 percent of adults are unaware of the role that infectious bacteria can play in tooth decay or cavities, and almost three out of five children aged 12 to 19 have tooth decay. Since June is National Smile Month, Dr. Dave Ries and his staff at Robinson and Ries Orthodontics thought we’d remind our patients about the importance of good oral hygiene visits between office visits.

To keep your family’s smiles healthy and beautiful for years to come, be sure to:

  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Use your prescribed fluoride tooth paste as directed
  • Floss every day to clean between your teeth
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Visit Drs. Robinson and Ries for scheduled appointments
  • See your general dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings

If you want to know more about healthy home care habits, feel free to ask our team at your next appointment, or ask us on Facebook!


Do Cavities Run in Your Family?

xraysGenetics may indeed increase your chances of getting cavities—and having a sweet tooth can also be inherited

Even adults who brush and floss diligently have heard those dreaded words from their dentists: You have a cavity. Lots of factors come into play in causing cavities, but do some people have a cavity gene that exacerbates the problem? One expert, Michael Glick, a professor at the School of Dental Medicine at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, explains how DNA may be your dental enemy and why sealants could be your teeth’s best friend.

Genetics may increase your chances of having primary-tooth cavities by up to 64% according to some studies, says Dr. Glick, who is editor in chief of the Journal of the American Dental Association. But it isn’t clear which part of the cavity-forming process is affected. “The way enamel is formed on the tooth is probably the best candidate for genetics to have an impact,” he says.
Information about the genetic roots to tooth decay comes mainly from research on identical twins. But those studies also have shown that having a sweet tooth can be inherited, Dr. Glick says. “It’s hard to separate a high-sugar diet that will predispose one to develop cavities from a genetic predisposition,” he says.
No groups of people have yet been shown to be more genetically predisposed to cavities than others, Dr. Glick says. While certain communities tend to have more cavities, this is most likely related to dietary choices.

Even if you’re convinced you have the cavity gene, “there is solid evidence that without sugar you cannot get cavities,” Dr. Glick says. He tells everyone to reduce how much sugar they consume, and how frequently they ingest it, especially the kind that clings to teeth such as sticky candy and sugary drinks. “If we look at places in America where sugary sodas are the drink of choice, people there have pretty bad teeth.”

If you believe you have a predisposition to tooth decay, Dr. Glick says it is especially important to follow hygiene recommendations—brush twice a day, floss regularly, rinse daily with an antibacterial mouth wash and see a dentist at least twice a year. “Fluoride is put into the water in many American communities and it is one of the best public-health interventions we’ve had since the 1950s. It works,” he says.
Plastic sealants, which are applied in a dentist’s chair, are also very effective at preventing cavities. “This material covers the natural cracks in the teeth, which means food and sugar don’t get stuck in there,” he says. Sealants also help re-mineralize teeth, “so if you have the early stages of a cavity, your tooth can strengthen the enamel a little and heal itself.”

Tooth decay is fairly common, and people shouldn’t be overly concerned with whether they are genetically predisposed to it or not, Dr. Glick says. One-fifth of people in the U.S. have untreated cavities, which can lead to root canals and lots of pain. And many people neglect their oral hygiene—about 25% of Americans over age 60 have lost all their teeth, he says.
Don’t sweat the genetics, he says. “See your dentist often, brush regularly and get your cavities filled quickly,” whether your parents had lots of cavities or not.

Foods That Can Harm Enamel

Foods that can harm enamel

Many people who are careful about brushing and flossing their teeth wonder how they still end up with cavities or tooth decay. Several factors affect wear and tear on tooth enamel. Diet is a major factor, with certain foods increasing the likelihood that your enamel will become discolored or decayed. Pay close attention to the foods you eat to keep your pearly whites looking healthy and clean.

What causes enamel damage?

Tooth enamel refers to the hard, semi-translucent, whitish part of the tooth that shows above your gums. The enamel is primarily composed of minerals that are strong but susceptible to highly acidic foods. When acid reacts with the minerals in enamel, it results in tooth decay. Strongly pigmented foods can also damage enamel by discoloring the surface of the tooth.

Foods that harm enamel

Acidic foods are the greatest source of enamel damage. To determine whether a food is acidic, look up its pH. Scientists use pH, on a one-to-seven scale, to define the relative acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Foods with low pH levels, between a one and three, are high in acidity and may damage your enamel. Foods with high pH levels, such as a six or seven, are far less likely to cause enamel harm.

So which foods should you avoid? Many fruits are high in acidity, including lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, and apples. The high sugar and acid content in soda makes it another huge contributor to enamel decay. Moderately acidic foods include pineapple, oranges, tomatoes, cottage cheese, maple syrup, yogurt, raisins, pickles, and honey. The foods that are least likely to cause enamel damage include milk, most cheeses, eggs, and water.

Beverages such as red wine and coffee also damage the enamel by discoloring it. Although stains do not necessarily undermine the integrity of your teeth, they can be unsightly.

What can I do to prevent enamel damage?

Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to prevent your enamel from discoloring or decaying. The easiest way to avoid decay is to steer clear of high-acidity foods. This may not always be possible, but eliminating sugary fruit juices and soda from your diet is a good start. Brushing your teeth after each meal and flossing frequently also preserves your enamel. Another good idea is to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after eating to wash away high-acidity particles.

Although enamel damage is common, it does not have to be an inevitable occurrence. Knowing the foods that harm your teeth gives you the tools to prevent discoloration and decay. With some easy preventive measures, your teeth will stay strong and white for years to come! Give us a call at Robinson and Ries Orthodontics to learn more!


Top Ten Tips for Keeping Your Braces Sparkling Clean

dental-braces-cleaningKeeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you have braces! Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you’ll experience better results and shorter treatment time. Keep plaque at bay with these top ten tips:
1. One tooth at a time. When you brush, take time with each individual tooth – at least 10 seconds each – and pay careful attention to the spots where your teeth touch your braces.

2. It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down toward where they meet. Brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces with your brush angled up.

3. The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the tooth. While the front surface of your teeth may seem like the most logical to clean, it’s equally important to clean the inner surface of your teeth (tongue side) as well as the chewing surface. And be sure to clean along your gum line – a key spot for plaque buildup. In fact, you really need to massage those gums while you brush. Don’t scrub your gums, massage!

4. Step 1: eat, step 2: clean. While you’re in treatment, it’s important to brush after every meal. Bits of food can easily get caught between braces and teeth, and these food bits interact with bacteria in your mouth to cause decay. The longer food is in contact with your teeth, the greater opportunity for plaque to form. If you are eating somewhere that you can’t brush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.

5. Like a Boy Scout, always be prepared. The easiest way to be sure you can brush after every meal is to get in the habit of taking a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you wherever you go. Designate a special container just for your teeth-cleaning tools and keep it in your purse, backpack, or laptop case.

6. Remove the moving parts. If you have elastic bands, remove them before you brush or floss.

7. Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride helps prevent cavities. We may have given you a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste to use every night. Be sure you follow the instructions.

8. Pointy brushes reach tiny places. Interproximal brushes (sometimes called proxa brushes or interdental brushes) are cone-shaped and come in very handy for reaching spots around your braces that standard brushes can’t.

9. Find the floss for you. Regular floss works for some patients, but others find it easier to work with a floss threader, which helps you get the floss into tight places. Other patients like an all-in-one product called Superfloss, which comes with a stiff end for easy threading, a spongy section for cleaning wide spaces, and regular floss for narrow spaces. If you can’t get the hang of flossing, the Waterpik Waterflosser is an excellent tool!

10. Make time for the pros. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. But make sure to visit your dentist regularly while in treatment, to get the deep, thorough cleaning that only a professional can provide. If you need help finding the right Dentist for you, feel free to contact our office – we’d love to help!


Most kids love candy; actually, most people in general love candy. So when it comes time for you to get braces there can often be a natural conflict between candy consumption and maintaining the integrity of your braces. For that reason, we at Robinson and Ries Orthodontics, know that it’s good to know which types of candy are not good for your braces. To better illustrate, here are some candies that you will want to avoid.


Caramel is a sweet and often exceedingly sticky and chewy type of candy that just does not mix well with braces. Caramel can cause a mess in regular teeth, but teeth with braces are a whole other story. The sticky candy can very easily get lodged and stuck between the teeth, gums, and braces, making for a difficult task of cleaning your mouth. And if your teeth don’t get cleaned properly, cavities can easily form.

Salt Water Taffy

Another sticky and chewy candy to avoid with braces is salt water taffy. For many of the same reasons as caramel, it is best to avoid taffy until you get your braces removed. It may be a long wait, but when it comes to the health of your teeth, and the purpose of your braces, it really is best to avoid taffy.


Popcorn of any kind is best to avoid when you have braces. The kernels can easily do damage to the braces as you chomp on them, and they can get stuck between your teeth and the braces causing discomfort and further complications. In this sense it does not matter which flavor of candy popcorn you eat, all popcorn is bad news until you get your braces off.

Generally speaking, any candy that is chewy, crunchy, or sticky is not a good idea to eat with braces in your mouth. These types of candy will make life wearing braces much more difficult than if you were to just wait until your braces come off.

Trick or Treat

Going Trick or Treat? That’s okay. We want you to have fun! BUT, bring us your hard and sticky stuff on November 1st from 8:00 to 5:00 and we will let you exchange it for a prize. You can spin the wheel of fortune for that loot and win $2 per pound or more, or prizes like Movie tickets. Your candy will be donated to charity.


Celebrities In Braces

Not everyone is born with a million-dollar smile, not even some celebrities. The following stars have all had their moments as a “brace face,” either as a child, teenager, or adult. You might be surprised to learn about stars who had braces (including Gwen Stefani, who got braces just because she could!).

Take a look at some famous faces who sported braces!

Emma Watson: Emma admits to going through a rather awkward stage that included “terrible skin,” fluctuating weight, and braces. But look at the swan that emerged!

Tom Cruise: Who would have thought that one of the world’s most famous smiles could use an overhaul? Well, Mr. Cruise pulled it off … and most people didn’t even know. He wore “invisible” braces that had ceramic brackets for a few months just after his 40th birthday. And the results were pretty WOW!

Dakota Fanning: This lovely young actress had some troublesome teeth when she was younger. However, braces and dental work gave her that stunning star-quality smile we see now. Props to her, though, for staying real. She sported her headgear during an appearance on The Tonight Show and didn’t bat an eye.

Gwyneth Paltrow: The stunning Ms. Paltrow, who, in 2013 was named the Most Beautiful Woman by People Magazine, wore braces in high school. And she probably carried it off with the poise and grace for which she is so famous today.

Niall Horan: This member of One Direction, the boy band that’s currently tearing it up (and breaking some hearts along the way) wore his braces for several months. He got them removed in April 2013.

Other notable celebs who have had braces include Faye Dunaway, who got hers at the age of 61! Ryan Seacrest, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Drew Barrymore also belonged to the metal mouth club at one time or another.

What is comes down to is this: It isn’t whether you wear braces that are fully hidden, ceramic brackets, or have the traditional metal train tracks running across your teeth. Nope, it’s all about how you work it!

Which brings us to the theme of our latest contest…guess the celebrity smile. This is an “in-office” contest. Come on in and guess for a chance to win movie tickets. You don’t even have to be right to win!