Dental Health

Seven Common Questions Parents Have About Orthodontic Treatment

March 12th, 2021

Today, nearly four million children in the United States and Canada are receiving treatment from members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). And while parents know that orthodontic treatment results in a healthy, beautiful smile, many don’t realize the important long-term health benefits.

As part of its commitment to education, the AAO provides parents with this list of answers to commonly asked questions about orthodontic care.

1.    Why is orthodontic treatment important?
A: Straight teeth and properly aligned jaws contribute to good dental health as well as overall physical health. Orthodontic treatment can boost a person’s self-image as teeth, lips and jaws move into position and improve appearance.

2.    How do parents know if their child needs orthodontic treatment?
A: The best way is to visit an orthodontist. The AAO recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age seven.

3.    What if my child still has baby teeth at age seven? Should they still see an orthodontist?
A:  Yes.  By age 7, enough permanent teeth have arrived for orthodontists to evaluate how the teeth and jaws meet, and to identify current or developing problems.  If a problem is detected, the orthodontist and parents can discuss when treatment may be necessary.

4.    How does a child’s growth affect orthodontic treatment?
A: Treatment and growth often compliment each other. In some cases, the orthodontist takes advantage of a child’s growth to guide jaws and teeth into their ideal positions.

5.    How often do you visit your orthodontist while in orthodontic treatment?
A: Typically a child will see the orthodontist every 6-12 weeks throughout the course of treatment.

6.    If you currently don’t have an orthodontist, what is the best way to find someone to treat orthodontic problems?
A: To find an orthodontist near you, ask for a referral from your family dentist, your pediatrician or your child’s school nurse. Or you can visit and click on the Find an Orthodontist service. It is important to choose an orthodontist who is a member of the AAO.  Orthodontists receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.  Only those with this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists,” and only orthodontists may be members of the AAO.

7.    What is the average cost of orthodontic treatment?
A: Fees will vary, depending on the treatment needed.  Most orthodontists offer convenient payment plans, making treatment more affordable than ever.  Most orthodontists will work with you to find a plan that fits your family budget.  In addition, many patients have dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits. Check with your employer’s human resources department to learn about your coverage.

7 and up

February 16th, 2021

Did you know that in addition to getting her Doctorate in Dental Medicine, Dr. Hughes attained a Masters in Education? Her love of teaching and educating her patients is important and that is why we are starting a new awareness campaign called 7 and up. Lakewood Park Orthodontics is committed to the overall health and wellness of your children and we feel that this information is vital. According the American Association of Orthodontists, children should start seeing an orthodontist for evaluations no later than age seven.

While this may sound young, some children can significantly benefit from early intervention with orthodontic treatment.  Dr. Hughes can detect subtle problems early on to determine the best time to start orthodontic treatment. This ensures in some cases less time in braces as a teen, possible prevention of surgery or extraction of permanent teeth and developing the best smile possible. You can rest assured that Dr. Hughes is known to be conservative in treatment and would only treat your child with early orthodontic care if necessary so as to prevent serious bite problems that can affect jaw growth and tooth development.

Here are the main eight problems that Dr. Hughes will evaluate for to determine if early treatment is needed. This list is supported by the American Association of Orthodontists:

  • Crossbite of the front teeth: can lead to gum recession and enamel loss
  • Crossbite of the back teeth: Can lead to asymmetric jaw growth and significant wear of teeth
  • Severe crowding: Can lead to early loss of a baby teeth or significant challenges in proper brushing. In some cases early care can eliminate the need to extract adult teeth as a teen
  • Open bite: Often due to finger habits (thumb sucking or tongue habits) can lead to improper jaw growth, tooth development, speech issues and chewing difficulties.
  • Protruding front teeth: Can increase the risk of trauma, tooth loss and fractured front teeth
  • Ectopic Eruption: This is the improper eruption of a permanent tooth which can lead to impactions (requiring surgery) or early loss of baby teeth causing a more challenging and lengthy time in braces as a teen
  • Underbite: A very difficult bite to correct but critical that it is treated around age 7 as this is the time the child is most amenable to growth modification. Believe it or not, by age 10, it is already too late in many cases to successfully treat!
  • Spacing: In some cases, significant spacing can be due to extra or missing teeth. This subtle problem can often only be detected by an orthodontic evaluation and a panoramic x-ray

Getting an evaluation starting at age seven can help Dr. Hughes nurture your child’s best smile as well as help improve things like self-esteem and overall dental health. So remember, 7 and up is when we would like to evaluate your child to give them their best and healthiest smile that lasts a lifetime!


Tentative Re-opening Date May 18th

April 24th, 2020

To keep all of our patients and employees safe, we are adhering to the mandate from the CDC and State of Massachusetts that all dental/orthodontic offices remain closed until May 18th. For your protection, if you have an appointment scheduled from now until May 18th, it will be rescheduled as soon as we are confident that we will open on May 18th. We will be checking phone messages regularly but ask that calling the office try to be limited to inquiring about acute orthodontic emergencies and not scheduling questions.  At this point, we are only allowed to see emergency orthodontic patients with pain. We wish you good health through this tough time and we will work hard to help everyone as soon as the emergency is over.


Dr. Hughes and the Team at Lakewood Park Orthodontics

COVID-19 Office Update

March 11th, 2020

As previously stated, we are keeping up to date on the latest COVID-19 concerns and have made some changes in our office to assist in further patient, family and staff safety. Our waiting room gets extremely busy during peak hours of operation in our office (a fact which you all are painfully aware of from 3-5pm as it is often standing room only). Because of this, the waiting room chairs have been reduced and spaced out to provide more social distance between seated patients and family members during this outbreak. This means fewer seats in the waiting room unfortunately. If you are comfortable sending your child into the office alone for their appointment (while a parent/family member waits in the car or elsewhere in the building) we can reduce the number of patients in the waiting room considerably. Feel free to call or text the office while your child is at their appointment to schedule their future appointment. Texting is a feature that can provide a quicker response than playing phone tag on voicemails. We generally provide a synopsis of your child’s treatment at the end of their appointment. If you are not at the office during your child’s appointment, Dr. Hughes is always happy to provide appointment details to you at the end of the day so feel free to request a call back from her as well.

When you check in for an appointment, we will be screening all patients regarding their recent travel history and medical conditions. Please do not take offense to this. We are merely trying to screen for the safety of our patients, families and staff members. This screening process has been recommended by for all dental offices to conduct.

We will be wiping down the office waiting room furniture, beverage center, video game consoles more frequently throughout the day with our hospital level surface disinfectant that kills viruses. Please cheer on Mia, Jen or Kerry when they are doing this as they are looking out for your safety!

We have tissues and hand sanitizer at the front desk. Please cover your coughs and sneezes and use our hand sanitizer products.

If you are not comfortable bringing yourself or child to their appointment, please do what you think is best. The worst case scenario is that they/you will be in orthodontic treatment longer and in the grand scheme of things, this is fairly trivial.

In the clinical part of the office, we will continue the same high standard infection control protocols that we always provide. Every year, the office attends an infection control class that provides all the latest information on dental office safety and thus guides our routine infection control protocols. This includes wiping down our dental chairs in between each patient with hospital grade surface level disinfectant. Dr. Hughes had to have all the chairs reupholstered last year as this disinfectant is so strong that after a few years of wiping chairs as often as we do, the leather becomes cracked and worn. Safety first though in this office! Gloves, masks and eyewear are always in use and all instruments are sterilized between each patient in our sterilizers. Weekly spore tests are completed on all sterilizers to ensure that they are performing at proper level on sterilization. Proper hand washing between patients and the use of hand sanitizer that has more than 60% alcohol is in constant use as well.  Staff members that display symptoms of respiratory illness will also be asked to stay home from work. Unfortunately this could mean added waiting times to see patients or perhaps the need to reschedule patients if we are understaffed. We apologize ahead for this inconvenience should it occur.

We will continue to update you on changes as they occur and please call should you have questions.


June 2nd, 2019

Our office is a small local practice and so we love to support the local schools and charitable events that go on in and around Natick. This year we have participated in the Brown Wicked Fun Road Race, The Jingle Bell Run, Donated Dental Hygiene goody bags to the Brown Elementary School, sponsored the PanMass Challenge, ran a table at the Natick Organic Farm's Spring Spectacular and will help to sponsor Scoopapalooza in June. We also love to support the Drama Workshops in Natick and Framingham and the local sports teams!


Thinking About Orthodontic Treatment? Read This

October 15th, 2018


October is Orthodontic Health Month

We’re super excited over here at Lakewood Park Orthodontics for our favorite month of the year; October is Orthodontic Health Month! To us, orthodontics encompasses more than just putting brackets on teeth. Through orthodontics we bring confidence, health and joy to our patients. To help give someone the confidence to smile (a real, big smile) is irreplaceable. This confidence extends into our patients daily lives and enables them to feel comfortable with who they are. So yah, Orthodontic Health Month is a big deal around here ;)

There are many blog posts about the benefits of a straight, healthy smile (decreased risk of oral disease, tooth decay, injury, jaw problems, confidence…) this is not one of those posts.  If you’re reading this blog you likely have already researched the benefits or orthodontic treatment and are considering starting treatment. Today, I want to help you break down any barriers that are keeping you from moving toward your goal of a healthy, straight smile. So let’s discuss some common barriers that patients face when deciding to start treatment.

  1. You don’t think you have time for appointments: It’s true, at the beginning of treatment, there is usually a longer appointment needed the day we put the braces on or get started with Invisalign. After the initial appointment you are usually in only every 6-8 weeks with braces and every 10 weeks with Invisalign. These appointments can easily be scheduled in advance in order to make sure they are convenient for your schedule. At Lakewood Park we also offer evening appointments on Tuesdays and Saturday morning appointments one Saturday a month. You are sure to find something that works with your schedule!
  2. You don’t like the way braces look: Technological advances in orthodontics have come so far! Now we have clear aligners (like Invisalign) and ceramic braces that are just as effective as regular metal braces but with the advantage of being barely noticeable. Many adults and teens are taking advantage of these new technologies.
  3. You think you are too old for braces: The number of adults pursuing orthodontic treatment is rising. In fact, it increased by 40% between 1989 and 2012. As of 2014 there were 1.4 million adults in orthodontic treatment and this number has likely risen. At Lakewood Park we have patients in there 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s! Adults are realizing the benefits of orthodontic treatment. A study conducted on behalf of the AAO found that 75% of adults who had orthodontic treatment reported improvements in career or personal relationships, which they attributed to their improved post-orthodontic smile. Citing their newfound self-confidence, 92% of survey respondents said they would recommend orthodontic treatment to other adults. Many of our adult patients were not motivated by the aesthetic benefits of treatment but for the health benefits that come along with a proper malocclusion (bite) like the ability to keep your teeth clean, prevent decay, recession and gum disease! (for them, a dazzling, straight smile is just an added bonus!) Whatever your reasons are for pursuing orthodontic treatment as an adult, know that you are in good company.


The benefits of orthodontic treatment are far reaching. Improving your smile can bring you a new found confidence that will last a lifetime (no matter what your age)! At Lakewood Park Orthodontics, we believe that the benefits of a healthy smile outweigh any of the barriers that might be holding you back.

What do you think? You’ve been considering it for long enough – it’s time to take the next step. Come in and ask your questions, confront your barriers and learn what treatment options are right for you at your free consultation. Call us at (508) 319 1545 or email us at

We hope to talk to you soon!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month

October 16th, 2017

Celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month by learning more about orthodontists.The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite — straight teeth that properly meet opposing teeth in the opposite jaw. If your teeth are crowded, protrusive, spaced too far apart, meet in an abnormal way or do not meet at all, correction may be recommended. If you have an abnormal bite your dentist may recommend braces or another orthodontic treatment to straighten out your smile. Correcting the problem can create an awesome-looking smile, but more importantly, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. A healthy bite makes it easier for you to bite, chew and speak. It also prevents improper wearing of the teeth, tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems.

Abnormal bites usually become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have a consultation around age 7. Treatment often begins between ages 8 and 14. Treatment that begins while a child is growing helps produce optimal results. In the past, orthodontic treatment was associated with children and teens, but today many adults seek orthodontic treatment. In fact, there are currently more than 1.2 million U.S. adults in orthodontic treatment! Today there are many aesthetic options for adult treatment including clear braces, Invisalign and active retainers.
Come visit Lakewood Park Orthodontics in Natick to learn how orthodontics can improve your oral health and give you a healthy, straight smile. Call 508 319 1545 for a complimentary consultation.

April is Mouthguard Awareness Month

April 7th, 2017

Mouthguards Matter! The American Association of Orthodontics has teamed up with Shock Doctor to stress the importance of wearing mouthguards, especially during braces. Orofacial injury rates in non-mandated sports are as high as 38%, so help protect those teeth! If you wear braces, select a mouthguard specifically designed for braces. Choose an Insta-Fit style which requires no boiling or fitting and adapts as braces are adjusted and teeth move. Dr. Hughes now carries Shock Doctor mouthguards at the office. Make sure to ask about them at your next visit!

Can a Water Pick replace Flossing?

March 14th, 2017

Dr.Hughes and the team at Lakewood Park Orthodontics know that keeping your teeth clean during orthodontic treatment can be a difficult task –especially when it comes to flossing. Weaving floss behind wires and brackets can be a challenge. This leads many of our patients to ask about the benefits of a water pick and whether or not it could replace flossing.

Some of our patients use a water pick to flush out food and bacteria stuck between their teeth and brackets. The water pick can reach places where floss simply cannot. Water picks are gentle on braces and on gums. They are less likely to cause bleeding for people with sensitive gums. People suffering from gum disease will find water picks effective in their ability to flush out bacteria from inside deep pockets.
Water picks have many benefits, but they are not an effective substitute for flossing. Water picks are not able to remove plaque from the teeth the way floss can. Water picks can rinse some of the sticky bacteria away but floss actually scrapes the bacteria off of the teeth. Although water picks are not a good enough tool on their own they can be used in combination with flossing and brushing to keep your pearly whites clean and healthy.

If you have any questions or concerns about water picks or your oral hygiene routine we encourage you to ask below or call our office.

Children's Dental Health Month

February 17th, 2017

February is Children's Dental Health Month! Dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S. but, it's preventable! Teach children to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. In addition to brushing an easy way to get Fluoride to help protect your teeth is just to drink tap water! Studies show that fluoride in community water systems prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults.

The Biggest No-No Food

January 16th, 2017

Unfortunately for our patients with braces, popcorn is a no-no. It may not seem like it, but Popcorn is the single worst thing you can eat with braces. The reason? Popcorn kernels! For someone without braces, popcorn kernels can cause minor discomfort, but can be relatively easily taken care of with floss or a fingernail. However, with braces in place, kernels can get stuck for extended periods of time, leading to extremely painful swelling of gum tissue, requiring removal of braces and wires to clean out the area.Remember to ask Dr. Hughes about popcorn alternatives and all the wonderful things that you can eat while in braces. Before you know it, the braces will be off and you can go back to enjoying popcorn again!

Early Treatment

January 1st, 2017

When is the best time to begin orthodontics?

Although an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?

By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.

What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?

Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:

Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
Preserving space for unerupted teeth
Reducing the need for tooth removal
Reducing treatment time with braces
Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.

Why should malocclusions be treated?

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile—it creates a healthier you!

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 21st, 2016

Each February the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.
Why is attention to children’s dental health important?

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable. More that 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth, and more than two-thirds of 16 to 19-year-olds have had a cavity in their permanent teeth.

Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Good oral hygiene practices such as thorough brushing with fluoride toothpaste can help keep children from getting cavities.

Make sure to brush two times a day for two minutes (that’s 4 times a day for those of you with braces), floss once a day and see your dentist every 6 months.
Lakewood Park Orthodontics is promoting children’s dental health

As an active member of the ADA, Dr. Hughes strongly supports this effort! She will be headed out to local Natick Schools this month to hand out toothbrushes, dental information and give fun classroom presentations on dental health.

When You Shouldn’t Brush After Every Meal

February 8th, 2016

When you get your braces on our staff explains all of the ways you can help keep your mouth healthy and make your treatment move faster. We tell you to avoid hard and sticky foods that cause broken brackets and to floss every day.  We also tell you to brush five times a day - after every snack or meal. However, there are some times when it is better to not brush after your meal or snack… Actually brushing your teeth after certain meals can hurt your enamel!

When you eat foods that are highly acidic like citrus fruits, soda and sugary foods it changes the PH balance in your mouth from alkaline to acidic. After eating highly acidic foods your teeth are susceptible to damage. When you brush your teeth in this weakened state you can damage the enamel because the bristles can wear away the surface.

Now, for all of you who hate brushing, don’t get too excited – you still have to brush five times a day. However, after eating highly acidic foods it’s best to wait an hour before brushing. Other preventative measures you can take after eating acidic foods include rinsing or drinking water and concluding your meal with milk, cheese or another non-acidic food. After you have given your mouth time to return to a healthy PH balance continue to brush as normal.