- Natalie Stephenson
How did you come to establish your practice here in Central Oregon?
I actually grew up in Bend. I went to school and did my orthodontic training all in the PNW. I worked for another provider for a few years, then started my own practice in 2011.
Orthodontia is usually associated with beautiful smiles. What other kinds of issues are you able to help people with?
We can set people up for good healthy occlusion for life when we're able to address issues like misalignment or muscle pain issues early on. Things like worn or cracked teeth and muscle dysfunction can be avoided with preventive orthodontia.
What are some of the ways "getting braces" has changed for the better?
One big change is that we hardly ever have to take impressions anymore. We use 3-D scanning, which is basically a fancy computer with a wand that has a camera at the end of it. The wand scans all of the teeth, then the computer takes those images and kind of stitches them together. A lab can produce a 3-D model in just a few minutes. Newer technology makes the whole process quicker and more comfortable.
Do you work together with other oral care specialists?
A lot, yes. Not so much on the typical case, but adults with missing teeth, bone loss, etc. need multi-disciplinary care. We work together with general dentists, periodontists, endodontists, oral surgeons, and sometimes pediatric dentists for patients with growth and development issues.
What would you say to someone feeling nervous about getting orthodontic work done? Do you have video screens or other amenities to help people relax?
In this new, COVID world, some of those things have changed. We moved into a new office a year ago that was specially designed to be welcoming. We even had a hot chocolate stand in the lobby. That area had to be shut down temporarily, but we also have a team of people who are amazing at making people feel comfortable. For kids, we have a special rewards system. It's been so successful that kids are actually excited to come to their appointments and collect points for taking good care of their teeth. I would say 99 to 100 percent of our patients are totally at ease after their first visit here.
400 SW Bond Street, Suite 300, Bend