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Monday, December 5, 2016

Now offering the VPro5


VPro5 delivers gentle vibrations to perfectly complement your orthodontic treatment.  Used just 5 MINUTES A DAY, the VPro5 ensures that aligners are fully engaged with a perfect fit.


Improperly seated aligners can slow treatment, requiring backtracking to previous trays.  In addition to prolonging treatment, consequences of incomplete aligner seating can include unnecessary refinements.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Make the Most of Your Flex Spending Account

Utilize your 2016 dollars before they are lost, and plan accordingly for 2017

Los Angeles-(Business Wire)- The California Association of Orthodontists would like to remind consumers to check their flexible spending accounts (FSA) and ensure all dollars have been utilized before they expire.  Most FSA programs have a firm start and end date, which means the dollars must be used or they are lost.  For this same reason, it is also the right time to think about contributions for 2017.

Dr. Merz can identify any treatment that may be needed to better assist you in using your remaining 2016 benefits, or planning for your 2017 flex spending account.

About Orthodontists and the California Association of Orthodontists

Orthodontists are specialists and have an additional 3,000+ hours of orthodontic training after dental school during their residency.

The California Association of Orthodontists is a chapter of the American Association of Orthodontists, the world's oldest and largest dental specialty organization.  It represents more than 18,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad.  The Association admits only orthodontists for membership.  It encourages and sponsors key research to enable members to provide patients with the highest quality of care, and is committed to educating the public about the need for, and benefits of, orthodontic treatment.  For more information go to

Dr. Merz has also gone through the rigorous process to become Board Certified by the American Board of Orthodontists.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Soft drinks - even diet drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks that are low in sugar or sugar free - include acids that can damage teeth.  The American Association of Orthodontists has prepared a list of the pH levels of more that 30 popular beverages. 

According to the AAO, the acid in soft drinks pulls the calcium out of enamel.  Such decalcification can lead to cavities.  When soft drinks also include sugar, the risk of cavities increases.  The sugar interacts with plaque and forms another acid to further dissolve the enamel, and when the enamel is gone, the loss is permanent.

The dangers are particularly troublesome for orthodontic patients.  Brackets protect the portions of the teeth that they cover, but decalcification can occur on the uncovered portion of the tooth.

The AAO also encourages patients to refrain for drinking soft drinks while wearing aligners or retainers.  Liquid can seep into them and stay there until they are removed.  If the liquid contains acid, the prolonged exposure accelerates damage to the teeth.

Realistically, we recognize that patients may indulge in soft drinks for an occasional treat.  All patients who consume such beverages should drink them through a straw to minimize acid contact with their teeth.  They should brush and floss right away, or at the very least, rinse with water.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


 It is important as parents to be aware that if your child's thumb or finger sucking habit is still present when their permanent teeth come in, there is a greater chance of developing a bad bite.  This means that if the activity has not ceased by the age of five or six years, you need to constructively and gently help your child to stop the habit.  It is also a good idea to have an orthodontic evaluation at this time.  We can assess if there are any habit related alterations to the alignment of your child's teeth or jaws as well as check for associated changes in the soft tissues.  We can also discuss habit control strategies with you and follow your child's bite and facial development as they grow.  If there are recommendations for interceptive or future corrective orthodontic care, we will present a timeline for you. 

Common orthodontic problems that are caused by pressure on the teeth and mouth as a result prolonged thumb or finger sucking may include upper teeth that protrude, lower teeth that tip back, an open bite, or a posterior crossbite.  Furthermore, these habits often affect tongue posture, lip posture, swallowing, and speech.

Although a persistent thumb or finger sucking habit is a cause for concern, there is no reason for alarm.  With the appropriate supportive intervention and orthodontic care as needed a healthy and beautiful smile is completely within reach.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Best Age for Braces

I often get the question: “What is the best age for braces?” To answer it, here are some general guidelines when trying to decide when you should consult an orthodontist: 

Orthodontic problems vary, depending on tooth position, jaw growth, or a combination of issues. Each of the many problems that can be present affects the best time to start braces– some as early as age 7 or 8.

To help you identify when it’s time to see an orthodontist for a consult, here are 3 signs to look for:

  1. Overjet: Crowding and Spacing: Front teeth that stick out too much (overjet), are crowded, or are spaced.
  2. Overbite: Bites where the lower front teeth are near or biting the roof of the mouth.
  3. Crossbite: Trickier to see, but very important, bites where any upper teeth hit behind or inside the lower teeth. This is known as crossbite, which can harm the teeth and cause the lower jaw to grow to one side.
Additionally, by timing braces well, the patient gets the best result the easiest way. The American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Merz recommend the first orthodontic consult at age 7, when the first set of permanent molars are in and the new incisors are showing up. Then, we follow young patients every six to 12 months to make sure the new teeth come in properly and to time treatment so that we can achieve the very best results, the simplest way possible.

With an early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, straight, glowing smile. Feel free to ask me more about the best age for braces for your child. You can call (858) 755-9990, or visit

***If you mention this article when you make your appointment, we will offer $250 toward the cost of treatment, whenever your child is ready.***