Our Blog


Open up and say, “Om”: Stress and its Effects on your Mouth

February 7th, 2018

When it comes to stress, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that our bodies have the perfect response system to help us survive life-threatening situations. Our “fight or flight” mechanism helps us react when a toddler runs toward the road or when we accidentally touch a hot stove. The bad news is that our bodies are not designed to tolerate the ongoing psychological stress that more of us are affected by (e.g., those work emails you’re still reading at night and on weekends or the constant pondering how to pay off your student loans). Because of prolonged exposure to life’s modern day stressors, our body’s stress hormones tend to stay at high levels, and this is a recipe for disaster— not only to our immune system, but also to our mouths.

The link between stress and dental health is undeniable. Because stress affects our immune system, the risk of periodontal disease increases as the immune system fails to keep bacteria at healthy levels. Not only does stress make us more prone to infection, it causes us to hold tension in our mouth, too. So while some of us may need our shoulders rubbed at the end of a stressful day, others may need to release our jaw muscles.

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, along with temporomandibular disorders (TMD) involving the joint where the jaw and skull meet, are two of the most common and serious mouth conditions reported by people living with chronic stress. Bruxism can damage tooth enamel leading to painful nerve exposure and tension headaches. TMD can also cause painful popping of the joint and difficulty chewing and swallowing. Other annoying oral side effects of stress include canker sores and dry mouth syndrome.

If you’re experiencing symptoms like increased tooth sensitivity, headaches, jaw popping or other mouth pain, we certainly want to discuss it with you and your dentist. Together we can figure out whether you’d benefit from something like a nighttime mouth guard to keep you from clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth. In the meantime, and in addition to any interventions like this, we’d like to share a few tips for overall stress management.

  1. Figure out what you can control and what you can’t. Make a list of the circumstances in life that cause the most stress. Determine which of them you can actually influence, and which you can’t. For those that you can change, do so! Even small changes can add up to make a difference on your stress levels. Notice how many things you don’t have control over, and then consider how to pay less attention to them. When they come to mind, make a habit of shifting your focus onto memories or circumstances that bring you joy and comfort. We suggest keeping a list of things you are grateful for in your purse/wallet. (Try pulling that list out instead of going onto Facebook when you’re looking for a distraction!)
  2. Protect your sleep! Sleep is undervalued in our culture as a protective factor for our mental health. If you’re experiencing extra stress in life, do not be afraid to prioritize your sleep like it’s your job. Those eight hours of high quality rest will improve your emotional stability and help you make better decisions throughout the day.
  3. Learn how to surf the waves of life circumstances. Every one of us experiences ups and downs in life until our last day on earth. Sometimes simply accepting that fact and choosing not to push away from difficulty and disappointment can be enough to help us relax, go with the flow, and ride the ups and downs with grace and, even, joy!

We all experience stress, but if you find it affecting your teeth, mouth and jaw, you do not have to handle that alone. Talk to us and together we’ll find coping methods that keep you flashing that beautiful, healthy smile.

Loves Your Smile and the Technology that Builds it!

February 7th, 2018

We’ve heard so many reasons why our patients love us: our friendly, knowledgeable staff; our beautiful office; our flexible appointments; and the time we take to really explain the treatment options and processes. We know that every interaction matters—from that first phone call to the moment we say, “Congratulations on your new beautiful smile!” The time we spend face-to-face with our patients is absolutely invaluable.

But what you may not realize is the priority we place on what happens behind the scenes, too. There are so many fascinating and innovative tools available in orthodontics today. We work hard to stay educated on what’s most effective and bring the best of those options to our offices. In fact, whenever possible, we avoid using outside labs for orthodontic appliances. Our cool technology distinguishes us from other orthodontists.

iTero Element Intraoral Scanner

The journey to a beautiful smile begins by obtaining an accurate picture of the current state of your jaw and teeth. Many providers do this by having you bite into putty-filled trays and creating physical models of your teeth. These trays of goo can create a lot of anxiety for patients and sometimes cause a gag reflex. We’ve eliminated this anxiety by offering a much more accurate option in the iTero Element intraoral Scanner.

With iTero, we can digitally capture a detailed 3-D model of your teeth and gums. First, we scan your teeth and then we perfect those files with our imaging software, Netfab. Not only is a digital scan far more comfortable than the old putty-based impressions, it’s faster and provides images that are more precise.

But that’s just the beginning of the list of benefits. Here are some other things our patients love about the iTero Scanner:

  • The Invisalign Outcome Simulator. How much more motivated would you be to start treatment if you had a picture of what the results will be? The iTero works with the Invisalign system to do just that! Our patients love getting a sense of what their beautiful smile may look like after a successful course of Invisalign treatment.
  • Versatility. The iTero launches the work of an array of our orthodontic interventions: retainers, clear aligners, and appliances.
  • Quick and accurate. With the iTero, our patients get to instantly see a 3-D model of their teeth before and after treatment. Also, research shows a digital model re-creates your teeth with more accuracy than impressions, which helps get better results faster.

3-D Printing with the JUELL 3D-2

Did you know that James T. Hutta Orthodontics was one of the first practices in Ohio to use a 3-D printer in-house? It’s definitely a point of pride for us. We’re also excited to share our most recent upgrade to the JUELL 3D-2 printer. Among other 3-D printers in its class, the JUELL ranks the highest on both resolution and accuracy.

So what does owning the JUELL 3D-2 mean for our patients? Check out this list of awesome advantages:

  • Faster turnaround time. By having a 3-D printer in our office, we bypass the middle man. This allows our experienced lab technicians to fabricate your custom retainers, clear aligners, or appliances faster than using an outside lab.
  • Easily replaced retainers. No more panicked digging in the trash when you accidentally throw away your retainer. Well, okay, go ahead and take a look for it—but skip the panic because we can print you another one easily! Remember those iTero scans? They’re all still on file! You don’t even need to come in for a new scan if you inform us right away that another retainer is needed.
  • Quality assurance. Your appliances are made with the highest level of precision, accuracy, and comfort by our own staff to save you time and money.

Drufomat Press Machine by Dentsply

One of our favorite machines in the office, the Drufomat Press Machine, gives us the power to create clear retainers, bleaching trays, athletic mouth guards, and clear aligners for our patients. We love having the ability to press, trim, and polish your new appliances ourselves. It not only allows us to assure the quality of your new mouthpiece, it also saves you time and money by reducing lab costs.

Instrumentarium 3-D CBCT X-ray Unit

We recently invested in a brand new Instrumentarium 3-D CBCT X-ray unit. We love it for its high quality 2-D and 3-D diagnostic images and its “Low Dose Technology” (LDT) scans. LDT delivers optimized cone beam scans at a radiation dose up to five times lower than typical 2-D panoramic x-rays. Having the Instrumentarium on site also means no extra trips to an imaging center, and it allows us to provide full and accurate assessments of our patients’ teeth and jaws.  We are able to catch disease and pathology that a 2-D x-ray may have missed. We are also able to capture high-quality images of the airway and TMJ to address any concerns our patients may be having.

EasyRx Orthodontic Prescriptions

With all this awesome technology comes the need to properly store our patients’ electronic files and lab prescriptions. The extensive information acquired by our scanners and printers must be easily accessed again if, for example, we need to make a replacement retainer. As we progress through your treatment, your files are safely and efficiently stored by the EasyRx electronic system. EasyRx also allows us to communicate with our in-house and outside labs digitally. This means better communication and less paper waste!

Excited yet?

We hope you are impressed by the advantages that come with keeping so much technology within the walls of our practice. Investing the time and money to equip ourselves with the skills and machinery to make your appliances on-site was an easy decision for us—there’s just no better way to assure quality products and outcomes for each of our patients. There is, however, one thing we love more than that technology—your smile! Thank you for trusting us with it.

Holiday Naughty & Nice Foods List

December 6th, 2017

This is the time of year to gather with family, cherish those close to you, and eat giant helpings of food. But as you know, not all those foods are friendly to your braces. We’re here to help you navigate those waters, because even though we love seeing you in the office, we’re quite sure you don’t want to make an appointment for a broken bracket.

Here’s our holiday food Naughty & Nice list:


  • CANDY CANES: Licking is fine, but biting is not. Hard and sticky is a bad combo for your lovely smile.
  • CARAMEL: If that brownie or fruit is topped with caramel, it’s best to avoid it. And, if it’s any kind of brittle—run for the hills.
  • NUTS: Nuts are delicious, but tend to get stuck where you don’t want them. Crunchy, hard bits are not friendly to your braces.
  • POPCORN: Popcorn husks can really be a pain if they get stuck in your braces. And be sure to steer clear of caramel corn.


  • ICE CREAM: As long as it doesn’t have nuts or sticky things swirling through it, you’re good to go.
  • PIE: Pumpkin pie, apple pie, cherry pie or any of the fruit pies are fine. Just make sure you stay away from pecan pie, or any pie with a sticky filling.
  • FUDGE: Yes, please.
  • CAKE: Beware of spice cakes, including carrot cake. They have a tendency to contain nuts.
  • MEAT & THINGS: Most of the food you’ll see on your holiday table is perfectly fine to eat with your braces. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, or stuffing—no worries. Just try not to gnaw on the drumstick bone.

Remember, it’s perfectly fine to indulge a bit during the holiday season, but don’t neglect your teeth! Continue to brush and clean those braces regularly. You can dive into that vat of caramel next year.

Happy Holidays!


Braces-Friendly Halloween Treat

October 9th, 2017

We know how tempting Halloween candies are around this time of year. Hard, chewy, sticky, and crunchy candies are tough on your braces and teeth in general. That’s why we want to share our favorite braces-friendly recipe with our patients: the Halloween Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies! The orange cheesecake swirled on top of rich, dark chocolate brownie gives off a creepy, spidery look—but don’t worry, this is one “spider” that won’t bite back!

Brownie Layer

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Orange food coloring

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 x 8-inch baking pan, and set aside.
  2. Brownie layer: Add melted butter to a large bowl and add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, warm water, and vinegar, in that order, mixing between additions.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and stir it into the cocoa mix.
  4. Fold in the flour until lightly combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, saving 1/4 cup of the batter for the top.
  6. Cream cheese layer: Blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla, and food coloring in a medium bowl. Then gently spread the cream cheese layer on top of the brownie batter in the pan and dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer.
  7. Using a skewer or the tip of a knife, drag the tip through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern.
  8. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting.
  9. ENJOY! And always remember: rinse your mouth with water after eating sugary food.