Dr. Luff’s Top Tips for finishing your braces on time

At Luff Orthodontics we love to have our patients come in, yet we know you’ll be hoping to get your braces off as quickly as possible.  Dr. Luff has three Top Tips for making your orthodontic treatment time zoom by.  (As a bonus, you’ll be racking up tons of Patient Reward Points when you follow these tips!) Dr. Luff’s Top Tips: Brush your teeth – Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you are in orthodontic treatment.  Brush your chompers after every meal and snack and even every drink, and you’ll be doing yourself and your teeth a favor.  Clean and healthy teeth and gums (don’t forget to floss!) make for quick treatment.  Dr. Luff loves visits with patients who have been caring for their teeth! Wear your bands – At some time in your treatment, you’ll probably be assigned rubber bands to wear.  Pay close attention to the details when Dr. Luff tells you how many hours you need to wear them each day and stick to that plan.  If you wear your bands as assigned, you’ll be surprised how soon the time passes and before you know it, you’ll be done. Protect your braces –  This is a biggie.  Braces can’t work if they are not on your teeth, and broken brackets set back your treatment timeline.  The best way to protect your braces is to pay attention to what you are eating… Don’t eat food that is super crunchy, hard, sticky, stringy, or chewy.  The major culprits seem to be popcorn, hard chips (Doritos and the like), nuts, candy, jerky, and whole fruits and veggies.  We don’t want braces to ruin your life by limiting your food, but you’ll be happier if you take care of your braces so they can take care of you. We know you look forward to finishing your orthodontic treatment so you can have that beautiful smile you’ve been working for.  And, so you can start munching on those delicious treats like caramel apples and corn on the cob that you’ve been avoiding while you had your braces on. If you want to see Dr. Luff and Dr. Cliff smile big at your next appointment, keep these Top Tips in mind.  Brush, wear your bands, and protect your braces.   Following the Top Tips will make your orthodontic treatment breeze by.  We will miss seeing you at your appointments, but we will be super excited to send you out with your gorgeous, healthy smile!  

Orthodontics and the Alaska State Fair

The Alaska State Fair kicked off in Palmer this week, bringing hundreds of activities and thousands of people to the beautiful Matanuska Valley.  There are so many things to do there, you could spend days and still not see it all.  For many folks, though, the best part of the Fair is the fair food!  When you’re wearing braces, you will avoid some of the fair staples.  Here’s a short list of Alaska State Fair foods braces-wearers shouldn’t eat:
  • Caramel Apples – 
These sticky, crunchy caramel apples are certainly on the top of the No Eating list for now.  You’ll need to wait on enjoying those until you’re done with your treatment. The gooey caramel would stick in your appliances and pull parts of your appliances off your teeth.  Add in the super-crunchy whole apple, a bracket-breaker and wire-bender, and  you’ve got a recipe for trouble.
  • Kettle Corn –
You already know the dangers of hard kernels breaking/bending your braces, so avoid this sweet and salty version of popcorn to protect your appliances.
  • Corn on the cob – 
Biting into those delicious corn kernels is not a good idea when they are still attached to the cob.  They tend to damage your brackets and wires, and it’s often more trouble than it’s worth.  If you’re still craving the warm, buttery corn, try cutting it off the cob and eating it with a fork or spoon.  With a little creativity you can still enjoy it!
So, that’s enough of a list of things you’ll need to avoid at the State Fair while you’re wearing your braces.  Now let’s talk about some of the other deliciousness you can have! Cotton Candy – always a classic! Mini Doughnuts – warm and fresh with a cinnamon-sugar dusting, good to share with friends or keep for your own. Bread bowls – filled with soup or chili and topped with melting cheese. Great for those chilly Alaska Fall days. Elephant ears – fried bread topped with honey or jam or powdered sugar. The mess is worth it! Anything on a stick – corndogs, porkchops, potato chips, ice cream, you name it.  The Fair is the perfect time to eat some “walking around food”. Of course, we remind you that all these Fair Food treats are not necessarily healthy choices, so keep in mind they are a treat. And, you’ll be treating your teeth right if you brush after you indulge.  Letting all that sugar sit on your braces and teeth is never a good idea, so bring a travel toothbrush for a quick brush up. In case you wanted to do something besides eat while you’re at the fair, check out the Alaska State Fair website for daily schedules.  Have a great time enjoying it all!   The rides and games, concerts, interesting people, and all the cool things our neighbors have grown, raised, and created over the year. You might see Dr. Luff there with his family, taking it all in.  He’s going to be at the 4H Auction again this year, supporting the youth who’ve spent a lot of time learning and working to raise their animals.  If you get the chance to cheer him on during his bidding, you should do it! If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Anchorage or Palmer/Wasilla, we hope you’ll consider joining us at Luff Orthodontics.  We would love to set up a free consultation with you to discuss your needs and make plans for treatment.  We work with insurers and have affordable payment plans with 0% interest as well.  So, call us at either of our offices (Anchorage 907-563-3015 and Valley 907-373-6411) to set an appointment.  Dr. Luff and his staff look forward to meeting you soon!    

Shave Ice for the win

Dr. Luff and his crew participated in the 3rd annual Ptarmigan Pediatrics Summer Health Party a few weeks ago.  The event was packed with hundreds of our friends and neighbors and we had the best time! Dr. Luff loves authentic Hawaiian Shave Ice, and he wanted to share some of the deliciousness with our Valley friends.  With help from some of our staff and a bunch of the Luff crew kiddos, Dr. Luff made and gave away about 750 Hawaiian Shave Ices in 4 hours! That’s just over 3 each minute, and we rocked it.     At Luff Orthodontics we love working on projects together.  We find teamwork and cooperation opportunities in things such as making hundreds of shave ice cups, volunteering for the Make A Wish foundation, and especially in providing families with the the best orthodontic care around.  The same communication skills we used to keep those shave ices coming are the same communication skills we use when we put together orthodontic treatment for our patients.  We know our goals, we make our plans, and we work together to make it a fabulous experience for all involved. We are looking forward to giving away even more shave ice cups at next year’s summer health fair event.  It’s always fun to share in positive family events in our community.  We also look forward to meeting you and your family if you are looking for an orthodontist in Alaska.  With offices in both Anchorage and Wasilla, we are conveniently located and ready to support your orthodontics needs. Call us at 907-563-3015 (Anchorage) or 907-373-6411 (Wasilla) to set up a free consultation.

Summer Health Fair + Free Shave Ice

Dr. Luff and his staff will be participating in the 3rd annual Ptarmigan Pediatrics Summer Health Fair on Friday, July 14th, from 2:00 – 6:00 in the evening.  You can find us in our canopy just outside the parking lot for our Valley office location, at 3465 E. Meridian Park Loop, in Wasilla.  Look for the tents and listen for the music to find the fun.  Dr. Luff will be showcasing his Hawaiian Shave Ice-making skills and sharing free Hawaiian Shave Ice with everyone who stops by to say hello!   Here’s a list of the flavor options we will have for you to choose from: Blue Hawaii Green Paradise Hawaiian Punch Strawberry Colada Red Watermelon Blue Raspberry Dreamcicle Mango Pina Colada Tiger’s Blood Bring your whole family for this fun event… Enjoy free food, a bounce house, music by NewCity Entertainment, a demonstration by Excel Gymnastics, and a Dunk-the-Doc dunk tank.   While you’re there, make sure to say hello to us at the Luff Orthodontics booth.  We love seeing our orthodontic patients and meeting new people we can help along their way to getting the smile they want.  We’d love to visit with you about how your summer is going, and talk to you about setting up a time to discuss your orthodontic needs.  If you can’t make it to the Summer Health Fair, but are still looking for an orthodontist in Alaska, go ahead and give us a call at 907-563-3015 to set up your free consultation.  With offices in Anchorage and now in the Valley, too, it’s never been more convenient to see Dr. Luff and his crew.  Looking forward to seeing you soon!    

Sharing your smile

Want to make a positive first impression? Share a smile!  Studies have proven smiles are the first thing most people notice about others, ranked higher in importance than your eyes, smell, clothes, or hair.  Your smile doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, and you can really brighten up someone’s day by sharing your smile with them. Smiles are universal, and kiddos from many lands smile to show their happiness. What makes you smile? Hearing your favorite song on the radio? Seeing a friend you haven’t seen for a while? Reading a note from someone you care about? Thinking about happy memories or plans for your future?   When you come in to see us at Luff Orthodontics, we love to share our smiles with you.  You can start at the front desk where Jenny, Alyssa, and Laura will welcome you to our office. Your first visit will likely include a visit with Tia or Keith and their cheerful smiles. Once you are seated in the practice, you’ll be greeted by smiles from our amazing assistants, including Hayley, Sara, Taleena, and Breanna.   Dr. Luff and Dr. Cliff are always ready with a smile, as well.  Sometimes you can’t see the doctors’ smiles behind their cool facemasks, but you can usually see the smile in their eyes.   So, like the old song says, “if you’re happy and you know it, your face will surely show it.”  You can help make the world a better place by sharing your smile wherever you go.     And, to really brighten things up, share your kindness along with your smile to help make someone else feel better, too!   If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Alaska, we hope you’ll give us the chance to share our smiles with you at Luff Orthodontics.  We do our best to show kindness and caring to each patient we meet, and hope to have you smiling along with us during your time in our office.  You can find us at our Anchorage location  at 3708 Rhone Circle or our newest location in the Valley at 3465 E. Meridian Park Loop in Wasilla.  Give us a call at 907-563-3015 for your free consultation.  Looking forward to meeting you soon!  

Dr. Luff’s reminders for camping in Alaska

Like many Alaskans, Dr. Luff uses some of his time away from work to enjoy the great outdoors with his family and friends.  When you are out adventuring this summer, you might cross paths with him on a back-country trail,   fishing a river, or setting up a campsite with his kiddos. As your orthodontist, Dr. Luff wants you to enjoy your summer camping trips at the same time as you take care of your teeth.     Where do your summer camping adventures take you?  Do you pack light and head up the trail at Crow Pass for an overnight?  Do you prefer heavy camping with all the comforts of home? Maybe you combine your campout with kayaking at Eklutna or biking Denali. Whether you’re packing light or going all out, Dr. Luff would remind you to consider your teeth when making your pack list.  A couple small things will help you take care of your braces while you’re off adventuring overnight.  
  • Toothpick, flosspick, or other interdental cleaners
  • Travel toothbrush
  • Orthodontic wax to help with discomfort from protruding wires
  • Rubber bands if you have been given them to wear
  • If you have a retainer, remember to bring it with you and wear it as usual.  It will take an extra effort to keep it clean and safe.  Some people recommend putting your retainer in the case and leaving it on your pillow/sleeping bag when you’re not wearing it so you always know where to find it and it will be a good reminder to put it in at night before bed.
    Another important reminder: Eat all the delicious camping food.   Then, remember to brush your teeth!  It’s a little extra hassle when you’re outside, but your good oral hygiene habits will keep your teeth and braces working together to produce that awesome smile. If you’re looking for an orthodontist to get started with in Alaska, please give us a call at 907-563-3015 (Anchorage office) or 907-373-6411 (Valley location).  We love getting to know new patients and seeing your great smiles when you come in for appointments! Here’s hoping your summer is going great and you remember to care for your teeth and braces while you’re out enjoying all the awesomeness Alaska has to share.

Summer Movie Treats

When I’m not working at Luff Orthodontics, I love heading to the movie theater to catch a summer blockbuster on a cool, rainy evening.  Our local movie theaters have really stepped it up in the past few years, bringing awesome sound systems and super comfortable stadium-style seating with huge screens. It almost doesn’t matter how tall the person in front of you is: You can see over the top of their head in your cool rocking chair.   Growing up here in Alaska, we had fewer theaters to choose from back in the day, with smaller screens, and old-school seating.  Anyone out there remember the Fireweed Theater or the Mat-Su Cinemas?  I know there are even more “vintage” theaters in our local history; maybe you remember some of them? No matter whether watching a movie on the huge screens today or back in the old days, hot, buttery popcorn is a part of the theater for many people.  What to do when you have your awesome braces on and you are following the rules Dr. Luff gave you: No Popcorn?     Does this mean you have to miss all the treats at the movies with your friends and family?  Are you destined to be miserable for two years of summer movie watching?  Never fear! We have some suggestions for alternate treats you can enjoy at the movies.   Soft pretzels:  Soft pretzels are hot, salty, and buttery – all the things you want out of a bucket of popcorn without the scratchy hulls. Bonus points if you get some cheese for dipping! Hot Dogs: You can’t go wrong with a soft bun and juicy hot dog, and most if not all of the toppings are safe bets, too. Pizza: Pizza is generally a good option, but beware of overly chewy or crunchy crusts that might tweak your brackets or irritate tender gums. Chocolate Candy: Remember the old tagline “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”? Sticky treats like Skittles, caramel, Sour Patch Kids, gummy worms, and licorice aren’t a good idea, but chocolate candies including M&Ms, Hershey’s Kisses, Kit Kats, Mounds bars, Sno-Caps, and Reeses Pieces definitely are. Ice Cream and Other Frozen Goodies: Many movie theaters now carry a variety of frozen desserts, and some even have milkshake, slushy, and smoothie machines. Everything from ice cream sandwiches to bonbons to sundaes is fine, but think twice about blended treats with hard candies mixed in.   So, whether your idea of a fun movie night includes Lightning McQueen or Optimus Prime, you don’t have to miss out on the treats while you’re wearing your braces. Take good care of your teeth and follow the care rules from Dr. Luff, and soon enough you’ll be finished up with your treatment.  You’ll be glad you did your best to take care of your teeth and braces, and you’ll find it was worth the wait for the popcorn and other treats you’d been avoiding. If you’re looking for a great Alaskan Orthodontist with a fabulous support team, I hope you’ll call us at Luff Orthodontics.  You can reach us at 907-563-3015 to set up a free consultation.  We’d love to help get you on the path to your orthodontic treatment.  We will take good care of you while you’re wearing your braces, and we might just get to see you at the local movie theater on some cool, rainy evening!  

Choose your colors!

When you have braces, most of your appointments at Luff Orthodontics will include a decision: What color of bands do you want?  Some people call them elastics, rubber bands, ties, or even ligatures.  Whatever name you use for your bands, you know how fun it is to match your mood, your outfit, your school colors, or whatever you’d like. You probably recognize this box of elastics from your visits to our office.  Do you plan ahead of time what colors you’ll choose? Or do you just make your decision when Sara, Hayley, Breanna, or Taleena ask you what color you want? Either way, you’re in good hands with Dr. Luff, and your elastics will look fabulous with your beautiful smile! Here are some fun ideas to consider for your summer colors: “Watermelon” – Always a favorite summer treat, plus it is one of the many fruits you can enjoy with your braces on!  Of course, you have to cut up your watermelon, but you were going to do that anyway, right? Share the watermelon love by choosing a funky green and red mix. “Cool Water” – Whether you are fishing the Kenai, splashing in the sprinkler, or boating on Big Lake, you know water and summertime in Alaska just go hand in hand.  Wear a mix of shades of blue to bring the cool water with you everywhere you go. Our glacier-fed streams and rivers and lakes make for some of the most beautiful, clean water anywhere.  Get out and enjoy it! “Captain America” – Go patriotic and celebrate the Red, White, and Blue with these bright colors.  Perfect for your 4th of July barbeque, or anytime through the summer.  We can’t see the fireworks very well because of our amazing Midnight Sun, but we can still love the party with our friends and families!   Team colors – Whether you root for the Packers or the Seahawks, we’ve got you covered.  When the sun is shining and you’re enjoying some time off of school, you can still show your school pride by choosing your school colors for your bands! Harry Potter houses – You don’t need a sorting hat to choose your house when it comes to braces colors.  This cool collage shows some ideas for all the Potterheads out there! So, whether you plan your colors ahead of time or pick them when you are in our office, we are happy to help you personalize your beautiful smile!  Call us to set up an appointment if you’re looking for an orthodontist in Alaska.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Summer Smiles in Alaska

Trees greening up, longer hours of sunshine, and the kids ready for a break from school? You know what that means… Summer waits just around the corner!  I’m sure you’ll agree: Summer in Alaska is one of the best things ever.   The Luff Team loves to get out and enjoy the beauty of our home state when we are not in the office. Once a year we enjoy a bit of summer together on a Luff Orthodontics Staff summer adventure. As an orthodontist in Alaska, Dr. Luff works hard in the office and plays hard in Alaska’s great outdoors. We smiled through summer escapades together on a whitewater rafting trip near Hope, Alaska.  The Chugach Outdoor Center crew hosted us there in 2015.   Last year, in July, we planned to take a zipline tour of the boreal forest in Talkeetna with Denali Zipline Tours.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and we were shut down due to high winds.  We made the best of it, though, and were able to jump on a K2 Aviation flight up to Denali.   We are making plans for our summer experience for 2017. Any recommendations for where we should go? What do you like to do with your family and friends in the summer? We live in a beautiful place, with great experiences right out our backdoor.  Any time we get to spend in summer in Alaska remains a reason to smile!  Our Anchorage staff has been known to hike Flattop, bike the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, and road trip to Seward on a long weekend.  The Valley (Wasilla office) staff finds time to hike Hatcher Pass by Palmer, fish one of our many lakes and streams, or have a backyard barbecue with the neighbors.   Be sure to tell us about your recent adventures when you come in for your next orthodontic appointment.  We look forward to hearing your stories and seeing your great smiles!

Luff Orthodontics’ Wasilla Office Grand Opening and Open House!

Don’t miss the Grand Opening of our second location in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley! Come see what our beautiful new office looks like. There will be great door prizes, including a grand prize for LUKE BRYAN tickets. Delicious food will be catered by Sweetie Pie Fried Pies (see their Facebook page). We look forward to see all of you, April 13th from 5-7 pm. Invite any of your friends and family to come have a fantastic time with us!