3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

October 19, 2020

Choosing an Orthodontist

We believe orthodontic patients deserve to feel informed and empowered at every step of your orthodontic journey, from your first visit to Pioneer Orthodontics to your final retainer check. Starting the process of choosing an orthodontist and improving your smile can be as intimidating as it is exciting. You only get one smile, so it’s important to only trust it to an expert orthodontic team such as ours. But how can you be sure you’re making the right choice? Here are 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist to ensure the best experience and the best results. 

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

While this may seem so obvious that it doesn’t need to be asked, it’s actually pretty important when choosing an orthodontist. Before starting treatment with braces or Invisalign, you should always make sure the provider is qualified. That’s because some general dentists can also provide orthodontic treatment, even though they don’t specialize in it. 

A general dentist will offer standard dental services like crowns, fillings, dentures, and occasional orthodontic treatment like Invisalign. An orthodontist, on the other hand, spends their days providing only orthodontic services.

This distinction is pretty important. For instance, imagine that you or your child required specialized treatment or surgery. Would you feel comfortable with your family physician handling your case, or would you prefer a dedicated specialist? 

Orthodontists are essentially dentists who also have several years of additional specialized training and experience. This means an orthodontist has:

  • studied the growth and maturation of the teeth and jaws
  • been introduced to thousands of case studies
  • Researched all the latest advancement in technology and methods
  • developed extensive diagnostic skills
  • learned biomechanical techniques to properly move teeth
  • studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and facial growth of younger patients

Orthodontic residency programs are pretty competitive, as evidenced by the fact that they only accept the top students from a dental school graduating class. Orthodontic programs last 2-3 years and include full-time training focused on correcting orthodontic issues using braces and Invisalign. While there are exceptions to every rule, most dentists won’t possess this same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience. 

Dr. Cserna is a 1982 graduate of Fresno State, where she received her Bachelor of Arts. After obtaining her Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 1989 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry, she went on to complete a general practice residency at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

She practiced general dentistry in rural Nebraska and taught at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry for several years. Dr. Cserna returned to the College of Dentistry to earn her certificate in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics in 1996 as well as a Master of Science in oral biology.

Dr. Cserna believes that staying directly linked to the professional community is one of the most important ways to provide you with the highest quality of care. Her commitment to this is clear from her membership in several professional organizations, including:

  • American Dental Association
  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • Nebraska Dental Association
  • Lincoln District Dental Association
  • Nebraska Society of Orthodontists
  • Lincoln Orthodontic Society
  • Midwestern Society of Orthodontists

Choosing an Orthodontist

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

It is important to look at the treatment options offered when choosing an orthodontist. Pioneer Orthodontics has a wide variety of treatment options available to patients of all ages in Lincoln and the surrounding communities. 

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces have been around for a long time, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t always improving, especially in recent years. They’re made from a mix of high-grade stainless steel, nickel, and other safe and durable metals. Bands that wrap around the back molars are sometimes used, and smaller metal brackets are cemented to the other teeth. There is also a thin, springy metal wire that connects the braces, tied into the brackets by colorful elastics, metal ties, or another type of clasp. All of these components come together to gently guide your teeth into the desired positions over time.

Clear braces

These braces can go by many names: clear braces, ceramic braces, or tooth-colored braces are most commonly used. They work the same way that metal braces do, but are less obvious on your teeth thanks to the clear ceramic material used to make them. 

Because they are less visible than traditional braces, they’re popular with older teens and adult patients. They may be more image-conscious and looking for a more esthetic treatment option. They’re larger and more brittle than their metal counterparts, so we tend to use them on the upper front teeth more often than the lower teeth. 


The Invisalign system is made up of a series of customized aligners that are nearly invisible and completely removable. No need to worry about brackets and wires getting in your way, and the freedom and flexibility can’t be beaten by any other treatment. The aligners are designed to fit snugly over your own teeth, and you may be surprised at how comfortable your orthodontic experience is. When worn the recommended 20-22 hours per day, and changed weekly to progress in the series, these aligners will gradually move your teeth into proper position.

Invisalign Teen

Although Invisalign and Invisalign Teen work the same way when it comes to the underlying technology, Invisalign Teen was developed with the unique needs of teen patients in mind. There are a few unique features specific to the Invisalign Teen system, including compliance indicators, eruption tabs, and replacement aligners. 

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

Different cases will require different length of time between appointments, so that is important to consider when choosing an orthodontist. Whatever treatment option you choose with Dr. Cserna, you should expect regular monitoring visits to our Lincoln or York office. Most patients will have adjustment appointments every 4-8 weeks or so. Dr. Cserna will use these appointments to make sure everything is going according to plan, and your teeth are moving in the right direction. Invisalign patients may come in less often, but these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process, so you don’t want to miss them! 

Depending on case difficulty, treatment time varies greatly, ranging anywhere from 6-36 months. Regardless of your total estimated time, you’ll be seeing us often throughout your orthodontic journey! We know how busy today’s families are, so we never overbook patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled time.

Choosing an Orthodontist

Don’t trust your smile to anything less than the best!

Dr. Cserna has the education, skills, and experience needed to provide the best care and create a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, we would love to meet you and talk more about how we can help you achieve the smile you desire. There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards improved oral health, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Cserna!


Is Invisalign Worth It?

April 27, 2020

When you first find out that you or your child need orthodontic treatment, you may be unsure of what to expect in the months to come. If you aren’t sure about the treatment options available to you, you might be dreading a mouthful of metal braces in your future. While traditional braces have come a long way in recent years, many of our teen and adult patients are hesitant to use them to get a straighter smile. Additionally, many have preconceived notions about other treatments, such as Invisalign, which lead them to wonder “is Invisalign worth it?”

Thankfully, traditional metal braces are no longer your only option. Today, there are a multitude of treatment options, including clear or tooth-colored braces, lingual braces that fit to the back of your teeth and Invisalign clear aligners. Here at Pioneer Orthodontics, we’ll create a treatment plan based upon your unique smile that will give you the best possible results! We understand that what works for one person may not be the best option for another, so we’ll take several factors into consideration when deciding which treatment is the best for you. This includes:

  • Your specific diagnosis
  • The amount of work that needs to be done
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your goals
  • Your personal preference
  • Your budget

Invisalign clear aligners have become the most popular alternative to traditional braces, and it’s easy to see why! In most cases, aligners are equivalent in price to traditional metal braces. In some cases, however, they can be slightly more expensive, leading some to wonder if it’s really worth the difference in cost. To learn more about why we believe Invisalign aligners are a great investment in your smile, keep reading below!

Invisalign offers you a more subtle way to straighten your smile

One of the most attractive features of Invisalign aligners is that they are made of a clear plastic that is barely noticeable to most people. For patients who are worried about orthodontic treatment bringing attention to their teeth, Invisalign is a great alternative! Since aligners can be removed for short periods of time, clear aligners are also perfect for any events where you want your natural smile to shine through, such as weddings, proms, or family photos.  

Invisalign comes with extra flexibility

Patients who choose to go with Invisalign clear aligner therapy are able to enjoy more freedom than traditional braces can offer! For example, patients who wear braces are restricted from foods that are sticky or crunchy because they can cause damage to the wires and brackets. Because Invisalign aligners are not fixed to your teeth, they can be removed, allowing you to enjoy your favorite snacks without worrying about damage to your braces. 

Invisalign makes it easy to maintain good oral hygiene 

When it comes to keeping up your oral hygiene routine, braces can come with a bit of a learning curve. The extra wires and brackets can be challenging to brush and floss around in the beginning. They can also make it more difficult to get rid of lingering food particles or plaque. That isn’t a problem with Invisalign! You can simply remove your aligner before brushing your teeth and follow your normal oral hygiene routine. The aligners themselves are also easy to take care of. There are specialized cleaning kits or you can use a soft bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to gently brush them.

Invisalign can straighten your teeth in less time than braces

Each case is unique and every patient responds to treatment in their own way, so there is never a “one size fits all” answer as to the length of orthodontic treatment. 

With the Invisalign clear aligner system, patient compliance is key to the success of treatment. For the aligners to have the desired result, it’s important to wear them for 20-22 hours per day while undergoing the treatment process. Every 1-2 weeks you’ll switch your aligner for the next one in the series to keep your teeth gradually moving to their new positions. 

If you‘re committed to your Invisalign treatment and are fully compliant, treatment can last from 6 to 18 months, which is slightly faster than the average braces treatment!

Invisalign works well for a multitude of orthodontic issues

In its early days, Invisalign aligners were most commonly used to treat simple spacing issues or mild crowding. Once orthodontists began to realize the potential of the unique system, it began to grow in popularity, which led to drastic improvements in the design. The Invisalign clear aligner system can now treat the following issues with lasting results:

  • gaps between teeth
  • crowding
  • deep overbite
  • over bite
  • crossbite
  • excessive overjet

When used by an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Cserna, the Invisalign system can be just as effective as traditional braces! 

Invisalign offers special features for teen patients

When it comes to the benefits and treatment technology, Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are exactly the same. However, Invisalign Teen includes some features that were developed specifically to meet the needs of our teenage patients, including:

Compliance indicators

As we mentioned before, patient compliance is the most important part in having success with Invisalign. The aligners must be worn as instructed by Dr. Cserna in order to see the desired results. The compliance indicators that are incorporated into Invisalign Teen fade from blue to clear, showing parents and orthodontists how often they’ve been worn. This shows them that the patient is keeping up their end of treatment!

Eruption tabs

These tabs allow extra space for the growth of the second molars in young adults. Keeping this space open for extra teeth makes it possible to treat a wider range of orthodontic issues with Invisalign. 

Replacement aligners

We know accidents happen and sometimes our teen patients may lose or break an aligner. While your teen should always handle their aligners with care, don’t worry if this happens! Invisalign Teen will provide you with up to six replacement aligners at no additional cost, just in case. 


Trust your smile to the Invisalign experts at Pioneer Orthodontics

The Invisalign clear aligner system has a number of benefits, but it may not be right for everyone. In general, aligners tend to work best for adult and teen patients with mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Cases that are more complex or severe might require more precise tooth control that a removable aligner is unable to accomplish. 

Once you schedule your free consultation with Dr. Cserna, she’ll be able to assess your individual needs and determine if Invisalign treatment is right for your smile. If she feels you should pursue a different route, we’ll talk you through all of your options and make a plan together. You can trust us to recommend only what we think is best for your individual smile!

During your initial consultation, we’ll also spend some time outlining the investment required for your new smile. You’ll learn about all of your payment options as well as insurance coverage information. We’ll make sure you have everything you need to understand your investment and clearly weigh your options. Knowing there’s a discreet, comfortable, and flexible treatment option that will give you life-long results is worth the investment!

If you’re ready to learn more about the Invisalign clear aligner system and how it can give you the smile you deserve, contact our office today to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Cserna!

Does Your Smile Leave a Lasting Impression?

Does Your Smile Leave a Lasting Impression?

February 20, 2020

Did you know that your smile is one of the first things people notice about you? It’s also the feature they most easily remember. Knowing this, your smile can have a bigger impact on your professional success than you might think! If you have a healthy smile that stands out even when you’re not in the room, it can help you land a promotion, motivate others on the job, and even negotiate a better salary. So what happens when you’re struggling with crooked teeth, misalignment, or other orthodontic issues? 

Here at Pioneer Orthodontics, we want all of our patients to live up to their fullest potential! Feeling self-conscious about the state of your smile can hold you back, but our treatment options can help you put your best professional foot forward. Let’s explore a little more about why smiles matter when it comes to a successful career, and what we can do to help you achieve it!

Set the tone with a smile

A genuine smile helps put others at ease, and it can also make you appear friendlier. This is something potential employers pay attention to. When you attend a job interview, for instance, your credentials are only part of what the interviewer will be looking at! If you come across as stiff, unfriendly, or lacking the ability to connect with others, it could hurt your chances of being offered the position or promotion you desire. Successful companies don’t just want a candidate who is qualified on paper, they also want someone who will contribute to a positive work environment by building a rapport with coworkers and clients. 

Smile and the world smiles with you

Humans mimic facial expressions, even when we don’t realize we’re doing it. This can trigger a similar emotional state and briefly boost our mood. It also allows us to understand the person whom we are communicating with and respond appropriately – which is why we tend to smile back when someone smiles at us. It turns out that smiling really is contagious!

A bright, healthy smile may also signal to potential employers that you could be a positive influence on those around you. A study was undertaken by scientists at the University of Kansas, where subjects were given stressful tasks to complete. Some participants were asked to smile during these tasks, while others were told to maintain a straight face. Researchers measured the heart rates of the participants, and the subjects were asked to self-report their stress levels as they performed the tasks.

Those who had been told to smile had lower heart rates and their bodies showed more resistance to stress. They also reported feeling more positive overall than those who were told to keep a straight face, proving the power in a smile! A big smile is attractive to employers and coworkers alike, and that can lead to some real advantages in the workplace.  

A similar Yale University study attempted to show this by dividing volunteers into small groups and assigning specific tasks. One team member was secretly instructed to act upbeat upon entering the room. When that person came in with a smile on their face and a positive attitude, the mood in the room lifted almost immediately! The study also found that each individual’s performance improved and the group itself was more likely to achieve the goal it had been given.

The Halo Effect

Researcher Edward Thorndike coined the term “halo effect” in 1920 to describe the way our brains attach positive qualities to a person once we see just one positive quality. We extrapolate information about a person based on our own perception of them, and while it may not be a particularly fair way to process new people we meet, it certainly highlights just how significant first impressions can be!

One trait that’s been proven to get the halo effect going is an attractive smile. People who have a bright, beautiful smile are naturally seen as smarter, wittier, more successful and hardworking, and more trustworthy than someone who doesn’t smile often or struggles with oral health. Have you been trying to get your foot in the door or close out a big deal? Your smile could kick off the halo effect in a way that will serve you well.

Increase your self-esteem

It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone and take risks when you don’t feel confident in every part of yourself. Yet, that’s what you need for true success! If you’re happy with your appearance you’re likely to feel better about yourself, and having a smile you love can really boost your self-confidence. Invisalign actually conducted a survey on this and found that almost 80% of adults who underwent orthodontic treatment said that having a healthier smile gave them the confidence to do something they never would have considered doing before. That number is nothing to sneeze at!

Find the secret to a successful smile at Pioneer Orthodontics

Appearance plays an important role in how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. It can influence our overall hireability, too! At Pioneer Orthodontics, we can help you achieve a beautiful smile that feels great and looks amazing thanks to a variety of treatment options. These range from traditional metal braces to the innovative Invisalign system. Thanks to modern orthodontic technology, these treatments are more comfortable and discreet than ever before, which our adult patients love!

Speaking of adult patients, healthy teeth can be moved at any age, and current treatment options make it easy to get the smile you’ve always wanted. While correcting orthodontic issues will improve your oral health, don’t underestimate the importance of improved self-confidence, too! Smiling has been linked to better moods, greater positivity, and being able to connect with others more easily. It’s also shown to reduce stress levels, something most of us can appreciate in this hectic day and age.

Finally, a beautiful smile can increase your self-esteem, help you make a positive first impression, and even give you the edge you need to achieve the career goals you’ve set for yourself. If you’d like to learn more about how we can give you a smile that will help you get ahead, get in touch today to schedule your free consultation! 

Am I Too Old For Braces?

Am I Too Old For Braces?

January 17, 2020

When you hear orthodontics, what’s the first thing you think of? If you’re like most people, it’s probably some combination of a teenager and braces. This stereotype has had serious staying power, and for that reason, you may not even be aware that orthodontic patients can be anywhere from 7 to 70! While it’s true that we treat many teens, orthodontics can actually be beneficial for all ages, including adults. In fact, there’s been a huge increase in the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in recent years. Currently, about 1 in every 5 orthodontic patients is over the age of 18!

If you’ve spent a lifetime unhappy or self-conscious with how your teeth look and feel, you’re never too old to improve your oral health! Pioneer Orthodontics is proud to offer a variety of treatment options to successfully correct crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw positioning, and more. To learn a bit more about what orthodontics actually is, and how it can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, keep reading below!

What is orthodontics?

If you think of dentistry as an umbrella, orthodontics is a specialty underneath it. An orthodontist is a dentist who has received years of additional education and training in identifying and correcting bite abnormalities, as well as successfully straightening teeth, correcting misaligned jaws, and improving the overall function of the mouth.

An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Cserna works to diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial abnormalities. If issues such as these are left untreated, they can worsen over time, leading to premature wear and tear on the teeth, gum tissue, and bone. This may result in pain in the face and neck area, headaches, and even difficulties with chewing or speaking. 

Orthodontists are able to diagnose and treat these types of issues, which can improve both the function and appearance of your smile. 

Why are more adults choosing orthodontic treatment?

There are a number of reasons we’ve seen more adults exploring orthodontic treatment. One is that we often begin to understand more about how oral health is linked to our total body health as we get older. For some people, this knowledge encourages them to take action by seeking out dental or orthodontic treatment that will allow them to better care for their teeth and gums.

We also talk to many adult patients who received orthodontic treatment earlier in life that was never completed, who now want to finish the process. Touch-up treatment is common, as well. Teeth that were straightened in a patient’s younger years can shift over time due to age, genetics, or improper retainer use. In these cases, we have multiple options, including monitoring the teeth, providing new retainers, or re-treating with braces or aligners.

Then there are the adults who have never had treatment before, but are simply looking to improve the cosmetic appearance of their smile. This boosts their confidence and self-esteem, and can even have a positive impact on their personal and professional lives.  

What orthodontic options are available for adult patients?

Whatever your reason for seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult, there are more options than ever before! Pioneer Orthodontics offers the following treatments for a total smile makeover.

Damon Smile and Damon Clear braces

Damon braces are self-ligating, eliminating the need for elastic or metal “ties” by using a specialized clip in place of elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place. These clips reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth and require fewer adjustments because there are no elastics to replace. The use of gentle, low-friction force means there is less discomfort, and the “shape memory” titanium wires are very light. This innovative treatment option has several features, including:

  • freedom of movement, resulting in faster treatment times with gentler forces
  • precision and effectiveness
  • less discomfort than traditional braces
  • smaller, more comfortable braces that are easier to keep clean

While the time needed in braces varies from case to case, treatment time with the Damon System is typically much faster than with conventional braces. Fewer appointments are required during treatment as well, making your Damon experience convenient and hassle-free. The Damon System is also available in clear brackets for patients who want their smile to feel and look great during treatment. 

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

The Invisalign system consists of clear, removable aligners that are customized to fit comfortably over the teeth. Like braces, the aligners gently move the teeth into the desired positions. This is accomplished by wearing them 20-22 hours per day throughout the course of treatment, and replacing them every 1-2 weeks for the next aligner in the system.

Invisalign offers patients a bit of freedom and flexibility that traditional braces just can’t beat! There are no food restrictions since aligners are removed when eating or drinking. They also make it easier to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy since you don’t have to work around wires and brackets, and can simply brush and floss the way you normally would. 

Both of these options can be a great fit for busy adults! You can trust Dr. Cserna to recommend only the treatment method she feels will work best with your smile, lifestyle, and goals. 

Get the smile you’ve been waiting for with Pioneer Orthodontics

We don’t believe in cookie-cutter treatment here at Pioneer Orthodontics. Every smile is unique, and some treatment methods will be more suitable than others for certain patients. That’s why it’s so important to choose an experienced orthodontist like Dr.Cserna! She will build a personalized treatment plan for you based on your specific needs, giving you a positive orthodontic experience and superior results.

Our talented team is committed to providing the latest in orthodontic technique and technology for patients of all ages in Lincoln, York, and the surrounding communities. It’s never too late to get the smile you’ve always wanted. You can take the first step today by calling us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cserna!