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By Dr. Jon Hullings and Dr. Vincent Santucci

These days, there are many options for straightening teeth. So you might wonder why it’s important to see an orthodontic specialist for your treatment.  Read on for the top reasons why a specialty trained orthodontist is the best option to treat you or your child.

  1. Orthodontics goes beyond your teeth.

Everyone seeking orthodontic treatment has a goal of straight teeth.  Our goal for treatment goes beyond just aligning your teeth.  We will ensure that your teeth are straight, your bite fits together correctly and that your smile is designed to look great for your lifetime.  Orthodontists study facial esthetics and understand how tooth movement can change your facial profile, smile line and general appearance.  We understand how future growth changes and aging will affect how your face and smile will look in the future. We take a holistic, comprehensive approach to your treatment so that your overall appearance is considered along with your smile.

  1. Orthodontists identify the cause of the problem, and then solve it.

You may see crooked or gapped teeth. We see the cause of the problem. Orthodontists use their education, experience and expertise to correct the underlying issues in a way that is healthy and sustainable – for an attractive smile and a lasting result.  It’s important that the teeth, jaws, gums and facial muscles are positioned so that you can bite, chew, speak and SMILE with confidence for your lifetime.  Without taking all of these components into consideration, your result will be much less stable and problems such as excessive wear, chipping, premature tooth loss, gum recession and possibly even jaw joint issues can arise.

  1. Orthodontists are specialists.

After dental school, we devote an additional 2-3 years to a residency program focusing solely on the study of orthodontic treatment and dentofacial orthopedics.  We practice the art and science of orthodontics exclusively.  We focus our continuing education on orthodontics and see hundreds of patient per month.  We are uniquely positioned to use our knowledge, experience and skills to help you achieve the best possible result.

Your smile is your calling card to the world.  Make it the best it can be.

For more information about how we can give you the healthy smile you’ve always wanted, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jon Hullings and Dr. Vince Santucci, please give us a call at our convenient Wichita office at (316) 636-1980 or book a consultation by clicking here.

Welcome, Dr. Vincent Santucci!

A note from Dr. Jon Hullings

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Vincent Santucci has joined the Hullings & Santucci Orthodontics team! Dr. Santucci is a warm, engaging, and highly skilled orthodontist who is a truly wonderful fit for our practice.

As you can imagine, we take great care when inviting a new team member to join us. We have a longstanding reputation of providing the highest quality orthodontic treatment to the Wichita community, and draw deep satisfaction from the personal relationships we have with our patients. These are values that Dr. Santucci maintains as well, along with his dedication to providing a positive experience to each of his patients throughout their treatment. 

We have known Dr. Santucci for over a decade as he spent time doing an internship at our practice even before attending dental school! We’re so glad to have him back home at Hullings & Santucci Orthodontics. After his time with us Dr. Santucci went on to earn a certificate in orthodontics from the Eastman Institute of Oral Health at the University of Rochester in New York and completed his dental training at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. As one of the only full-time practicing board certified orthodontist in Wichita and a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, it was important to me that Dr. Santucci is also ABO certified and board eligible.

Moving back to Wichita is, in many ways, coming home for Dr. Santucci. Though he spent many years in Rochester, NY, including those earning his advanced dental education and orthodontic degrees, Wichita is where Dr. Santucci attended high school. He and his wife Stephanie are dog lovers and have three at home! They are also foster parents who help find puppies permanent homes. In his free time, Dr. Santucci enjoys staying active, including taking the dogs outside for runs and doing crossfit-style workouts. 

With Dr. Santucci joining our team we will increase appointment availability and leverage additional perspectives as we develop our patients’ treatment plans. I am confident that Dr. Santucci will bring new ideas, energy and insight, which will be appreciated by everyone who meets him. We look forward to introducing him to you! 


Parents Should Be Treated To a Beautiful Smile, Too

Parents Should Be Treated To a Beautiful Smile, Too

So you’ve been taking your child to orthodontic appointments with us like the good parent you are. You only want the best for them and you know that part of that is the gift of a healthy smile.

We all know that a great smile can improve quality of life. Your smile increases your attractiveness to others, and that sense of being friendly and approachable makes others more likely to be kind in return. Plus, when you feel good about yourself, you tend to smile more. There’s even research that shows an estimated 96% of people equate a healthy smile with confidence as well as personal and professional success. But did you also know that through smiling, your body gets added support with increased white blood cells, which helps your body fight against illness?

So, do something for yourself while your child is getting a healthier smile. You’re at the office anyway! Not only will you be making excellent use of time and taking care of yourself, you will have something in common with your child. It can be a bonding experience.

Get the straight and gorgeous smile you always wanted (or had, but then you didn’t wear your retainer)! There’s never been a better time: First, orthodontic treatment is a lot easier than it was when we were kids. Technological advances have given us clear aligners for a pain-free, nearly invisible process. At the same time, we now have 360 digital scanners. With a wand, we take 3D images of your teeth that allow us to create perfectly fitted aligners. No more gooey impressions!. Last, you might not know that Hullings & Santucci Orthodontics offers discounts for family members that decide to pursue orthodontic treatment, so be sure to ask us about that as well.

You give your child the very best you can – you deserve the best too.

There’s no need for a referral, so contact our office to schedule a complimentary evaluation for your child. Dr. Hullings & Dr. Santucci have been creating beautiful smiles for our Wichita neighbors since 1990. We love seeing familiar smiles around town, and nothing pleases us more than to be treating the second generation of our original patient family.

We look forward to meeting you!

When’s The Best Time for Your Child’s First Orthodontic Visit?

When’s The Best Time for Your Child’s First Orthodontic Visit?

If the Tooth Fairy has been making more frequent visits to your house, then it’s probably time to think about your child’s first orthodontic appointment. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that a child should visit an orthodontist for an evaluation at age 7. Typically by this age, the permanent front teeth and first molars are coming in and the “bite” is becoming established.

Only a very few children will need to start any orthodontic treatment at this early age, but a Board Certified Orthodontist like Dr. Jon Hullings can identify any issues with the bite, the jaws or permanent tooth eruption that need to be addressed. At the first visit, Dr. Hullings & Dr. Santucci will evaluate concerns such as crowding, large spacing, facial growth and any problematic oral habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. He will be able to determine if early orthodontic treatment is recommended to address any of these concerns.

If treatment is not indicated at this early age, Dr. Hullings & Dr. Santucci can carefully monitor growth and development and recommend treatment if and when the time is right. Regular evaluation appointments during these developmental years are important so that any problems can be identified and treated at the ideal time to get the best possible results. This observation service is complimentary, and the appointments are quick and easy.

Benefits of Early Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment:

  • Create room for crowded, erupting teeth to help avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions in the future
  • Improve the eruption paths for teeth that are not coming in normal positions
  • Improve facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
  • Reduce the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserve space for unerupted teeth
  • Reduce the time in full braces in the future
  • Improve the appearance of the smile, increasing self-esteem

Your child’s first visit to the orthodontist is an important milestone in his or her developmental years. Whether your child falls into the observational, watch and wait group, or early interceptive treatment is recommended, this first visit will put your child on the path to a healthy smile for life.

There’s no need for a referral, so contact our office to schedule a complimentary evaluation for your child. Dr. Hullings & Dr. Santucci have been creating beautiful smiles for our Wichita neighbors since 1990. We love seeing familiar smiles around town, and nothing pleases us more than to be treating the second generation of our original patient family.

We look forward to meeting you!

7 Reasons Your Child Should See an Orthodontist by Age 7

When should a child see an orthodontist? The American Association of Orthodontists recommends kids have their first orthodontic screening when you notice signs of an orthodontic problem or, you guessed it, by age 7. A referral from your dentist can help with specific concerns, but a referral isn’t necessary.

Most of the time, when your kiddo first visits Dr. Jon Hullings he’ll examine the bite, jaws and teeth, and chat with you both about what he sees, marking the beginning of an observational period. You’ll come back about every six months so he can keep an eye on any concerns he had at your initial examination and let you know when it’s time for your child to start treatment. This observation service is complimentary, and the appointments will be quick and easy.

Every so often, if an issue is spotted, visiting an orthodontist by age 7 ensures that we’re able to step in early during a child’s active growth. At this point, we can much more easily guide the development of the teeth and jaws to prevent more complex orthodontic issues down the road. This early interceptive treatment generally addresses severe crowding or jaw concerns and consists of wearing an appliance or limited braces for about year or so. Interceptive treatment is followed by a resting period where we will continue to monitor dental development. Then, in a second phase of treatment, your child will typically go through the normal course of braces.

Whether your child falls into the observational, watch & wait group, or they need interceptive orthodontic treatment, these early visits will put them on the path to a healthy smile for life.

Here are 7 reasons to see an orthodontist at age 7:

1. We can identify extra or missing teeth

The first orthodontic visit includes an exam by Dr. Hullings & Dr. Santucci with photos and digital x-rays. He will identify issues like extra or missing teeth at this early stage when we can take action to keep your child’s oral development on track. When a child is actively growing and still has baby teeth, it’s easier to use appliances like a space maintainer, retainer or braces to allow the permanent teeth to erupt where they’re supposed to. In other instances, a panoramic x-ray may reveal an extra tooth or two. These are called supernumerary teeth. They are commonly found blocking permanent front teeth from erupting or causing alignment issues. In this situation, early interceptive treatment may be needed to correct the problem.

2. Correct harmful habits

Your child’s first orthodontic visit is a great time to ask about potentially harmful oral habits like finger and thumb sucking, teeth grinding, tongue thrusting and/or mouth breathing. We can offer guidance on stopping these habits before they cause irreversible damage. For example, finger and thumb sucking have been associated with narrowing of the jaws and crossbite, while tongue thrusting has been linked to an open bite and premature wear of the back teeth. The longer the habit continues, the worse the bite can get. We can give you advice for different behavioral techniques you can use and, if all else fails, there are really effective habit-breaking appliances that physically block the behavior.

3. Guide tooth eruption

When we take a panoramic x-ray, we can see your child’s unerupted teeth and their positions below the gum line. If it appears that teeth don’t have room to come in at all, or they’ll come in at odd angles or in the wrong place, a proper treatment plan can create the right environment to aid in their eruption. This can have a significant positive impact on future treatment and overall results. When enough space is created, there is a high chance that we can avoid extraction of permanent teeth. And typically the time spent in full braces to detail the alignment and fit if the permanent teeth down the road is significantly shorter than if we wait.

4. Correct jaw growth problems

If you’re wondering how old is too old to see an orthodontist, the answer is it’s never too late to achieve a smile you love. We can successfully straighten your teeth at any age. That being said, when it comes to correcting issues with the jaw, there’s a huge advantage to early intervention. When you’re an adult who is done growing, and you have a severe jaw size imbalance, options become more limited and surgery may be required to address your bite concerns. Bites like underbites are especially important to have evaluated and treated early. Interceptive orthodontic treatment can guide the growth of the jaw while it’s still developing because jaws are more easily manipulated, helping children to avoid surgery or complicated treatment as a grown-up. We can use a number of appliances to correct problems or imbalances with jaw growth in order to fit all of the permanent teeth and relate the upper and lower jaw to each other. This brings about lasting, dramatic results.

5. Make room for crowded teeth

Crowded teeth can be due to jaw size, tooth size or the early loss of baby teeth. When a baby tooth comes out too early, the adjacent teeth will shift to fill in the space. This can block the permanent tooth from erupting properly and cause severe crowding. Depending on the severity of crowding, it might be appropriate to just watch and wait, but sometimes it’s important to use appliances to hold space or regain space, or expand the jaws. That way, when the permanent teeth are ready to come in naturally, they’ll have room and your child’s orthodontic treatment in their teen years will be straightforward and faster.

6. Boost self-esteem

Excessive spacing, an imbalance in the jaw which causes an overbite or underbite and/or crooked, crowded teeth can make a child feel self-conscious during their formative years. It doesn’t help that bullying is so prevalent in person and online. Studies have shown that teeth are frequently the targeted feature of bullying. While interceptive orthodontic treatment is most often used when there are functional or development issues, the cosmetic benefits are important too! When a kid likes his own smile and feels good about herself they get a huge boost of confidence that carries over into their school, activities and relationships for life.

7. Prevent damage and trauma to the teeth and gums

When the front teeth stick out too far, which is evident by age 7, we can take steps to decrease the protrusion and start to correct the overbite early on. Teeth that protrude are more susceptible to damage from trauma. Dental trauma has lifelong dental and financial ramifications and can involve root canals, crowns, bone grafting and implants. Furthermore, it is challenging to provide esthetics for broken or knocked out teeth. Other issues, like significant crowding, make teeth harder to clean and can lead to gum disease, even in children. If early interceptive treatment is needed, we can create a healthier oral environment and make teeth less prone to accidents.

If the tooth fairy has been making more frequent visits to your house, then it’s probably time to think about visiting an orthodontist. We offer free consultations at Hullings & Santucci Orthodontics, and we’re happy to see children of any age. We’ve also had many parents that have been so pleased with the orthodontic changes they’ve seen in their kids, that they’ve decided to make appointments for themselves too! Dr. Hullings & Dr. Santucci and their team are friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable. You and your child will feel at ease and informed every step of the way. Schedule a visit at our Wichita orthodontic office today and give your child the gift of a healthy, beautiful smile. No referral is necessary; simply call us at 316-636-1980.