Recent News

Tips for Back-to-School with Braces or Invisalign

With summer officially coming to an end, it’s time to get ready to go back to school!  Based on the responses from patients over the last few weeks, most of you are excited to start the new school year.  Of course, plenty of you wish that summer would never end.

If you’ve recently started orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign, there are a couple things you should keep in mind.  Read below to find out more:

Kids going back to school with braces

Braces at school

While you have plenty to worry about with the new school year starting, I have some suggestions so that your new braces won’t be one of them!

  • Keep in mind that food can get stuck in your braces!  Bring soft, not chewy, food for lunch.  Here’s a list of some food suggestions.
  • Stop by the restroom after you eat.  Bring a little toothbrush with you to quickly brush away any food left in your braces.
  • When you’re trying to figure out the answer to a quiz question, don’t chew on your pencil!  This is an easy way to knock off a bracket.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call us at Christenson Family Orthodontics.  We are happy to help and want your experience in braces to be awesome!

Invisalign at school

As you’ve probably heard me say, the good thing and the bad thing about aligners (like Invisalign) is that you can take them out.  It’s great so that you can brush and floss your teeth every day, but you have to remember to put them back in.  Here are a couple of suggestions to make sure you stay on track with your aligners during the school year.

  • Keep your aligner case in your backpack.  If you take your aligners out, immediately put them in your case and put the case in you backpack.  This will make sure you don’t crack them or throw them away.  Stop by our office in Great Bridge if you need an extra case to keep in your bag.
  • After you eat, swish your mouth out with water to rinse any food/sugars off your teeth before putting your aligners back in.
  • Put reminders on your books or binders to help you to remember to put your aligners back in after lunch.  Remember that you need to have them in for about 22 hours per day.

If you recently finished orthodontics and are now wearing retainers, all of the aligner suggests are for you too!

All of us at Christenson Family Orthodontics hope your school year is off to a wonderful start!

Summer at Christenson Family Orthodontics

Tell us about your Summer Fun Plans!!

At Christenson Family Orthodontics, we love hearing about all the fun summer activities and vacations from our awesome patients!  So when you’re in the office for your next appointment, ask Brandi for a pin to add to our “Where have you been?” board.  Help us fill up the country with our travels!

Dr. Oakley Joins Board of Virginia Association of Orthodontists

Dr. Oakley

On May 1, 2021 Dr. Oakley was elected as a Director on the Board of the VAO.  She will be serving as a board member for the next five years.  With the VAO, Dr. Oakley will be working to advance orthodontic research, promote orthodontic standards of excellence, and contribute to the dental health of the public.

Beautiful, New Smiles for Summer

We love when our patients complete their orthodontic treatment in time for summer!  Patients of all ages love having their smiles ready for summer days at the beach.  In this COVID-era, many of our patients’ beautiful smiles have been hidden behind masks.  But with warm weather and sunny days, we are all spending more time outside and mask-free.  Even with social distancing, smiles are known to be contagious!

Numerous studies have shown that having a healthy, beautiful smile results in a significant improvement in self-esteem.  So get out there and show-off your smile from Christenson Family Orthodontics!

April Update from Christenson Family Orthodontics

April was a great month for creating beautiful smiles and making the Earth a little greener!

Christenson Family Orthodontics participates in the Great American Cleanup
The Clean-up Team!

Great American Clean-up

The Christenson Family Orthodontic team and their families joined with the City of Chesapeake to clean up Johnstown Rd.  This was our second annual trash pick-up as part of the Great American Clean-up.  Make sure to check our Facebook and Instagram to find out about our next clean-up.  We would love to have our patients join us in picking up Great Bridge!


Patient at Christenson Family Orthodontics making the Earth a little greenerIn honor of Earth Day, Christenson Family Orthodontics gave away plants to all our patients who came in for an appointment the week of April 22.  Dr. Oakley and Mrs. Christenson donated a variety of plants from their gardens, including parsley, hostas, hellebores, creeping jenny, and more!  We hope all the plants found happy, sunny homes to grow.

Lasting Impressions

Jessica Vacendak of Jessica Vacendak Photography came to our office to take complimentary, professional photos of our patients who have recently finished orthodontic treatment and are ready to show off their beautiful, new smiles!  The weather was perfect and the photos were amazing!

Should I get Invisalign?

Adult Invisalign PatientDid you know that your teeth don’t know whether plastic or metal are pushing on them?  Your teeth experience the same kind of forces with Invisalign as they do with traditional braces.  The cells that are responsible for moving your teeth have no idea what you have on your teeth.  They just respond to the pressure.  So let’s talk about some common questions about clear aligners, like Invisalign.

How does Invisalign move teeth?

Invisalign uses a series of clear, plastic trays to slowly align your teeth.  Each tray is designed to move your teeth a little bit.  You wear each tray for 1-2 weeks, depending on how quickly your biology allows your teeth to move.  As you progress through your series of trays, your teeth will straighten!

Is Invisalign faster than braces?

If you look at, you will see many claims about the speed of aligners.  However, most of the claims have a little asterisk (*) after them, so you have to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find out what they really mean.  For example, the website claims that aligners can straighten your teeth “in as little as 6 months.”  But when you scroll down, you see the note: “Based on mild to moderate malocclusion (defined as crowding and spacing up to 6mm, and overjet and overbite up to 6mm and assuming one week wear), treatment times vary depending on Invisalign product type, wear time, case complexity and must be determined by your doctor.”

So just be weary about claims of Invisalign being faster for braces.  There are some things that Invisalign does better and faster than braces.  But there are also things that braces do better and faster than Invisalign.  Drs. Oakley and Christenson can evaluate your teeth and your bite and let you know which treatment option will get you the best result and how long you can expect to be in treatment.  No two mouths are the same!

Is Invisalign more expensive than braces?Smile with braces and smile with Invisalign

At Christenson Family Orthodontics, treatment fees are not based on aligners versus braces.  Fees are based on the complexity of the case and the estimated treatment time.  Drs. Oakley and Christenson will explain to you the pros and cons of braces and aligners based on YOUR teeth.  We want you to choose your treatment plan based on your desired outcome, not based on a difference in cost.

Is Invisalign covered by insurance?

For the majority of dental insurance plans, if “orthodontics” is covered, the plans do not specify what appliances (brackets, aligners, expanders, etc.) can be used.  So in general, if you have orthodontic coverage, then orthodontic treatment with Invisalign is covered.  At Christenson Family Orthodontics, our insurance specialist will research your insurance policy and let you know if you have coverage and how much.

Does it matter if a dentist or orthodontist does my Invisalign?

Orthodontists are dentists that have completed two years of additional specialized school, after four years of college and four years of dental school.  Orthodontic training includes studying how the direction and amount of force being applied to a tooth affects how the cells around the tooth respond.  Even though computer programs help plan treatment with aligners (like Invisalign), an orthodontist knows best what force vectors will straighten your teeth.

Orthodontists are also trained to focus on the bigger picture.  There is a lot more to orthodontics than aligning your front teeth.  Orthodontists can improve the way your teeth come together and function.  We also understand the limits of how far we can move your teeth without potentially compromising the future health of your teeth, gums, and supporting gums.  Your smile deserves an orthodontic specialist!


Drs. Christenson & Oakley welcome you to Christenson Family Orthodontics

Call today to schedule your complimentary consultation with our orthodontists, Dr. Christenson and Dr. Oakley.  We can’t wait to help you get the beautiful, healthy smile that you’ve always wanted!

OrthoBuck Rewards are Back!

At Christenson Family Orthodontics, our patients are rewarded for being great orthodontic patients!!  How can you be a great orthodontic patient?  I’m so glad you asked!  

  1. Arrive on-time for your appointment
  2. Great oral hygiene!! 
    1. Brush at least twice a day
    2. Make sure that you get ALL the plaque off your teeth EVERY time you brush
  3. Take care of your braces/appliances 
    1. All brackets and attachments are still on your teeth
    2. No broken appliances or bands
  4. Follow all doctor instructions
    1. Wear rubber bands as prescribed
    2. Wear your aligners as prescribed

Our patients can earn an OrthoBuck at each regular appointment, if they’ve been a GREAT orthodontic patient!  Once you collect 6 OrthoBucks, you can trade them in for a gift certificate to a local restaurant/shop.  Drs. Christenson & Oakley are excited to support Chesapeake businesses and reward our wonderful patients!   

Eagle Scouts at Christenson Family Orthodontics

Congratulations to Emma for becoming an Eagle Scout, joining Dr. Christenson in the elite ranks of the Boy Scouts! We are so proud of her for becoming the first female in the area to achieve this honor.  The Boy Scouts of America allowed girls to join in 2017, but October 1 of this  year was the first class of Eagle Scouts to include females.  Just to prove how amazing she is, Emma has also earned the Girl Scout’s Gold Award.

Dr. Oakley is excited to have been a part of Emma’s journey as her merit badge counselor for the Dentistry Merit Badge.  After seeing Emma’s enthusiasm for dentistry, Dr. Oakley was thrilled to invite Emma to join our team.  If you’re a boy scout in the Tidewater area, Dr. Oakley would love help you earn your Dentistry Merit Badge.  Read more about Dr. Christenson and Dr. Oakley and their work with the Chesapeake community.

Christenson Family Ortho – Team up 2 Clean up


This Saturday, the Christenson Family Ortho team participated in the Great American Cleanup – Hampton Roads. We volunteered to cleanup Johnstown Road and filled up 7 trash bags in a one mile stretch of the road! 

The weather was perfect for a walk through Chesapeake! Dr. C said it was a great day to be outside with friends and “get in his steps!” Dr. Oakley’s children were excited to participate as well. They get their competitive streaks from both their mom and dad, and could be seen racing each other to get to the next piece of litter. A few tears may have been shed by Bryn when her big brother beat her… but she quickly recovered when she realized there was more trash be found!

Thank you to all the team members and their family members who helped clean up Chesapeake! And a special “thank you” to Sherrie for making t-shirts for the occasion! We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful and caring team at Christenson Family Orthodontics!

Back to School with Braces in 2020

Whether you’re going to be attending school in person or learning virtually from home this fall, getting “Back-to-School” is going to be a lot different this year. The extended time out of the classroom has made many of us realize just how fortunate we are to have excellent schools and teachers in Chesapeake, VA!

As you’re getting ready for the 2020-21 school year, Christenson Family Orthodontics has a couple tips that you can use where ever your classroom may be!

Plan for healthy snacks throughout the day.

Try to pick foods that will give you all-day energy – ones packed with protein and complex carbs. Avoid sugary, sticky foods that will stick to your teeth and braces and can lead to “white-spots” and cavities. Also avoid really hard and crunchy foods that can break off your braces. A couple good snack ideas are:

    • Steamed veggies
    • Soft fruits (bananas, kiwis, berries)
    • Yogurt
    • Cheese
    • Hard-boiled eggs

Drink lots of water!

Not only will this help keep you hydrated and alert during class, the water will help wash away any food particles or sugar left on your teeth or braces. Drinking water though out the day also helps fight bad breath!

Wear a mouth guard when playing sports

Mouth guards protect your teeth, your braces, and the inside of your mouth. Ask us for a free mouth-guard at your next appointment that will comfortably fit over your braces!

Brush after lunch!

For those of you learning at home, this should be much easier that it has been in the past. Take advantage of having your own bathroom sink available, and use it to brush your teeth!!

Check out our Life with Braces page for more ideas about taking care of your braces and keeping your treatment on track!  

As a mom who has been through many, many years of schooling, I appreciate the gift that is a good teacher. We are all doing our best to figure out how to manage life and school in this new normal. Make sure to take a minute to let your teachers know how much you appreciate all the extra time and effort that they have put in to planning the school year during the pandemic!

May is Teen Self-Esteem Month!

Being a teen is rough, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new set of challenges.  In any time, teens are worried about getting good grades, making friends, fitting in, and trying to find their niche in which they can excel.  With all these external pressures, self-confidence can make all the difference.  May is National Teen Self-Esteem month, so it’s a perfect time to talk about ways to build self-esteem in our teens.  At Christenson Family Orthodontics, we love seeing both the physical and emotional transformations that occur from the beginning to the end of orthodontic treatment!

Can orthodontic treatment help improve your self-esteem?

Absolutely!  Your smile is the first thing others notice about you.  And when you have a beautiful, confident smile, you are perceived as being friendlier and more intelligent by your peers.  For all of us (teens and adults alike!), how others view us has a huge influence on how we see ourselves.

If you don’t like your teeth, you are less likely to smile and engage with others.  It may be the overlap (or crowding) of your teeth, gaps between your teeth, an overbite, or an underbite.  Orthodontists are trained to treat all these conditions.

Braces are not just for self-esteem!

Aligning your teeth and correcting your bite will make you more excited to show off your smile, but it will also help protect your teeth and gums in the long run.

  • Crooked, over-lapping teeth are harder to keep clean.
  • Spaces between teeth can leave your gums subject to trauma when you’re eating.
  • Teeth that don’t fit together properly are more likely to have abnormal wear, chipping, or fracturing.

Orthodontics is about creating beautiful AND healthy smiles!

Christenson Family Orthodontics can help!

At Christenson Family Orthodontics, we use traditional braces, clear braces, and clear aligners (like invisalign)to transform our patients’ smiles.  No matter which treatment you choose, the results will be the same: a beautiful smile you are proud to show off!  Call us for a complementary consultation to see how Dr. Christenson and Dr. Oakley can transform your smile!

We’ve Missed You!!

At Christenson Family Orthodontics, we’ve been happy to do our part to help “flatten the curve” of the Coronavirus pandemic here in Chesapeake.  Now that the governor has given us the “OK” to open, we are excited to see all you’re smiling faces again!

As we re-open on May 4, we will be implementing several new policies and procedures to protect our team and our patients.  Please read the following carefully and feel free to call if you have any questions.


Appointments will be scheduled to allow for social distancing between patients.  Because this will reduce the number of orthodontic appointments available, we will be expanding hours. Only patients with scheduled, orthodontic appointments are being allowed in the office at this time, in order to comply with Governor Northam’s order prohibiting groups of 10 or more people.  If you do not have an appointment but are in pain or have concerns about your orthodontic treatment, please call and we will work with you to find the best way/time to resolve your concerns.

Before your appointment

You MUST brush your teeth before you come.  We cannot allow anybody to brush their teeth in the office at this time.  If food/plaque is visible on your braces, we will not be able to treat you.  Your appointment will need to be rescheduled.

Arriving for your appointment

When you arrive, please either call or text to let us know you have arrived, and wait in your car until Taylor lets you know that we are ready for you. Please bring your face mask with you and wear it until we are ready to begin treatment.

Before seating you

We ask that a parent/guardian accompany your child to the front door to sign a consent form and a supplemental health questionnaire.  These forms are also available for you to download from the Christenson Family Orthodontics website.  All patients will have their temperatures taken, so please do not drink anything hot or cold 30 minutes prior to arrival.  Hand sanitizer will be then be provided.  We ask that only the patient come in the building.  If a parent/guardian would like to accompany the patient, please let us know at the time of check-in.

During your appointment

You will notice that the orthodontic team members are wearing their masks and glasses at all times.  We have installed a medical-grade air purifier in the clinic area.  At this time, we cannot perform any procedures that create aerosols (taking braces off, polishing teeth, removing attachments).  Once we are able to obtain the recommended personal protective equipment, we will start scheduling those appointments.

Checking out

A team member will give the patient hand sanitizer and walk them out to their car.  Each patient will receive an “Orthodontic Progress Report” that includes the treatment done, any concerns, and the next appointment.  Please call to schedule your next appointment immediately so that you have as many time choices as possible.


We are excited to see you all again!  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all try to do our part in minimizing the spread of COVID-19!!