Recent News

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!!

Handling Orthodontic Issues at Home

Due to COVID-19, Christenson Family Orthodontics is postponing any non-emergent appointments and you may be wondering how to handle potential orthodontic issues at home. While there are steps you can take to temporarily fix or alleviate discomfort and prevent additional damage, please call the office and let us know what’s going on! Contact us if you have any concerns about your braces or treatment during this time. Many times, we will be able to handle the issue over the phone or virtually through video communication.

Tools + Supplies
With these tools and supplies on hand, you will be prepared to handle the most common orthodontic issues:

Orthodontic relief wax
Dental floss
Disinfected tweezers
Interproximal brush
Non-prescription pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
Topical Anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel)

Lost O-ring
An “O” ring is the tiny rubber band or sometimes a very thin wire (ligature), that holds the orthodontic wire in the bracket/brace. If a rubber o-ring should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using disinfected tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with the tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, it may be bent back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation. Should this happen, be sure to contact your orthodontist to notify them and come up with a plan for repair.

It’s normal to have some discomfort during orthodontic treatment as your teeth move however it should not last longer than a couple days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water and over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may alleviate some discomfort. If the discomfort lasts longer than a couple days, be sure to call your orthodontist to discuss.

Mouth Sores
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be precipitated or exacerbated by an irritation from braces. One or several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips or tongue may appear. This is not an emergency but may be very uncomfortable. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab – reapply as needed. If after a couple days the discomfort does not resolve, call your orthodontist to discuss.

Irritation in Mouth
Sometimes braces or wires can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of orthodontic relief wax makes an excellent buffer between metal and mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation. We have put a tin outside of the front door of our office with wax and rubber bands.  Stop by anytime and get what you need!

Protruding Wire
Occasionally the end of a wire will work itself out of place and can irritate the mouth. Use a Q-tip or clean tweezer and try to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. Should changes with your wires occur during this time be sure to contact your orthodontist to make them aware of the issue.

Loose Braces or Bands
If the braces or bands have come loose in any way, call the office to determine appropriate next steps.  We will not be able to put any braces or bands back on at this time, but if they are on the wire and causing irritation, we may have you come in to get it taken off.  If a bracket or wire does come off at home, please put it in a zip-lock bag and bring it with you to your next appointment.

We sincerely hope that you are all safe and healthy.  Remember to brush your teeth and wash your hands.  We all need to do our part to keep the Coronavirus from spreading through our community!  We look forward to seeing all our wonderful patients again soon!!

What does the office closure mean for your treatment?

Given the outbreak of COVID-19, Christenson Family Orthodontics has made the difficult, but important, decision to postpone any non-emergent appointments. You can be assured that this decision was not made lightly but was made to protect patients, staff and families.

Given the closure, you may have a few questions.

Will this delay my treatment?

We know part of successful orthodontic treatment is showing up for your appointments. That’s not an option under these unusual circumstances; it’s okay. Don’t panic. Though your appointments are scheduled out to achieve maximum success, this hiccup shouldn’t have much of an impact on your overall treatment plan. Given the situation, Drs C & Oakley will work hard to get your treatment plan back on track when we reopen.

You can help keep treatment on track by following the directions you were given at your last appointment, avoiding hard and sticky foods and keeping your teeth clean.  With limited appointments available, now is not the time to be breaking brackets, and keeping your teeth clean will ensure the best possible result.

What now?

Make sure to stay in contact with our office about when we plan to reopen and get any appointments you’re going to miss rescheduled.  Visit our office website and/or Facebook page to get the most up-to-date information.  And of course, feel free to call the office if you have any questions.  Someone is there Mon – Fri from 9 am to noon to answer phone calls.

A timeline as to when we can reopen may be up-in-the-air, but you can rest assured we are making decisions with your best interest in mind.

“Emergency care” is still available?  What does that mean?

If you have an urgent need during this time, such as pain or injury, we will likely be available for emergency appointments. Please contact the office to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, but what’s one thing we know for sure? 

Dr C, Dr Oakley, and the entire team at Christenson Family Orthodontics looks forward to seeing you back in our office soon!

Questions and Answers for Patients During the Coronavirus Outbreak

I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy during this time. I’ve compiled a list of several common questions that we’ve heard since we had to close the office due to the Coronavirus outbreak. If you don’t see your question answered, you can either email us at, post the question to our Facebook page, or call the office during our modified hours (9 am – noon Mon-Fri).

Question and Answer:

1. Question: If I have run out of elastics, what should I do?
Answer: There is a tin full of elastics and wax outside of our front door. Please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer and take what you need. If you are able, please bleach or Clorox wipe the exterior of the bag when you get home. If you feel as though you cannot wear your elastics at this time for any reason, please take a break and we will resume when we are able.

2. Question: If I have a broken bracket, what should I do?
Answer: We cannot yet safely use the high-speed handpiece needed to remove the cement and replace your bracket and have been mandated by our governing bodies to wait on this procedure. Please save the bracket in a baggie and email me so that we can add more time to your appointment upon your return to the clinic.

3. Question: What if something is poking or hurting me?
Answer: We are able to get you comfortable. There is a tin full of elastics and wax outside of our front door.  Please understand we are only able to see severe emergencies causing pain or at risk of infection. Please call the office phone (757-482-7660) during the day from 9 am – noon to speak with a staff member. If it is outside of these hours and you are in pain, call the office and follow the prompts to have your call forwarded to either Dr. C or Dr. Oakley’s cell phone.

4. Question: What happens to my missed, future or existing appointments?
Answer: When we are able to re-open, we will be open five days per week until we are caught up. We have been and will continue to call all patients who have or will be missing their appointments to reschedule them as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that we will continue to follow government recommendations, and the actual date we reopen may be pushed out further depending on the progress of the pandemic. We will be moving appointments to try to get patients in that have gone the longest since their last appointment. We will also prioritize emergencies such as broken brackets and wires. Taylor and Sherrie are an excellent team and will do everything they can to fairly accommodate everyone to the best of their abilities. They thank you in advance for your flexibility, patience and grace!

Coronavirus Update – Updated (4/27/2020)

Dear Families of Christenson Family Orthodontics,

The health and well-being of our patients, team, and families are of upmost concern in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, in accordance with the Executive Order from the Governor of Virginia and recommendations from the American Association of Orthodontics and the Virginia Dental Association, Christenson Family Orthodontics will be closed until May 4, 2020. If you have an appointment scheduled during that time, our office will be reaching out to you to reschedule. Thank you for helping us protect our patients, families, and community during this challenging time.

Our offices will be opened on a modified schedule from 9 am – 12 pm but only be available via telephone.  If you have an orthodontic emergency, please call our office to speak to a staff member and we will work to address your concerns.  Please understand that we have to be selective about the cases we treat here in the office as we do not want to contribute to the spreading of the Coronavirus.

In our office, we always have and will continue to follow OSHA and CDC infection control guidelines to ensure that the highest level of infection control procedures are being employed.  We ask that you join us in practicing good hand hygiene and coughing etiquette (coughing/sneezing in to a sleeve or tissue).  We encourage you to get information from credible sources, such as the Virginia Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Chesapeake Health Department.

Things you can do at home:

  • Wash hands often or use hand sanitizer (60% alcohol, if soap and water aren’t available)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick
  • Keep distance between yourself and others
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a sleeve or tissue
  • Clean and disinfect your home


We will get through this together!  If you have any questions, please call during our modified hours from 9 am – 12 pm at 757.482.7660.  We look forward to resuming normal hours and seeing all our wonderful patients again soon!  In the meantime, stay safe and keep showing off those beautiful smiles!


Christenson Family Orthodontics

Which should I do first, brush or floss?!?

In honor of Children’s Dental Health month, I’d like to share the findings of a recent study with you.  I’ve wondered if it mattered whether I brush and then floss or floss and then brush.  I honestly didn’t think it mattered much.  However, a recent study showed that people who floss first have two big advantages:

  1.  Less plaque buildup (that white fuzzy stuff on your teeth)
  2.  Higher concentrations of fluoride (the stuff that strengthens your enamel) between teeth

Our recommendation for anyone in braces is that you brush your teeth after every meal.  Food and plaque buildup so easily around your brackets.  If you don’t have time to brush, at least rinse your mouth out with water.  A note about brushing:  you HAVE to look in a mirror while you’re brushing and when you think you’re done.  Check around all the brackets, under the wire, and along your gums.  If you see any white fuzzy stuff, KEEP BRUSHING!!  You should brush for 2 minutes each time.

You should also floss once a day.  Now we know that it’s best to floss before you brush.  But to be honest, I would be a happy orthodontist if all my patients flossed once ANY time of the day.  Colgate has some good tips for flossing with braces on – check it out!

Happy Brushing!!

Let’s talk retainers

You may be wondering if you really need to wear retainers after you get your braces off.  The short answer is – YES!!

The longer answer… there was a time that orthodontists thought that if they could just put teeth in the exact right position, they would stay there forever.  However, long term studies completed over the last 40 years have shown that this just isn’t the case.  There is no “right” position that will guarantee your teeth won’t move.  In fact, 70% of peoples’ teeth will shift during their lifetime – regardless of whether or not they had orthodontic treatment or when they had treatment.  And you won’t know if you’re in the lucky 30% until it’s too late…

Full-time Retainers for 6 Months

Dr. Christenson & Dr. Oakley recommend that you wear your retainer full time for about 6 months after your braces come off.  The bones and gum tissue around your teeth have a “memory” and will tend to move your teeth back to where they came from.  The 6 month period gives them time to “reorganize” and get used to the new position of your teeth.

Nighttime for a Lifetime

Your body continues to change throughout your life, and that includes your teeth!  As you get older, your front teeth will tend to upright (tip back toward your tongue).  This will lead to crowding/overlapping of your front teeth.  People used to think that the crowding was caused by wisdom teeth.  Again, long term studies have been done and have shown that crowding tends to happen just as often in people with wisdom teeth as it does in those who never had wisdom teeth!  While no retainer can guarantee that your teeth won’t move at all, but wearing retainers at night time will keep your smile looking great!

Check out this video about retainers from the American Association of Orthodontist!

New Office Hours

We’re excited to start new office hours on Fridays starting in January 2020. On Fridays we will be open from 7:30 am until 2:00 pm. We know that most parents (and some kids) don’t like missing school, and many of those same kids have after-school activities. Starting in January, you will be able to come in before school and work to get your braces checked and adjusted. We’ll also be seeing patients between 1-2 pm to accommodate students with “One Lunch” at Great Bridge High School.

For those of you that love your 4:00/4:30 appointments – Don’t Worry!! – we still have late afternoon appointments Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursday!

October is Orthodontic Health Month

What is an orthodontist?

Do you know that every orthodontist is a dentist, but not every dentist is an orthodontist?  An orthodontist has completed 4 years of dental school and has a dental license.  However, they have also completed at least 2 additional years of school to study how to safely and efficiently move teeth though bones and gum tissues.  Orthodontists understand the complex biological systems and the engineering principles involved when putting forces on teeth with very specific directions and magnitudes.  Did you know that Dr. Oakley was an engineer for 7 years before deciding to pursue orthodontics…

What’s the best option to straighten your teeth?

Today there are more options than ever to straighten your teeth.  Traditional braces are smaller and more comfortable.  Clear (ceramic) braces are a great alternative to metal braces for people who want their braces to be less noticeable.  Clear braces also look great with color O-ties – the colors really pop!  And of course, clear aligners (like Invisalign) are becoming more and more effective at straightening teeth and correcting bites.  Make sure to ask Dr. C and Dr. Oakley which options would work for you!

Do I need to see a dentist while I’m seeing my orthodontist?

You might be wondering why you need to see the dentist while you’re seeing an orthodontist (didn’t we just say the orthodontist is a dentist)?  Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are extremely important during orthodontic treatment.  In fact, your dentist may recommend even more frequent cleanings during this time.  Although Drs. C & Oakley do check on your brushing (and will make you try again and again); brushing well is not the same as a dental cleaning.  Dentists and dental hygienists check and clean below the gum line and get off any hard calculus that has formed.  While your orthodontist is monitoring the position of your teeth and your bite and checking for visible cavities, we do not take the kind of x-rays needed to see if cavities are developing between your teeth.  If it’s been more than 6 months since your last visit to the dentist, please schedule an exam and cleaning ASAP!