November is TMJ Awareness Month

November 6th, 2023

What is TMJ anyways? TMJ stands for the Temporomandibular Joints, which are two joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull.

It is important to bring awareness to TMJ as approximately 36 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. TMD stands for the Temporomandibular disorders which are a common group of related pain conditions involving the TMJ, jaw muscles and associated structures.

The symptoms to look for are:

  • Pain in the TMJ or jaw muscles
  • Joint sounds such as clicking or popping
  • Limitations in jaw movement
  • Tension in face or neck
  • Headaches, especially in the temples
  • Difficulty chewing/swallowing
  • Fatigue

Once diagnosed, there are some ways to help ease the pain on your own. For example, eating softer foods, avoiding repetitive functions (nail-biting, chewing gum), using heat packs, or practicing relaxation techniques to minimize jaw tension. If that does not do the trick, it could be beneficial to let your dentist know. Your dentist will be able to to recommend some jaw exercises, prescribe medications if it is necessary, or even create a night guard/bite plate to decrease the clenching and grinding you may be experiencing.

Can orthodontic treatment help TMJ disorders?

Orthodontic treatment CAN be helpful in treating TMJ disorders, but it is never a GUARANTEE that it will completely fix it. An orthodontist or a dentist could recommend the use of a night guard to help the jaw muscles relax and heal while you are asleep. If a patients occlusion is the main factor in causing TMJ, then getting braces or Invisalign treatment could be recommended by your orthodontist.

If prior techniques do not seem to be working, it would be a great idea to at least schedule a consultation. Thankfully, Dr. Kennell at Kennell Orthodontics of Laconia, NH offers FREE consultations. He will give a detailed exam and provide his expertise on what actions to take next. If this sounds like something you have been experiencing, come see us soon!

October: National Orthodontic Health Month

October 17th, 2023

When we think of October, Halloween is usually the first thing we think of! That is why it is the perfect month to also be thinking of orthodontic oral health. This is the month to celebrate healthy, beautiful smiles, while also taking the precautions to keep them that way.

Everyone gets excited to get all dressed up and go trick-or-treating! Patients with braces should absolutely still go out and enjoy Halloween, but just be careful with certain candy! Some of the candies you should trade with your friends are things that are going to be sticky, ooey-gooey, crunchy or too hard on your braces.

Candy to avoid:

  • Caramels, Taffy, Jellybeans, Bubblegum
  • Jolly Ranchers, Twizzlers, Starbursts
  • Popcorn and Nuts

In return, the candies your friends can trade you back with are anything that is soft, or could melt in your mouth.

Candies you can eat safely:

  • Chocolate (without caramel or nuts)
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Kit-Kats
  • 3 Musketeers
  • Pixy Stix

Equally important, Dr. Kennell, along with other orthodontists, would appreciate you taking the initiative to care for your braces this Halloween season. Although it is acceptable to eat certain candy, candy still contains sugar. It will be crucial for you to make sure you are brushing your teeth after you enjoy your sweet treats. The best way to do this is by brushing for at least 2 minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, and finishing up with a fluoride mouth rinse. Alongside, broken brackets only lead to elongating the time you are in treatment, so keep away from the hard/sticky candies.

Have a fun, healthy, and safe Halloween! Don't forget to celebrate Orthodontic Health month this month and throughout the year!

Can’t My Dentist Provide My Orthodontic Treatment?

September 6th, 2023

These days we’re seeing more dental offices offering some form of orthodontic treatment, especially options such as Invisalign or other clear aligner brands. At first glance this may seem convenient – you already have a relationship and are at that office for visits. But if you look further, you’ll realize you should trust your orthodontic treatment to a well-trained orthodontist

Let’s look at the differences between orthodontists and dentists for a better understanding. 


Dentists first go to college to earn a bachelor’s degree, then they go on to dental school. After completing their four-year doctoral program, they can go on to begin practicing general dentistry.  

Dentists provide regular check-ups, diagnose and treat cavities and gum disease, as well as other oral hygiene issues. They can extract teeth when necessary, and provide cosmetic or restorative treatments, such as veneers, crowns or bridges. Dentists also check for oral disease and provide education on maintaining your oral health. 

Dentists who offer orthodontic treatment have had minimal orthodontic training, usually a weekend hotel course where they learn the basics of braces or Invisalign. 


Orthodontists begin the same way as dentists – they obtain a bachelor’s degree before going on to an accredited dental school for a four-year doctoral program. After graduating, he or she is a dentist and could choose to begin practicing.  

However, some graduates opt for a dental specialty. Orthodontics is one of those specialties. In order to call oneself an orthodontist, one must be accepted into and complete an additional two-to-three-year orthodontic residency program. This is where the orthodontist studies the intricacies of dental malocclusions and gains the knowledge and skill necessary to treat orthodontic patients. 

Every orthodontist is a dentist, however, not every dentist is an orthodontist.  This is an extremely important distinction, especially as we are seeing more dentists offering treatment options such as Invisalign in their offices. 

Orthodontists have unique training in the science of moving teeth safely that a general dentist just doesn’t have. Moving teeth is what an orthodontist does each and every day. Most orthodontists see upwards of 60-80 patients per day while a typical general dentist may see 15-20 patients per day with only one or two being an orthodontic case. 

Orthodontists are trained to guide teeth to their ideal positions, as well as ensuring a bite is strong and jaws are properly aligned, in order to create a stable, harmonious and beautiful smile. Orthodontists offer a variety of treatment plans and options, rather than just one, for an important reason – not every treatment is right for every patient. 

Invisalign is the typical orthodontic treatment option that dentists receive training on. But these clear aligners aren’t always the most ideal option for every patient. Some patients have malocclusions that are too severe to be properly treated with it while others may just not respond well to treatment. 

If your provider is only trained on one type of treatment, what happens if that treatment doesn’t work and needs to be changed? Will your provider recognize that a change needs to happen? 

If your dentist [or your child’s dentist] is recommending orthodontic treatment, insist on seeing an orthodontic specialist – why trust your smile to anyone else? 

Call today to set up your complimentary initial appointment with Dr.Kennell today!

(603) 524-7404

Fuel for back to school!

August 25th, 2023

It’s that time of year again and if you're just starting out in Ortho treatment or need a quick reminder, here are some ideas on what to pack in your lunchbox for school!

Soft foods are easier and more comfortable to eat and are less likely to be caught in braces.  However choices like gummies, fruit roll ups, taffy etc. will stick like glue!

Some other brace friendly suggestions:

  • Banana slices, grape halves, and thinly cut (peeled) apples (dip them all in a bit of lemon juice to keep them from browning)
  • Canned peaches or pears, fruit cocktail and Mandarin orange slices
  • Applesauce or any of the mixed fruit “sauces” in individual servings
  • Thin carrot-curls made with a scraper, plus a small container of grated cheese or hummus, with torn-up fresh pita bread for scooping
  • Individual pudding and yogurt cups
  • Avocadoes sliced or mashed

The goal is to be soft enough to chew, healthy and filling to keep your mind and teeth strong. 

Monthly rewards: Don't forget to fill out & bring your monthly rewards to your next appointment! An easy 20 patient rewards points! Keep your eyes out for our September monthly rewards!

September back to school contest!!!!

Have you entered our back to school contest?

Guess how many Invisalign aligners are in the jar! One lucky winner will receive a backpack full of school supplies!!!

-We hope you had a fantastic summer, and have an easy transition back to school!

-The KO team

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