Our Blog

Should I use a water pick during my treatment?

September 19th, 2018

Drs. Suzan Ekim, and Heather Horton and our team at Ekim Orthodontics know that for some of our patients wearing braces, it can be difficult to weave through those wires and brackets as you brush and floss during your treatment.

Some of our patients use a water pick to flush out food and other particles and bacteria stuck between their teeth as the water can reach behind the metal wires and hit spots where your floss simply cannot reach. People suffering from gum disease also find water picks quite effective because of their ability to flush out bacteria from inside the deep pockets.

Water picks are friendly to braces and are also gentle on the gums. They are less likely to cause bleeding for people with sensitive teeth or gums. But as many benefits as they may have, Drs. Suzan Ekim, and Heather Horton and our team want you to know that water picks should never be used as a substitute for flossing. Though they are great tools for helping improve oral health while you are in treatment, they are just not a good enough tool on their own to keep your mouth and gums gingivitis- and decay-free. Water picks are also incapable of removing plaque from teeth as effectively as floss can. While water picks rinse the sticky bacteria off your teeth, flossing is actually more effective as it actually scrapes the bacteria off of your pearly whites.

If you have any questions about water picks or any general questions or concerns about your orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to please ask us below or give us a call!

Introducing Our New Dental Associate & Fall Updates

September 19th, 2018

Fall is a season of new beginnings and spending time with family. We love the cool crisp air, the changing color of the leaves, and all the spectacular fall festivals. In September, our office had a great time participating in the Burnsville Firemuester parade and the Prior Lake Fall Festival. Next month, we’re looking forward to both the Burnsville Family Festival and one of our favorite office holidays: Halloween!

We’ve also just started our refer a friend program. If you refer a friend through our website, you’ll be entered into a drawing for $100 gift card for a local restaurant on us. It’s a win-win!

Last but certainly not least, we are so excited to welcome a new dental associate to our team, Dr. Hoganson. Dr. Hoganson is a native of Minnesota who, graduated from the University of Minnesota. Some of her favorite fall activities include running, yoga, visiting her sister in Montana, and fishing at her family cabin in northern Minnesota. She is passionate about cooking and loves finding new recipes to try.

To celebrate fall, we wanted to share a simple recipe for one of our favorite office treats: pumpkin spice overnight oats. We’re sure you’ll enjoy the treat as much as we do, and we hope to see you in our office before the end of 2018!

Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats


½ cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
½ cup 3 minute Steel-Cut oats (may substitute with rolled or old-fashioned oats)
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
(Optional) 1 tablespoon chopped pecans (or any nuts you like)


  1. In a pint-sized mason jar, combine the almond milk, rolled oats, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie sauce, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Mix until completely combined.
  2. Put lid on and store in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. Stir and add a little more almond milk for consistency as needed. Add pecans and enjoy!

TMD Problems and How You Can Prevent Them

September 12th, 2018

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) describe a set of conditions that involve trouble with your jaw and face muscles. They result from a problem in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a hinge that connects the temporal bones, in your skull in front of each ear, to your jaw. The joint enables you to talk, yawn, and chew by letting your mouth move.

TMD can be very painful and interfere with functions such as eating and speaking. This what to watch for and how to try to prevent TMD.

Risk Factors for TMD

You are at higher risk for TMD if you are a women than if you are male. The disorder is most common among adults between the ages of 20 and 40 years. Other risk factors for TMJ disorders include the following.

  • Arthritis in the area, making movement more difficult
  • Excessive tooth grinding, because it increases stress on the joint
  • General stress, which can lead you to clench your teeth and strain facial muscles

Symptoms of TMD

Symptoms of TMD can last for just a short while, or for several years. Seeing Drs. Suzan Ekim, and Heather Horton is important if your symptoms make it impossible for you to eat regularly or if you have unbearable pain or discomfort. The following symptoms can occur on both or one side of your face.

  • Aching or very tired facial muscles
  • Jaws that are fixed open or shut without you being able to unlock them
  • Grating or popping sounds when you chew or close or open your mouth
  • Pain in the entire area, including the mouth, jaw, neck, or shoulders, that comes on when you chew or yawn

Preventing TMD

You can try to prevent TMD by focusing on reducing risk factors. If you grind your teeth at night, ask Drs. Suzan Ekim, and Heather Horton about wearing a mouthguard. If you are overly stressed, look into ways to better manage your stress and relax your muscles. Another strategy for trying to prevent the development of TMD is to avoid chewing gum, since that puts stress on your jaw.

If you have questions about TMD, don’t hesitate to contact our Prior Lake, and Burnsville office.

What was your favorite part of summer?

September 5th, 2018

It's the end of summer, and fall is just around the corner. Soon the temperatures will cool down, the leaves will start to change, and Drs. Suzan Ekim, and Heather Horton and our team at Ekim Orthodontics are sure that you’ll soon be thinking about Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving plans in no time. But wait! First, we want to know about your favorite parts of the summer! Did you go on a wonderful family trip? Did you pick up a new hobby? Did you try to spend as much time outside and in the sun as possible?

Share your favorite memories, stories, or photos with us by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.