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At Vondrak Dental, patient satisfaction is our number one priority. Our team of highly qualified experts contribute to our growing reputation as one of the top Elkhorn area Dental Clinics. We strive to be the most trusted and respected healthcare provider for all of our patients, and offer personalized medical care services.


At Vondrak Dental, we believe in great dental health for all ages. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, "The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday." 

In the picture above, you can see Drs. Stephanie Vondrak and Ashley Rainbolt examining a child at their first visit. The first child, a one-year-old boy, is sitting happily on mommy's lap while Dr. Rainbolt quickly evaluates his teeth, gums, bite and airway. By making this appointment fun and fast, our goal is to help eliminate fears, provide parent education, and help you take the first step towards your child's excellent dental future!


Dental Facial Orthopedics is the term for guiding the growth of facial skeletal structures aiding in eruption of the permanent teeth, full expression of facial features and proper airway development. Fabricated according to specific radiographic measurements, dental facial orthopedic appliances (which look like "fancy retainers") apply gentle pressure to the upper and lower jaws stimulating bone growth and removing obstacles in the bite. This subtle pressure allows the jaws to grow creating necessary space for the eruption of permanent teeth. Likewise, this growth allows the airway to develop completely, the TMJ joints to function properly and facial structures like the nose and the chin to be more esthetic and balanced on the child's face. The philosophy of Dental Facial Orthopedics is to be preventative (aid in eruption of teeth) verses reactive (pull crowded teeth in a too small arch). 

By helping kids facial skeletal structures develop to their full potential, the need for traditional orthodontics (moving teeth) is minimized and the treatment time decreased. Braces are then used when the child is a teenager for smile esthetics only. The need to pull permanent teeth or have the child under-go extensive orthognathic surgery is very unlikely.

A Cephalometric X-ray is measured to determine growth patterns and inconsistencies between growth of the upper and lower jaws. Likewise, measurements are taken to determine if the child’s airway is constricted. 

Using these measurements, Dental Facial Orthopedic Appliances are designed to encourage jaw growth that will benefit the child. For example, if the upper jaw is too small or too far back...gentle pressure from an appliance encourages transverse and forward growth opening a constricted airway and providing space for the eruption of permanent teeth.

The Mechanism of Action

Dental Facial Orthopedics appliances are individualized according to diagnosis and growth patterns identified during Cephalometric x-ray analysis. 

For example, retainers are 2 plates of acrylic with an imbedded expansion mechanism. Using a key every 3-4 weeks, the mechanism is activated providing slow, gentle pressure to guide the growth of upper and/or lower arches. Remember...our goal is arch development, not tooth movement.

Why Dental Facial Orthopedics is important at Vondrak Dental

As a general dentist, I have always believed in educating myself. My intent is provide the highest level of care everyday to every patient. Throughout this journey, it became evident that patients with Temporomandibular joint pain (TMD) were underserved, suffering and looking for answers. My mission became helping these individuals with more than just managing symptoms, I wanted to know the source of their problems. Our approach to splint therapy is unique, comprehensive, and health-centered. We are grateful to help so many. 

BUT, this wasn’t enough... I wanted to know WHY? What were the patterns & similarities among these TMD patients?


By understanding the mechanics of why underdeveloped jaws lead to TMD, I discovered how to work with children using DENTAL FACIAL ORTHOPEDIC APPLAINCES. Mold growth, develop jaws...prevent TMD! 




As a health-centered dentist, I am always striving to treat the source of a problem, rather than just the symptoms. As a result of this pursuit, I became interested in the tongue's influence in development of airway, swallowing, speech and facial development. It wasn't until I experienced breastfeeding my tongue-tied son that I fully understood the impact that a tongue-tie can have on breastfeeding. After my son’s tongue-tie revision (frenectomy), I began pursuing more in-depth education about the treatment of tongue and lip ties. I wanted to be able to give other moms the opportunity that I had, to breastfeed successfully. I have traveled across the country to learn from some of the most experienced doctors providing care for tongue and lip tied infants. I consider it an honor to use my specialized skills to care for mothers and babies in my community.

What is a tongue tie?

The cord of tissue under the tongue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth is known as the lingual frenum. A tongue tie (ankyloglossia) occurs when the lingual frenum is too tight and interferes with normal mobility and function of the tongue. If the tongue is prevented from normal function and movement, it has the potential to negatively affect every organ system in the body. Not all tongue ties involve the frenum going all the way to the tip of the tongue. Some tongue ties can be difficult for the untrained eye to see such as posterior or submucosal tongue ties. However, they can contribute to the same problems as the more noticeable anterior tongue ties. 

What is a lip tie?

The cord of tissue that attaches the lip to the gingiva is known as a labial frenum. A lip tie occurs when the labial frenum is too tight and interferes with normal mobility and function of the lip. A lip tie can infer with proper latching during breastfeeding, and it can also contribute to decay formation of the upper front teeth when it prohibits adequate oral hygiene and/or food pocketing. Additionally, a lip tie can cause a space (diastema) between the upper front teeth or prevent proper lip seal during nasal breathing.

Dr. Rainbolt is a member of the International Affiliation of Tongue Tied Professionals, and she has been recognized with certification from the Academy of Laser Dentistry. Dr. Rainbolt and the team of Vondrak Dental understand the challenges families face in the early days after a birth. They also understand the extra challenge that a tongue and/or lip tie might pose for a breastfeeding mother. Our goal is to help you and your child restore your natural ability to breastfeed and set the stage for a lifetime of health.

How does tongue tie affect growth and development?

When the tongue muscle is tethered down, it cannot assume in the normal resting position in the palate. Therefore, the tongue is prevented from molding a broad, flat palate; giving way to formation of a high, narrow palate. A high, narrow palate can contribute to many problems such as teeth crowding, nasal obstruction, airway disorders, and TMJ disorders.

How are tongue and lip ties treated at Vondrak Dental?

For babies under the age of 12 months, a topical numbing cream is used to help decrease discomfort during the procedure. For children and adults over the age of 12 months, the topical numbing cream is used in addition to an injected local anesthetic to numb the areas to be treated. 

A laser is used to release the restrictive tongue and/or lip tie. The use of the laser minimizes bleeding, and no sutures are needed. For infants, we encourage breastfeeding, bottle-feeding and/or skin-to-skin contact to help soothe your infant following the procedure. We have a private room for you to comfort and feed your baby, and you are welcome to stay as long as necessary. 

Using a laser to gently remove the restrictive tissue, this tiny little girl was able to nurse immediately following her procedure. 

Note: Breastfeeding babies should first be evaluated by a lactation consultant (IBCLC) to identify anything that may be causing breastfeeding issues that are not related to tongue or lip ties. 

How do tongue and lip ties affect breastfeeding?

A proper latch requires proper mobility of the upper lip and the tongue. If a tongue and/or lip tie is present, the latch can be affected in a negative way. The following symptoms can be seen with tongue and lip ties in breastfeeding mothers and infants.


  1. Poor latch

  2. Falls asleep when attempting to latch

  3. Slides off nipple when attempting to latch

  4. Colic symptoms

  5. Reflux symptoms

  6. Poor weight gain

  7. Gumming or chewing of nipple when nursing

  8. Unable to hold a pacifier in his/her mouth

  9. Short sleep episodes requiring feeding every 1-2 hours


  1. Creased, flattened or blanched nipples after nursing

  2. Cracked, bruised or blistered nipples

  3. Bleeding nipples

  4. Sever pain when infant attempts to latch

  5. Poor or incomplete breast drainage

  6. Infected nipples or breasts

  7. Plugged ducts

  8. Mastitis or nipple thrush

Why is breastfeeding beneficial?

"Breastfeeding and human milk are the normative standards for infant feeding and nutrition. Given the documented short- and long-term medical and neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice."

PEDIATRICS Vol. 129 No. 3 March 1, 2012


  1. Improves infant immune system to help protect against diseases and infections

  2. Deceases risk of developing allergies

  3. Improves development of emotional attachment between parent and infant

  4. Helps protect against gastroenteritis, constipation, and other stomach illnesses

  5. Reduced risk of sleep apnea and SIDS

  6. Encourages proper growth and development of the jaws


  1. Reduces risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer

  2. Reduces risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis

  3. Promotes emotional health and can help decrease risk of postpartum depression

  4. Promotes postpartum weight loss

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