Vancouver, WA — From the moment you walk into The Modern Orthodontist (TMO) it is quite clear that this isn’t your average orthodontics office. The space boasts bright colors, unique architecture, interesting art pieces, and friendly, smiling faces.
Dr. Gretchen Schnepper opened The Modern Orthodontist in its current location, at 2702 NE 78th Street Suite 106, Vancouver, WA 98665, in July 2010.
“I think the space in general is unique, said Schnepper. “When I decided to create my own private practice, I wanted it to look like a modern art museum.”
Schnepper has an art minor and uses her eye for art in creating a beautiful space, as well as in the practice of orthodontics.
She is a firm believer in the importance of the arts and has made it a part of her practice to encourage and facilitate her patients and the community to take part in art. Electronics is the one thing that you will not see in The Modern Orthodontist to entertain waiting patients. Instead there are puzzles, doodle pads, color pencils, crayons, and various art projects for patients, their siblings and children of patients to work on while they are waiting. For six years now, The Modern Orthodontist office has created and hosted an art show featuring art from local middle school students.
“We invited all of the middle schools in the area to participate in the art show. This year we had six middle schools participate. I think their art is amazing!” said Schnepper.
The art show is kicked off each year with a reception for the artists and their families to come in and view all of the art on display — complete with appetizers and beverages. Community support and involvement is a big part of what Schnepper does. She sponsors four to five sporting teams each year, including a large sponsorship for this year’s Clash of the Border soccer tournament, which had over 1,000 participants. The TMO is also a premier sponsor for the Vancouver Girls Softball Association.
“It’s all about being part of the community,” said Schnepper.
She gives credit to her dad, who was a dentist, for her belief that it is her duty to develop relationships with the community. Schnepper comes from a long line of dental professionals. Both her grandfather and her father were dentists, and her mother was a dental hygienist.
Being the daughter of a dentist and a hygienist, Schnepper says dentistry is in her DNA. She first studied Bio Chem in college, then switched gears and entered dental school at Loma Linda University, where she would eventually specialize in Orthodontics. She prides herself in being on the forefront of orthodontic technology. For Schnepper, Modern isn’t just the name of her practice, it is how she runs her practice.
“We truly are modern in every way — with 3D X-rays, digital impressions (no goopy impressions that Orthodontists are known for), and customized self-ligating bracket,” she said. “We are the top Invisalign practice in the area, and we’re very specialized.”
Schnepper is rated by Invisalign as a Diamond Provider. She is one of only two practitioners with this ranking in the entire Portland/Vancouver metro area. She has earned this ranking by participating in a series of Invisalign training sessions and by treating more patients than anyone else in the area with Invisalign. Often times she is able to treat malocclusions with Invisalign that patients have been told by other providers aren’t treatable with aligners. She has been able to treat these patients with aligners and is able to achieve a result that is equal to that of a braces treatment. Her expertise in Invisalign has made her a popular provider with adult patients, with at least 30% of her patients being over the age of 18.
Her practice strives to use her training and advanced technology to make treatment affordable – as it provides patients with more options. For example, costly surgeries can be avoided by using temporary anchorage devices. Bite correcting devices help many patients avoid extractions. She is also trying to remove barriers to treatment by offering extended payment plans. She is all about using current technology to maximize efficiency.
“I take triple the CE (Continuing Education) required each year,” said Schnepper. “I’m part of a number of study clubs. One study club meets monthly. We go on four trips a year, including the annual meeting of the American Association of Orthodontics. I go to 6-10 specialized courses a year, one is abroad.”
Orthodontic treatment is not just a cosmetic treatment.
“A healthy smile contributes to the longevity of teeth,” said Schnepper. “Teeth that are easier to clean have a reduced risk of cavities. In adult patients difficulty to get teeth clean can lead to gum disease and require the intervention of a periodontist. In addition, a healthy smile contributes to overall health. With a good bite you can talk better, you can chew food better, and teeth that fit together well wear down less. Finally, a good healthy smile looks great, which leads to improved self-confidence.”
Schnepper recommends bringing children as young as 7 in for pre-Orthodontic screening. Why so young?
“It does sound very young,” she said. “Most children will not need treatment at age 7, but there are some that will. With early exams we are given the possibility of early intervention with issues that would be more difficult to correct later.”
The Modern Orthodontist offers a complimentary Growth Guidance program in which patients are followed with visits every six months to a year to monitor growth and to see if treatment may be needed in the future – typically beginning between ages 9-14. Sometimes these kids come out of the Growth Guidance program not needing treatment but Schnepper takes pride in knowing she was able to offer the peace of mind to parents by keeping an eye on the growth and development of their children.
Schnepper shared some indicators that you or your child may need Orthodontic work:
• Early or late loss of baby teeth
• Difficulty chewing or biting
• Mouth breathing
• Thumb sucking
• Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth
• Jaws that shift or make sound
• Biting the cheek
• Lower front teeth that push into the roof of the mouth
• Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
• Facial imbalance – causes asymmetrical growth
• Jaws too far forward or too far back
• Grinding or clenching teeth
• Social concerns
To learn more, visit www.TheModernOrthodontist.com