“I knew when I was 12 years old that I wanted to be an orthodontist,” says Dr. Corrie Swihart, owner of Swihart Orthodontics. “I had problems with my teeth as a child, which made me self-conscious. I wouldn’t smile. My sister got braces and I saw her transformation. She became more confident. I wanted the same for me. That experience confirmed my desire to help others. My parents thought I would change my mind, but I didn’t.”
Dr. Swihart grew up in a small town in northern Indiana and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University. She earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, Master of Science in Dentistry degree and Orthodontics Certificate from Indiana University.
Looking for a place to begin her practice, Swihart focused on the East Coast. “I wanted to look at water, not cornfields,” she says with a smile. She grew up in a rural area and spent 10 years in Indianapolis earning her degrees. “I was ready for a change,” she adds. When her current practice became available for purchase, she came to Virginia for the first time. “It is great here,” she says. It’s her first practice, which she opened in 2018. There are 10 employees in the practice.
Swihart recommends scheduling children for a consultation before their seventh birthday. Much like dental checkups and physicals are routine to set a baseline and identify potential problems, an orthodontic checkup can discover or uncover issues that can be corrected to avoid future problems. Changes in the mouth can be monitored. “Most dental plans have an orthodontic option, so there’s every reason to consider a consultation,” says Swihart.
About five percent of Swihart’s patients are children six to nine years old. As would be expected, most are teenagers. Of course, an adult smile can also be straightened. “It’s never too late,” says Swihart.
These days, there are choices in braces. High-grade stainless steel brackets and arch wires are traditional and effective. A clear ceramic version is less obvious. Custom-fit clear acrylic trays that fit over the teeth are another option. These are removable for eating, drinking, brushing and flossing. As teeth move, new trays must be fitted. For younger children, traditional braces are recommended. Older children and teens may prefer the clear trays for cosmetic reasons. Swihart consults with adults and helps them make the best choice. Some prefer the convenience of a removable device.
Swihart also performs surgeries for misaligned jaws, receding or protruding jaws or an open bite.
Swihart likes Virginia. “There’s always something different to do,” she says. She enjoys kayaking and owns a kayak. She frequently bikes along the Virginia Capital Trail from Jamestown to Richmond. “I also enjoy walking my dogs,” she says. They are rescue dogs she “met” while doing volunteer work at an out-of-state humane society. Swihart is married; her husband is a teacher.
Swihart advocates tooth brushing for two minutes twice a day. Braces or other devices should be cleaned after every meal. “Good oral hygiene alleviates problems with braces,” she adds.
TO THE POINT:
Address: 12725 McManus Blvd., Ste. 1B, Newport News VA 23602
Contact: Corrie J. Swihart, DDS, MSD
Business: Child and adult orthodontist
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