What is a Malocclusion?

Did you know that if you need orthodontic treatment you have a malocclusion? "Occlusion" is a term that is used to refer to the alignment of your teeth and the prefix "mal" means "bad" or "incorrect". Therefore, malocclusion is the medical term for a misaligned teeth or the "imperfect positioning of the teeth when the jaws are closed" according to Google Dictionary. Orthodontics is often seen as cosmetic and unnecessary, but fixing the alignment of teeth is actually more medically necessary than one might think.

Malocclusion Types

Very few people are gifted with perfect teeth at birth. Malocclusions are most often caused by genetics. However, habits like thumb sucking, mouth breathing, and nail biting have can impact tooth alignment over time. There are four main types of malocclusions which we list below.

Front Teeth Protrusion

This type of misaligned teeth happens when the upper two front teeth jet out too far over the bottom teeth. This could cause abnormal wear on the teeth and possibly lead to TMJ problems with the jaw.


This form of malocclusion is when your upper teeth cross over your bottom teeth when you bite down. A cross bite causes jaw misalignment and irregular wear of the teeth. You could even break a tooth due to the misalignment!


An openbite occurs when the top teeth do not sit on the bottom teeth when the jaw is closed. Besides tongue thrusting and speech impediments, open bites hinder proper chewing because the upper and lower front teeth don’t overlap. This type of maloclussion is often caused by thumb sucking and pacifier use.


In an overbite, the upper front teeth extend out over the lower ones. While many people have top teeth that extend over their bottom teeth slightly, it is ideal for them to not be too far over. Occasionally, an overbite is so severe that the lower teeth can bite into the roof of the mouth!

Fixing a Malocclusion

In addition to the common malocclusions listed above, there are other orthodontic problems that can develop. It is important to have your jaw and tooth alignment checked by a doctor to ensure that any issues are found and that they will not evolve into more complicated problems. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that kids first see an orthodontic specialist at age seven for an exam but it is never too late!

Luckily for you, Dr. Aimee Skelton and the Skelton Orthodontics team specialize in fixing all types of malocclusions! We offer unique treatment plans tailed specifically for you. After coming in to the office for a complimentary consultation, Dr. Skelton will create your plan and get you started on the path to a healthier (and straighter) smile. Call us or fill out our online appointment request form to get started!


3 Reasons to See an Orthodontist

An orthodontist, like Dr. Aimee Skelton, specializes in jaw and tooth alignment. Orthodontics is often considered to be cosmetic treatment, but there are many issues that are related to the health of the jaw and teeth. It is important to have an exam with an orthodontic specialist to catch any underlying issues before they could potentially become problems. So why see an orthodontic specialist?

1: An Orthodontist is Trained to See What Can't Be Seen

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends taking a child to see an orthodontist at age seven because that is the age to see if early treatment is needed. You might be able to tell that your child's teeth are not straight, but you are not able to see what is going on under their gums. According to the AAO, two-thirds of what happens in your mouth is below the surface. Orthodontists not only use x-rays to see what is going on in your gums, but also their experience and training.

2: Orthodontists Create Unique Treatment Plans

Like fingerprints, no two people have the exact same teeth. This means that each person's orthodontic needs will not be the same. Dr. Aimee Skelton creates a treatment plan that is best for each and every patient. Orthodontics is truly an art and each patient is a different canvas. Dr. Skelton will review her suggestions in detail with you at your initial exam. Her recommendations are based on what is best for each patient's oral health.

3: Consultations are Complimentary

Skelton Orthodontics is excited to offer complimentary consultations for all new patients of all ages! Even if a child is not ready for orthodontic treatment at age seven, we will continue to monitor them (for no additional charge) until the optimal time for their treatment. We believe that the patient comes first and will only suggest the treatment that we feel is best. We are excited to answer any questions you might have at your exam!

Schedule an Exam Today

In conclusion, you can trust that you are in good hands with an orthodontic specialist like Dr. Aimee Skelton. Our office takes pride in our work and strives to deliver the best customer experience at every visit. If you are ready to schedule your complimentary exam, you can fill out an online appointment request form or give us a call at (256) 844-8221. We look forward to meeting you!


Smilesgiving 2020

It is time for Smilesgiving! The Skelton Orthodontics team loves to spread smiles for miles and miles all year long, but especially during the holidays. We are now accepting donations for our Smilesgiving! These donations go to local food pantries for those in need this holiday season. We need your help to fill up local pantries before Thanksgiving!

*To follow COVID restrictions and social distancing, we will sit a drum in the foyer for easy drop off. In addition, you can call in and someone will meet you at the car to pick up your donations for you.

Acceptable Smilesgiving Donations

We appreciate any and all donations for Smilesgiving, but the food pantries do request specific items. Below is the list of items that the food pantries accept. Click HERE for a printable list.

  1. Canned Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
  2. Canned Meats (turkey & chicken)
  3. Rice (brown & wild)
  4. Whole grain dry cereals
  5. Whole grain pastas
  6. Fruits in natural juice (no sugar added)
  7. Canned vegetables (low sodium)
  8. Canned soups & stews (low sodium)
  9. Nut butters (peanut, almond, walnut)
  10. Popcorn kernels
  11. Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, prunes, mangoes)
  12. Granola
  13. Herbal tea (green, white)
  14. Natural sweeteners (honey)
  15. Fruit juice (100%)
  16. Beans (canned or dried)
  17. Pasta sauce
  18. Shelf-stable milk (powdered milk, canned evaporated skim milk)
  19. Healthy snacks (granola bars, nuts)
  20. Spices (cinnamon, chili powder, cumin)

*Please avoid items packed in glass. No candy or sugary drinks.

We are Thankful for You!

Please bring all donations to our office by November 23rd. We will gladly take all donations to food pantries as a donation from the Skelton Orthodontics family. Thank you for joining our Smilesgiving and giving a smile to someone in need!

breast cancer awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is breast cancer awareness month and the Skelton Orthodontics team is showing our support by smiling in pink! Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States. During this time of the year, we want to promote cancer education and prevention for all as well as supporting and encouraging those who are affected by breast cancer.

Smile in Pink

Dr. Aimee Skelton will donate $1 per patient who chooses to get pink elastics or power chains during the month of October. At the end of the month, we will make a donation to breast cancer awareness on behalf of the Skelton Orthodontics family! If you post a selfie to Facebook or Instagram and tag us in the photo, you will be entered into a drawing for a free t-shirt. We are so proud of our patients who choose to smile in pink for the cause!

Breast Cancer Awareness

The Skelton Orthodontics team understands that this disease affects many people and families. We want you to know that we support you and are hopeful for a cure. Our team is proud to wear pink in honor of those who have fought and continue to fight this difficult battle.

orthodontic appliances

Common Orthodontic Appliances

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids see an orthodontic specialist, like Dr. Aimee Skelton, at age seven. Why age seven? This is the transitional period where kids are losing their baby (primary) teeth and have started getting their permanent teeth. This is the optimal time to see if a child will need early orthodontic treatment to avoid a more severe case once their adult teeth come in.

Why Orthodontic Appliances?

If Dr. Skelton feels that your child will benefit from early treatment, the first phase often includes orthodontic appliances. The appliance will prepare the mouth and create the best possible environment for permanent teeth to come in. Common orthodontic appliances are expanders, headgear and Herbst appliances.

What is an Expander?

An expander is an orthodontic appliance that is typically for younger patients. Cases that call for an expander usually involve a narrow roof (palate) that needs widening to create more space for teeth to come in. The widening of the upper and/or lower jaws help avoid common problems like crowding, impacted teeth or a crossbite. An expander is placed in the mouth for all day wear and uses a key to turn a device that widens the jaws over time.

What is Headgear?

Another type of orthodontic appliance is headgear. Headgear is used with patients who still have growing jaw bones. This appliance is normally recommended for patients who have a severely misaligned bite, usually an overbite or protruding front teeth. Headgear is worn partially outside and inside the mouth. It supports proper jaw development, alignment and growth. This orthodontic appliance can also help with aesthetics of the face and profile as well as create space for permanent teeth.

What is a Herbst Appliance?

A Herbst Appliance is also common in younger, growing patients. This appliance enhances lower jaw growth and moves the lower jaw forward to help correct an overbite. It is a fixed appliance, meaning you cannot remove it until treatment is complete. The Herbst appliance functions similar to headgear but is often more comfortable for patients.

Appliances Can Prevent More Severe Cases

No matter what type of appliance you or your child may need, it is important to follow your orthodontist's directions for wearing and cleaning. All orthodontic appliances are designed to help prevent a more severe case later in life. In many cases, appliances help to shorten time in braces and can even help prevent the possibility of surgery.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your orthodontic appliances. We are here to help!

clean teeth

Keeping Teeth Clean with Braces

While it is important to keep your teeth clean all of the time, it is especially important while you are in orthodontic treatment. The presence of appliances makes it easier for bacteria to build up on your teeth without proper care. In addition, it is possible for white spots to form around brackets if the teeth are not taken care of and cleaned well.

How to Brush and Floss with Braces

Braces, aligners and attachments can sometimes make brushing and flossing difficult. First of all, Dr. Aimee Skelton highly suggests seeing your general dentist twice a year even while in braces or aligners. Even though you see an orthodontist, you still need to have your teeth professionally cleaned and checked for cavities. Before your dental appointment, we recommend letting them know that you have braces on your teeth.

Brushing with braces is the first step toward keeping teeth clean. It is easy for food to get trapped between your brackets and wires so we suggest brushing after every meal if you can. Use a soft toothbrush to brush in circles above and below your brackets. You may notice that your toothbrush wears out faster with braces. Replace your toothbrush as soon as you see the bristles begin to fray.

Flossing with braces does take some extra time but will ensure clean teeth. Use floss threaders to thread floss through the wire and get each side of the tooth. We suggest flossing at least once per day.

Eating with Braces

Another important part of having clean teeth is eating the right foods. We recommend eating a balanced diet and avoiding any foods that could break your brackets or wires. Examples:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Sticky Candy (Caramels, Starbursts, gum, etc.)
  • Chips & Hard Pretzels
  • Corn on the cob & biting into whole apples

Broken appliances could lead to food or plaque build up and might potentially delay your overall treatment time. If you have clear brackets, there are some foods that could stain them. For example:

  • Ketchup
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Mustard
  • Blackberries
  • Coffee
  • Wine
  • Tea

Sugary drinks can also stain brackets. To help minimize staining, we suggest drinking colored liquids with a straw.

Keeping Teeth Clean

All of your hard work will be well worth it when you see your smile the day you have your braces removed! The team at Skelton Orthodontics understands that keeping your teeth clean while in orthodontic treatment takes some work and we are here to help. Call us with any questions or issues you may have.

best orthodontist fort payne

Times-Journal’s Best of DeKalb 2020: Best Orthodontist

Results are in for the Times-Journal's yearly Best of DeKalb contest!

Voted Best Orthodontist 2020

We would like to give a big "Thank You" to all of you who submitted votes in this year's Best of DeKalb contest with the Times-Journal. Dr. Aimee Skelton and the Skelton Orthodontics team are excited to announce that we won "Best Orthodontist" in this year's Times-Journal Best of DeKalb Contest!

Thank You for Your Support

First of all, Dr. Skelton is honored to receive this recognition and is proud to be a part of the DeKalb County businesses. Secondly, we appreciate our community and would like to thank you for your support. Skelton Orthodontics strives to offer top of the line customer care, and we do not hold the tile of "best orthodontist" lightly. Last, but not least, we are grateful to live and work in this community. We truly have the best smiles for miles and miles!

Orthodontist in Fort Payne

Skelton Orthodontics in Fort Payne offers orthodontic treatment with both traditional braces and Invisalign® clear aligners. If you are looking for a straighter, healthier smile give us a call today! We offer complimentary consultations and will discuss treatment options at your initial appointment. In addition, we accept orthodontic insurance and will help you review your coverage. We look forward to meeting you!

Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Pandemic

Treatment Questions

I have a scheduled appointment, what should I do?
If we have not already spoken to you to reschedule your appointment, please know we will reach out to you as soon as we are open to serve patients again. We do want to make sure you have no current issues or concerns with your appliance, so if you have any questions, please call our after-hours number.

What about my account? Do I owe you money for this month?
This is a great question and understandable in these times. When we contract with you for your treatment, we estimate the time it will take to COMPLETE your smile and base your total treatment cost on that estimate. Just like car payments, the total cost of treatment is divided up over agreed time frame. In the unfortunate event that this virus service interruption causes your treatment time to be longer than stated, it will not cost you any additional amount for this delay.

How will this affect my treatment to have a large gap in between adjustments?
Our patients are family to us and not seeing you for a few extra weeks will be challenging possible to prevent any delays in your completed smile transformation. Treatment should not be greatly altered by a few extra weeks. If you have any concerns, or even if you want to know if you can stop wearing a certain set of rubber bands or Invisalign trays, we can setup a video chat to discuss and advise accordingly.

What happens if I have a wire poking or something is causing me pain?
No matter what is going on in the world, we never want our patients to be in any discomfort! Please keep this after-hours emergency number in your phone and text us if you have anything that is concerning you. We will make arrangements to care for any urgent needs that cannot be resolved on the phone (or via video chat).

What if I need more supplies or appliances?
If you are in need of rubber bands, please email or text us so that we can mail some to you. If you need wax, it can be purchased at any drugstore (CVS/WALGREENS).

If you are currently wearing Invisalign and reach the end of your set of trays, please email or text us to set up a video chat. Please also reach out if you lose or break an aligner or retainer so that we can advise accordingly.

How long will you be closed?
This is an evolving situation and changing daily. We are following the guidelines as they come out from both the CDC and the State Health Department. Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our patients and our team. Please stay tuned for continued updates in the coming weeks via our social media, where we will do our best to keep you posted. We will be in touch to reschedule any missed appointments when we know our office will be reopening.

Smilestar Shelby

Skelton Orthodontics Smilestar Spotlight: Shelby

This weeks Smilestar spotlight is on Shelby! Dr. Aimee Skelton is excited to have a fantastic group of patients represent her practice as Smilestars! This weeks Smilestar winner that we would like to recognize is Shelby!

Want to know more about Smilestar Shelby? Check out her interview below!

Meet Shelby

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Skelton Orthodontics SmileStar?

A: I love getting to know new people and this is a super fun
experience to have.

Q: What is your favorite place to go in Fort Payne and why?

A: My favorite place to go in Fort Payne is The Spot because it is so pretty in there. They have really good food too.

Q: Why do/did you enjoy your orthodontic treatment at Skelton Orthodontics?

A: My teeth moved really fast and I was very happy with the
way everything went. The entire staff at Skelton is amazing.

Q: What do you like to do on the weekends?

A: On the weekends I enjoy riding around town and going
outside. I’m usually with my family or friends.

Q: Tell us 3 fun facts about you!

A: 1) I want to be a doctor when I’m older

     2) I have 2 dogs
and 2 cats

     3) I have 5

Q: Is there a volunteer/community event you enjoy working with or attending?

A:  I love to work at
Race for Embrace. I love to see all the kids smile.

Q: What color do you feel best describes you and why?

A: Yellow because it’s a happy color and it makes me feel
bubbly. I’m a happy and bubbly person.

Q: If you had to choose one song to be your “walk out song” and play every time you walked into a room, what would it be and why?

A: You should see me in a crown by Billie Eilish. It just talks about self power.  

Smilestar Zeb

Skelton Orthodontics Smilestar Spotlight: Zeb

This weeks Smilestar spotlight is on Zeb! Dr. Aimee Skelton is excited to have a fantastic group of patients represent her practice as Smilestars! This weeks Smilestar winner that we would like to recognize is Zeb!

Want to know more about Smilestar Zeb? Check out his interview below!

Meet Zeb

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Skelton Orthodontics SmileStar?

A: Being able to be apart of something is so fun and
representing my orthodontist.

Q: What is your favorite place to go in Fort Payne and why?

A: Wingstop. Me and my friends love the food there.

Q: Why do/did you enjoy your orthodontic treatment at Skelton Orthodontics?

A: I love how nice and friendly the place is.

Q: What do you like to do on the weekends?

A: I like to hang out with friends or go to cheer

Q: Tell us 3 fun facts about you!

A: 1) I am a cheerleader

     2) I love being a
part of activities

     3) I love to hang
out with the people I love

Q: Is there a volunteer/community event you enjoy working with or attending?

A:  I love helping out
with my school or church youth group

Q: What color do you feel best describes you and why?

A: I like any color really but I love black, whites, and

Q: If you had to choose one song to be your “walk out song” and play every time you walked into a room, what would it be and why?

A: Natural by Imagine Dragons