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Welcome to Holistic Happenings in Orthodontics! 
In Harmony Orthodontics - Dr. Catherine Murphy, DDS, MSD 

This month’s topics:

  • Laura's Work Anniversary
  • Presentation to Apollonia Dental Society
  • New Series: Breastfeeding Challenges & Solutions. Guest column by Dr. Rachel Poulsen
  • Health Tip of the Month: Spray Away Germs
  • Children's Dental Health Month
  • Super Bowl AND Super Articles in Northwest IN Times
  • We're Hiring!

Happy Anniversary, Laura! 

Please join me in celebrating Laura's work anniversary at In Harmony Orthodontics.

If you’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Laura, you know she is an absolute gem! From her cheery smiles to her wonderful thoughtfulness, it’s truly a joy to work with her. I look forward to many more memories over the years with her positive personality!

Presentation to the Apollonia Dental Society

What an honor to return to the Apollonia Dental Society to speak about the benefits of working with other healthcare providers. I had the pleasure of introducing the theme “Adjuncts in Dentistry” last May 2019 with my presentation, “Connections: Approaches to Improved Dental Care with those Outside of Dentistry.” 
On January 16, 2020, I had the opportunity to present “Connections: Orthodontics and Myofunctional Therapy” alongside myofunctional therapists Stacy Lashenik, LDH and Tracy Biggs, CCC-SLP, CLC. Thank you to the Apollonia Board of Directors (Dr. Jamila Miller, Dr. Torie Cox, Dr. Amy Wadas, and Dr. Rachel Peterson) for organizing a wonderful event filled with practitioners interested in collaborative care.
Tracy and I got an extra bonus when our mutual patient, Melanie, asked to join in the presentation! It was truly a great representation of collaborative and compassionate care.

Stacy Lashenik, LDH and Dr. Catherine Murphy

L to R: Front row: Our patient Melanie, her mother Shelly.
Back row: Dr. Catherine Murphy, Tracy Biggs, CCC-SLP, CLC.

New Series: Breastfeeding Challenges & Solutions 

I am very open about the events that led to my mindset shift regarding the way I practice orthodontics. A major contributor to this was my struggle to nurse my first child. From this, I learned a lot about how new mother concerns are handled (or ignored), and am passionate about making positive changes.

Thus, prior to the birth of my second child, I was already organizing a team to care for her if there was a struggle. Everyone warned me that every child is different and they were right! The struggle I had with her was different than with my son. That meant more learning opportunities.

I want to share this with you. Why? Well, first, I understand that nursing is a mother’s choice and either way, she should be supported. With my first child, I felt there was little support from the practitioners I was seeing at the time (and some in my own community) to help support my desire to nurse. The answer was to just stop nursing and focus on formula.

Second, the growth and development of a baby’s face is positively affected by breast feeding. Thankfully, the profession of orthodontics exists to help with challenges in growth and development of the face, displayed as crowded teeth, long faces, open bites, etc. So actually I want to help prevent the need or at least severity of bad bites (malocclusion). 

The first part in this series by Dr. Rachel Poulsen is discussing tongue ties. Shortly after my daughter’s birth, I diagnosed her tongue tie. How? It started with her latch upon feeding. I can now commiserate with other mothers who have endured PAIN upon nursing. Thankfully the hospital staff has progressed a lot in their knowledge of tongue ties since my son’s birth and were more supportive this time.
Stay tuned next month for the next part in the series with another guest column!

Look in Your Mouth! (And Your Kid's Mouth, Too!)
By Dr. Rachel Poulsen, DDS

I hear from moms and dads all the time that their children struggled to breastfeed or had a myriad of problems associated with eating as an infant that couldn’t be explained. Some parents search for months or years until they stumble upon a provider or information that leads them to an answer. Until their eyes have been opened, they had no idea what to look for. The inside of the mouth is not something that is easy to look at in a newborn or even a toddler, for that matter! Even if you do get a good look, what are you looking for?

A tongue-tie is a congenital oral anomaly that may decrease mobility of the tongue and is caused by an unusually short, thick lingual (tongue) frenulum, a band of collagen connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Oral restrictions have a myriad of symptoms and every case is different in presentation. The key to a diagnosis is not necessarily how the frenulum looks but the symptoms associated with a lingual (tongue) or labial (lip) frenulum. A symptomatic tongue-tie can present differently in infants, children and adults. This is due to the limitless compensations needed to nurse, eat, speak, and even breathe with a tongue-tie. 

Here are two examples of tongue-ties. They are attached differently but both were causing symptoms. Notice how the fingers are in the mouth and elevate the tongue to gauge the amount of restriction. The string (either thick or thin) at the midline of the tongue is what to look for.


OK, now you see a restricted frenulum. What next? Check on symptoms. These symptoms can be directly or indirectly related to restricted tongue and lip mobility. Symptoms that are indirectly related are often a result of a compensation.

Common symptoms in infants:

  • Poor quality latch
  • Slides off breast easily
  • Falls asleep prematurely while nursing/nursing often
  • Reflux symptoms/Gagging
  • Gumming/chewing
  • Pacifier problems
  • Thrush
  • Poor weight gain
  • Low milk volume transfer (weighted feeds)
  • Gassiness/fussiness/colic
  • Mother’s pain while nursing
  • Clicking while nursing/loosing suction
  • White tongue
  • Lip blister
Common symptoms in young children:
  • Speech problems                                
  • Breathing problems
  • Tongue thrust
  • Ear infections
  • Food aversions
  • Tooth decay
  • Cosmetic tooth spacing or crowding
  • Problems eating
  • Snoring
  • Grinding
  • Bed wetting
Common symptoms in adults:
  • All symptoms listed above
  • Chronic neck, face and back pain
  • TMJ problems
  • Crowded/narrow arches
  • Hypersensitive gag reflex
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Speech problems
  • Compromised airway
  • Sleep apnea

You’ve looked and you’ve checked several things off the symptom list. Where to next? Early intervention is key BUT it’s never too late to do something! While treating older children and adults can be more complex, teams that frequently work together can reverse or resolve the chronic symptoms of oral restrictions.
Providers (such as those in Dr. Catherine Murphy’s Connections Book Club) who I frequently work with are orthodontists, myofunctional therapists, lactation consultants, midwives, speech language pathologists, chiropractors, craniosacral therapists, primary care physicians, and occupational therapists. The surgical procedure necessary to revise a tongue-tie is only one component to resolving these symptoms.

The good news is that information on oral restrictions has grown in the last 5-10 years. Published research articles, blogs, and support groups about oral restrictions are booming. This is due in large part to increased awareness, resulting in earlier diagnosis. Finding a knowledgeable provider is the first step to successfully identifying and treating this life-altering condition. Please share this information with your family, friends, and healthcare providers who may need this information.

Dr. Rachel Poulsen, DDS
Dr. Poulsen graduated from Indiana University School of Dentistry in 2009 and from University of Florida in 2010 receiving an AEGD residency certificate. Among many interests, Dr. Poulsen has a passion for helping breastfeeding mothers. Having breastfed her 3 children, one of whom was tongue tied, has driven her passion for continuing education in the area of oral restrictions and their effects. She has been evaluating, diagnosing and releasing oral restrictions since 2015.

Dr. Poulsen is a general dentist and has been practicing at Princess City Dental Care in Mishawaka, IN since 2010. The team at Princess City Dental Care is committed to treating the whole patient from infancy to seniors. Dr. Poulsen’s continual training at the Pankey Institute has instilled the philosophy of comprehensive care to all her patients.

Princess City Dental Care
2006 N. Main St. Mishawaka, IN 46545         
P: 574-259-8571

Health Tip of the Month: Spray Away Germs

Did your mother remind you to clean behind your ears? Well, even though that’s important, I remind my son to clean out his nose! I explain it’s like a shower for his nose. All he cares about is that it isn’t irritating and is actually sweet due to the xylitol within the spray. What do I use? Xlear nasal spray!
I was introduced to Xlear nasal spray when taking an intensive introductory course in myofunctional therapy AKA “myo.” Since the goal of myo is to breathe through the nose, the nasal passages need to be clear. Why is nasal breathing important? The nose filters the air we breathe. Especially during this cold and flu season, we need to help fight against the viruses to keep them from getting into our system. This nasal spray can be used daily without drying out the nose. Xlear washes away irritants and pollutants, alleviates congestion, and moisturizes. Let’s stay healthy!

February is Children's Dental Health Month

Looking for activities for your kids at home or in the classroom? Check out these websites with great resources:

Drinks Destroy Teeth

  • Includes handouts, PowerPoint presentation, lesson plans and link to the free app.
Chicago Dental Society: February is Children’s Dental Health Month
  • You get access to discussion guides, coloring and activity sheets.
American Dental Association
  • Many activity sheets are available for download.
Dental trivia:
Did you know that dentistry has a patron saint?
Her name is St. Apollonia! Feast Day is February 9. Check it out:
Dentistry also has a token color. Take a guess what it is…
If you guessed purple, or more specifically lilac, you are correct!
Click here for details about the emblem of dentistry.

Super Bowl AND Super Articles in Northwest IN Times

Are you excited to watch the Super Bowl? I am! I enjoy football and this game should be interesting.

However, I am MORE excited to get my copy of the Northwest Indiana Times that day. Why? I was asked to submit three articles for the “Medical Innovations” section again this year.

The articles will be published on Sunday, Feb 2, 2020! Check them out at and let me know what you think.

Join the In Harmony Orthodontics Team!

We’re looking for a part-time assistant to help out in the afternoons. No previous dental experience is required. The ideal candidate enjoys working with people and has excellent critical thinking skills.

Responsibilities include:

  • Office and laboratory duties
  • Preparing patients for treatment
  • Obtaining records
  • Working chair-side as the dentist examines and treats patients

If this sounds perfect for you or someone you know, contact us! Send resumes to:

Thank you for reading Holistic Happenings in Orthodontics Newsletter! 

What topics are of greatest interest to you? Please let us know by emailing:

Reminder, your first consultation is free! Call 219.924.4031 or email:
Copyright © 2020 In Harmony Orthodontics, LLC, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
In Harmony Orthodontics

2025 W. Glen Park Ave. (45th St)
Griffith, IN 46319

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In Harmony Orthodontics · 2025 W Glen Park Ave · Griffith, IN 46319-3704 · USA

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