Archive for the ‘Patient Stories’ Category

The Effects Yoga Can Have on Your Body

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Recently, a long-time patient of ours and a good friend, Mr. Don Carter became a certified Yoga Instructor.  For years now, Mr. Carter has been telling me about all the wonderful things Yoga has done for his body’s fitness of the years.  He had gotten such wonderful results from doing Yoga that he took the time to become an instructor.  Don holds classes at both 4025 Yoga and within the workout programs at Cool Springs Church.

Yoga helps to influence the body through chain reactions.  The first step is helping to reduce stress.  Yoga can reduce anxiety by calming the sympathetic nervous system.  People who practice yoga regularly are better at regulating stress and having increased focus.  This in turn helps to reduce the cravings for junk food which is more calorie-dense.

Yoga has been shown to lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that makes your midsection a magnet for belly fat.  The activity of yoga has been shown to decrease symptoms of depression and research shows that happier people tend to be more active in all walks of their life.  Studies have also shown that people who practice yoga regularly improve their overall sleep quality.  Sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain and decreased levels of the hunger-suppressing hormone leptin, which makes it harder to resist high-calorie foods.  This is yet another way Yoga can help you control your diet!

People who do Yoga tend to be more mindful of their body.  They slow down and pay attention to how their body reacts to different things occurring in their lives.  They pay attention to the smaller details of their hygiene, and in the case of our office, this might mean more detail and time with their oral health care by taking the time to brush and floss correctly.

So if you have ever had an interest in Yoga, this may be a good time to try a class.  You can find Mr. Don Carter at or try any of the other facilities for better health and well-being.

Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233




Goochland Man Working to Achieve More Independence

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Harry East wants to be able to get around better.  So he can find a job.  East, 36 a double amputee who only has the use of his left arm (he’s naturally right-handed), is still dealing with the aftermath of a nightmarish sequence of events that began almost 10 years ago, when what began as a flu-like series of symptoms landed him in the hospital fighting for his life against MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).  A stroke and a case of endocarditis (inflammation of the inner layer of the heart) added insult to injury for the young man, who was on intensive care and spent two months in MCV.

But he left the hospital determined to rehabilitate himself.  He spent seven weeks in 2012 at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville and now volunteers at the Goochland Administration Building every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, where he mans the information desk at the building entrance from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  “I direct traffic,” said East, who goes by his initials H.F., helping visitors find the right office when they come in.  He also uses his computer skills to assist several departments with spreadsheets and other tasks.

Enrolled at J. Sargeant Reynolds in architectural and industrial design, East is looking for paying work, he said.  “Right nos I’m almost kind of bored,” he said during and interview last week at the administration building.  But he feels okay and has adapted to his disabilities.  “I can do pretty much anything with my left hand,” he said.  And that’s why he hopes to be able to take a special driving course through Brant’s Driving School, the organization that brought a special Honda van to Woodrow Wilson last March.  East said he drove it for two hours.

Having such a van to use and knowing how to drive it would make all the difference in his job search, he said.  but money is an obstacle.  The driving course would cost about $8,000 and the special van, equipped with a joy stick and other devices so he could drive it, could run to more than $100,000.  “We’re trying to see if DRS (the Department of Rehabilitative Services) will pay for the driving school,” said East but says the going has been slow working with the agency.

Occasionally he gets “down in the dumps,” he says when he thinks his goal of being able to travel on his own may not happen.  But meanwhile the Sisters of Ruth women’s group at Forest Grove Christian Church, where East and his family are members, have raised about $9,000.  They’ve got a long way to go but are planning fund raising activities in the near future to help East achieve his goal of independence.  for more information, contact Sisters of Ruth treasurer Bernice Perkins at 804-556-3207 or write her at 4062 Broad Street Road, Gum Spring, VA 23065.


Originally Printed in the Goochland Gazette on February 7, 2013.



Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233


Great Job Nick Ford !

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Congratulations to Nicholas Ford, a wonderful young man from Atlee High School in Hanover County.  Nick recently completed his Orthodontic case at the offices of Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates.  He recently had his braces removed just in time for the Holiday Season.  Nick’s case was a little different than a lot of orthodontic cases.  Nick came to us with spacing between his adult teeth:  however, his bite was very tight, and his anterior teeth were touching tip-to-tip.  The goal was to close his spaces while keeping his anterior teeth in a Class I position.

For this, we needed to begin Nick’s case on the lower arch.  It was necessary to start closing the space on the lower arch first with elastics and to keep this phase of treatment twelve weeks ahead of the upper arch.  By doing this, we would make sure that the lower arch would always be within the upper arch: and therefore, maintain the correct bite.

Nick was a great patient!   He always had the best oral hygiene and during his entire treatment he never lost a bracket or bent a wire.  He was very proud to be part of what was going on, and his cooperation helped us complete his case in 1 year and 2 months.  Nick also had no cavities when we removed his brackets!    Nick is now in his retainer system, wearing the retainers full time for the next 6 months.  Spacing cases have a tendancy to re-open if not retained properly, and Nick understands that it is up to him to wear his retainers everyday.

Great job Nick!  Everyone here at the offices of Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates always enjoyed your monthly visits, and we will miss seeing your smile so often.  Keep brushing and keep up with your retainers!


Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233


And The Emmy Goes To . . .

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Congratulations to a great patient of ours, Geoff Weidele.  Mr. Weidele recently won an Emmy from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  Mr. Weidele is part of Henrico County’s HCTV-17 where he produced and directed the 29 minute feature called “Airwaves of Yesteryear:  Early Television in Central Virginia”.  His Emmy was in the category of Arts & Entertainment Program or Special.

The winners were announced at The 54th Emmy Awards held in Washington D.C.   This was the fourth Emmy won by Henrico County’s Public Relations & Media Services, and the first Emmy for Mr. Weidele.  His program was competing against other nationally recognized features from Maryland and the D.C. area.  Mr. Weidele recently told our Hygienist Melanie and Dr. Freeman about the evening.  “Even as I was sitting there, and they were calling out the names . . . I never expected to win.”

Mr. Weidele graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Communications.  He has worked for over 25 years in television production and joined the Henrico County TV team in 2005.  Before this, he was a producer for Henrico School’s channel 99.  He has worked in local television and video production around the Metro Richmond area and Northern Virginia for some time now, and has won several national awards for other productions.  He really enjoys working in the television / video field.  Everyone here at Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates is very proud to have such a talented man as a patient.  Way to go Geoff!

His program is available online at


Way To Go . . . Madalyn Saunders !

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Congratulations to one of the nicest young ladies you will ever meet, Miss Madalyn Saunders.  Madalyn recently completed her orthodontic treatment at our office in August, 2012 — just in time to have her braces off for the start of the school season.  Madalyn has been a patient at our office since she was a very young girl, and at her Mothers’ request, we began her orthodontic treatment in June of 2011.  Due to Madalyn’s hard work and cooperation we were able to finish her case in 1 year and 2 months!

Madalyn’s success hinged on her and her family aiding us all the way through to the last day of her case.  We often tell our orthodontic patients that treatment is like a Triangle — it takes three sides to get great results.  First, our office has the knowledge and talent to complete the work needed to be done.  Second, the parents are responsible for the finances and, more importantly, getting the patient to their appointments.  Last, but not least, the young patient is responsible for their oral hygiene and watching what they eat so as not to break off any brackets.  In this case, everyone did their part, resulting in a beautiful, wide smile.  Madalyn had a great support team of family and close friends who helped to get her to appointments, and she was very diligent on wearing her appliances and keeping her teeth clean.  Through the entire treatment, Madalyn did not break off a single bracket!

Madalyn’s case started with moderate crowding complicated by a deep bite.  In order to align her teeth in a nicer arch form, 5-6 mm of space was needed in the upper and lower arch.  In Madalyn’s case, her arches were wide enough in the posterior but narrow in the front, so an appliance known as a Fan Appliance was used to widen the anterior portion of the arch.  This is what gave her the wide, movie star smile in the end.  While we were expanding her arches, micro brackets and bio-efficient wire were used to rotate the teeth into the proper positions on the new arch form.

A deep bite is when the upper front teeth covers more that 10% of the lower front teeth when the patient is biting down.  In some cases, patients have 100% coverage and cannot see the lower teeth at all.  As one gets older, this can cause excessive wear on the lower anterior teeth and the lingual (backs) of the upper front teeth.  As adults, patients with deep bites tend to need large restorations on the lower front teeth  like crowns and root canals.  At the start of Madalyn’s case, she had 80% coverage.  A small acrylic block called a Rick-A-Nator was placed behind her upper front teeth to open her bite to the proper height.  Over the course of treatment, the patient’s molars and premolars reach out for contact and erupt into a higher position creating a new posterior bite.  Once the natural dentition is holding the bite in a more proper position, the acrylic appliance is removed.

In the end, Madalyn’s case was a great success.  Her parents and I were very happy with the results, but I think Madalyn was the most excited.  Madalyn understands that she needs to wear her purple retainers every day for the next 6 months to keep her teeth in position.  We will miss seeing this wonderful young lady every 6 weeks for her ortho appointments, but will look forward to her regular cleanings to catch up on what people think about her beautiful smile.


Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233

Look at Nicole Dudley’s Smile !

Friday, June 15th, 2012

This week we completed a very short but extremely important Orthodontic case on one of our young stars — Miss Nicole Dudley.   Nicole started coming to our office “in utero” with her mother, and everyone at our office has enjoyed watching her grow up.  Now 9 years old, Nicole’s upper and lower front teeth were flared and rotated due to an extreme lack of space.  She also had a major cross-bite on her right side.  A cross-bite is when the lower posterior teeth are more outward than the upper posterior teeth (opposite of the way they should be biting).  Patients who grow up with cross-bites often show extreme wear on the cusps of their teeth when they are adults; and therefore, end up needing some major restoration as they get older like crowns or implants.  This is something that is easy to correct when the patient is young and going through growth spurts.

Nicole’s crowding was due to an extreme lack of space.  She just did not have enough room for the size of her adult teeth.  To correct both problems, Nicole’s parents and I decided to expand her arches and place Phase I brackets on Nicole’s adult teeth.   Nicole’s parents had a lot of faith in her and decided to let her use removable appliances.  This can be worrisome with very young patients because of the possibility of taking them out and potentially losing them, but Nicole was a super trooper!  She took full responsibility for her expanders and was the most adult little girl when it came to keeping them clean and in place!  Because of her great cooperation, Nicole’s case goals were completed in just nine (9) months, and recently we were removed her brackets.  Soon, she will be picking up her “pink” retainers, and I am sure that she will be just a diligent about wearing them as she was about her expanders.

Two Phase Orthodontics is not recommended for every case.  It should be reserved for only those children with extreme crowding.  The goal of Phase I is to place the skeletal relationship of the upper and lower arches in a more correct alignment, expand the arches to hopefully accommodate the estimated size of all the developing adult teeth, and to align the anterior adult teeth into proper position.  By doing this at an early age, Phase II during the teenage years should be shorter and easier than if everything was done as one long case.  Two Phase Orthodontics is not for all cases.  Most children’s problems allow them to wait until all of their adult teeth are in place before starting Orthodontics.

Thanks to Nicole and her parents for being such great patients and helping us make her smile even more beautiful!


Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates          

3290 Church Road   .  Henrico, VA   .   2323                                                    


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What a Great Case! Jessica Vipperman

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Jessica Before

Jessica's before smile

Wow!  What a great Case, and what a great young lady.  Jessica Vipperman began her Orthodontic case at our office with Dr. Freeman on August 18th, 2010, and less than a

Jessica After

Jessica's after smile

year and a half later, we  finished up  her case with excellent results.   How did we finish in such a short period of time ?  Because of the cooperation and help of such a wonderful patient.  Jessica did everything she was told right from the start.  From wearing her appliances to being aggressive with her Home Care/Oral Hygiene, Jessica was the key partner in her orthodontic treatment.  Just take a look at her before and after photos and you can see the results.

Jessica’s original issues stemmed from slightly crowded arches and a deep bite.  Jessica’s arches were too narrow to support the width of her adult teeth.  This lack of space caused crowding and rotations of her anterior (front) teeth.  When Jessica would bite down, her upper anterior (front) teeth almost covered her lower anterior teeth completely.  This is called a Deep Bite, and Jessica’s upper front teeth covered 90% of her lower front teeth.  Deep bites are the root cause of many issues as people get older including cracking of the lower front teeth and the need for multiple restoration in this area.  In extreme cases, the lower teeth can cause tissue damage to the roof of the mouth just behind the larger front teeth.

We began Jessica’s treatment by using a fixed series 2000 appliance to expand her arches.  Patients and parents tend to love these appliances because they have an internal spring system to create a slight even pressure.  As her arches expanded, orthodontic brackets and bio-efficient wire were place on the teeth to guide them to a more proper position while the need space was being created.  Once the expansion was complete, it was time to deal with the deep bite.

An appliance called a Rick-N-Nator was placed on Jessica’s upper arch.  This appliance holds an acrylic block behind the upper front teeth.  When the patient bites down, the lower teeth are stopped by the acrylic block in a more proper bite position.  As the patient wears the appliance, the posterior teeth erupt in further until they touch again.  Once the posterior teeth have established a new bite, the appliance can be removed.  On average, this treatment takes five months.

Once we had met all of our goals and Jessica and her parents were happy, all brackets were removed and Jessica was placed into a retainer system.  Jessica took our office oath to be loyal to her retainer because she knows that the retainer will “hold her teeth in positions” and the longer she wears her retainers, the longer lasting her results will be.  We were so very proud of Jessica, and when she smiles, we can see that she is very proud of her teeth.  Who makes us smile?  Great patients like Jessica.  That’s who.

Jessica Lower before

Jessica's lower teeth before



Jessica lower after

Jessica's lower teeth after











jessica smile before

Jessica's smile before



Jessica's smile after

Jessica's smile after

The Good Samaritan

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

At this is the time of year for good cheer, good stories and good will, I’d like to share a anecdote that is all three.  Earlier this year, one of our patients was walking home to her apartment after a quick trip to the drug store.   She walks everywhere — everyday.  In fact, she once told me that the reason she picked her apartment complex was because its location allowed her to walk easily to the store, to restaurants, and to our office.  You see, she does not drive.

On this particular afternoon, while walking on the sidewalk along Cox Road, she suddenly lost her footing and fell, face first, onto the pavement.  Shaken, she laid there for a moment.  To her horror, she realized that her teeth had been badly damaged and that she was bleeding profusely.

Frantically, she tried to wave down passing vehicles for over ten minutes.  “Person after person kept driving by without even stopping or showing concern.”  she said.  “I was terrified because even though my mind wanted to, my body could not get off the ground.”

Out of nowhere, she heard a young man’s voice  “I think you need help.”

Carefully , he maneuvered to help her up.  She knew she was dead weight in his arms, and she could feel him struggle to get her off the ground. The boy, Vince,  seemed to be around nineteen years old, give or take a few years, but he quickly understood the severity of her injuries.  He helped her into the passenger side of his car.  Inconvenienced drivers blew their horns at the young man who had dared to stop his vehicle in the right lane.

Our patient hazarded a glance at herself in the side-view mirror.  Looking back at her she saw “what looked like a Halloween mask with missing teeth.  My face and neck were black and blue.  I looked like a very scared senior citizen.”

“Take me to Dr. Freeman’s.”  They were  less than a mile from our office.  Without hesitation, Vince  followed her directions straight to our door.  He helped her from his car and into our office.   When they came through the door, both now splattered with red spots, Vince looked a little rattled.  “I found her on the ground,”  he said.  “She said to bring her here.”

Our Patient was rushed to the back and put into the first open chair we had.  Two Doctors and three assistants worked for most of the afternoon to repair the damage that the fall had caused.  She had several broken teeth.  Her central incisors where knocked sideways and  one tooth was pushed upward into the bone.  Her upper lip was lacerated, and she was bleeding profusely.

Her teeth were repositioned, stabilized with orthodontic wire, and bonding material.   Her wounds were treated.

While  we were  in the back, the young man quietly disappeared from the waiting room, leaving  his name and address.

“Vince was so kind and considerate.” she recalled,  “I could not have made it without him.   In the car, he told me he was a first-year college student and was going to visit his girlfriend when he saw me on the sidewalk.  I thanked Vince for all his help and called him the next day to thank him again.  He was indeed my hero, and I shall never forget him.”

The next day, after things settled down, I felt that the young man should be rewarded for his heroic gesture.  We wrote a thank you note  from our office and sent him a gift certificate to a local restaurant as a reward.  We never heard from Vince, but several weeks later I received a card from his mother.  This is what it said:

Four months and several appointments later, the woman was her own perky self again.  She is back to her walking, making her trips to the store.  We never saw Vincent again, but it warms my heart to know there are people like him out there.    I thank him for his concern for a person in distress, his willingness to help and the inspiration he provided to us all.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a hopeful New Year.

Dr. Mark Freeman

Congratulations to Jackson Bergstrom: Another Beautiful Smile

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Jackson shows off his new smile

On the first day--Jackson's before photo

Congratulations to our patient Jackson Bergstrom who completed his Orthodontics Case with Dr. Freeman on October 19.  Jackson, who is now 13, has been a patient since 2004 and we have enjoyed watching as he and his brothers have grown.

Each of our Orthodontic Treatment cases are developed to meet the specific needs of each patient.  In our assessment of Jackson’s case, we determined that his arches were not wide enough to support the size of his teeth.  This is a common Orthodontic problem which creates crowding and rotation of the teeth on the arch.

In addition, he was also developing a deep bite, a condition in which a the upper front teeth cover the majority, if not all, of the lower front teeth when the patient bites down.   In adults, coverage of more than about 20% can lead to fillings, root canals and crowns as the lower teeth are subjected to extreme wear.  In a deep bite, impact trauma from the lower teeth can sometimes cause soft tissue damage to the rough of the mouth.  To prevent this damage to gum and tooth structure, it is critical that a deep bite be opened to a more proper position.

Jackson began his Orthodontic Treatment on March 25, 2010 with the placement of upper and lower Series 2000 expanders.  Dr. Freeman favors these appliances because they utilize internal springs to place a continuous low pressure against the arches.  This creates the needed space to rotate the teeth into the proper position.  In addition to the expanders, brackets and wires were attached which began to straighten Jackson’s teeth.

After only 5 months, the expanders came off, and Jackson began the second half of his treatment.  A Rick-A-Nator was used to help open Jackson’s deep bite.   The Rick-A-Nator positions the bite in a more proper position and holds it there until the molars and premolars erupt further.  After a short time, the posterior teeth will hold the new position on their own and the appliance can be removed.

With any Orthodontic Case, the patient is really one of the team members. Throughout the entire process, Jackson kept up his part of our Orthodontic Partnership.  He was diligent with his oral hygiene and he watched the things he ate to protect his brackets and wires during treatment.  Everything went extremely well with Jackson’s case, which was completed in less than 1 year, 7 months.

On October 19, 2011, he arrived at our office early in the morning for his debanding appointment.  We were all excited to see his big reveal–how would his teeth look without his braces?  We removed his brackets and appliances and polished his teeth.  WOW !  What a great result.  By 9:30 he was off to school to show off his new smile.

Thank you, Jackson for being such a stellar team member and such a great patient!  Don’t forget to wear your retainers, and always remember who makes you smile!

The photo gallery:

Before and after:  The view from the front

This is where it all started

Straight, healthy smile--goal achieved


Before and after:  A peek at the upper teeth

An upper view shows that teeth will need to rotate

Upper teeth now in alignment


Before and after:  The lower teeth before and whole mouth after view

The lower teeth need to move as well

Uppers and lowers now in place



Patient Wins on Wheel of Fortune (thanks to his wife!)

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Today I heard one of those wonderfully funny stories from a patient that we often hear.   I had to ask him if I could share it with you.  A long time patient of ours, Mr. Sherman Weisinger was in today wanting to get some work completed before his up-coming trip to Costa Rica.  When I asked him about his trip, he told me it was a funny story.  He said he and his wife were sitting watching television one night and he went to turn on his regular football game.  His wife told him she was not done watching her show — The Wheel of Fortune — turn it back!   As any good husband knows, he turned her game show back on and watched with her, thinking he was only missing the pre-game show.  As he watched, the contestant on the show spun the wheel and won a trip to Costa Rica!  As they went to commercial, the host turned to the camera and said — “If you are Sherman W. from Richmond Virginia and your Spin Number is 59823 you will also win the trip to Costa Rica if you reply on our Web-site in the next 24 hours.”  Mr. Weisinger turned to his wife and said “I think that’s my number,” and when he checked, he was right!

Congratulations to Mr. Sherman Weisinger for winning the trip on Wheel Of Fortune, and two thumbs up to Mrs. Weisinger for getting her husband to watch the show.  What a great story!  From everyone here at Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates, we wish you two a safe trip and the best time.




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