Congratulations to Lekha Sapers, our 2017/2018 annual $1000 College Scholarship recipient!

Dr. Semco with 2017-2018 Semco Orthodontics $1000 College Scholarship recipient Lekha Sapers, a highly involved and ambitious St. George's student.

Dr. Semco with 2017-2018 Semco Orthodontics $1000 College Scholarship recipient Lekha Sapers, a highly involved and ambitious St. George's student.

St. George’s student, Jamestown resident awarded scholarship.

Semco Orthodontics is excited to announce the recipient of its fourth annual $1000 College Scholarship. Passionate and highly involved St. George’s student, Lekha Sapers, was chosen for her response to this year’s prompt, “How can you change the world?"

High school students throughout Newport County were challenged with this question, however only one ‘amazed’ the SO Scholarship Committee with her thought-provoking essay themed, “However small, any change is important.”

In her essay, Sapers states “the small impacts you make in others' lives have the most resonance; those small impacts keep accumulating until they create a larger impact,” she said. 

She plans to study science and math in college and also give back to the community. “After fulfilling my dreams in terms of attaining an education and a career, I someday hope to help other kids achieve their own goals when they're looking to pursue a higher education,” Sapers said.

With the same passion for education, SO owner Dr. Robert S. Semco established the scholarship in 2014 with the desire to help local youths achieve their goals. “I believe it is very important to provide opportunities for our kids to grow personally, as well as academically,” Semco said. A Tufts University and Mayo Clinic graduate, Semco understands the high costs associated with higher education and wishes to help alleviate those for local students.

To be eligible for the scholarship, the applicant had to be a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior at a public, private, parochial, vocational or charter school, or a home school program. The applicant also had to be a resident of Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton or Jamestown, R.I. Patients of Dr. Semco and their immediate families, who live outside this area, met the residency requirement.

Keep your eyes open for next year's scholarship!

4th Annual $1000 College Scholarship Call for Entries!


4th Annual $1000 College Scholarship Call for Entries!


Submission Deadline: February 23, 2018
Notification Date: February 26, 2018

Show or tell us for a chance to win a $1000 College Scholarship! 

Create a poster or write an essay showing/telling us how you could make the world a better place. All pieces will be judged on their creativity and how well they convey your message.

Requirements: Posters should be 8.5”x11”. Essays should be at least 500 words. Please submit with completed application.
Eligibility: Must be a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior in high school and a resident of Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton or Jamestown.


Don't Want Those Nasty White Marks on Your Teeth After Braces?

By: Dr. Semco

One question that is asked by some of my patients is: "Am I going to get those white marks on my teeth when my braces are taken off?" The answer primarily depends on the state of the patient's oral hygiene.  I've never seen white marks on the teeth of patients who keep their teeth free of plaque.  But in patients with poor oral hygiene, white marks can develop, usually towards the gum side and the sides between the braces. Fluoridated toothpaste certainly helps matters.  So brushing with fluoridated toothpaste three times per day for 2 minutes at a time should do the trick, whether using a manual or electric toothbrush. You can see in the mirror if plaque remains.  If it does, start brushing that area again. Remember to put extra effort in brushing between the braces and between the braces and the gum line, since those are the usual problem areas.

But sometimes patients just can't seem to keep their teeth clean.  And for them, we have a special tool in our toolbox. In a November 2011 article published by the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, researchers discovered that a product called MI Paste Plus "helped prevent the development of new white spot lesions during orthodontic treatment and decreased the number of white spot lesions already present." For those who are familiar with how studies are developed, this was a very well done prospective randomized clinical trial of sixty patients, with fifty patients completing the study.

Over the past several years, I have been a big proponent of using MI Paste products. With regard to how use MI paste, the active ingredient in MI Paste binds to oral soft tissues, to dental pellicle and also to plaque. The binding elevates the salivary levels of calcium and phosphate for extended periods. For this reason, MI Paste works best in patients when it is applied at night before bed, since the salivary clearance rate is low during sleeping. It is recommended that MI Paste be applied immediately after flossing and brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, again, particularly at night before bed. 

Apply a pea-sized amount of MI paste to your teeth's surface using a clean finger, with special focus between the braces and between the braces and gum line.  Leave undisturbed for 3 minutes. Spit but do not rinse; leave the excess to slowly dissolve.  

Because of the degree of fluoride content in MI Paste Plus, it is not recommended for overnight application in children under the age of 12. Since a significant portion of my patient population is under the age of 12, I generally prescribe the fluoride-free MI Paste. I prescribe MI Paste Plus for special circumstances. Note that MI Paste is derived from the milk protein, casein and it is not to be used on patients with mild protein allergy (caesin IgE) and/or sensitivity to benzoate preservatives.

My Toddler Hit His Front Tooth!

By: Dr. Semco

Your little toddler is stumbling around the house, trips, and bangs his front baby tooth on the corner of a coffee table. What if his baby tooth becomes abnormally loose, or worse, gets pushed up into his gums? Will that cause a problem in the future? 

A February 2015 retrospective study published in Dental Traumatology addressed this scenario. 52 children with 70 intruded teeth and 76 children with 99 abnormally loosened teeth were included in the study. The results showed that more than 50% of all baby front teeth that were abnormally loosened or intruded by the trauma experienced injury-related problems, such as root shortening or damage, nerve damage, color change of the tooth, or abscess. 

The majority of these problems appeared within 180 days of the initial trauma, but a lesser, yet still significant, number of problems were observed up to 4 years after the initial injury. So, even 4 years after your toddler hit his tooth, he still has a risk of developing problems with the tooth. But remember, almost 50% of the teeth had no problem.

Can the way my teeth look have an influence on finding a job?

By: Dr. Semco

There are many advantages to having an ideal smile. But can it help me land a job? This question was addressed in the October 2014 issue of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. The goal of the study was to see if the way your teeth look would influence the perceptions of the people responsible for hiring for a company.

The study consisted of photographs of the faces of 10 patients that were altered to look like they had ideal teeth. There were two groups where each group contained either an initial smile photo or an altered smile photo.  The images were evaluated by 100 people who were responsible for hiring staff for their company. For each photo, the raters were asked whether the photo displayed the image of someone who is likely to be hired, honest, intelligent, or efficient at work. 

The results were noteworthy.  People with ideal smiles were considered more intelligent and having a greater chance of finding a job than the people with non-ideal smiles.  There was no relationship between the way the teeth looked and the perception of honesty or efficiency at work. Trying to increase your chance of being hired? Let me straighten your teeth!

Does Rinsing with Listerine Really Improve the Health of My Mouth?

By: Dr. Semco

We are all keenly aware that it is a challenge to maintain excellent oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment. In our quest to improve our oral hygiene, I am sometimes asked if there is any benefit to using mouth rinses. A meta-analysis published in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association addressed that very question. This meta-analysis included 32 long-term randomized clinical trials that included over 5000 healthy participants with gingivitis for whom Listerine® was used. These clinical trials, which met the specific standardized criteria from the ADA and FDA, showed that the addition of daily rinsing with Listerine® to your regular brushing and flossing routine really does increase your odds of having a cleaner and healthier mouth.  In this age of highly prevalent advertising hype, it’s good to know that there is a mouth rinse that does what it say it does.

Note that the active ingredients in the mouth rinse are the essential oils, not the alcohol. Because the 26.9% alcohol content of the original Listerine® can cause dry mouth, I recommend using the alcohol-free version, Listerine Zero®. Just rinse full strength for 30 seconds, morning and night, and do not swallow.

2016 Scholarship Winner!

Evan receives his Scholarship certificate from Dr. Semco!

Evan Alvanas

Portsmouth High School (PHS) student and athlete, Evan Alvanas, is the recipient of the third annual Semco Orthodontics “10 Words or Less” $1000 College Scholarship.

In the late nineteenth century, lists of questions were a popular diversion designed to discover new things about old friends. When the famous French author Marcel Proust was 14 years old, his friend Antoinette asked him a list of 35 questions to get to know him better. One question that was asked of Proust was “what is your motto?” That was the question posed to scholarship applicants this year.

Alvanas impressed the Semco Orthodontics Scholarship Committee with his inspiring and thought-provoking motto,

“Believing is the first step to achieving.”

Evan plays hockey and lacrosse for PHS and plans to participate in intramural sports in college. He has been accepted to Michigan State University where he will study Engineering. 

Congratulations, Evan!

Scholarship Winner!

Magdalena receives her Scholarship certificate from Dr. Semco!

Magdalena Tabak

Sailing enthusiast and Portsmouth High School (PHS) freshman, Magdalena Tabak, is the recipient of Semco Orthodontics’ second annual “Ten Words or Less”  $1000 College Scholarship. Tabak’s answer to the question "what is your idea of perfect happiness" transported the Semco Orthodontics Scholarship Committee into her mind with the winning words: 

“afloat… luffing sail, laughing gull… sheeting in, a journey shared.”

In addition to sailing, Magda plays basketball and lacrosse. She is also a part of the PHS music program playing flute and violin. She grew up speaking Polish and English and visits her grandparents in Poland every year. Her aspirations include Veterinary Science and the WNBA.

Congratulations, Magda!

Service Scholarship Winner!

Victoria Johnson receives her Service Scholarship certificate from Dr. Semco! 

Victoria Johnson

A longtime horseback rider and resident of Portsmouth, R.I., Victoria Johnson was awarded the 2014 Semco Orthodontics Service-Oriented Scholarship in the amount of $500. A senior at Portsmouth High School, Johnson plans to study Equine Business in college. Applicants were required to submit a visitation log from the nursing home at which they volunteered, accompanied by an essay of reflection.

Johnson's essay eloquently reflected upon her experiences and warmed the hearts of the Scholarship Committee members.

Congratulations, Victoria!

We have a winner!

Semco Scholarship

Lilly Larson receiving her Scholarship certificate from Dr. Semco!

Lilly Larson

Aspiring writer and senior at Rogers High School, Lilly Larson is the recipient of the first annual Semco Orthodontics $1000 College Scholarship.

Applicants were asked to express themselves succinctly and creatively using only ten words to answer one of the most common interview questions: “so, tell me about yourself."

Larson captivated the Semco Orthodontics Scholarship Committee with the winning words

"Rhapsodical thoughts spill from my mind, bursting like midnight stars.”

Congratulations, Lilly!