July 29th, 2019
Braces have come a long way in the last 20 years. Pictures of patients with large, ugly metal rings on every tooth are now found in the history books. One of the more recent developments in orthodontic treatment that has caused a lot of excitement in recent years is Invisalign.
Invisalign is a series of clear aligners that straighten your teeth a little bit at a time. (approximately 0.25 mm to be exact!) This reduces the discomfort felt from moving the teeth into alignment and allows patients to easily brush and floss their teeth because the aligners are removable. There are also no diet restrictions with Invisalign because the aligners are removed while you are eating. Not to mention, they are nearly invisible when placed on your teeth. Invisalign allows patients who would never consider traditional braces to be potential candidates for orthodontic treatment.
The other side of the coin with Invisalign is that removable aligners don’t work well if they are always being removed. You have to wear the aligners literally 22 hours/day for the treatment to be effective. There are also some limits to what Invisalign can do compared to traditional braces for certain bite problems. It is important to see an orthodontist who has experience doing Invisalign as an “Invisalign Certification” can be acquired in one weekend and does not an expert make.
In our office we offer complimentary initial exams and can tell you whether or not you would be a good candidate for Invisalign treatment. If you are interested, come and check it out! We look forward to meeting you.
July 29th, 2019
It is no exaggeration to say that braces can provide a life-changing result to someone with an unattractive smile – not to mention reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and fractured teeth. That is one of the reasons I love being an orthodontist. My profession does not deal with life and death – only the quality of life.
However, the benefits of orthodontic treatment are definitely more than just a beautiful smile. Orthodontics is devoted to bringing the teeth, lips, and jaws into a proper, healthy relationship. Straight teeth are much easier to keep clean so having well-aligned teeth can significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Also, straight teeth are less likely to fracture and they wear more evenly. Healthy, straight teeth will last longer and work better than crooked, ugly teeth. These are some of the scientifically proven benefits of orthodontic treatment.
It has also been proven that an attractive smile inspires confidence in social situations. In a job interview, if you have two equally qualified candidates and one has a beautiful smile and the other does not, the candidate with an attractive smile is more likely to get the job. A healthy, beautiful smile is one of the best investments that parents can make for themselves or their children to open more doors of opportunity and enhance self-confidence for the future. Check out our website to see some of the dramatic changes that can happen with orthodontic treatment.
June 28th, 2019
The simple answer is yes. There are two main reasons why. First, your gums have little elastic fibers in them that attach to the teeth. There is actually a protein in your gums called elastin. The elastic fibers in your gums act like little rubber bands. When you straighten a crooked tooth, the elastic fibers get stretched out and want to recoil to their original positions. These fibers “remember” where the teeth were before treatment began and are the main cause of teeth getting crooked again after orthodontic treatment. By the way, a common misconception is that wisdom teeth are what cause your orthodontic treatment to relapse. This is actually not true - patients who were born without wisdom teeth have the same amount of orthodontic relapse.
Second, teeth naturally tend to move and adjust as you age – regardless of whether you have had orthodontic treatment or not – unless you are wearing retainers.
If you stopped wearing your retainer and your teeth have shifted, all is not lost. Straightening teeth the second time around tends to be easier and faster. A lot of the work was already done the first time around. Invisalign is a great option for those who have had previous treatment with braces but have had some orthodontic relapse. Bonded fixed retainers are a nice option for holding teeth in position for the long term. Check out our website to learn more about retainers.
Remember, it’s easy to slip your retainers in at night before you go to bed to keep your smile straight and beautiful. If you make retainers part of your nighttime routine, you can enjoy beautiful, straight teeth for the rest of your life. If you have had some relapse, please give us a call to get your smile back on track. You’ll be happy you did!
May 15th, 2019
The process by which teeth move is complicated, and many books have been written on the subject. However, there are a few general principles that will help you understand what is happening or will happen in your mouth. Both braces and Invisalign apply a very small, gentle push against crooked teeth which “wakes up” the cells in your jaw bones to make the roots around your crooked teeth start to straighten out.
There are two very important cells in your body that are mostly responsible for remodeling bone – an osteoclast and an osteoblast. The osteoclast is like a pac-man cell that eats bone. The osteoblast does the opposite – it builds bone. Together they work as a team to remodel the bone around the roots of your teeth. This is how an orthodontist changes your teeth from being crooked teeth to straight teeth.
By the way, teeth don’t know what is pushing against them. The “pushing” can be done by braces, Invisalign®, chewing on a pen, sucking on your thumb, or biting your nails. Things like braces and Invisalign® tend to push the teeth in the direction we want them to go (straight) while things like thumb sucking or constantly chewing on a pen tend to make teeth more crooked.
Now that you know more about how teeth move, you can focus on doing those things that will make your teeth straight and beautiful and avoid doing the things that will make them crooked.