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Is Invisalign® Right for You?

Is Invisalign® Right for You?

You know what they say. Image is everything. The thought of metal brackets and wires attached to your teeth for an extended period of time may be more than enough to make you think twice about pursuing orthodontic treatment. But now we have options that quell those apprehensions. Invisalign clear aligners are a great option to achieve the smile you have always wanted!

We have the experience with Invisalign technology to reach your goal of having a stunning smile. And because Invisalign is so convenient, it won’t interfere with daily activities.

  • Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, while extremely effective at moving teeth to their optimal positions.
  • Because the aligners are easily removable, you do not have to change your eating habits during treatment.
  • The aligners are low-maintenance, made of comfortable, smooth plastic.
  • Oral hygiene is much easier with Invisalign than with traditional metal braces, reducing the risk of potential problems.
  • Most insurance providers include Invisalign treatment, just like traditional braces.

Not only do correctly-aligned teeth give you a beautiful smile, but also helps the rest of your mouth to stay healthy. An improper bite can create health issues, which are decreased when teeth are straight. Speech and/or chewing difficulty, jaw ailments, gum disease, and tooth enamel wear are all maladies that crooked teeth can exacerbate.

If the time constraint of seeing an orthodontist is a concern, most of the appointments are quick and easy with tracking the process of the aligners. If the trays are tracking well, the appointments may only take about 5 minutes to monitor the progress and give the patient more aligners. Patients change the Invisalign aligners at two-week intervals at home, and usually see the doctor for progress checks at every 6-8 weeks. These are typical time frames, but keep in mind each patient is different. And no more worries about emergency visits for broken brackets or poking wires!

Invisalign clear aligners may be a superb option if you have been considering straightening your teeth, but are apprehensive about traditional metal braces getting in the way of daily life. Have questions about Invisalign? Want to know if you are a candidate for Invisalign treatment? Give us a call today to schedule your first appointment. With technological advances and more options than ever, we are here to help you attain your perfect smile!


How Waterpiks Can Improve Oral Hygiene

How Waterpiks Can Improve Oral Hygiene

We all know the importance of a regular home care regimen of brushing and flossing. But did you know there is yet another great way to supplement your cleaning? Even with tenacious brushing and flossing, there’s always a possibility that we’re leaving some food particles behind. Waterpiks are a great way to fight against those pesky food particles, and really achieve that fresh-mouth feeling! These oral irrigators are especially helpful to those who suffer from periodontal disease and anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment with full-bracketed braces. These tiny bursts of water dislodge food scraps, bacteria, and other debris burrowed in every nook and cranny. Sometimes toothbrush bristles may get caught in bracket wires, so children undergoing orthodontic treatment may also find using a Waterpik is beneficial.

Waterpiks are not only excellent for dislodging debris, but an added benefit is that they gently massage the gums, which promotes blood flow. This keeps your gums healthy! However, while Waterpiks are an excellent supplement against your routine to combat gingivitis and periodontal disease, it’s important to remember that they simply will not fully remove plaque. This is why we never want to forego traditional cleaning methods, and oral irrigators shouldn’t be considered a complete substitute for brushing and flossing.

Do you have sensitive teeth and gums? Waterpiks are a great option to reduce discomfort, while effectively cleaning between teeth. Diabetics in particular may have trouble with bleeding gums, so sometimes oral irrigation is a good back up for flossing. If you’ve had work done, such as bridges, crowns, or other dental restoration, you may find that Waterpiks help keep the area around the restorations clear.

How do I choose the right Waterpik?

Oral irrigators are available for home or portable use. The home models are typically larger and use standard electrical outlets, while the portable models use batteries. Although the sizes differ, both work in the same manner using pulsating water streams. The ability to adjust the pressure is a great option to have, and this option differs between various models. Most home versions do allow for several pressure settings, which is preferable since everyone’s teeth and gums have varying levels of sensitivity. The majority of portable models have only one pressure setting. Some oral irrigators have the option of using mouthwash or a dental rinse, but be sure to check the label because some suggest using water only.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about oral irrigators, or ask our orthodontist during your next visit. Keeping those lines of communication open between you and your orthodontist will get you to your perfect smile!



Knowledge is Power!

Knowledge is Power!

Emergencies happen, and we get that. Our office takes every precautionary measure to prevent them, but we all know sometimes dilemmas rear their ugly heads! If you ever have an issue with your braces and you need to call us, we can be more effective in ameliorating the situation if we know exactly which piece is giving you trouble. Use this handy dandy diagram and the corresponding list to help identify your predicament. Your smile will thank you!

Elastic Tie– Tiny rubber band that fits around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Archwire– The main wire that acts as a track to guide the teeth along. It is changed periodically throughout treatment, as teeth move to their new positions.

Loop in Archwire– Frequently used for closing space left by an extraction. Many archwires do not have a loop.

Bracket– Small attachment that holds the archwire in place. Most often, a bracket is cemented directly onto the tooth’s surface, eliminating the need for a band.

Headgear Tube– Round, hollow attachment on the back bands. The inner bow of the headgear fits into it.

Coil Spring– Fits between brackets and over archwire to open space between teeth.

Tie Wire– Fine wire that is twisted around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Band– A thin ring of metal fitted around a tooth and cemented in place. The band provides a way to attach the brackets to the tooth.

Hook– Welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.

Elastic– Small rubber band that is hooked between different points on the appliance to provide pressure to move the teeth.

We hope this helps! Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions!


Retention Attention!

Retention Attention!

For everyone that has had braces, had them removed, and had that joyful feeling of mouth “freedom,” nothing is more frustrating than noticing (sometimes immediately) that your recently perfected teeth are already shifting! Is this normal? What can be done? Did I do something wrong? I thought I did everything right?!

Remember the chemistry lesson where you learned about the law of entropy? The law of entropy states that everything in the universe naturally changes from a state of organization towards a state of chaos. Guess what? You’re a walking example of entropy every day! And your shifting teeth certainly fall under that chaotic umbrella. Every part of your body, unfortunately, will eventually sag, wrinkle, or simply weaken with time. But that’s okay! The extraordinary, miraculous elements that make up our bodies, like anything else, are designed to change over time. It’s not realistic to prevent all movement, but the goal of orthodontic retention is to minimize changes after the braces come off.

Teeth will typically “settle” after braces are removed. Often, this settling results in a bite that is even better than when the braces were in place. Any movement from front teeth, however, is undesirable to both the patient and the orthodontist, so we want to prevent that as much as possible. During treatment, while the braces are on, the orthodontist carefully positions each tooth to be held tightly in place. Once the braces are removed, we no longer have this control. The forces of occlusion, wear, and the tongue all return as issues to which we must pay attention. Even if a bonded retainer is placed in the mouth, the position of teeth can still change over time.

Retainers are critical in preventing tooth shifting. Immediately after your braces are removed is the most important time to really be a stickler about wearing it. The length of time retainers must be worn fulltime varies, since everyone is different. Each patient should monitor their teeth and wear their retainer as prescribed, or even more if necessary. No one wants to end up in a situation of having to repeat treatment because they failed to wear their retainer. Yikes!

If you wear your retainer faithfully, but your teeth are stubborn and still shift, your orthodontist may resort to implementing a bonded retainer for a while until they become more stable. If you have a particularly tight bite, there may be no room for a bonded retainer. In those cases, your orthodontist may suggest your primary care dentist do some bonding and/or veneer work after teeth have settled. At that point, the goal would be to change the actual size of the teeth instead of trying to move them again.

If minor, but progressive, changes occur in the days or weeks after your braces are removed, your retainer may need to be simply adjusted or replaced. The sooner you notice something happening and report it to your orthodontist, the more likely a simple solution will ameliorate the situation. Clear aligners are another solution that may help correct minor movements. These may then be worn as permanent retainers after the realignment is achieved. Bigger movements may require brackets to go back on the teeth for a short time. Again, the more quickly you communicate any issues to your orthodontist, the less invasive a corrective solution will be.

Slight changes after braces removal are completely normal. Your orthodontist will speak with you about having realistic expectations about how straight your teeth will remain after removal. Just remember, if you wear your retainers as instructed, and unacceptable changes still occur, let us know immediately. We can work together to achieve a beautiful result that will fill a lifetime with SMILES!


Brace for Braces!

Brace for Braces!

When the time comes for your child to get braces, readying yourself with these helpful tips will make the process much smoother.

Since so many tweens have braces these days, your child will very likely be excited to get them because their friends have them. However, it’s not uncommon for them to be nervous about the prospect. Because of the fear of the unknown and overall unfamiliarity of a new situation, we can see why. Certainly myths abound, as with any other unchartered territory, and this may lead to apprehension about visiting their orthodontist. So the main thing for your child to remember is that braces are temporary, but straight teeth and a spectacular smile will last a lifetime!

The following are some helpful suggestions to quell any trepidation, as your child settles in to life with braces:

No Pain, No Gain

Part of the unknown is the potential for pain, and it’s pretty common for children to worry about that. The truth is, getting outfitted with braces is virtually painless. The bracket and wire application doesn’t hurt, but soreness afterward should be expected. Taking a Tylenol before coming to the bonding appointment will lessen the discomfort after leaving our office. The braces may rub the inside of your child’s mouth, but orthodontic wax will help ease that discomfort. If the wax doesn’t soothe the pain, try having your child gargle with warm salt water to heal any sores.

Time Flies

Remind your child that braces are temporary. Depending on the issues we are correcting, treatment varies from patient to patient, which in most cases is anywhere from one to three years. The Middle School years are easy enough, since their peers are also wearing them. If name-calling or bullying becomes an issue, remind them to simply walk away or to kill them with kindness.

Color Me Happy!

If traditional braces are chosen, remind your child they can show personal style while in treatment because they are able to change the colors of rubber bands each month. Get them excited about their next orthodontist appointment by talking about what color combination they will choose at the next appointment. Will it be bright colors for summer? Green for St. Patrick’s Day? Or colors to support their favorite sports team? This is the fun part, so GO BOLD!

Who Doesn’t Love a Reason to Splurge?

Once the braces are on, those favorite sticky snacks will be out of the equation. Leading up to that point, splurge a bit and make a special bag of favorite treats. Some snacks to add to the goodie bag could be chocolate with nuts and caramel, beef jerky, hard candy, bubble gum, and popcorn.

Ice Cream, You Scream!

Plan a mini celebration, and give them something to look forward to after leaving our office. Find a braces-friendly snack they will really enjoy. Frozen treats are always a hit! Ice cream actually is a great treat that also will help soothe the soreness after getting braces. You can even say we prescribed it!

You Get to Chill With US!

We want your child (and you!) to look forward to orthodontic appointments and have fun when you’re here! We provide a fun, upbeat atmosphere for our patients. We have lots of fun technology and games available for your child to have fun and forget about the stress of the day. We believe that the short time you’re waiting should be a fun time to de-stress from the chaos of the day!

Makeover Madness

We want your child to be excited about this new look when they finish with their orthodontic treatment. Nothing boosts confidence better than a stunning smile, so amidst any apprehension or complaining, remind them to keep their chin up, and SMILE BIG!


5 Terrific Tips for Speedy Straightening

boy-with-braces-smiling Braces are great, but in reality, no one wants to spend more time wearing them than is absolutely necessary.  When you take the lead, your smile can be straight in record time by carefully following a few simple instructions. We promise you’ll see results!

While rules aren’t always thrilling, if you follow these suggestions, your treatment time will be shortened. You’ll be braces free in no time with a fantastic smile!

Eat the right foods! Following the diet we have prescribed is very important. Popping hard, sugary candy into your mouth is really not worth an emergency situation.  Dealing with pain and discomfort from a broken wire or bracket is no fun, and it halts the straightening process while you wait for repairs. Avoiding snacks that we have advised against will keep your braces in place and your straightening on schedule!

Make good choices! Use special care when choosing snacks, meals, and activities. Always ask yourself, “Is this safe?” If you use caution, your braces will endure.

Treat your braces with special care! If you participate in sports, a mouthguard is an investment. Always clean your braces thoroughly but delicately. There are products we can recommend that make brushing and flossing simpler. Braces are fragile! Treat them with consideration, and they’ll keep working just as they should.

Wear your rubber bands or other appliances! Rubber bands play an essential part and have a very important job to do! Wear them as directed, and your teeth will straighten just as they are supposed to. Following directions for other appliances is also a must for avoiding a lengthy treatment time.

Always come to your appointments! Checking your progress is a must! There are important procedures that need to take place regularly to make sure that your teeth are moving as they should. Although we realize rescheduling is sometimes necessary, it is best to adhere to your appointment schedule so that treatment time is not delayed.

Our team wants to be your partner during the time you are wearing your braces! We want to assist you in achieving speedy results! Please contact us with your questions and concerns. We are always available for tips and personalized advice on the care of your braces. Let’s make this a wonderful, swift journey to a spectacular smile!


What are TADs?

What are TADs?

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Sound familiar? Envision Newton’s third law of motion as a tug-of-war. One group may be bigger and stronger, but the instant the force strikes that rope that pulls one group over the line, there is an equal and opposite force acting on the winning group. This is all fun and laughs at a family reunion, but this law of motion can irritate orthodontic treatment.

For example, in the case of a patient’s overbite, we can commonly remove some teeth and shift the front teeth into that new available space. If the force needed to migrate the front teeth back is applied to the back teeth alone, those back teeth will also move forward, which is where Newton’s law is evident. Of course, we want to avoid that scenario. Headgear has been used in the past to anchor the back teeth in place, but full-time headgear wear is undesirable these days for many reasons.

The FDA approved in 2005 the use of Temporary Anchorage Devices (TAD’s) in the United States. German and Asian orthodontists had been using these for close to ten years. Orthodontists and other dental experts were perusing professional journals full of case studies and articles outlining the success of TADs, and the idea was gaining momentum in the U.S. Only one manufacturer offered a TAD at the annual product show in 2005, but in only one year, that number had grown to 19 suppliers. The TAD took the U.S. market by storm, being implemented very quickly into modern orthodontic practice.

TADs are also known as mini-screws, min-implants, and micro-implants. They are small, approximately 6-10 millimeters long, and look like an earring resting on the gums when in place. They are composed of biologically inert materials that have no effect on the body. They are non-corrosive, and will not be rejected. They are specially designed to be compatible with bone, as well as soft tissue.

Placement of the TAD is very easy, and typically a topical and small dose of anesthetic is placed on the soft tissue. The bone feels not pain, so once the soft tissue is numbed, the procedure is completely painless and insertion takes less than a minute.

The TAD provides a secured object used to push, pull, lift, or intrude teeth that need to be straightened. TAD care is low maintenance, including routine brushing and sometimes a chlorhexidine mouthwash is prescribed. Very few complications are reported if gums are kept healthy.

TAD removal is easier than implementation. Since there is already a breach of the soft tissue and no pain associated with simply unscrewing it, it is a very simple procedure. A topical may be applied beforehand if there is any swelling or soreness.

Since TADs are immobile, they can be used to move teeth in directions and to certain degrees previously unattainable. They may not completely avoid a prognosis for jaw surgery or extractions for all patients, but in many cases they can diminish treatment significantly.


Wisdom Teeth & Orthodontic Care

Wisdom Teeth & Orthodontic Care

Wisdom teeth are officially known as the third molars, and they are the last teeth to come in. They typically break through the surface of the skin, or erupt, between the ages of 13 and 20.
Wisdom teeth can sometimes be impacted, which means they cannot break through the gum tissue. When the mouth or jaw is too small to accommodate the teeth, this can happen. They can become infected when impacted, and some dentists and orthodontists may want to remove them as prophylaxis to prevent potential problems.

To Remove or Not to Remove?

Your dentist or orthodontist will tell you that sometimes wisdom teeth will come in the wrong way, either tilting in the jaw, or sideways. If the mouth is too small to accommodate them, they most likely will become impacted. The gum flap above an impacted wisdom tooth may be become swollen or infected, causing pain. A potentially dangerous infection that can occur in the gum area around an impacted tooth is pericoronitis. If the pericoronitis is severe, the swelling and infection may extend beyond the jaw to the cheeks and neck.

Each patient has individual circumstances, so your dentist or orthodontist will base their decision to remove accordingly. Give us a call today to learn more about wisdom teeth and orthodontic treatment!


The Importance of Flossing During Orthodontic Treatment

The Importance of Flossing During Orthodontic Treatment

Having braces is definitely an investment, but it’s certainly a costly one. It just makes sense to keep your teeth in the best of health during your orthodontic treatment. A regular hygiene routine is just as important while you’re wearing braces as it was before you began treatment. Flossing is an essential component to having healthy teeth and gums while you’re wearing braces. Diligence with brushing and flossing is a must because braces may hold food, sugars, and liquids during and after eating. Make sure you visit our office for regular adjustments as well. We all know it’s quite difficult to get kids to floss daily without braces. Sometimes the struggle becomes greater once braces are applied. It’s important to keep in mind that by not flossing, you will become more susceptible to cavities and gum disease during your treatment. While you floss, remember to gently massage your gums in between your teeth. Flossing with braces takes extra time because you must weave the floss through each and every bracket. During the flossing process, you should not see blood. If you can see blood, you may not be flossing properly or enough. The use of an electric toothbrush is also a great idea to help massage your gums before or after flossing because electric toothbrushes can assist in removing any harmful bacteria that remain in your mouth. Also, remember to add mouthwash to your routine to break up bacteria that has formed. A good mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums in tip top shape during your orthodontic treatment. Flossing is a healthy habit that will help you keep your shimmering smile for a lifetime!


Make Your Smile Snap!

Make Your Smile Snap!

Braces or Invisalign treatment are often supplemented with rubberbands, or elastics, to help your course of orthodontic treatment achieve the perfect bite. They provide the additional force needed to nudge your teeth in the right direction, and can be a super helpful part of your treatment regimen to achieve perfectly aligned pearly whites! Rubberbands are typically worn for several months, and as with any other aspect of treatment, each patient is different and your elastics routine will be tailored to what is best for you. They are attached from one bracket to the next, and can initially cause teeth tenderness in some cases. Your orthodontist will instruct you how to attach elastics to your braces in a certain configuration or shape.

Elastics come in different shapes and sizes, and your orthodontist will determine the specifics, according to your individual needs. Latex is most commonly used because it is the strongest and longest lasting. However, there are non-latex varieties as well if the patient has an allergy. There are types that even glow-in-the-dark!

Typically patients should wear rubberbands all the time. Your orthodontist will instruct you if they should be worn only at night, or of any other special instructions. Again, everyone is different! They should be removed for eating and brushing & flossing, and they should be changed out each time you eat. The key is consistency because the elastics help keep your teeth from moving back to their original position. The more you wear them, the more effective they will be to get your to your goal of a perfect smile!