• Permanent or Removable Retainers: Which is Right for You?

    October 11th, 2012

    When the time to remove your braces finally arrives, it is very exciting.Unfortunately, it can be somewhat confusing, too, because you are facedwith choosing between two kinds of retainers. Should you go with permanent,removable, or a combination of the two? It is always wise to follow yourdentist’s recommendations, but knowing more about the two types of retainerbeforehand can be helpful.

    Removable Retainers

    Removable retainers offer the advantage of easy use: you will generallyput a removable retainer in at night and take it out in the morning.Regardless of your retainer schedule, you’ll be able to enjoy some timewith no retainer. However, a removable retainer can easily be forgottenat times, and this means you won’t be taking full advantage of teethretention.

    Another potential advantage of a removable retainer is that you can takeit out and brush and floss your teeth with ease, which is more of a challengewith a permanent retainer. Although removable retainers can be very effective,they don’t tend to be as effective as permanent retainers, especiallyif they are not used as directed.

    Permanent Retainers

    Permanent retainers are the clear choice for patients who want to “getit and forget it.” Once your permanent retainer is placed in your mouth,you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since it is permanentlyaffixed to your teeth.

    Because teeth begin to shift naturally as we age, a permanent retainertypically offers better long-term results for teeth straightening thana removable one. You can’t forget to put it in — it’s already there!Temporary retainers get lost or are forgotten on trips, and often failto get used as often as they should be.

    One drawback to permanent retainers is flossing. Some patients find itmore difficult to floss with a permanent retainer, but we can show youeffective ways to floss fairly quickly with your permanent retainer.

    Some orthodontists may recommend a combination of the two; for example,a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lowerones because the lower teeth are smaller and tend to shift more.

    Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing yourretainer as directed is extremely important. As long as you follow ourorthodontist’s advice, you will get the best results from your retainer,regardless of its type.

  • October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

    October 05th, 2012

    Can you believe it’s already October? For those who don’t know, it’sNational Orthodontic Health Month. This month-long event is organizedby our pals at the American Association of Orthodontists, or AAO.

    Our team realizes that this is a great opportunity for us to raise awarenessabout the importance of oral hygiene. National Orthodontic Health Monthalso aims to recognize the dedicated work of orthodontists and otherdental professionals.

    The AAO recommends patients avoid the following Halloween treats, orrecipes with these ingredients:
    • Caramel
    • Nuts
    • Popcorn (including un-popped kernels)
    • Taffy
    • Jelly beans
    • Hard pretzels
    • Licorice
    • Bubblegum
    • Ice

    Trick-or-treating safety guidelines:

    • Young children should always be accompanied by an adult
    • Carry a flashlight
    • Wear a light-colored or reflective costume
    • Choose face paint over masks for young ghosts and goblins
    • Have an adult inspect all treats before the children dig in

    If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call or askus on Facebook. Have a fun and safe Halloween!

  • When Are Two Phases of Treatment Necessary?

    September 07th, 2012

    Usually patients in orthodontic treatment already have their permanent teeth – they are pre-teens, teens and adults. But in some cases we have to start treatment earlier, even before the patient’s permanent teeth come in. We call this “two-phase treatment.”

    When we have patients with clear developmental problems at an early age, it’s best to start work when they are young, before the problems get bigger and more difficult to treat.

    Examples include:
    • An upper or lower jaw that is not growing correctly
    • A mouth growing in a way that doesn’t leave enough room for all the permanent teeth to come in
    • A severe malocclusion, or bad bite, which means the jaw doesn’t fit together correctly

    In these cases we will start early and do one round of treatment – phase one – while the patient still has their baby teeth. Phase one usually does not involve braces, but can include a different type of appliance that helps the jaw grow into place properly. We’ll follow up with phase two usually a few years later, when permanent teeth are in place. Generally phase two involves braces.

    In order to catch early problems, we recommend that children have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven (and so does the American Association of Orthodontists). However, if your dentist or pediatrician sees any sign that early treatment might be necessary, he or she may recommend your child visit our office even sooner.

  • What questions should I ask during my orthodontic consultation?

    August 30th, 2012

    Are you thinking about orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth or correct jaw alignment? Consider making your first step an orthodontic consultation. During the consultation we will address your questions, concerns, and talk about a treatment plan that would best suit your situation.

    We want you to feel prepared and in charge of your orthodontic treatment decisions, so keep these questions in mind when you come in for your appointment.

    • If I do need some adjustments to my teeth, what options will I have besides braces?
    (This will help you determine what approaches we use to straighten your teeth.)

    • What kind of preparation is needed to get braces? How many visits will it take?
    (It’s important to know how many appointments may be needed and what you will need to do between appointments to be ready for braces.)

    • Can I expect any pain when getting braces?
    (Ask about the ways we address pain management.)

    • What determines how long I have to wear braces?
    (The length of treatment will vary from patient to patient. During your consultation we can evaluate your teeth and jaw alignment to determine the correct course and length of treatment.)

    • How will braces affect my lifestyle? Foods I can eat? Activities I can do?
    (You may find that little needs to change in your daily routine to have a successful orthodontic outcome. We can discuss and address any changes so you can be prepared before you get your braces.)

    • Who will be involved in the orthodontic work? Whom can I expect to see during my adjustment visits?

    • What will my orthodontic work cost? What is the ”average” cost and what could be the maximum?
    (Make sure you are clear about what your insurance covers, who contacts the insurance company for pre-authorization, who files the insurance forms, and what flexibility there is to pay the remaining amount not covered.)

    Your initial orthodontic consultation may just be the first step in relieving a lot of pain and discomfort in your life. Going in with the right questions will help you to understand the entire process and prepare you to do your part for your own dental health. Be sure to bring a list of your questions!