Posts for: February, 2013

By Dentistry For Children & Adults
February 26, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   retainer  
StabilizingYourNewSmileAnsweringYourQuestionsaboutOrthodonticRetainers

On the day when braces come off, most people feel that their orthodontic treatment is over. When they are then asked to wear retainers, they may wonder what this additional requirement will accomplish. Wasn't the work of moving their teeth to desired positions already completed? To understand the answer to this question, you need to understand how orthodontics works.

How does orthodontic treatment remodel your smile?

Although they give the appearance of being stable and unmoving, teeth and their surrounding structures (gums, jawbones, and ligaments) are living tissues and are actually in a constant state of change.

Teeth are rooted in bone and are attached by a fibrous tissue called the periodontal ligament (from peri meaning around and odont meaning tooth). One side of the ligament attaches to the cementum (part of the tooth's root) and the other side is attached to the bone, with the tooth suspended in between.

These tissues are constantly remodeling themselves, but pressure from the lips and cheeks on one side and from the tongue on the other create a balance that keeps the teeth suspended in the same location. When mild forces are placed on the teeth, such as the forces from the wires used in orthodontic treatment, the tissues slowly adapt and rebuild, resulting in a new position for the teeth.

What are retainers?

Orthodontic retainers are devices usually made of a clear plastic section that is fitted to the roof of the mouth, with thin wires that fit over the teeth.

What is the purpose of retainers?

The remodeling process keeps going after the orthodontic treatment stops, so time is needed for the teeth to reach a new balanced state. The retainer stabilizes them in their new position so that bone and ligament can reform around the teeth and hold them there. This works well for adolescents, whose jaws are in a state of growth, but adults may need outside assistance to stabilize their teeth for a longer time. They may be asked to wear retainers indefinitely to make sure their teeth do not move from their new positions.

What happens if you don't wear your retainers?

If you don't wear your retainers, your teeth are likely to return to the positions they had prior to your orthodontic treatment. This can happen fairly rapidly, underscoring the importance of wearing retainers as instructed.

What are the different types of retainers?

Most retainers are removable devices as described above. For people who require long-term use of retainers, thin retainer wires can be bonded to the inside surfaces of their front teeth. Such wires are usually left in place for several years, relieving them of the need to remove and replace their retainers.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about orthodontics and retainers. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Why Orthodontic Retainers?


ChildStarNolanGouldTalksAboutToothExtractionsOrthodonticTreatment

Nolan Gould of the hit TV show Modern Family has an uncommon gift for comedy, but he also has a very common orthodontic problem: too many teeth for the size of his mouth, which often results in “crowding.”

“My teeth used to be pretty messed up,” Nolan recently told Dear Doctor magazine in an exclusive interview. “I had two extra teeth when I was born. They hadn't come out (erupted) yet. And all the other teeth that were already there were starting to point backwards because it was getting so crowded in my mouth. They had to remove those two (extra) teeth,” he said.

Although being born with extra teeth is somewhat unusual, needing to have teeth extracted for orthodontic reasons is not. In fact, orthodontic treatment often involves removing teeth to relieve crowding. It makes sense when you think about it: When there are too many teeth for the size of the dental arches (upper and/or lower jaws) or the teeth are larger in size than the dental arch can accommodate, there may not be enough space to align them properly. The necessary space can be created by removing teeth.

The teeth most frequently extracted for orthodontic reasons are the first bicuspid teeth. These are the ones right between the cuspid, or eyeteeth (under the eyes) and the molars (biggest back teeth). Once there is enough space, the orthodontist can choose from a variety of orthodontic appliances to align the teeth, depending on the specific needs of the individual.

In Nolan's case, it was the extra two teeth he was born with that were removed. Afterwards, the young actor's orthodontist was able to shift Nolan's remaining teeth into proper alignment using orthodontic appliances called Crozats. Made of metal wires, Crozats go around the back teeth and behind the front teeth, making them virtually invisible.

“You can remove them, which is really good for acting, especially because you can't see them,” Nolan explained. “I can wear them 24/7 and nobody will ever notice.”

Nolan's orthodontic appliances may not be noticeable, but his fabulous smile certainly is!

If you would like to learn more about improving tooth alignment with orthodontics, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. If you would like to read Dear Doctor's entire interview with Nolan Gould, please see “Nolan Gould.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Tooth Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”


By Dentistry For Children & Adults
February 10, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
UnderstandingTheFactorsThatCanInfluenceDentalImplantSuccess

Dental implants traditionally have a high success rate with numerous studies showing long-term success rates of over 95%. This is just one of the reasons they have been widely accepted as the best method for permanently replacing missing teeth. In fact, over-dentures, which are full dentures supported and stabilized by at least two dental implants, are now considered the standard of care by the American Dental Association (ADA) for people who have lost all of their teeth in one or both jaws. And while they have a high success rate, there are some factors that can compromise the success rates of implants.

These factors are generally divided into three categories: general health concerns, local factors, and maintenance issues.

  • General health concerns: Your general health, lifestyle, and habits can play a major role in the success of dental implants. For example, smoking, diabetes, osteoporosis (porous bone) or a compromised immune (resistance) system can all negatively impact implant healing and success. And if you have a history of radiation treatment to your jawbones, you are at a higher risk for complications.
  • Local factors: Some examples of local factors that can affect implant success include bone quality and quantity — having sufficient bone in the right place to accurately secure and locate the implants.
  • Maintenance issues: While implants are excellent high tech replacements for missing permanent teeth, they do require routine maintenance. This includes daily cleaning and continued professional care. Otherwise, implants are just like any other technically sophisticated devices — they may be susceptible to breakdown.

To learn more about dental implants, read “Dental Implants, Your Third Set Of Teeth.” Or if you prefer, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.


By Dentistry For Children & Adults
February 03, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: orthodontics   braces  
HowAnEarlyOrthodonticEvaluationCanPreventaProblemfromDeveloping

We in dentistry, advise parents to have an orthodontic evaluation some time before your child is 7 years of age. At this time, some of your child's adult teeth have come in and some primary (baby) teeth remain. This is a good time to check for developing problems. Treatment that begins while your child's teeth are coming in is called “interceptive orthodontics.” It provides an opportunity to achieve the best results in orthodontic treatment.

Once this evaluation takes place, it may mean that orthodontic treatment may need to take place in two-stages. A first phase of orthodontic treatment may prevent, intercept or minimize future orthodontic treatment. The first stage may be a process of guiding the growth of the jawbones that support the teeth. This is called “growth modification.” Then when the adult teeth have erupted through the gums, it may be time to do the second and final stage.

If a second phase of treatment is necessary it will probably require braces. These are small metal brackets that are bonded to the teeth. Thin flexible wires are threaded through them, and the wires are designed to push or pull on the teeth to provide a small amount of pressure that makes the teeth slowly reposition themselves within the jawbone. A light and controlled force pulling on a tooth causes new bone and ligament (the fibers that hold teeth in place) to be formed. These are living tissues that are constantly changing and remodeling themselves.

If you wait until your child's permanent (adult) teeth have all come in to start this process, it will be too late to correct some types of orthodontic problems, such as some types of malocclusions (“mal” – bad, “occlusion” – bite). It's better to work together with your child's stages of growth and development in order to have an optimum correction, both in looks and function.

You may be wondering whether a two-stage treatment costs twice as much. In fact, it is likely to be less expensive than a late one-stage treatment would be. Sometimes, the first stage may correct an underlying problem and make further treatment unnecessary. If a second phase is needed, it is likely to be easier and less costly.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about orthodontia for your child. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Preventative & Cost Saving Orthodontics.”