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Am I Too Old for Braces?

May 20th, 2019

Did you ever look in a mirror and think to yourself, “Sure wish I could have had braces when I was a kid”? You can’t go back in time, but you can still get the healthy, beautiful smile you’ve always wished was yours. It’s not too late. Orthodontic treatment can be as successful for adults as it is for adolescents. Don’t let your age keep you from consulting an American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) member orthodontist, such as Dr. Pamela Johnson.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, it’s the same physiological process that moves teeth through bone. Adults have denser bone tissue than children, so treatment may take a little longer, but age does not keep teeth from moving.

Adults can have complicated cases, though, for a variety of reasons. They may have fillings, missing teeth, misshapen or worn teeth, or other dental disease. These are conditions well within your orthodontist’s realm of treatment experience. This is just one reason it’s so important to make sure you are being treated by an orthodontist. Dr. Johnson has years of formal education in orthodontics after graduating from dental school. As an AAO orthodontic specialist, Dr. Johnson has the education and expertise you need to manage your orthodontic care and reach your best possible result.

Treatment lasts an average of 22 months. During that time, orthodontist visits are scheduled about every six to eight weeks. It’s a comparatively small investment of time that pays big dividends in improved dental health, better function (biting, chewing), the ability to more easily keep your teeth clean, and higher self-confidence.

It’s so heart-warming to witness the first time an adult patient sees his/her new smile. Dr. Johnson refers to this as "the fun part" of the braces off appointment. Sometimes there are tears through smiles, and sometimes pronouncements of outright joy and usually a picture for our The only regret expressed is that this step was not taken sooner.

The opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile has not passed you by!  You don’t have to spend the rest of your life hiding your smile. Just because you didn’t have orthodontic treatment when you were a youngster doesn’t prevent you from doing something about it now. Your age doesn’t matter. You can have the smile you’ve always wanted. It starts with a new patient exam with Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Pamela Johnson is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) which is open exclusively to orthodontists – only orthodontists are admitted for membership. The only doctors who can call themselves “orthodontists” have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program.

When you call Dr. Johnson for orthodontic treatment you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile.

 

Source: www.aaoinfo.org

What Does a Deep Bite Mean?

May 16th, 2019

Patients seeking orthodontic treatment rarely report a “deep bite” or “overbite” as their primary concern. Typically, they are more concerned about crowding or crooked teeth. Many are surprised when their orthodontist explains the need to “open” their bite or “level” their lower arch.

What is a deep bite?

A deep bite is a malocclusion in which the upper front teeth excessively overlap the bottom front teeth when back teeth are closed. This is also called an overbite or closed bite.

While a deep bite may or may not be an esthetic concern for most patients, its presence usually indicates there are other problems that should be addressed.

What causes a deep bite?

The most common is a small lower jaw. When the lower jaw is shorter than the upper, the upper teeth are further “forward” and the lower teeth continue to grow until they hit the back of the upper teeth (the cingulae) or the roof of the mouth. Additionally, as the lower front teeth grow up under the top ones, they often get squeezed together creating crowding and alignment issues.

Another cause of a deep bite is a missing lower tooth. This creates a condition similar to having a short lower jaw. Finally, extremely strong biting muscles, common in patients who clench or grind their teeth, can deepen the bite.

Why does a deep bite need to be fixed?

Besides looking better, there are at least four other reasons:

  • Over-erupted lower front teeth tend to wear down more quickly. Patients who clench or grind their lower teeth against the cingulae of the upper teeth experience excessive wear that can result in the loss of tooth structure.
  • If a patient is biting into the roof of their mouth, painful sores or ulcers may develop. These can make normal eating very uncomfortable.
  • If a substantial amount of tooth structure has been lost, the orthodontist will need to recreate the space needed for restoration by moving the upper and lower teeth apart (opening the bite).
  • Unraveling the crowding and crookedness that usually accompanies deep bites requires that the deep bite be corrected to allow room to align the crowded teeth.

How does an orthodontist correct a deep bite?

First, either the upper and lower front teeth, or both, can be moved up into the supporting bone. Or second, the side and back teeth can be elongated which opens the bite and creates that same effect as intruding the front ones.

A trained orthodontic specialist knows when each method, or both, should be used. Additionally, these movements can be accomplished with either braces or clear aligners, and your orthodontist can help you determine which is best for you.

 

Source: AAO.org

7 Fun Facts...You Might Be Surprised!

May 9th, 2019

Whether you call the process “braces,” “orthodontics,” or simply straightening your teeth, these 7 facts about orthodontics – the very first recognized specialty within the dental profession – may surprise you.

1. The word “orthodontics” is of Greek origin.

“Ortho” means straight or correct. “Dont” (not to be confused with “don’t”) means tooth. Put it all together and “orthodontics” means straight teeth.

2. People have had crooked teeth for eons.

Crooked teeth have been around since the time of Neanderthal man. Archeologists have found Egyptian mummies with crude metal bands wrapped around teeth. Hippocrates wrote about “irregularities” of the teeth – he meant misaligned teeth and jaws.

About 2,100 years later, a French dentist named Pierre Fauchard wrote about an orthodontic appliance in his 1728 landmark book on dentistry, The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on the Teeth. He described the bandeau, a piece of horseshoe-shaped precious metal which was literally tied to teeth to align them.*

3. Orthodontics became the first dental specialty in 1900.

Edward H. Angle founded the specialty. He was the first orthodontist: the first member of the dental profession to limit his practice to orthodontics only – moving teeth and aligning jaws. Angle established what is now the American Association of Orthodontists, which admits only orthodontists as members.

4. Gold was the metal of choice for braces circa 1900.

Gold is malleable, so it was easy to shape it into an orthodontic appliance. Because gold is malleable, it stretches easily. Consequently, patients had to see their orthodontist frequently for adjustments that kept treatment on track.

5. Teeth move in response to pressure over time.

Some pressure is beneficial, however, some is harmful. Actions like thumb-sucking or swallowing in an abnormal way generate damaging pressure. Teeth can be pushed out of place; bone can be distorted.

Orthodontists use appliances like braces or aligners to apply a constant, gentle pressure on teeth to guide them into their ideal positions.

6. Teeth can move because bone breaks down and rebuilds.

Cells called “osteoclasts” break down bone. “Osteoblast” cells rebuild bone. The process is called “bone remodeling.” A balanced diet helps support bone remodeling. Feed your bones!

7. Orthodontic treatment is a professional service.

It’s not a commodity or a product. The type of “appliance” used to move teeth is nothing more than a tool in the hands of the expert. Each tool has its uses, but not every tool is right for every job. A saw and a paring knife both cut, but you wouldn’t use a saw to slice an apple. (We hope not, anyway!)

A Partnership for Success

Orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the patient and the orthodontist. While the orthodontist provides the expertise, treatment plan and appliances to straighten teeth and align jaws, it’s the patient who’s the key to success.

The patient commits to following the orthodontist’s instructions on brushing and flossing, watching what they eat and drink, and wearing rubber bands (if prescribed). Most importantly, the patient commits to keeping scheduled appointments with the orthodontist. Teeth and jaws can move in the right directions and on schedule when the patient takes an active part in their treatment.

 Source: www.aaoinfo.org

Don't Be Fooled By At Home Gimmicks!

May 1st, 2019

You’ve seen the trendy ads for mail-order dental aligners that took over bus stops and subway cars a few years ago: “Don’t watch the gap; close the gap.” “Straighten your smile in an average of six months.” The promise? To turn your snaggletoothed frown upside down without the pricey services of an orthodontist.

Fast forward to 2019, however, and dental specialists tell The Post that perfect pearly whites aren’t always the result of these services — and may require additional, costly procedures.

“I’ve had a lot of patients — particularly millennials — who jumped on board with the do-it-yourself aligners and now are coming to my practice because they aren’t happy with the results at all,” says Dr. Janet Stoess-Allen, founder of Park Avenue Orthodontics on the Upper East Side.

Dr. Brent Larson, director of the orthodontics division at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, says that he, too, is increasingly called upon to correct unintended consequences of DIY aligners. “One of the common complaints is, ‘Well, my teeth might be a little bit straighter, but I can’t bite well anymore.’ ”

Companies such as SmileDirectClub shot to success by selling Invisalign-style tooth trays directly to consumers, eliminating office visits for savings of up to 70 percent. To date, SmileDirect has gussied up the grins of more than 500,000 patients nationwide, a rep for the Nashville, Tenn.-based company tells The Post. A recent deal with CVS Health will double SmileDirect’s retail locations from 246 outposts in North America. Also, United Healthcare announced last week that SmileDirect’s services are now covered in-network for its 1.5 million-plus members; some could correct their crooked choppers for under $1,000 without having to file a single claim.

‘One of the common complaints is, ‘Well, my teeth might be a little bit straighter, but I can’t bite well anymore.’’

Dr. Jeffrey Sulitzer, an orthodontist and the chief clinical director of SmileDirectClub, tells The Post that the DIY label is a misnomer. “There are doctors involved at every step of the way,” he says. “Our program is doctor-prescribed and doctor-directed.”

For most SmileDirect customers, that interaction happens remotely. The process begins when customers get their choppers scanned at a retail location or use a mail-in mold kit to create dental impressions at home. Then, a SmileDirect dentist or orthodontist reviews the resulting images alongside the patient’s medical history, in some cases requesting X-rays or additional information before approving treatment.

“All this data is identical to the initial review that’s performed in a traditional environment,” Sulitzer says.

Patients who get the OK then receive a full set of custom aligners in the mail, along with instructions on providing virtual progress photos and feedback to an assigned dentist or orthodontist at least once every 90 days. For patients experiencing problems such as pain or loose teeth, SmileDirect makes referrals to brick-and-mortar dental offices, Sulitzer says.

Still, Larson, who also serves as president of the American Association of Orthodontists, says successful teeth straightening requires face time from start to finish. “There are many things I cannot assess remotely,” he says. “I need to know the health of the supporting gum tissue and bones. I need to know whether there’s any pathology or other things that might impact the treatment. I need to know how the jaw moves and functions, so that I can make people have a healthy, functional bite when we’re done, so that they can actually chew food successfully.”
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Orthodontist Brent Larson says that one issue that can arise with aligners supervised remotely is a posterior open bite, where back teeth don’t touch evenly.Orthodontist Brent Larson says that one issue that can arise with aligners supervised remotely is a posterior open bite, where back teeth don’t touch evenly.

Eventually, sloppy treatment can bring on the grin reaper. “It can cause problems long term with the health and function and life span of a tooth,” Larson says. “One of the challenges is that the problems that can result often don’t show up immediately. So people don’t relate those problems with trying to move their teeth.”

Sulitzer says the process isn’t designed for complex cases and describes SmileDirect as a “disruptive technology” that nixes inefficiencies and punctures the inflated profits of orthodontists who treat mouths like ATMs.

“Orthodontists have had it great for a long time. A lot of this is — and I hate to say it — it’s about protecting their market,” he says. “In any disruptive environment, the establishment pushes back and says, ‘It’s bad; it’s unhealthy; it’s dangerous.’ I’m a little bit frustrated by the orthodontist community, because they seem to just be very aggressive in disparaging our model when really they don’t know enough about it to do that.”

But Larson says people should know that teeth straightening is not “something that just changes your look. It’s actually a very complicated biological procedure.”

Stoess-Allen agrees and worries that mail-order orthodontia is too tempting for many patients to resist. “I think this is something that doctors really need to oversee,” she says. “And I think that’s something more and more people will learn over time — unfortunately, at their own expense.”

 

Source www.nypost.com

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