Our Blog

You're Never Too Old to Treat Yourself to a New Smile!

September 21st, 2012

Did you know one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult? We’re living longer and technology is improving, making orthodontic treatment an appealing and safe option for patients of all ages. As the trend toward treatment later in life grows, we’re seeing braces on parents as well as children – and even adult celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani and Nicholas Cage have shown off their braces. It’s never too late to look and feel your best!

Can Braces Work for Adults?

People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The physical process for moving teeth is the same, young or old, which means it’s never too late to address issues such as an overbite or underbite, crooked or crowded teeth, or jaw disorders.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, we’ll make a consultation appointment with you. During this meeting we will perform a general assessment of your oral health, discuss options for treatment, and answer any questions you may have. We will also discuss matters of cost and insurance. The next step is an orthodontic records appointment in which we take x-rays, photos, and an impression of your teeth. This information drives your unique treatment plan.

What Are the Benefits?

Straightening your teeth can improve your smile, your self-esteem, and your dental health. Technologically advanced new treatments make it easier to identify the option that best fits your lifestyle. Modern techniques and materials have made braces and aligners more effective, comfortable and unobtrusive than ever.

If you think you might benefit from orthodontic treatment, give our team a call so we may set up a consultation to determine what type of treatment best meets your needs!

Playing fall sports? Don't forget your mouth guard!

September 14th, 2012

Now that school is back in session, fall sports are, too! Fall brings an increase in outdoor activities and a greater chance of damaging your beautiful smile. Our team also knows sports-related injuries are common among children and teens. It's been found that 70 percent of parents said their biggest worry is that their child will get hurt while playing sports. Another 67 percent admitted their child doesn't wear a mouth guard when playing sports such as football, volleyball, baseball and soccer.

That’s why we think it’s a good time to remind you that many facial sports injuries can be avoided by wearing mouth guards. Whether you’re in the middle of orthodontic treatment or enjoying a stunning new smile, we’re happy to recommend a mouth guard to suit your needs.

In addition, the following tips can help athletes of all ages stay safe on the field:

  • Wear mouth guards during contact sports
  • Wear a helmet
  • Stretch before and after a game or practice
  • Wear protective eye wear
  • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin
  • Be observant—even as a spectator

All of these can reduce injuries. Only by using a mouth guard and other forms of facial protection can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. If you have any questions about mouth guards, feel free to call or ask the next time you you’re in the office!

Understanding Orthodontic Appliances for Jaw Growth Correction

September 7th, 2012

Children and adults often feel confused and a little frightened because of the various metal tools and appliances used for orthodontic treatment. Knowing the applications of such devices can help ease a patient's mind when undergoing treatment. Dentofacial orthopedics is a specialty that uses appliances to adjust the jaws for ideal compatibility. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends these treatment options for children between the ages of eight and 12 to make adjustments during developmental stages. Adults also experience dental changes throughout their lives and can benefit from dentofacial orthopedic appliances. Some common problems with jaw alignment or development include:

  • Underdeveloped lower jaw
  • Protrusion of upper teeth
  • Malocclusions
  • Crossbite
  • Overbite

Orthodontic Appliances for Correcting Jaw Growth Problems

Jaw-correcting appliances are either fixed or removable. Fixed appliances are applied to the teeth with the use of cement. Removable appliances require dedication from the patient to wear the devices as instructed. You will receive better results by wearing your orthodontic gear and following the treatment plan designed for your specific needs. Understanding the potential results will help you stay motivated, and parents can help their children to follow recommendations. Some appliances can cause slight discomfort during adjustment periods, but wearing them regularly will help shorten the time frame for treatment. Here are some of the most common appliances for correcting jaw growth problems.

  • Headgear: This appliance is removable and consists of a stainless steel facebow and fabric safety strap. The orthodontist fixes metal bands to your upper-back teeth where you attach the facebow. The safety strap wraps around your head and secures the facebow. Headgear affects jaw growth and tooth movement by applying pressure to the upper teeth and maxilla.
  • Herbst® Appliance: Typically permanent, these appliances attach to the upper and lower molars to hold the mandible forward. The purpose of this type of treatment is to eliminate an overbite. With expansion screws, the Herbst can also widen the jaw.
  • Mara: This appliance pushes the mandible forward to reduce overbite. Crowns are placed on your top and bottom molars, and a metal elbow connects the crowns.
  • Bite Corrector: This appliance is combined with braces to correct different malocclusions. Metal bars with enclosed springs apply pressure to both the upper and lower jaws. The placement of such bars will depend on the bite type.
  • Bionator: This removable appliance guides the lower jaw so that it grows in proportion to the upper jaw. Children can develop aligned bites by wearing bionators.
  • Palatal Expansion: There are two options for placement, fixed, or removable palatal expansions, to fix crossbites. The appliance attaches to the upper-back teeth and widens the jaw.

You will get used to the feeling of most appliances within one month, and the adjustment period is easier if you follow the treatment plan that our staff designs. The average time it takes to correct jaw problems is 12 months, so you can expect to see a more beautiful smile in about one year.

A Smile for Hayley

August 29th, 2012

Phyllis Diller once said, “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”

This wasn’t true for Haley, a bright teen with a broken smile.  Her smile was met with teasing and harsh nicknames like “Hillbilly Hick Haley” from her classmates. “I try not to smile or laugh very often,” Haley said and always hid her smile and laughter by covering her mouth with her hands in attempt to spare herself from the cruel jokes of her classmates.

“Once, I smiled and showed my teeth in a school picture. When everyone saw my picture, they laughed and made fun of me. Now, they call me names and write notes saying that I should get my teeth fixed,” said Haley.  In addition to barrage of ridicule from her peers, Haley endured severe, physical pain on a daily basis too that made it almost impossible to live a normal life. Clenching her teeth in an effort to relieve her agony, she found it difficult to concentrate on her studies.

Her parents longed to be able to help their daughter, but they were unable to find steady employment to support their five children.  Struggling to make ends meet, there was never enough to take care of Haley’s dental needs.

Michael, a Teen REACH Coordinator at her local Boys & Girls Club, saw a talented, promising teen suffering daily pain and humiliation.  So, he contacted Tomorrow’s SMILES® for help.   Sponsored by the Patterson Foundation and Philips Sonicare, Tomorrow’s SMILES® is a teen program of National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America’s ToothFairy® (NCOHF) providing at-risk adolescents with comprehensive oral health services to help prepare them for healthy and productive futures.  Through this program, caring volunteer dentists provide pro-bono restorative services for a prescreened underserved teen and have access to generously donated products from Invisalign® and Nobel Biocare™ (including Procera®).

“She is a remarkable young woman who is plagued every day by poor dental health,” said Michael.  “Her poor oral health negatively impacts her both physically and emotionally.  The physical pain distracts her on a daily basis and the constant teasing from her peers erodes her self-esteem.”

He noted, “The opportunity to participate in Tomorrow’s SMILES would mean the world to her, and she deserves it.”  Michael gave Haley the program application and she returned it to him the very next day.

She was so excited about the possibility of finally having a beautiful, pain-free smile that she made a special trip to the club just to turn in her application.  “It would be a big honor if the Tomorrow’s SMILES program helped me with my teeth,” said Haley. “This would help me to improve my people skills and my school work because I wouldn’t have to think about my teeth hurting so much and could concentrate more on school.  Please help me.”

Thanks to Laurie Gordon, D.D.S. and Neil Warshawsky, D.D.S., members of Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity and volunteer Tomorrow’s SMILES dentists, Haley’s life is about to change.

“It is a pleasure taking care of her.  Thank you for the opportunity to help her through Tomorrow’s SMILES,” noted Dr. Laurie Gordon about her experience with the program.  With their help, Hayley will be able to laugh and smile without worrying about being the object of harsh jokes and nicknames.

In return for life-changing oral health services, Haley will Pay It Forward by teaching oral health lessons to young children in her community.  As Tomorrow’s SMILES teens give back by serving as mentors and teachers to children, they will help break the cycle of pediatric dental disease.

You can help transform a teen’s needless pain and suffering into a beautiful smile and the promise of a brighter future by volunteering for Tomorrow’s SMILES.  To learn more about Tomorrow’s SMILES, visit www.TomorrowsSMILES.org. Email Brenda Woodington at bwoodington@ncohf.org to volunteer to save a smile and change a teen’s life today!

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