Orthodontic Treatment at Home?

Some online orthodontic companies make their treatment sound so easy. Perhaps you take a selfie and/or an impression of your teeth or get your teeth scanned. Next, you receive aligners in the mail and after so many months - straight teeth! Right? What else is there to think about? Before you decide to proceed with a direct-to-consumer orthodontic company, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) believes there are a number of factors and questions you may want to consider. For example, in some instances direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies do not involve the in-person evaluation and/or in-person supervision of your orthodontic treatment by an orthodontist. An in-person evaluation and in-person supervision throughout treatment can be very important, because there is more to creating a healthy, beautiful smile than moving the visible portions of your teeth. Orthodontic treatment involves the movement of biological material, which if not done correctly could lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues. Consider this question: What other transforming medical treatment would you undergo without an in-person, pre-treatment evaluation or ongoing in-person supervision from a medical professional? Click below to download information about this consumer alert. [pdf-embedder url="http://www.drtoddsmiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/AAO-Consumer-Alert-DIY-2018-flier-hl.pdf" title="AAO Consumer Alert DIY 2018 flier-hl"]  

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Braces vs Clear Aligners

People who are considering orthodontic treatment usually come prepared with great questions when they consult AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) specialists. The question at the top of the list is often which type of appliance to use to correct their orthodontic problem – braces vs clear aligners? How do they decide?

First, keep in mind that there is not a single “right way” for orthodontic treatment to be done. An accurate diagnosis is the starting place, and that’s something that orthodontists are especially well-trained at, after obtaining orthodontic records (x-rays, photos and models). The orthodontist pinpoints the problem, and then crafts a customized correction.

One appliance is not inherently better than another. What is used for an individual’s correction will be based on the goals of treatment, and the patient’s lifestyle needs. Some things, however, apply to all patients, regardless of type of appliance. For example, all patients must brush and floss their teeth daily and will need to wear retainers post-treatment. Now, let’s examine some common treatment factors to consider for both braces and clear aligners.

Braces

Most orthodontic problems can be successfully treated using braces. Braces have been the traditional form of treatment used by orthodontists for decades, but today’s streamlined braces come in a variety of models – stainless steel, tooth-colored ceramic and even gold-colored.

Visibility

While there are more inconspicuous options (tooth colored brackets, braces that go behind the teeth), other elements remain visible (rubber bands, wires or gold colored brackets). You can, however, choose the colors of your rubber bands.

Removability

For a stable and functional result, braces remain affixed to the teeth throughout the course of treatment. On the bright side, you can’t lose them, unless you eat hard and sticky foods.

Comfort

There may be some initial discomfort when braces are placed or adjusted, and brackets and wires can temporarily irritate mouth tissue. Overall, the discomfort is short-lived and easily managed. Once patients become accustomed to their braces, they may even forget they have them on.

Hygiene

Patients will need to keep teeth, gums and braces free of plaque and food debris so bacteria can’t attack tooth enamel or cause inflamed gums. Food debris and plaque must be removed by frequent brushing and flossing.

Diet

Those with braces must steer clear of foods that are hard, sticky, crunchy and chewy to avoid breaking a bracket or popping a wire out of the bracket. Patients should opt for water instead of carbonated drinks, flavored waters, or sports drinks – these can contain acids and sugars, and both are bad for tooth enamel.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are plastic replicas of your teeth. Wearing them puts gentle pressure on the teeth, ever-so-slightly repositioning them. Aligners are one of many technological advancements that have made orthodontic treatment less conspicuous and one of the many appliances orthodontists use to move teeth and align jaws.

Visibility

Aligners are clear, thin, plastic-like trays, making them virtually invisible and allowing an individual to inconspicuously achieve a straight smile. Tooth colored attachments are frequently placed on the teeth to help guide the teeth into place.  Aligners are designed to minimize the appearance of the appliance to better fit any lifestyle.

Removability

Many patients appreciate that aligners are removable. Take them out to eat, to brush and floss, or for short periods for work or social occasions. The key responsibility is wearing them as prescribed. That typically means a minimum of 22 hours a day and in the correct sequence.

Because they are removable, aligners can be easily lost or damaged. They fall out of pockets and purses and may even get wrapped in a napkin and thrown away.

Comfort

While there may be some initial discomfort when a patient switches to a new set of aligners, the discomfort can be easily managed. Removing aligners because they are uncomfortable defeats their purpose. Aligners can’t work unless they are in the mouth.

Hygiene

It is critical to avoid drinking soft drinks, flavored waters or sports drinks of any kind with aligners in. Liquids seep into aligners and if they contain acid, sugar, or both, it can rapidly lead to staining of the teeth and extensive decay. Teeth need to be spotless when aligners are placed in the mouth.

The type of appliance used in orthodontic treatment is far less important than the skill in the hands of the person who is providing the treatment. Rely on the skills of the AAO orthodontist, who has the education, experience and expertise to evaluate diagnostic findings, and translate those into a treatment plan that will help you or your child achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) 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 choose an AAO orthodontist 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. Locate AAO orthodontists through Find an Orthodontist at aaoinfo.org.← back to the blog

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Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners

“Invisible braces” are here. Orthodontists call them “clear aligners.” Consumers may call them “Invisalign” (a brand name that’s become a generic term, like Kleenex, even though several companies make clear aligners). Aligners are one of many technological advancements that have made orthodontic treatment less conspicuous, and one of many “appliances” orthodontists use to move teeth and align jaws to create a healthy, beautiful smile.

How Aligners Work

Like traditional braces, aligners are designed to move teeth a little at a time. Before treatment begins, the orthodontist will examine the patient, and take diagnostic records including x-rays, photographs, and impressions or digital scans of the teeth. From that information, the orthodontist can arrive at a diagnosis, and then work within the aligner software to design your smile and plan the treatment process – which tooth moves where, and in what order – guiding teeth into healthy positions. Remember, this is all of the teeth – not just the few that are seen when someone smiles. The goal is a healthy “bite” – top and bottom teeth that fit together properly. Moving teeth is a complex biological process and needs start-to-finish supervision by an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Most people see their orthodontist for a check-up about every six-to-ten weeks. With the end goal in mind, a series of plastic aligners are created using the patient’s initial impressions or digital scans as the starting point. The aligners are plastic replicas of your teeth. Wearing them puts gentle pressure on the teeth, ever-so-slightly repositioning them. It is recommended aligners be worn 22 hours a day, or as prescribed by the orthodontist. Each set of aligners is worn for a week or two before going to the next set. Over time, teeth reach their ideal places, according to the orthodontist’s plan. The total number of aligners will vary by the needs of each patient.  As with traditional braces, patients will need to wear retainers after their teeth reach their new positions.

Pros and Cons of Aligners

Besides being next-to-invisible, many patients appreciate that aligners are removable. Take them out to eat, to brush and floss, or for short periods for work or social situations. Aligners may not be the right “appliance” to correct every kind of orthodontic problem. Braces may be necessary for certain kinds of corrections. With clear aligners, tooth-colored attachments will be placed on the teeth to help the aligners move the teeth. These attachments are removed once treatment is complete. Care needs to be taken regarding drinks when aligners are in, and anything but tap water should be avoided. Liquid can seep into the aligners, and it stays there, in contact with the teeth, until aligners are removed. This can lead to staining of the aligner and the teeth, and if the liquid contains sugar and/or acid, as found in regular and diet soda pop, cavities can develop. So avoid soda pop, along with flavored water, fruit drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks. Even some bottled water can be acidic! If you drink something sugary or acidic (a pH below 7.0), be sure to brush thoroughly before putting your aligners back in. And use fluoride toothpaste – it strengthens teeth. Because aligners are removable, patients might be tempted to remove them if they experience some discomfort. Aligners can’t work unless they are in the mouth! They can be lost or misplaced when out of the mouth. Make it a habit to slip aligners into their case when they come out of the mouth. Do not place aligners in napkins, in a pocket or a purse. Also keep aligners out of the reach of pets. If you should lose or damage an aligner, contact your orthodontist immediately for advice on next steps.

Are Clear Aligners Right for Me?

The best way to answer that question is to consult an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Because of orthodontists’ extensive education and familiarity with the many types of “appliances” (devices used to move teeth/align jaws) available, they can knowledgeably suggest what is right for you, based on your treatment goals and lifestyle needs. Many AAO orthodontists offer complimentary or low-cost initial consultations, as well as a variety of affordable payment plans. Trust the professional who is dedicated to creating your healthy, beautiful smile: an AAO orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) 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 choose an AAO orthodontist 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. Locate AAO orthodontists through Find an Orthodontist at aaoinfo.org.
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Orthodontics and Adults

Childhood is of course the ideal time to get treatment, since the mouth and jaws are still growing, but many adults still can get beautiful and lasting results which can be achieved discreetly and effectively with modern orthodontic appliances and technologies. Many adults understandably don’t like the way traditional braces look. These days, there are so many other options for braces that it’s possible for almost any patient to be treated effectively and efficiently. It should also be noted that the goal of orthodontic treatment (especially in adults) isn’t always limited to straightening teeth and/or correcting a bite. Teeth provide support for the lips and cheeks and help define your face. The relationship between the jaws, teeth, face, soft tissues, and underlying skeleton of the face are important, and your orthodontist takes this into account when designing a smile. Click here to learn more http://www.drtoddsmiles.com/orthodontic-services/braces-and-appliances/

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Adult Dental Braces – Brookfield Wi

A lot of people may think that braces are only something done during your teenage years, it is when most people have orthodontic treatments.  But there is an increasing number of adults who are now wearing braces.  About 1 million Americans over 18 are now wearing braces.  Braces can offer many health benefits, now matter what age your are.  Give us a call.

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