Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's Next?

After I am finished with my orthodontic treatment 

what comes next?

              After you are finished wearing braces or Invisalign the next step is retention.  Retainers come in many shapes and sizes.  Each patient is special and has special needs for their teeth so retainers vary from patient to patient.  Whatever type of retainer is chosen for you should be worn for as long as you would like to keep your teeth straight.  So if you would like your teeth to stay straight forever, the only way that you can ensure that they do is to wear a retainer for 4-12 hours everyday or as instructed by the doctor.

In our office we typically use these retainers for these types of orthodontic procedures:

Full fixed (Braces)- Traditional retainer and a bonded (glued in retainer).
Invisalign- Essix (clear in office invisalign type retainer) or a Vivera (made by Invisalign)

What does that mean?

Types of retainers and their pros and cons:

  • Traditional Retainers-  These retainers are an oldie but a goodie.  They are more bulky but they have lots of advantages.  These retainers can last 20-30 yrs and still do a great job.  These can have a picture or color choice added to them so that they can show off your personality.  These retainers can be adjusted if teeth have moved and are more forgiving if you slack in wearing them a few nights.  Traditional retainers also are a little less comfortable then the other types of retainers.

  • Bonded Lower Retainers- Are a great way to keep your teeth straight and not have to worry about remembering to put it in your mouth.  These retainers are one of the easiest to wear but one of the hardest to keep clean.  Glued in retainers make it difficult to floss and to brush behind but it is possible.

  • Essix Retainers- These in office clear plastic retainers are super comfy and invisible but they do have a few drawbacks.  These retainers are great but only last about a year to a year in half just like contact lens.  They can become expensive if you are going to wear them for a life time because you have to replace them yearly.  (About $100 an arch)

  • Vivera Retainers- Invisalign's retention appliance is a great option for patients who love the clear aligners but aren't available to get to an orthodontist every year.  These retainers are made by either taking an impression or a LED Scan.  They are made by Invisalign and are made 4 sets at a time.  So you won't have to come back in for appointments yearly.  Also the scans are saved by invisalign so as long as your last aligner fits you may never have to take an impression again.     

How Much Do I Wear My Invisalign

How much do I wear my Invisalign aligners?

           Patients that are moving teeth and are wearing Invisalign appliances should wear their aligners anywhere from 23-22 hours everyday to get the best optimal wear. 

           This amounts to taking them out only to eat or to brush.  One nice thing about Invisalign though is if you have a special occasion or a meeting or even photo shoot you can take them out and just make up the time you lost at the end of your two week process.  

           Certain days you may not want to risk losing them so you can just keep them in a safe place and just add a day at the end.  The one thing that you must always do is wear them for the full two weeks.  Each aligner is only designed to do 100% of its job it can not do anymore than that so if you aren't wearing your aligners enough you will build an in correction into your future aligners.  

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Smiles Change Lives (message from a Patient)

This is a letter from one of our Smiles Change Lives Patients.  (Smiles Change Lives is an affordable nonprofit orthodontic program)

Smiles Change Lives

When I saw smiles change lives I didn't think that a brand new smile could actually change a person's life, but I know now for a fact that it can.  Having braces for the past year and eight months has been a life changing experience for me.  I went from not wanting to ever smile or laugh to smiling and laughing all the time.  Sometimes people even ask, "Jasmine why are you smiling for no reason?"  I used to envy people with pretty smiles.  I've been waiting on this day for a long time and now that it is finally here I can't believe it.  I just want to thank everyone who is a part of the reason why I can smile and laugh without being afraid; having a new smile is a brand new beginning.