ZFO Blog

IT'S ABOUT MORE THAN JUST STRAIGHT TEETH

October 13th, 2018

Orthodontics is awesome. Using braces or Invisalign, we have the ability to shape a person's smile over the course of 12-24 months. It's simply amazing to see the transformation in esthetics and bite correction along the way.

Traditionally, orthodontics has been focused on just the teeth - which, I agree, is the main point : ) - but there is so much more to it than just straightening teeth. The teeth, more importantly, are the focal point in the smile. A smile is our own, personal, lifelong asset that is truly unique to us. It conveys emotion to our friends, family, and strangers, and it will show up in photos that capture the most important memories and events of our lives.

It should come as no surprise that with so much emphasis on our smile, some people are truly not happy with it. They may feel they have to hide it, or worse, that others are teasing them in school because of their appearance. This can be very challenging for both kids and adults alike, and this is why orthodontics is so much more powerful than straight teeth.

 

In the course of wearing braces or Invisalign, we get to see the change in confidence and self-esteem of so many people. It is truly gratifying to know that treatment can affect a person's life in such profound ways. There are many studies that support that orthodontic treatment has positive psychosocial effects, and this is truly what it is all about.

It's about improving lives by improving smiles. It's about feeling confident in all those important moments in life. It's about giving your child more self-esteem in all those awkward years of their young lives. It's about looking back at photos of those milestone days of our lives and really appreciating that each and every one of us has a unique smile, and we should not be afraid to show it : )

- Dr. Zach

 

Retainers for LIFE : )

August 19th, 2018

Many people are surprised to learn that the teeth continue to move throughout life. This always leads to many questions about retainers and keeping the teeth straight. Let's dive into a few common questions.

Why do we need retainers?
Retainers help keep the teeth straight after they have been aligned with braces or Invisalign. Our teeth are held into the bone by ligaments, and over time as we age, our bones and ligaments change. As these changes occur, our teeth will unfortunately move.Example of teeth that shifted due to lack of retainer wear. We corrected the teeth with Invisalign, and placed a "fixed" retainer glued to the back of the teeth to prevent future shifting.

What types of retainers are there?
Retainers come in many shapes and forms. In our office, we use three main types of retainers. We use "fixed" retainers (AKA glued retainers, bonded retainers, permanent retainers) in many cases to hold the lower teeth straight. We use these retainers often because the lower front teeth tend be the teeth most affected by crowding as an adult. We use clear retainers (AKA Essix retainers, Invisalign retainers) in most cases, and these retainers wrap around the entire surface of your teeth like a mouthguard. In some cases, we use Hawley retainers (AKA wire retainers) which are made of acrylic and wire. Depending on your circumstance, we recommend what is best for you and give you options.

Will may retainers last forever?
We wish they could last forever, but just like anything else - glasses, shoes, etc. - they will wear out over time and need to be replaced. They tend to last longer if they are well maintained and cleaned regularly. If you need to have them replaced or feel that some teeth are shifting, make sure to call us to replace it before teeth move too much.

How long do we need to wear retainers?
The honest answer is you need to wear them as long as you want to keep straight teeth : )  Everybody is different, and some people may experience very minimal shifting without retainers while others will see lots of shifting. Unfortunately, we cannot predict whose teeth will move and whose will not, so many orthodontists now recommend "lifetime retention" to ensure a beautiful, straight smile. Dr. Zach is definitely on board with "lifetime retention" and he still wears his retainers to keep his teeth straight.

Think of this way: If you wear glasses or contacts, you must use them in order to see. They are simply a tool to help you see more clearly. Retainers are essentially the same thing: they are just a tool to help keep your teeth straight. So when you go to bed, you wear retainers as part of your maintenance to your body. It's that simple!

Wear your retainers : )
- Dr. Zach

Simplified Braces Diet

July 9th, 2018

The first thing anyone asks when they hear they need braces is inevitably "What am I going to be able to eat?!?!" Many people worry that they will not be able to eat the foods they enjoy, and that is not necessarily the truth. Although we encourage that some of the hard foods listed below are avoided, there are ways to still enjoy some of these foods. On the other hand, sticky candy and chewy snacks with high sugar content should be avoided - with or without braces on : )

If you take a quick look at our list below, you will also see items like hard bread, chips, and popcorn. Occasionally, these foods can be eaten, and with careful chewing, these foods can still be enjoyed during your braces journey. You will also note the delicious foods listed at the bottom - apples, corn, chicken legs, and ribs - that can be eaten by just breaking them down into smaller pieces before you take a bite.

So why do we have a special braces diet? Basically, it comes down to two things. The first is that candy and sugary snacks are in the hard, sticky food department, and these foods are not good for your teeth as they promote plaque to form acid on the teeth. The acid can erode the teeth and lead to white scars around the braces. The second is simple - hard and sticky foods will break the braces which leads to more appointments and more time in the braces.

So don't worry - you will still get to eat well as you make the commitment to a straighter smile. Questions about other foods not on the list? Fee free to reach to us anytime - we would be happy to help guide you!

- Dr. Zach

7 Common Questions About Invisalign Clear Aligners

June 15th, 2018

Clear aligner treatment, like Invisalign, is another tool that we use to straighten your teeth and give you an awesome smile. As someone who has gone through Invisalign treatment myself, I can tell you that is relatively easy and well worth the investment. While many people are familiar with braces, we get a lot of questions regarding Invisalign. Here are just a few of our most popular questions:

How does Invisalign work?
Invisalign is a series of clear, plastic retainers that put pressure on the teeth in order to move them. Each one has a small movement built into the shape of the aligner, and progressively over time, the slight changes in shape lead to dramatic changes in your smile and bite.

What are the "bumps" or attachments on the teeth?
For most cases, small attachments or "bumps" are glued to the teeth with transparent dental filling material. This material is the same thing dentists use to fix cavities on your teeth, and they are removed at the end. The small attachments allow for more complex movements of the teeth to ensure we can deliver the result you deserve.

Are my teeth going to be sore?
Any time we apply pressure to a tooth, it will be sore. Teeth don't know whether they are being pushed by braces, Invisalign, or a retainer. The adjustment period is usually about one week at the start of treatment, and it can be easily handled with a softer diet and over-the-counter pain medication.

How often do I wear them?
In order to be effective in changing your smile, they must be worn at least 22 hours per day. There really is no exception to this rule as teeth need constant pressure to change their position. They are removed for eating and brushing, and each aligner is replaced by a new on a weekly basis in most cases.

How long does the total treatment take?
Invisalign treatment time varies based on the complexity of your treatment. Some cases require more movement and bite correction. A typical Invisalign treatment may range from 4 months for small movements to 24 months for complex movements. However, the average time in treatment is usually around 12 to 15 months.

Does dental insurance cover Invisalign treatment?
Yes - if your dental insurance has orthodontic coverage, the benefit may be used for braces or Invisalign. This is great news as you can choose the treatment option that best suits you and your lifestyle. We offer flexible payment plans which makes treatment much more affordable than people expect.

How do I know if Invisalign is right for me?
Invisalign treatment does require excellent participation during treatment, but the benefits are huge! If you would like to change your smile without compromising esthetics or your diet, Invisalign may be a great choice for you. The best way to find out if you are a candidate is to schedule a complimentary consultation with our office.

Want more information about your Invisalign experience with our office? Give us a call or send an email - we are always happy to help : )

- Dr. Zach

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