Uncommon Orthodontics SmileSync

Uncommon Introduces SmileSync

Introducing

smileSYNC…

…an uncommon approach to helping patients restore their smile again after a previous “out of control” orthodontic treatment.

Let’s face it: there are patients who are satisfied with and grateful for their new smile, but as the years roll by, they may become complacent, forgetful or just plain lazy about wearing their retainers. Sometimes the teeth will relapse a bit and the retainers will no longer fit. Often the retainers have been lost and forgotten…but our smileSYNC can get those smiles back in shape faster than you might imagine. For a relatively modest fee, patients can regain that self-confidence that comes from a great smile, protect their investment and restore the teeth and the bite to a healthy place than can be maintained, once again, with retainers.

Be sure you realize that smileSYNC is not a substitute for full orthodontic treatment; rather it is like a “reboot” for your teeth to once again come into alignment. You may be eligible whether you have had braces from your family dentist or another orthodontist. Be sure you are current with any cleanings or fillings, etc. that your family dentist has recommended. Check out your options for smileSYNC with us and remember: there is no charge for your initial evaluation appointment, only if you choose to proceed. Call us today or click here for an appointment!

childhood trauma

Katy and Mom: A Case Study in Childhood Trauma

I recently saw a young lady, let’s call her Katy, who had experienced on-and-off jaw pain and joint clicking for several years. As the pain became more intense, her mother did some Internet research and correctly identified the problem as TMJ disorder.

Our examination revealed a limited range of opening [her mouth] with a clicking noise, difficult and painful opening and a lower jaw that swung to the right when she opened. Biting down was also painful and the joint on both sides [especially on the right] did not open fully and smoothly.

When I asked them about possible trauma, blow to the face or fall…even as far back as toddler and preschool years…both of them could remember several events that were thought to be “no big deal” at the time. Although neither of them could recall a specific injury to the right side, in this particular case, patients and parents often can identify the injury that most likely was relates to the problem.

There was a recent study from the University of Texas that proved childhood trauma can damage the growth of the lower jaw and, over time, can also impair the development of the jaw joint [TMJ] itself. Often the damage becomes too great to successfully permit the repositioning of the cartilage that cushions the temporo-mandibular joint [TMJ].

The challenge in Katy’s case is to treat her with the best possible result and the least risk, so we proposed two plans of treatment:

  1. With a more conservative plan, to stop the deterioration in the joint and control the pain, we recommended a non-anatomical splint and a regimen of anti-inflammatory medications. In addition, we would teach Katy and her mom to respond to the symptoms of the disorder, self-medicate and keep it under control.
  1. We proposed an orthodontic plan that not only aligns the teeth but also creates a solid bite with no slides or rocking movements. We would use non-anatomical splints and non-inflammatory medications to keep the problem from getting worse during and after the orthodontic treatment. She should wear this retainer in order to hold the result and optimize her family’s investment in her health and her smile.

In conclusion, when there is, or might be, a significant head injury in childhood, it is often possible that the growth of the mandible (lower jaw) will be changed and impaired. Family physicians, family dentists and especially orthodontists should watch for unequal [asymmetrical] development in this area* - which is often overlooked. If your child suffers a significant head trauma, it is wise to let your orthodontist at Uncommon Orthodontics take a look at him/her as quickly as possible…hopefully within a few days.

*Note to physicians and other health professionals who might read this blog:

One sign that is easy to spot is a canted frontal occlusal plane—just place a tongue depressor from right to left across the dental arch and ask the patient to close. Is that tongue depressor level with the floor, the ears and eyes? If not, you should suspect damage to the temporo-mandibular joint on one side with the resultant uneven development. Bear in mind that the cant will only become apparent after unequal development begins in the mandible itself. Facial development is complete by age 20 for most females [and later in males], but if there is evidence of uneven growth of the mandible, a TMJ exam including x-rays and physical exam is a vital option. For Katy, it might have made a huge positive difference for her to begin TMJ therapy at a younger age.

Professionals, it is often better to refer [early] to us at Uncommon Orthodontics. A note, e-mail or phone call will get your patient an absolutely free, no obligation evaluation with a possible conservative and credible treatment option. You can trust us with your kids! #uncommonsmiles

Cost of Braces

Looking Forward Into 2015

After joining the Joplin community in August of this year, we have found that this is a strong, big-hearted city with “broad shoulders.” The whole area has come through some very tough times and has emerged lean and healthy on the other side. We foresee a bright future for the Joplin economy, although clearly many families continue to struggle with their finances.

As the area economy continues to improve, we are optimistic that 2015 will be a great year for an American economic recovery also. As we [at Uncommon Orthodontics] manage our finances, we routinely evaluate our costs and fees and—as it becomes necessary—we adjust them. However, for 2015, we have made a conscious decision NOT TO RAISE OUR FEES. We will maintain our payments at $179/month...LAST YEAR’S level…for as long as possible.

Some things will NEVER change: our “uncommon” ZERO down, ZERO interest, ZERO financing fees, and ZERO credit check financial policies are “set in stone.” Our commitment to excellent orthodontic care and a partnership with your family dentist are also very important to us. You may count on us to seek out creative ways to make a great smile possible for everyone in your family. Our whole team is working to help you reach the dreams you have for your family. So…SMILE, JOPLIN!

What is Phase I: Early Treatment?

Phase One [Early] treatment is generally defined as the application of fixed orthodontic therapy [braces] to an adolescent in the mixed dentition stage [baby and permanent teeth] with the purpose of correcting limited and specific problems for the patient. Phase One treatment is almost always followed by a second, final and definitive phase of full braces.

Early [Phase One] treatment is a matter of much discussion and controversy in orthodontic circles, and surely should be a concern to every parent with young children in need of orthodontic or dental care. The range of attitude extends from those practitioners who think that “everyone needs early treatment and they need it today” all the way through to extreme conservatives like myself who rarely suggest early treatment.

In my opinion, early [Phase One] treatment should be applied only when the intended results [or treatment] cannot be delayed without clear risk to teeth, the bite, the joints or other facial structures. I believe that it is morally risky to engage in early treatment when the same result can be achieved later through a well planned and well executed full treatment. From that point of view, the most likely cases that might “cry out” for early treatment would be excessive growth [or lack of it] of either the upper or lower arch, blocked paths of eruption for permanent teeth, and quite extreme narrowing of the upper and/or lower arches.

An excellent safeguard in this regard is to ask questions about necessity of the treatment, expected results, need for later treatment and consequences of not treating. An excellent central question for this discussion is: “Doctor, what can we accomplish in this phase of treatment that we cannot accomplish in a later phase?” A final measure that can protect you against excessive treatment is to get a second opinion from a practitioner who clears “stakes out” a conservative position.

Navigating Your Childs First Orthodontic Consultation

Your little one is growing up fast. Their adult teeth are growing in. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a check-up with an orthodontic specialist by age 7. Once you’ve made the appointment for your child’s first orthodontic appointment, what should you expect?

The orthodontist will be looking for problems related to the growth of the jaws and erupting teeth. There will be new terms used during the consultation that you might want to be familiar with.

Phase I Treatment - This refers to early or interceptive treatment that is done before all the baby teeth have fallen out. In this phase of treatment, the orthodontist may have a chance to:

  • Lower risk of trauma to protruded (buck) front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve appearance
  • Guide permanent teeth into more favorable position
  • Improve the way lips meet
  • Guide jaw growth

Phase I treatment does not necessarily eliminate the need for full braces once all the teeth have grown in.

Phase II Treatment - This refers to traditional orthodontic treatment with braces once the adult teeth have grown in.

Overjet - How much the front teeth stick out over the bottom teeth

Overbite – How much the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth.

Crossbite - A crossbite is when a tooth or multiple teeth are crossed over to bite to the inside of the opposing tooth or teeth. It can be the back (posterior), front (anterior), one side (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral).

Expander – An expander is a device used to expand the bone. Most commonly used in the upper arch (palate). Arch expansion is one of the most common ways to eliminate crowding and crossbites in patients. An expander is attached by bands placed around the teeth. Although there are removable expanders, fixed ones have an important advantage in that they cannot be lost or forgotten.

Removable Retainers - Retainers are used to hold your teeth in place once your orthodontic treatment is completed. They are classically made of acrylic and stainless steel wires and are worn at night after a period of full-time wear.