Friday, December 18, 2015

Some Of The Top Reasons to See an Orthodontist

A Smile You Are Proud Of – Most people will agree if you are happy with your smile, you typically have more self-confidence which provides a better emotional and psychological outlook.

Correct Facial Structures – some malocclusion's can have an adverse effect on facial structures, orthodontics and proper alignment of teeth can help to reduce this.

Eating – Everyone likes to eat and for some that can be a bit of a challenge if the teeth are not aligned correctly. Seeing an orthodontist can help patients get the teeth in the proper locations to allow for a more enjoyable eating experience.

Gum disease – when teeth are crowded it can make cleaning difficult which can cause tooth decay or worse gum disease. This can lead to permanent damage and tooth loss.  An orthodontist will align the teeth so that cleaning will be much easier and help teeth last a lifetime.

Early loss of baby teeth – losing certain baby teeth early can cause issues for patients later that is one of the reasons why the American Association of Orthodontics recommends patients should see an Orthodontist by the age of 7.

Crowding – If teeth are crowded out of the dental arch cleaning can be more difficult, and there will likely  not be enough gum tissue to support the tooth which could also create issues.  It is good to see the Orthodontist to see assess the situation and see what it would entail to create an ideal bite.

Protruding teeth – are often at risk of trauma or damage, therefore it is good to visit the Orthodontist to see the best solution to correct this type of bite.

Crossbite – When the upper arch is smaller than the lower arch this could cause a functional issue and put pressure on the jaw joints. Seeing the Orthodontist while the patient is still growing is optimal as it could be simple solution while the patient is young.

Oral habits – like finger and thumb habits can lead to many orthodontic issues if not treated early.  These habits are easily corrected by appliances made by the orthodontist call today and ask about our reminders.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Crooked Teeth?

This time of year seeing the Jack-O-Lanterns and their funny smiles makes me think of teeth (imagine that!), and the many stories that have circulated throughout time as to why humans have crooked teeth.  A few of these stories have included cultural mixing, thumb-sucking, and even food consumption.  In the dental world crooked teeth are called malocclusion's, and can be caused by many factors.  Some of those factors are 1) genetics- if one or both parents has or have had crowded or missing teeth it is likely their child(ren) will as well. 2) Poor oral hygiene – not brushing your teeth well can lead to early tooth loss; which can cause teeth to move or not come in the proper locations. 3) Small dental arches- which do not allow enough room for all the teeth to fit properly. And, 4) finger/ thumb habits- these can misguide teeth by putting unnecessary pressure on them.

 With the orthodontic treatment advancements today, each factor mentioned above can be corrected. The American Association of Orthodontist today estimate around 80% of teenagers are in orthodontic treatment.  If you are interested in being a part of that 80% and would like more information give the office a call to schedule an appointment.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Which comes first??

Have you ever heard the expression which came first the chicken or the egg? A similar question is often asked when patients begin the process of braces, and know that they will require a tooth replacement in order to achieve ideal results.  What comes first braces or dental implants?  While each orthodontic case is different, generally dental implants will be placed after orthodontic treatment is completed.  Since dental implants are permanently placed in the bone and cannot be moved, it is best to align the teeth in their proper location prior to placing the implant. However, there are some cases in which a dental implant may be placed prior to starting orthodontic treatment. Those cases are typically when patients are missing teeth, and an implant would be used as an anchoring device for the orthodontist.  Communication between the orthodontist and the general dentist is imperative during the orthodontic treatment to ensure that proper room is made for the implant placement. It is wise that the orthodontist and general dentist discuss the treatment plan, along with the placing of an implant prior to the onset of any treatment.  

Monday, August 31, 2015

"Orthophos XG"

Staying up to date with the latest in advancements in orthodontics and technology has always been, and will always be a priority at Alemen & Sternstein Orthodontics.  If you recently had an x-ray taken you will have noticed the practice is keeping true to that tradition!  Although, it may not look a great deal different than its predecessor, our newest team member "Orthophos XG 3D Ready" can be found in our records area.  Orthophos XG is our new x-ray machine and it is hard at work offering us the ability to take the most comprehensive panoramic, cephalometric and TMJ images for our patients. The Orthophos XG offers speed combined with ease, 17 panoramic programs for all diagnostic options and clearer images for better treatment diagnosis.  Since every case is unique, Dr. Aleman and Dr. Sternstein rely heavily on these images when creating individualized treatment plans for each patient.  The next time you are in the office make sure you ask to see the newest team member!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Where is Thumbkin?

Where is Thumbkin? Possibly one of the most popular children’s nursery rhymes of all time. It is uncertain who wrote the words, but according to Parents magazine, versions date back to the 1700’s in England.  Although the author of the song may not be known, one thing that is, most parents become anxious when they see that their little guy or gal has a thumb or finger habit.  While thumb sucking is a natural reflex for children and may help them to self soothe, once the permanent teeth start to appear it may cause problems with the growth and alignment of teeth.

Most children will stop or break the habit themselves between the ages of two and four. This is good as the permanent teeth typically have yet to make an appearance.  However, some children may need some extra help to break this habit. While many parents try all the classic approaches to helping their child, they do not realize that there is an easy solution to permanently breaking the habit.     

Drs. Aleman & Sternstein can make a special appliance that will remind the child that the thumb or finger should not be in the mouth.  This special “reminder” is pain free and typically in place for 3 months and then removed.  

Drs. Aleman & Sternstein will continue to monitor the child every 6-12 months or until the optimum time for orthodontic treatment (if it is needed). Sometimes finger or thumb habits can create a longer treatment for patients if the habit is not corrected early enough.  The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by age 7. If your child has a habit, and is ready to break it or the permanent teeth are starting to appear it is wise to visit the office before age 7.  As with all treatment in our office, you do not need a referral. If you have tried all the other options or just wish to have a consult to see if your child could benefit from our “reminder” call today to schedule an appointment 217-546-9600.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Fun & What To Do In A Dental Emergency

One of the many great things about being an orthodontist is the fact that there are few orthodontic emergencies’ that require immediate care.  However, during summer many patients are very active and the occasional direct injury to the mouth or tooth can happen. Tuthmvr Orthodontics would like to share some helpful information if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

 If you experience a chipped or broken tooth you should save any pieces, rinse the mouth using warm water, rinse any broken pieces of the tooth, apply cold compresses to the outside of the mouth, lip, or area near the broken/chipped tooth and visit your dentist as soon as possible.

 In the event you experience a knocked out tooth, and you can locate the tooth, hold it by the crown, rinse off the tooth and root with water (it is important to not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments).  If you can place the tooth back in the socket do so, if not place in a small cup of milk or water and see your dentist as soon as possible. If you are able to see your dentist and return the tooth to its socket within an hour there is a greater chance of the tooth being saved!

 If you should happen to receive a significant dental injury while in braces, call your general dentist office and our office. We can help determine the extent of the injury and schedule your appointment accordingly. In some cases braces have been known to save teeth from loss as braces help provide stability.  Home care is not recommended for situations that involve chipped, broken, fractured or knocked out teeth.   The most common “orthodontic emergencies” that patients will experience are:

·         Poking wires
·         Loose Brackets
·         Lost Separators
·         Broken Wires
·         Missing ligatures/nubs
·         Broken retainers

It is always good to keep an “Emergency Orthodontic Kit” on hand during summer activities. This kit should include the following items:

·         Orthodontic wax ( you can get this from our office)
·         Nail Clippers ( it is best to have a new pair)
·         Tweezers
·         A pencil with a good eraser on the end
·         A business card with our phone #

By keeping this kit close, you should be able to take care of any minor “emergency”.  Make sure to call the office at 217-546-9600.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting The Biggest Bang For Your Buck!

Getting the biggest bang for your buck! That is something I think most people look for when they are making major purchases in their lives.  Not only do they want the best quality, but the best value.  Most people don’t realize that they have an untapped resource when it comes to health care. That resource is their Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) offered through their employers. Employees can use FSA pretax dollars after insurance benefits are applied.  We have found at Aleman & Sternstein Orthodontics that some choose not to take advantage of this program mainly because they don’t understand it and are afraid of the “use it or lose it” mandate behind it.  What they fail to realize is the beauty of the using it in the orthodontic world. At Aleman & Sternstein Orthodontics you are given your orthodontic fee at the beginning of treatment.  Therefore, you can flex the maximum amount over the treatment period as a typical treatment time estimate is 2years.

There is an additional benefit of using the FSA account in that you are saving approximately 25%. (This is based on your tax bracket.)  Flex money is non-taxable income.  Another great benefit of using the FSA in the orthodontic practice, is that most accounts funds are available at the beginning of the FSA calendar year.

For many, the end of May is the deadline to declare for your FSA if your calendar year is July 1st. It is important to know your employers guidelines.  You should talk to your plan administrator or call our office at 217-546-9600 if you are interested in getting the biggest bang for your buck!  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Its Madness Not To Wear Your Retainer!

It’s the day you have been waiting for, the day your braces are coming off!! You know you will need retainers, but your question is do I really need to wear them? At Aleman & Sternstein Orthodontics the answer is always YES!!!!  Retainers are a vital step in the process to keeping your bite aligned for life.  There are many types of retainers used in orthodontics. The type of retainer a patient will receive will be based on how their bite was prior to starting into braces. One thing that is certain is that the retainer will need to be worn on a regular basis after treatment is completed to hold your teeth in their new position.

Typically patients of Aleman & Sternstein Orthodontics will receive a Hawley or an Essix upper retainer, and a B.L.T. (bonded lingual three to three) retainer.  The Hawley retainer is one of the most commonly used retainers, it is a removable retainer made of acrylic plastic and metal.  The Essix retainer is made up of clear plastic and will either cover the entire upper arch or the upper 6 front teeth depending on how the bite was at the onset of orthodontic treatment.  Our B.L.T. retainers are generally bonded with a tooth like material to the lingual (inside surface) of the lower canine teeth, and will span from canine to canine.

Duration of retainer wear will vary from patient to patient.  Typically Dr. Aleman and Dr. Sternstein will ask that patients wear the upper retainer 24 hours a day removing only to brush. While the lower retainer is a fixed retainer. This retainer is also one that the doctors like for patients to have in permanently since lower teeth tend to shift throughout life.

After completing orthodontic treatment, the bone and gum tissue need time to adjust to their new location. If you don’t wear the retainers they have a tendency to relapse.  To maintain stability and function please adhere to the retainer instructions you were given…just remember “It is Madness Not to Wear Your Retainer!”

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dental Checkups and Orthodontics Go Hand In Hand

Dental Checkups and Orthodontics Go Hand In Hand

One of the many questions asked of the orthodontist is “If I have braces do I still need to go to the dentist every 6 months for my dental checkup?” The answer to this question is yes. Dental checkups and Orthodontics go hand in hand! While your orthodontist will monitor your braces and teeth in regards to movement and fixing the bite, it is through regular dental exams that tooth decay and other oral health concerns can be spotted. With braces being food traps that can cause cavities, proper oral hygiene and regular scheduled dental checkups are imperative to maintain a healthy mouth. There are some instances where patients may experience a more difficult time cleaning around their appliances that may require them to go in every 3-4 months for a dental checkup. The common goal for both the orthodontist and the general dentist is to work together to ensure the patient maintains a healthy functioning bite that will last lifetime.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Adult Orthodontics Now is the Perfect Time!!

Adults and orthodontic treatment, why do so many think NOW is the perfect time to begin? Many orthodontist’s will agree that an increasing number of patients they see on a daily basis are adults.  One of the main reasons adults seek orthodontic care is dissatisfaction with their dental and/or facial appearance.  Another common reason is the need for isolated dental movements so other procedures can be executed within an interdisciplinary treatment plan.  This accompanying the fact that cosmetic procedures are becoming increasingly popular in all areas of aesthetics. 

Most adults remember the horror stories of braces from when they were growing up. We often joke at Aleman, Sternstein & McDaniel that parents will send the kids in to “test the waters” before starting treatment themselves. With advancements in orthodontics, the wires and brackets are more discreet and comfortable. Many wearing braces have stated that it is not as they had feared and for the most part has not impacted their daily lives.

With that being said, there are a few areas where it is better to have youth on your side. For example, like most of us teeth can be set in their ways. Teeth are held in place by elastic fibers. When the tooth is moved to the proper position the fibers move with the tooth but are still stretched. This stretching causes the tooth to want to move back to the original location. This is why retention is so important (we will cover this topic in another blog).  The longer the tooth is not in the proper location the more “memory” the elastic fibers will have and the more prone to relapse. 

If you have ever wanted to have a great smile, or to “change your appearance” without plastic surgery, join the fastest growing segment in orthodontic patients nationally. Your smile is one of the first things that people see and will last you a lifetime if taken care of properly!