Category Archives: Orthodontics

Studies about powdered gloves

Lately, there have been studies performed that have indicated powdered gloves may be harmful to one’s health. As of January 18, 2017 they were not be used for patient care. You need not be concerned about this, as we have used NON-powdered, latex-free gloves for several years and will continue to do so for your safety.

Smile Arc

Occasionally my patients/parents inquire about the heights at which I choose to place my brackets. This is done to create the proper “Smile Arc” for my patients. The “Smile Arc” is the curved line the upper teeth make, back to front and left to right. This line should parallel the curvature of the lower lip upon “full smile” for proper aesthetics. Thanks for asking.

OrthoClassic H4’s

Many of my patients inquire about the new high-tech OrthoClassic H4 bracket system I introduced to the Houston area and am now employing, and how it compares to the Damon System I introduced to Houston in the mid – late 90’s. Having pioneered the Damon System, I noted the technological changes that were periodically made when the brackets were redesigned. I’m finding I have more control with the physical tolerances engineered in the OrthoClassic H4 system. Also, treatment times are becoming shorter. Thus, the change. Thanks for asking.

Grinding/Clenching

Many of our new patients, upon initial examination, exhibit clinical and radiographic signs of clenching and grinding, i.e. remodeling of the jaw joints, excess enamel wear, TMJ symptoms, etc. When asked about these habits most deny their existence or claim they must be doing them in their sleep.

Having treated patients with clenching/grinding issues since 1972, I have become quite aware that the great majority of them display these habits during the day, as well. Most often, they do them subconsciously during times of stress, while performing repetitive actions, to the beat of music, during intense concentration, etc. Stressful times seem to be the predominant occasion.

Habits are hard to break if we’re not aware we have them. What has worked well for our patients is to sit down with paper and pencil and write down all the stressful events they normally encounter during what they consider an average day, i.e. traffic, particular tasks at work or home, dealing with children, illnesses (pain), etc. Making these lists and reading them often enough to memorize them engages the brain to become sensitive to these events. Then, when experiencing these times of stress, my patients ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Is my tongue tightly suctioned to the roof of my mouth?

  2. Are my cheek muscles tight?

  3. Are my teeth clamped (closed) tightly?

  4. Am I grinding my teeth?

Clenchers, then, are to do the following:

  1. Break the suction the tongue has established with the palate;

  2. Separate the teeth from the clenching position, approximately a third of an inch;

  3. Massage the cheek muscles; and

  4. Take a deep, relaxing, cleansing breath.

Grinders are to do the following:

  1. Separate teeth as stated above;

  2. Massage the cheek muscles; and

  3. Take a deep, cleansing breath.

So, the keys are to identify the times when you are most likely to clench and/or grind and respond as instructed above. If you master the “awake hours”, you will find a dramatic decrease in grinding/clenching in your “sleeping hours.” This regimen will reduce the chances of you developing TMJ symptoms or losing very important enamel covering your teeth.

Fighting Orthodontic Relapse

Having studied faces all of my professional career, I am committed to positioning teeth and jaws in such a way to function well and compliment facial aesthetics. Once achieved, retaining this over time, requires careful planning; before, during and after treatment.

Evaluation of one’s tendencies toward relapse is vital in every case, if we are to minimize them. Obviously, diligent retainer wear is paramount in retaining any case if treatment results are to “holdup” over time. Many patients assume this responsibility; others choose not to make the commitment. Regardless of which choice is made, it is important for the orthodontist to attempt to place teeth where they will be less likely to drift into dysfunctional or unsightly positions. These efforts require a good bit of thought and work. Both take time and can add to the length of treatment.

So, retaining a beautiful result hinges on a joint commitment by the orthodontist and the patient. Along with the other orthodontic team members, both have worked hard to achieve “excellence”. Once accomplished, everyone wants it to last for a lifetime. Why, because a stunning smile is contagious and can change your life and the lives of everyone around you!

Orthodontic Pain Control

After having reviewed scientific studies relating to analgesic drugs used for orthodontic discomfort my team and I have been recommending to our patients the use of Tylenol or generic acetaminophen for episodes of discomfort, if they are undergoing active orthodontic treatment. Most pain medications contain anti-inflammatory agents which can slow down or stop tooth movement altogether. Acetaminophen does not. Therefore, if you choose to take a medication for pain, other than acetaminophen, you can expect to realize very little treatment progress while doing so, and for several days thereafter.

In like manner, any anti-inflammatory drug used for purposes other than pain control will have the same effect. We realize some of our patients must take anti-inflammatory medications for a variety of serious medical conditions. They have and should be informed not to expect their treatment to progress at a normal rate. We encourage these patients to consult with their physicians of treatment to see if it is possible and safe to reduce their dosages while undergoing orthodontic therapy.

“Desired Characteristics”

I recently received some interesting opinions research data from an orthodontic colleague of mine in Salt Lake City, Utah. The source was USA Today. The survey sample size was 5,500 unattached adults, age twenty-one and older. They were asked to choose from a list what they look for in an individual they would consider dating – what attributes were the most appealing.

Were looks, income, education, family background or personality traits deciding factors in the choice to date an individual? (I would have expected these items on the list to have been chosen more often.) More precisely, were the choices based solely on appearance? Here were the results.

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Orthodontic Treatment Fees – Why the Wide Range? (Part 3 of 3)

In Orthodontic Treatment Fees – part 1 and part 2 we discussed why there is such a wide range in orthodontic fees. To summarize it has to do with a combination of the orthodontists’ experience, type of work done, materials used and insurance categorization. “Orthodontic Treatment Fees” concludes below

So, all of these considerations and more, need to be evaluated by the consumer when “comparing” fees of different orthodontic practices. There is much to think about, but you should be able to recognize the “vision” each orthodontist has for his patients by spending some time asking questions and observing how thorough he is when he presents his “Problem List” and “Treatment Plan”. You’ll know what to do. Your intuition will help you find the right orthodontist for your family. Just ask yourself if the orthodontist is as motivated to deliver excellence as you are to receive it. My personal experience has been that people usually “end up” in an orthodontic practice that reflects their own core values.

If you want to know what we stand for, feel free to give us a call at Anderson Orthodontics, 281-578-0008. We’ll answer any questions we can for you.

Orthodontic Treatment Fees – Why the Wide Range? (Part 2 of 3)

What types of orthodontic materials are being used in your treatment? Orthodontic materials differ greatly in quality and in amount of technology put into their fabrication. Braces, wires, hooks, springs, etc. from one source could cost the orthodontist ten times more than from a source that sells inferior materials. Again “Apples to Apples”. All braces aren’t the same. If you are looking for the best orthodontist, you’d want him to use the highest quality materials on you or your child. Higher quality materials help the orthodontist deliver a higher quality service, all things remaining the same.  Have your orthodontist explain his treatment regimens and systems to you.

Another factor to consider is whether or not you are receiving orthodontic treatment under conditions put forth by “Insurance Plans”. Orthodontists can contract with insurance companies to treat patients covered under that plan for a significantly lower fee than he would normally charge. In order for the orthodontist to remain profitable in these cases he must treat patients on a “high volume” basis in a short period of time. Also, he may elect to forego certain types of treatment or appliances that would give the patient a more beautiful result, ie. better facial proportions, better lip fullness, increased smile breadth, etc., because the amount paid to him by the insurance company is insufficient to cover his costs in providing these services. Unfortunately, the focus in these “Insurance Plan Contract” cases can become “what can be done in the shortest amount of time” or “how many needed services can be ‘left out’ of the treatment plan” instead of “what can be done to give every patient the very best orthodontic treatment possible”.

There are many different insurance companies contracting with orthodontists. A few provide more funds for the orthodontist to work with than others. Also, some will work more closely with the orthodontist when made aware that the patient needs more than just a “set of braces”, ie. early treatment, soft tissue surgery, orthognathic surgery, dento-facial orthopedics, etc.

Orthodontic Treatment Fees – Part 3 will conclude this discussion next week. In the meantime if you have any questions about orthodontics and its related costs give us a call at Anderson Orthodontics, 281-578-0008.

Orthodontic Treatment Fees – Why the Wide Range? (Part 1 of 3)

Occasionally, a patient will come into our offices and ask why there is such a wide range in orthodontic fees. Well, there are several explanations for this.

First of all, the most obvious reason for fee disparity would be the amount of experience, knowledge and talent possessed by the orthodontist. Years in practice, yearly continued education hours, activity in study groups and awards won for clinical excellence are things to look for when choosing an orthodontist. Usually, an orthodontist’s fees are a reflection of his commitment to excellence.

Secondly, you must consider “what orthodontic issues are being addressed”. Are the teeth just being aligned or is an effort being made to do more? Are early intervention treatments being initiated to improve facial proportions, lip posture and fullness, profile aesthetics or to prevent the need for permanent tooth extractions later? Is the fee quoted for a specific amount of treatment over a specific number of months? Or, is the fee quoted for the Final Result? The consumer must compare “Apples to Apples” to accurately evaluate fees quoted to them.

Orthodontic Treatment Fees – Part 2 will continue this discussion next week. In the meantime if you have any questions about orthodontics and its related costs give us a call at Anderson Orthodontics, 281-578-0008.