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The Dangers Of DIY Orthodontic Treatments

December 30th, 2019

The Dangers Of DIY Orthodontic Treatments

The holiday season is often full of DIY projects, from repurposing old objects into festive decor to creating hand-crafted goodies for handing out to friends and neighbors. While this trend is fantastic for anyone who has a creative streak and loves a good deal, it does have some drawbacks. Like most trends, this one can sometimes go a bit too far, and DIY orthodontics is an excellent example of that!

Here at Dream Orthodontics, we fully endorse being resourceful and thrifty when appropriate. DIY can be a lot of fun! But when it comes to your smile, it’s important to leave it to the experts. Our expert team takes oral health seriously, and we’re proud to provide high-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in the South Surrey area. We also offer a wide variety of affordable treatment options to suit every budget, which means you never have a reason to experiment with risky DIY methods that aren’t backed by experience or skill.  

To learn more about what we mean by “DIY orthodontics,” why you should avoid them, and how Dr. Morra can give you a beautiful smile safely and efficiently, keep reading below!

The Dangers Of DIY Orthodontic Treatments

DIY braces 

Type “DIY braces” into any search engine, and you’ll get thousands of results. Videos in particular tend to be popular, and many make the claim that you can straighten your teeth using nothing more than everyday items like rubber bands, paper clips, bobby pins, and even aluminum foil. At one point, there was such a buzz about these tutorials that the American Association of Orthodontists felt compelled to issue a consumer alert warning the public that moving teeth is a medical procedure and should only be performed with the personal supervision of an experienced orthodontist. 

Rubber bands, sometimes referred to as gap bands, are the most popular method of DIY orthodontics. They’re nothing more than clear hair elastics you can buy in any drugstore, and the idea is to use them as a way to close gaps and straighten teeth. After wrapping them around misaligned teeth for an indeterminate amount of time, gaps will supposedly close and your bite will be straightened. 

While we understand the attraction to this cheap and easy option, it comes with many potential risks, including pain, laceration, and infections. The bands can even become embedded in the soft tissue of your gums! Complex and expensive dental procedures may be required to repair any damage. 

Mail-in aligners

Direct-to-consumer aligner services have become increasingly popular over the last year or two. These companies offer up a cheaper alternative by supplying patients with an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. After an impression has been taken and mailed back in, they are meant to be reviewed by an on-site dentist or technician who will determine if the patient is a candidate for the company’s aligners. If the patient is approved for the process, the aligners will be made and delivered to the patient with instructions on how to wear them. 

While this is certainly better than using office supplies to straighten your teeth, mail-in aligners come with their own set of issues. Orthodontists like Dr. Morra use in-person exams, digital photos, and high-quality x-rays to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient based on their specific needs. This information is also used to create the ideal bite for a patient, a difficult but important part of treatment since misalignment can cause pain, discomfort, and uneven wear and tear to the teeth. 

Many problems can be overlooked with at-home kits. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. This can lead to trouble since the teeth and gums should always be in good shape before attempting tooth movement. 

Mail-in aligner services also leave patients without any meaningful supervision. That means aligners can be poorly fitted, or they may move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected. As noted above, cavities or gum disease may develop. If there’s no orthodontist overseeing treatment, these problems may go untreated, causing damage to your overall oral health as well as your bite. In some cases, patients have ended up with more problems than they had before they began!

An experienced orthodontist knows how important it is to discuss a patient’s specific needs, lifestyle, and goals before recommending any particular treatment method. Without access to a patient for an examination, x-rays, or photos, these businesses may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a suitable candidate for aligners.

The Dangers Of DIY Orthodontic Treatments

Trust your smile to the experts at Dream Orthodontics

While DIY braces and direct-to-consumer aligner companies may seem like an easy and ideal way to straighten your smile and save you some money, they could prove more costly than you expect over time! 

Dr. Morra knows that moving teeth slowly over a longer period of time is the only way to ensure the health of your entire mouth and provide exceptional results that last a lifetime. At Dream Orthodontics, your first consultation with us is always free! This visit includes a complete examination with Dr. Morra along with an explanation of the options available to you. While a smile that looks good and feels great does require an investment of your time and funds, we do our best to make it as easy as possible for every patient to get the orthodontic care they need. 

You don’t need DIY methods when you have an orthodontist like Dr. Morra looking out for your smile! If you’re in South Surrey and would like to learn more about how to safely achieve a beautiful smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Phase 1 & Phase 2 Treatment

November 27th, 2019

Phase 1 & Phase 2 Treatment

As a parent or caregiver, you want nothing but the best for your child, and that includes a healthy smile. You likely already know that regular dental check-ups play an important role in a child’s oral health, but you may not be aware that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have an initial orthodontic evaluation by age 7! 

Early evaluations won’t always be followed by early treatment, and we’re often able to simply monitor a child's growth patterns over the years. However, there are cases where intervention is required at a young age to obtain the most optimal results.

Here at Dream Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing families with expert information on what long-term orthodontic care might look like for their child. Two-phase treatment can be a part of that plan. To learn more about what this is and how it can give our younger patients the best chance at a healthy smile, keep reading below!

Early orthodontic evaluations at Dream Orthodontics

The first step in any child’s orthodontic journey is an evaluation with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Morra. Our office is happy to provide this initial consultation at no charge for families in South Surrey and the surrounding areas.

By the age of 6 or 7, when the AAO recommends children have their first orthodontic exam, most kids will usually have a mix of permanent and baby teeth. We look at these and other developmental markers for insight into the basic alignment of the child’s teeth.  They also help us determine if there’s enough room in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth to grow in properly.

To put it in the simplest terms, an early evaluation gives our expert team the chance to find, diagnose, and treat a number of common issues before they have the chance to become more serious! This can reduce the need for more intensive orthodontic treatment later on. 

If Dr. Morra determines your child is in need of orthodontic care, she may choose to use two phases of treatment that are designed to be proactive rather than reactive.

Phase 1 & Phase 2 Treatment

What is two-phase treatment?

With two-phase treatment, a child will receive orthodontic treatment at two separate times, with a rest period in between. The first phase of treatment is generally initiated when the child still has a mix of primary and permanent teeth. This will typically be followed by a period of no treatment before the second phase begins after all or most of the adult teeth have emerged.

Using two-phase treatment allows us to create a better environment for a child’s permanent teeth to grow into, giving them the best start for a fully functional smile! The two distinct phases of treatment help us promote an optimal oral environment by:

  • creating a more harmonious relationship between the teeth and jaws
  • aligning the teeth, resulting in a straighter smile
  • positioning the teeth and jaws for more pleasing facial symmetry

When you schedule a visit for your child with Dr. Morra for the first time, she will perform a thorough oral examination. After inspecting their mouth, teeth, and jaws, she may recommend two-phase treatment for your child if any of the following issues are a concern.

  • Your child shows signs of a particular problem that we want to keep from developing (preventive treatment)
  • Your child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept (interceptive treatment)
  • Your child’s jaw bones appear to need a bit of guidance as they grow (growth modification)

Following the normal patterns of childhood growth and development gives us the best chance of achieving improved oral health and a beautiful smile! This method also gives us the best chance at improving and correcting orthodontic issues at the most opportune time. Many common dental problems can be treated easily in a growing child, but become more complex to correct as they get older and the jaw bones stop growing.

Phase 1 treatment usually provides lasting results, and in some cases, it can even lessen the impact of other problems. That said, most patients will still require a second phase of treatment in order to complete the total alignment process.

Phase 1 treatment

Phase 1 treatment helps a child’s jaw develop in a way that better accommodates all the permanent teeth, and can also improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. This has a number of benefits for growing children, from an improved ability to bite and chew to more efficient digestion. Phase 1 treatment may also reduce the risk of tooth damage due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws.

Children experiencing any of the following issues may be good candidates for Phase 1 treatment. 

  • Crooked or crowded
  • Teeth with a noticeable gap
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that don’t come together correctly
  • Oral habits that may affect their dental development
  • Speech problems
  • Jaw out of proportion to the rest of the head
  • Incoming permanent teeth that are being obstructed by baby teeth

The rest period

Once the first phase of treatment has been successfully completed, the remaining permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. At this point, we will normally stop any active orthodontic treatment to give the teeth and jaws a break while the adult teeth emerge. We can keep the teeth stable during this rest period by using a space maintainer or a non-removable retainer.

Phase 2 treatment

We will generally begin Phase 2 treatment once all the permanent teeth have erupted. This is where everything starts to come together! Braces or clear aligners are often used to achieve the alignment we want. We’ll also use a fixed bonded retainer or removable retainer to ensure long-lasting results, with the teeth staying in their new positions over time.

Phase 1 & Phase 2 Treatment

Give your child the gift of a custom smile with Dream Orthodontics

Every smile is unique and every patient will respond to treatment in their own way. What works for one child isn’t guaranteed to work for another, and that’s why Dream Orthodontics is dedicated to creating individualized treatment plans that take into account each patient’s specific needs and goals. 

Our expert team has years of experience providing high-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in our community, including young children. If your child is around the recommended age for their first orthodontic visit, we’d love to meet you both and take a look at how their development is progressing. Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation!

Touch-Up Treatment For Adults

November 1st, 2019

Touch-Up Treatment For Adults

Here at Dream Orthodontics, we understand what a big investment orthodontic treatment is. When your braces are finally removed or you use your last aligner, it’s something worth celebrating! Seeing how all your hard work and dedication has paid off is an amazing feeling, and when you leave the orthodontist’s office, you have every intention of wearing your retainer exactly as directed. And you do…at first, anyway. Over time, however, you start to forget about it more and more often. Then one day you wake up and realize you can’t even remember the last time you saw your retainer! 

You know you need to replace it, and keep reminding yourself to call the orthodontist about scheduling an appointment. Like lots of things in your busy life, it keeps getting pushed to the bottom of your to-do list until the day you notice something is a little bit off with your smile. On closer inspection, you can see that your teeth have shifted and started to move back towards their old positions in your mouth. 

If that scenario sounds familiar to you, you aren’t alone. We see many adult patients in the same situation, wanting to know what we can do to make things right again. Fortunately, Dr. Morra is experienced in this kind of touch-up treatment to correct orthodontic relapses! If you’re finally ready to get your smile back on track, we can help. Keep reading below to learn more about what causes an orthodontic relapse, and what Dream Orthodontics can do to fix it. 

Orthodontic relapses go beyond the retainer

Irregular retainer use is the most common reason for teeth shifting after orthodontic treatment. Unfortunately, many patients underestimate the importance of retainers, especially once a bit of time has passed. The truth is, treatment doesn’t stop once your braces come off or aligners run out! The teeth and surrounding bone and gums still need time to solidify in their new locations after the initial phase of treatment is complete. Wearing your retainer as directed by Dr. Morra will help protect your teeth from the forces trying to pull them back to their previous positions. This assists the stabilization effort over time. 

Having said that, there can be other reasons for an orthodontic relapse, too! These include, but are not limited to:

 Genetics and natural aging

Even if genetics gave you a beautiful smile to work with, you might have noticed your teeth shifting a bit as you grow older. This is a common occurrence, especially in the front teeth, which tend to be more susceptible to shifting under pressure due to the thinning enamel.

Teeth grinding

If you’re a tooth grinder, you’re probably already aware of the damage it can cause! Chronic tooth grinding produces a continuous force that can place a strain on your teeth over time. It even has the ability to alter your bite and cause misalignment.   

Tooth loss

If you’ve lost one or more teeth due to trauma, decay, or periodontal disease, the teeth surrounding that empty space may begin to drift towards it. If this is left uncorrected for a long enough period of time, it can eventually lead to a misaligned bite.

Touch-Up Treatment For Adults

A note on the importance of retainers

Many patients don’t understand why retainers are so essential to long-term orthodontic success. As we briefly mentioned above, your teeth aren’t the only things we want to stay in place once the initial phase of treatment is complete. The gums and bones in your mouth will need to align to these new positions, too. The tissues surrounding the teeth can take a little longer to align, but wearing a retainer regularly helps this process along, further stabilizing your bite.

Put another way, the teeth aren't just fixed in the jaw. Each one is held in its socket by elastic ligaments that attach the roots to the bone. These ligaments are living tissue that are affected by the movement of the teeth, and the attachment is what allows for the small movements of the teeth during treatment. When we put tension on and around the teeth with braces or aligners, it allows new ligaments to form. 

Once the first phase of treatment is complete, those same tissues, ligaments, and bone will need some time to stabilize. If there is no tension, the teeth will be less stable, and will almost always begin moving back to their old positions. Regular retainer use provides the pressure needed to keep your smile exactly where it’s meant to be!

Treating orthodontic relapses

If your smile isn’t as straight as it used to be, don’t worry. We can help! If you’ve been wearing your retainer properly and are experiencing only minor shifting, we may be able to simply monitor your teeth for the time being. In some cases, we can correct these minor movements of the teeth by creating a new retainer for you. 

If you’ve experienced a significant relapse, we may recommend re-treatment. The good news is that correcting a relapse often takes much less time than your original treatment did! Dream Orthodontics offers a variety of treatment options to help re-straighten your smile and improve your oral health. From traditional metal braces to Invisalign clear aligner therapy, we’ll find the perfect treatment for your unique smile and specific needs!

Touch-Up Treatment For Adults

Get your smile back on track with Dream Orthodontics

Whatever the reason for your orthodontic relapse, our expert team is here to help you find your best smile again! We have years of experience providing the highest-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in South Surrey and the surrounding communities. It’s our goal to give you a positive and stress-free orthodontic experience from start to finish, whether you need a new retainer or are looking at a whole new set of braces. If you’re ready to get your smile back on track, get in touch today and schedule a FREE consultation

Your First Visit

September 30th, 2019

Your First Visit

When you make the choice to pursue orthodontic treatment with Dream Orthodontics, it can be exciting. After all, improving your oral health and straightening your smile is a pretty big deal! But like any other big decision, it can also feel a little overwhelming. This is especially true if you don’t know much about orthodontics, or what to expect from the treatment process. 

Orthodontic treatment is one of the most important investments you can make for your health. We value the trust you’ve placed in our practice, and will always do our best to ensure that you always feel confident in the orthodontic process and your personalized treatment plan. We’re proud to provide top-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in our community, and that begins with your very first visit! Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this initial consultation, and what the next steps in your orthodontic journey could be. 

Your first visit with Dream Orthodontics

Your first visit to our South Surrey office is one of the most important appointments you’ll have, so we do our best to make it a positive and stress-free experience. This is our chance to meet and get to know each other a little better, as well as explore orthodontic options after an oral examination. Because we’re packing a lot into one appointment, it might last slightly longer than subsequent visits! We also take our time during this consultation so no one feels rushed.  

When you arrive, you’ll be greeted warmly and given a quick tour of our office to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed with your surroundings. We’ll then take some basic information from you before proceeding with the diagnostic records and exam.  

One reason this first visit is so important is because this is when Dr. Morra will determine if there any orthodontic issues present that require treatment. She will also assess whether that treatment should begin immediately, or if it would be better to wait until a later time. Part of this process involves taking photographs of the teeth in their present state. We may also do a set of panoramic x-rays. These images let us see what’s happening underneath the gums, like the position and growth of the bones and joints, along with any teeth that are still below the gum line.

After we get the images we need, Dr. Morra will perform a thorough examination. Besides looking in your mouth, she may also ask you a few questions, such as whether your jaws make any noise when the mouth is opening or closing, or if there are noticeable problems with chewing or swallowing. When taken together with the images and health information already collected, this exam will allow Dr. Morra to make a proper diagnosis and create a custom treatment plan.

Whether you're planning to begin treatment now or later, this appointment is the best time to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. You can expect us to discuss the following topics with you, but be sure to ask if there’s anything you don’t understand or are unsure about. 

  • Any oral issues you’re experiencing
  • If treatment is needed immediately
  • What treatment options are available to correct the problem
  • If any teeth will need to be removed
  • An estimate of how long we expect your treatment to take
  • The total investment required for treatment
  • Any payment or financing options we have available to you

We take an individualized approach to orthodontic care here at Dream Orthodontics. When creating a treatment plan for you, we will always take into account your specific needs, your lifestyle, and the goals you have in mind. This allows us to consistently produce superior results and a rewarding orthodontic experience for all of our patients.

Your First Visit

Investing in a straighter, healthier smile

Your consultation will include a breakdown of all applicable treatment fees. We will always ensure that you understand all the costs involved before any treatment begins!

Our practice is dedicated to providing patients of all ages with affordable, effective orthodontic care. We have a variety of payment options for every budget, and we’ll be happy to help you verify your ortho coverage and maximize any orthodontic insurance benefits you do have. 

The next steps in your orthodontic journey

Once your initial consultation is complete, we’ll schedule an appointment for you to receive your orthodontic appliance. After your appliance is placed or fitted, you’ll have  follow-up appointments with us every 4-8 weeks or so, depending on your particular treatment plan. During these visits, Dr. Morra will monitor the movement of your teeth, check that everything is progressing as it should be, and adjust your appliance if necessary.

Because these visits are an essential part of your orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to cancel or reschedule only if it’s absolutely necessary. We do our best to schedule appointments that are convenient for you, but we do understand that you may sometimes be running late or have to cancel unexpectedly. If this occurs, we ask that you simply let us know as soon as possible. We’ll be happy to accommodate you by rescheduling your appointment for another day to keep your treatment on track!

It is very important that you continue to visit your family dentist for regular check-ups during orthodontic treatment. If extra dental care is needed, we’re happy to coordinate with your family dentist to make sure that you are receiving the best care possible across the board.

Get the smile you’ve always wanted at Dream Orthodontics

Your smile is too important to trust to just anybody! Our expert team has many years of experience creating beautiful smiles for patients of all ages in South Surrey, White Rock, and the surrounding communities. Our innovative techniques and cutting-edge technology will give you the best results in the shortest amount of time possible, and you can trust us to provide the highest quality orthodontic care in a calm, relaxing environment. 

Would you like to learn more about how orthodontic treatment can benefit you or your family? Get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation, and take the first step toward the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve!

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