DIY Orthodontics

With the increasing popularity of 3D printing and "Do It Yourself" shows that highlight how easy it is to take something that was normally professionally done, and get it done for fractions of the cost yourself, many people have been wondering about finding their own ways to straighten their teeth. There are also companies that now market at home orthodontics via facebook and hulu that report they can save you thousands of dollars by having you do the treatment yourself in the comfort of your own home... but what's the catch?

There is no doubt that orthodontics seems simple and straight-forward on the outside. Being able to straighten your teeth with seemingly simple products like Invisalign (a removable series of clear retainers) makes it seem like anyone could fabricate and design their own aligners, or at least send in a model of their teeth to have a company mail them trays that will align their teeth and what could go wrong?

What most people don't know, and what these "mail order orthodontic" companies don't tell you, is that moving your teeth is actually a bit harmful to your bone and gums. Orthodontics actually works, by using pressure (from the braces or Invisalign trays) to cut off the blood supply to the bone on part of your tooth. This then signals the bone on that side of your tooth to remodel and thus let the tooth move through the softened bone. Too much pressure, in the wrong direction can actually push your tooth out of the bone and cause it to fall out of your mouth! (Think... slow motion extraction) This does not happen immediately and can actually happen months after you are already done with your treatment.

You might think... "Well if something bad was happening to my tooth I think I would notice that..." Well, you might, or you might not. Because your teeth are already a bit tender from being moved (which is normal) it's hard to detect whether it's being moved too much or just enough unless you have a trained professional monitoring your case. Also, if you got lucky and happened to notice that something was wrong... do you know what to do to fix it? If you do, then you might want to start a university, because right now, even dental professionals don't have a good, predictable, and comfortable way to put back a tooth that has been extracted. (Believe me, if we did, then dental implants wouldn't be a multi-million dollar industry) In other words... once the damage is done, it can be irreversible. And if you get lucky and the damage you do is something that we can reverse... you better believe that the treatment to reverse the damage is probably more expensive than the money you saved trying to do your own orthodontics. (Ask anyone who has had a gum graft)

Long story longer... I'm all for DIY projects so you get to know the value of what other people do for a living, but when it comes to things that you only have one of (hope diamond, mona lisa)... things that have high damage potential (plumbing and electrical)... or things that don't grow back (eyes, nerves, tendons, muscle, teeth... ), let the professionals handle it if possible.

For more information see this article published by the American Association of Orthodontists



Cosmetic Orthodontics

Form follows function, and few people realize that when you improve the look of your teeth, you are also improving their functionality as well as their longevity.

A study conducted by Invisalign and published by PR Newswire said

"Americans perceive those with straight teeth to be 45% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a job when competing with someone who has a similar skill set and experience. They are also seen as 58% more likely to be successful, as well as 58% more likely to be wealthy."
Original Article

According to Mercedes White from Deseret News:

"But income isn’t the only thing impacted by the appearance of a person’s teeth. Researchers have noted pronounced negative associations with crooked, discolored and decaying teeth. Approximately 40 percent of respondents to a 2012 study by Kelton Research said that they would not date someone with crooked teeth. And about 73 percent said that people with straight teeth are more trustworthy."
"Public health officials are also quick to point out that dental issues are medical issues"

We also have many aesthetic options while you are in your orthodontic treatment; like clear brackets and Invisalign.

Just because you can use your teeth pretty well now doesn't mean that they will stay that way forever either. Many people don't realize they have bite or functional issues because they perceive them to be "just cosmetic" and they do not realize the detrimental side effects it could be having on their longevity.



What do we know about Fluoride?

"The ADA recognizes the use of fluoride and community water fluoridation as safe and effective in preventing tooth decay for both children and adults."



How to take care of your mouth with Diabetes

"If you have diabetes, you are at greater risk of developing some oral health problems than are people who do not have diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk of developing periodontal (severe gum) diseases. Because diabetes lowers resistance to infection, you also are more prone to developing oral infections. Controlling blood glucose (blood sugar) levels can reduce the risk of these effects."



What do we know about Toothpastes?

All toothpastes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance must contain fluoride.

In addition to fluoride, toothpastes may contain active ingredients to help in ways such as lessening tooth sensitivity, whitening teeth, reducing gingivitis or tartar build-up, or preventing enamel erosion or bad breath.

Flavoring agents that cause or contribute to tooth decay (e.g., sugar) may not be contained in any ADA-Accepted toothpaste.

A product earns the ADA Seal of Acceptance by providing scientific evidence that demonstrates the safety and efficacy, which the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs carefully evaluates according to objective requirements.