Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Retainers: Pajamas for your teeth

When treatment with braces or Invisalign comes to an end and retainers are given this is the start of the most important part of treatment, the retention phase.  The importance of good retainer wear cannot be underestimated.  Only you can keep your teeth straight by wearing your retainers on a regular basis. Initially we ask that you wear your retainers day and night for about two to three weeks.  After that point consistent, nightly retainer wear is the best way to ensure your smile will look as beautiful as the day your braces came off for years to come.  Think of your retainers as pajamas for your teeth 😊

Even after your formal retention period has ended it is still very important to continue wearing your retainer even if only a few nights a week.  If they ever start to feel tight that’s a sign you may need to wear them more often.  As with all aspects of the body, some natural changes to your bite will occur in the years to come.  Continued retainer wear is the best insurance policy for keeping your teeth straight!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

First Orthodontic Visit at Age 7

We’re often asked by parents, “when is the best time for my child’s first orthodontics visit?”  As a rule of thumb, we suggest that children should be seen by the orthodontist by age 7.   Although most children will not require orthodontic treatment at this time there are many benefits for scheduling an initial consult at age 7.

By age 7 a child’s adult front teeth and first molars will have erupted or be in the process of erupting.  The positions of these teeth provide us as orthodontists a number of clues regarding the child’s bite that help us determine if orthodontics will be needed and when the best time to start treatment will be. 

When the child’s first adult molars erupt their position establishes the child’s bite or occlusion.  By examining the relationships of these teeth we can determine if the child’s back teeth come together correctly and if there are any cross bites or jaw shifts that might benefit from a phase of early treatment.

Additionally, by looking at the positions of the adult front teeth at this time it is possible to see if there is evidence of crowding, issues resulting from oral habits such as thumb sucking, too much or too little overlap of the front teeth or problems with the positions of the jaws.

For most patients coming to see the orthodontist at age 7 can help determine whether the child may need braces in the future and give parents peace of mind regarding their child’s dental and facial development. In a small number of select cases a short phase of early treatment around this time to correct a cross bite, regain lost space, protect front teeth at risk of trauma or to improve a child's self esteem can have significant dental and health benefits.

At Conroy & MacGilpin orthodontics we understand the value that comes with an initial orthodontic visit at age 7 and are happy to provide a complementary consultation!  We are happy to answer any questions you may have at 860 529 7200.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Orthodontics Owes the Aerospace Industry a Huge Thank You!

Many of the materials that we use on a daily basis at Conroy &MacGilpin Orthodontics, to help move teeth and create beautiful smiles, have their roots in aviation science.
Titanium brackets, nickel titanium archwires and springs, Beta titanium arch wires and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) thermoplastic used for retainers are just a few of the materials that help us do our job.
Titanium (Ti) is a pretty special element.  Corrosion resistant and possessing the highest strength to density ratio of any metal, it is as strong as steel but is only about half the weight.  First identified in 1791 it wasn’t until the Cold War that the US and Soviets began using it in high performance jets (F-100 Super Sabre and Lockheed A-12) and submarines (Alfa Class andMike Class). 
Titanium Brackets
Since then titanium has been found to have a lot of other uses!  In fact we use titanium brackets quite often.  One of the benefits of titanium is that is biocompatible, meaning it is non-toxic and hypoallergenic.  This makes it an excellent bracket material for patients allergic to nickel.
We also use a number of titanium alloys including nickel titanium and Beta titanium.  These too are thanks to aerospace engineers! 
Nickel Titanium Archwires
Nickel titanium (Niti) was discovered by the US Naval Ordinance Laboratories while working on the Polaris Missile and was first used in the F-14 Topcat (think Top Gun). What’s really cool about Niti is its shape memory, meaning it can be bent and will spring back to its original shape!  When used as an archwire, this property of Niti allows us to move teeth gently and efficiently with fewer appointments necessary.

Beta Titanium/TMA Archwires
The first commercial use of Beta Titanium was in the SR-71 Blackbird, a spy plane equipped with engines built by Pratt & Whitney and capable of flying at speeds greater than 3X the speed of sound!!! With a top speed of 2,200 mph the Blackbird had to withstand incredible heat caused by the pressure of air across its surface.  Not only was Beta titanium tough enough for the Blackbird but it was found to have good shape memory, formability and could be welded.  Turns out these qualities make for an excellent archwire, especially in the final or finishing stages of orthodontic treatment.
PMMA Retainers
Have you ever wondered what our retainers are made out of?  Well the same material we use to make our retainers, known as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), started off in the cockpits of World War II bombers and submarine periscopes!  Since then PMMA can be found in everything from retainers to headlights to aquariums.
Thanks to high tech materials developed by the aerospace industry, orthodontics has come a long way from the heavy, rigid archwires we once used.  With fewer appointments and lighter forces we’re able to move teeth more effectively and comfortably than ever before.

#Invisalign #braces #wethersfield #southwindsor #middletown