Are you trying to work out how to fit orthodontic treatment into your already busy lifestyle? Now, you can keep track of your treatment progress anywhere, anytime.
Dental Monitoring is the answer!
Turner Lim Orthodontics has incorporated Dental Monitoring technology into our practice to improve the patient experience, reduce the number of appointments and overall treatment duration. Dental Monitoring is the world’s first smartphone-based monitoring solution in orthodontic care.
With Dental Monitoring your orthodontist can remotely analyse and oversee the progress of your orthodontic treatment using videos taken through the smartphone app. Using your smartphone, you can now capture tooth movements in real-time and communicate them directly to our staff. This can help us guide your treatment remotely, resulting in faster more efficient orthodontic treatment with fewer office appointments required.
What is dental monitoring?
Dental monitoring is the latest in orthodontic technology, making it easier for patients to enjoy the benefits of Invisalign. The software connects to an app on your smart phone which prompts you to take photos of your teeth then sends them to us at the clinic. We monitor the movement of your teeth by checking these images and lining them up with your treatment plan. If your teeth are moving as they should, you don’t need to come in and see us!
What are the benefits of dental monitoring?
- Dental Monitoring makes it easier to fit orthodontic treatment into your schedule as fewer office appointments are required.
- With regular monitoring, the app ensures that you are tracking on time with your treatment so we can achieve the smile you deserve.
- You can stay in contact with us all the time! With Dental Monitoring you are able to message us via the app, so whenever you have any concerns, you just need to send us a message!
Who can use dental monitoring?
At Turner Lim Orthodontists, we offer Dental Monitoring to all our Invisalign and Invisalign Teen patients.
It’s that time of year again — Christmas! If you wear dental braces, there are a few things to be mindful of to ensure nothing spoils your holiday fun.
Be careful about what you eat
Food plays a big part during the holidays. You’ll be happy to learn that you can eat most things if you chop them into small pieces. However, if you can’t squash something between your fingers and thumb, STAY AWAY.
Chewing ice cubes, for example, is a bad idea. Here are some other foods to avoid:
- Fruit that is tough to bite, like apples.
- Chewy sweets, like bubble gum, toffee and fruit bursts.
- Anything with bones.
- Nuts, carrots and corn on the cob.
- Corn chips and bread or pizza crusts.
Take care of your braces
It’s easy to slip out of your usual oral hygiene routine during the holidays — put together a holiday hygiene kit that includes a travel toothbrush, dental floss and orthodontic wax.
It’s essential to brush your teeth two to three times a day for at least two minutes per session. Divide this time equally between the upper right and left sides and the lower left and right sides of your mouth. To ensure you don’t forget to care for your teeth, make sure that you brush soon after brekkie and dinner. Also, clean your teeth straight after eating for the last time at night — you probably won’t do a great job if you wait too long. Actually, if you can, try to avoid eating too late at night; during this time, saliva levels decrease, and acid levels increase in the mouth and just brushing isn’t enough to get rid of them.
It’s best to floss for a couple of minutes every time that you brush your teeth — either before or after. Floss is known as an interdental cleaner. It enables you to reach between your teeth and between your teeth and the tops of your gums. Superfloss and floss threaders are good, and you can get them from our clinic.
Elastics and aligners
Remember to wear your elastics and aligners. If you wear end up wearing them for fewer than 20 hours a day, add another day to the sequence.
Be careful with your retainer while swimming — especially at the beach. Rather than risking losing your retainer, put it safely in a box, and refit it as soon as you can.
We close at lunchtime on the 23rd of December and will be back on the 13th of January 2020.
How to handle a problem
If you’d just had your braces fitted, your orthodontist should have checked that the wires are turned out of the way. However, if a wire distorts, maybe you’ve eaten something hard or sticky, you should be able to push it back into place using the eraser end of a pencil. If that doesn’t work, use orthodontic wax to create a cushion to protect the side of your mouth. Silicon earplugs will also do the trick. Never attempt to cut the wire — you might swallow a piece and breathe it into your lungs. For serious issues over Christmas, please phone us for instructions on our answerphone.
From the team at Turner Lim Orthodontists, take care, and we wish you a very merry Xmas and a happy New Year.
Dental braces aren’t just for teenagers. In fact, many of our patients are adults. And, if you’re thinking about orthodontic treatment later in life, here’s something you may not know: Straightening your teeth can take years off your appearance.
Have we got your attention? To be honest, when treating adult patients, making them look younger isn’t something we think too much about. We’re not Hollywood makeover artists. However, there’s no doubt that a more youthful appearance is a nice bonus.
So, why do straighter teeth often make us look younger? Well, part of the reasons is that light sometimes doesn’t fall nicely on crowded or twisted teeth and can make them look darker or like some teeth are missing.
Braces also affect face structure.
How braces affect face structure
Your bone structure and facial tissues dictate the shape of your face. As the years roll by, our skin becomes less elastic, and our teeth can start to sink towards the tongue and look crooked. Also, because of reduced support, our lips and teeth can appear sunken.
Newly straightened teeth can allow your eyes to open wider and take away some age-related lines around your nose and face.
And, a new, more youthful appearance can have something of a snowball effect.
Look good, feel good
Perhaps the main reason orthodontic treatment can make you look younger is that having nice straight teeth makes you feel better about yourself. For example, before she got braces, one of our patients couldn’t put on lipstick because her teeth stuck out so much. Now, after treatment, she can wear as much ‘rouge’ as she pleases. Her life has changed. We have also noticed that after getting braces, many of our patients try other treatments, like teeth whitening and veneers. Suddenly, they feel like working on their appearance is worth the effort.
Okay. So, straight teeth can make you look younger. However, does that mean you must wear a mouthful of metal — ‘train tracks,’ as they have been called — to achieve more youthful looks?
Well, thankfully, no. These days, there are several types of braces that are almost invisible. Here are some of them:
- Invisalign® consists of almost invisible computer simulation-generated templates, which you change every one to two weeks. They are designed for comfort, and because you can remove them at any time, you can eat anything that you want.
- Lingual braces involve fitting brackets on the inner sides of the teeth and can correct most bite problems. They can also be customised to maximise comfort and efficiency.
- Ceramic braces have small gates that hold archwires in place, just like standard braces. Because they are made of translucent material, are less visible than standard braces — even Invisalign®.
We hoped that you enjoyed this post. Please leave questions and feedback in the comments section below.
Happy New Year! We hope you had a restful and enjoyable Xmas break. For our first post of 2019, we thought it’d be a good idea to address a question many of our patients ask: What happens if I lose my retainer?
Please remind me — why must I wear a retainer?
A retainer is an essential part of your treatment, and your orthodontist should have explained why. But, in case he/she didn’t, here’s the reason: Once your braces come off, like ‘the cat that came back,’ your teeth will tend to try to return to their original crooked positions. A retainer’s job is to ensure those teeth stay put and resist future time or growth-related change.
There are two types of removable retainers: One, which is most common, looks like a plate; the other, which adults usually wear, looks like an Invisalign ©.
Most people wear a retainer full time for six to 12 months and then cut down to wearing it only at night for six to 12 months. Ideally, though, to ensure your teeth remain perfectly straight, wearing a retainer should be a lifetime commitment — although usually just for a couple of nights a week.
Watch out for Fido
At Turner Lim Orthodontists, we hear all kinds of tales about retainers going AWAL. One of our patients, for example, lost a set on the Rangitoto Ferry — probably while having a quick ‘hurley.’ You may be surprised to learn, though, that a common reason for retainer disappearance is the family pooch — dogs love retainers! Why? Well, not because they, too, desire a perfect smile. No, rather they love their owners, and a retainer will have the wearer’s scent all over it. So, to cut a long story short, if you own a dog, keep your retainer beyond its reach.
So, what if I lose my retainer?
Anyway, if you’ve misplaced your retainer — or your dog ate it — it’s not the end of the world. There is a misconception that your teeth will hurriedly return to where they were before you started your orthodontic treatment. This is not the case. However, particularly if your orthodontist removed your braces recently (within two years), it is important to get a new retainer quickly, ideally within a week.
Should you eventually find your retainer, you may discover that it no longer fits that well, depending on for how long it was missing. In this case, your orthodontist can usually make adjustments.
Look after your retainer
If you bend a wire on your retainer, you can push your teeth out of line. So, like with braces, it’s important to take care of your retainer and check that the wire doesn’t become loose or distorted. Eating the wrong kind of food is a sure way to cause problems, so stay away from anything that is hard or sticky, like toffee or corn on the cob.
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Self-ligating brackets (SLBs) have been around for many years. In fact, a gentleman called Charles E Boyd first introduced them in 1933. In this post, we explain what SLBs are and whether they do as claimed — offer faster treatment.
What are self-ligating brackets?
Standard metal braces consist of brackets that are attached to a patient’s teeth, and an archwire is threaded through the brackets using o-rings — little rubber bands — to hold it in place. Self-ligating brackets, on the other hand, feature a small gate at the front that secures the archwire when closed. SLBs apply less friction to a patient’s teeth, and no o-rings are required.
The purported benefits of self-ligating brackets
Here are some of the benefits that manufacturers of SLBs claim:
- Faster treatment because less friction allows teeth to move more freely
- More comfortable due to less friction
- Longer intervals between appointments
- Better results
The benefits sound impressive — who doesn’t want faster treatment? However, many orthodontists, including us at Turner Lim, remain unconvinced that SBLs are any faster or better than other braces. In fact, a recent study suggests that SLBs could be slower than traditional braces by up to two months. Also, SLBs are not the most cost-effective option.
Should you avoid self-ligating brackets?
No. If fast treatment is important to you, SLBs are worth a try. Just be aware that the evidence to back up that they work faster is ‘thin on the ground.’
One of the better-known self ligating brackets is the Damon System. We have used this system in the past at our West Auckland clinic but feel it’s quite bulky — more compact brackets are easier for our patients. We do currently use a clear SLB because it doesn’t have o-rings that discolour over time due to food. It also has a lower profile than the Damon System and so is more comfortable for our patients.
What determines the speed of orthodontic treatment?
It is claimed that SLBs apply less friction and, therefore, work faster than other braces because they allow patients’ teeth to move more freely. Yes, the initial alignment of teeth can be rapid, but the roots still require time to move into their correct positions.
In our experience, several factors determine the speed of orthodontic treatment, not least the skill of your orthodontist — her treatment plan, bracket placement and selection of wires and mechanics, etc. There are other factors, too, including:
- Cooperation of patients — whether they wear the elastics as instructed.
- Biology — every patient is different.
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These days, a growing number of adults wish to improve their teeth later in life. There could be a couple of reasons for this: orthodontics is more affordable and available than it once was, and baby boomers feel younger and want a look to match. One thing most adults are not too keen on, though, is visible braces
Yes, wearing braces can feel like being transported back to school. When you’re a teenager, they are a ‘badge of honour’ — a rite of passage. As an adult, though, they’re not so cool. After all, in the ‘grown-up’ world, we are, unfortunately, judged on our appearance. Looks are important — which, of course, is why you might be considering braces in the first place.
Well, we have some good news for you: If you want to get braces, there are less obtrusive options available, including lingual braces.
Most dental braces fit on the outside of a patient’s teeth and are difficult to hide. Lingual braces, however, sit on the inside and are almost invisible, which makes them ideal for image-conscious adults.
Unfortunately, as many orthodontists are reluctant to fit lingual braces, they are not readily available. You see, compared to other types of braces, there is a bunch of stuff (like there being a smaller arc to work on) that makes fitting and maintaining lingual braces more mechanically tricky.
Anyway, in recent times — thanks to Alla, an old hand in the art, joining the team — Turner Lim has become more involved in lingual orthodontics.
Like many things in life, though, with lingual braces, as well as pros, there are a couple of cons to be aware of:
- Mind your tongue. Because the braces are on the inside, they can affect tongue movement and take a bit of getting used to.
- Your budget. Lingual braces are a premium product and, therefore, cost between 30% to 50% more than standard options.
Other discrete dental braces
Apart from lingual braces, there are two alternative non-obtrusive types to consider.
- Invisalign®: With this system, there are no restrictions on what you can eat and drink. It consists of almost invisible computer simulation-generated templates (aligners), which are changed every 1 to 2 weeks. Your orthodontist will provide a new set at each check-up appointment (usually 8 to 10 weeks). For Invisalign®, the length of time between appointments is longer than many other treatments, which makes it easier to balance other commitments. Invisalign® isn’t effective for some bite issues — although advancements mean the bites types it isn’t suitable for continue to become fewer. In fact, for some bites, Invisalign® is the best option. For tricky work, and to make treatment as efficient, smooth and attractive as possible, we may first use a combination of fixed braces on the back teeth and Invisalign® on the front — there are so many options.”
- Ceramic braces: Like standard types, ceramic braces have a small gate to hold an archwire in place and are not susceptible to the elastic ring changing colour with your latte or curry. Due to being made of a translucent material — some even come with tooth-coloured wires — ceramic braces are less visible than standard metal braces and even Invisalign®.
Read more about the different types of braces we offer.
We understand that aesthetics are particularly important for our adult patients, which is why we don’t charge adult patients extra for ceramic or Invisalign® braces. Also, with all ceramic and lingual treatments, we routinely use SureSmile on adults to achieve optimum results and treatment times.
So, there you have it: If you’re worried about what braces will look like, there are options available. If you enjoyed this post, please share.
What do we love about orthodontics? Well, being able to make a positive impact on our patients’ lives is one thing. Recently, we treated Yoana, a teenager with impacted teeth.
What is an impacted tooth?
An impacted tooth is one that is unable to push through the gums in your mouth (erupt). It is quite common for wisdom teeth to be impacted.
The battle of the teeth
In Yoana’s case, her eye tooth (canine in upper jaw) had collided with her side-front tooth, knocking it off course. As a result, her teeth were pretty crooked.
Though impacted teeth are often not painful, as in Yoana’s case, the tooth that gets bumped into can get damaged. Also, because they are sometimes difficult to clean, impacted teeth are prone to decay.
The first step was to get a clear picture of what was going on. So, we sent Yoana to see an oral surgeon for imaging.
The surgeon took a set of three-dimensional radiographs using a special kind of x-ray equipment called Cone Beam CT. The radiation level is low with this type of x-ray, much lower than medical grade.
As orthodontists, we’re used to studying two-dimensional images and then interpreting them in three dimensions. Patients, though, are not, so seeing three-dimensional images makes it much easier for them to understand the issues.
To save or not to save?
We had to decide whether the side-front tooth was salvageable. However, because it was so far off course, it became apparent that it wasn’t.
So, we sent Yoana to a dental surgeon to have the tooth removed. Of course, we also had to bring her eye tooth back into her smile. So, while removing Yoana’s side-front tooth, the surgeon also attached a small gold chain to her eye tooth.
Now, this gold chain wasn’t a new kind of ‘dental bling;’ it served a practical purpose. When Yoana returned to our clinic, we fitted a dental appliance to her teeth. We then attached the gold chain to the appliance in order to pull the eye tooth into the correct position over time.
A perfect smile
How your teeth look is important, particularly if you are a teenaged girl, like Yoana. Having nice, straight teeth gives you confidence; it helps you feel good about yourself. So, after 18 months of treatment, we’re happy to say that Yoana’s now has a perfect smile.
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It’s been more than two years since we started this orthodontics blog. Writing it has been a lot of fun, and we hope you enjoy reading! In recognition of this milestone, we thought we’d revisit some of our favourite posts of 2016. Enjoy.
Kids & sport
There are lots of reasons why children should play sport. It keeps them physically fit and also teaches teamwork and social skills. These days, there are too many children becoming obese and socially inept due to excessive online activity. So, you don’t want your child side-lined because they’ve had dental braces fitted. The solution is a mouth guard. If your child wears one, there is no reason why they shouldn’t play sports while also wearing braces. With this in mind, in January we published My child wears dental braces. Can they still play sport?
There’s more to nice teeth than you think
“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover,” as the saying goes. And no, you shouldn’t, but society does anyway. It’s a hard fact of life. And, unfortunately, the way others perceive us also affects how we feel about ourselves. So, there is more to a nice smile than looking good — psychological factors also come into play. That’s what our May post, How your smile can affect your physical & mental health, is about.
Does Richie really do that?
Top sportspeople have a big influence on many Kiwi kids. In June, we were shocked to learn of a five-year-old All Blacks fan who had to have rotten teeth removed. The cause of the decay was his taste for sports drink Powerade. In fact, he was sipping on the stuff when he arrived at the dental clinic to get his teeth pulled out. What were his parents thinking? Anyway, when asked why he drank Powerade, he said because Richie McCaw drinks it. Read our June post, Drink sports drinks: Is that really what Richie does?
It’s never too late
These days, it’s not unusual for adults to get dental braces. In fact, our oldest patient was about 65 years of age. It seems braces are no longer a ‘fashion accessory’ exclusively for teenagers. So, why are older people getting braces? Well, teeth move over time. Also, many people who couldn’t afford braces when they were younger can as adults. So, why not do something about those crooked teeth? We discussed the trend of older people getting braces in our July post, Am I too old for dental braces?
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If I say “Tom Cruise,” what first springs to mind? His flawless white teeth, perhaps? Well, if so, it may surprise you to learn that Thomas Cruise Mapother the Fourth (yes, that’s his real name) wasn’t born with a perfect smile. He saw an orthodontist.
Apparently, Mr Cruise’s teeth used to be pretty bad, and he was spotted wearing braces as recently as 2002. Actually, lots of ‘beautiful people’, including Nicholas Cage, Gwen Stefani and Faith Hill, have seen an orthodontist as adults in pursuit of that ‘perfect smile.’
So, where am I heading with this post? Well, you don’t have to be born with perfect teeth to make significant improvements.
A confident smile
Studies show that people are actually more likely to succeed in their personal and professional lives if they have good teeth. Why? Well, Tom Cruise knows it, you know it, I know it; we are judged by our looks.
As unfair as this may be, people make assumptions. That’s human nature. For example, if your lower teeth protrude, you may be perceived as aggressive; if there’s a gap between your top-front teeth, people may think you’re not too clever.
Of course, when it comes to success (or lack of it) it’s possible that self-perception plays a big part —when we project confidence, people are more likely to have confidence in us.
It’s never too late for braces
These days, if you want to improve your teeth, there’s not much stopping you. As celebrities, like Tom Cruise, show, orthodontic treatment isn’t reserved for teenagers. You’re never too old. At Turner Lim, we’ve treated patients in their 60s!
Teeth move over time
Some adults come to us with crooked teeth, despite having worn braces when they were younger. This may seem strange, but it’s understandable. Teeth move over time, and 20 – 30 years ago, many orthodontists didn’t instruct their patients to wear retainers post treatment — they didn’t think they were necessary. However, we now know that retainers prevent teeth from moving back to their original positions once braces have been removed.
Is treatment expensive?
Orthodontic treatment isn’t as expensive as you might think. Depending on your budget, there are several options available, and most orthodontists offer payment plans.
Braces can be discrete
Of course, as an adult, you’re probably concerned about how you will look with braces. The good news is that you needn’t look like ‘Metal Micky’. Modern braces are not as conspicuous as they used to be. Invisalign®, for example, uses aligners that are almost invisible, and ceramic braces are made of translucent material and use tooth-coloured wires.
In reality, an orthodontist may not be able to make your teeth quite as perfect as Tom Cruise’s. However, they can get pretty close.
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Are you an adult thinking about getting dental braces? If so, you’ll be happy to learn that you’re part of a growing trend. The truth is that you are never too old for braces. At Turner Lim, our oldest patience was about 65 years of age. Overseas, particularly in Scandinavia, it’s not uncommon for people to get braces in their 70s.
Many adults, perhaps due to the cost, were unable to get braces during their teens. Also, some may have actually had nice straight teeth in their youth, which have become crooked later in life. You see, teeth are embedded in bone, and bone changes over time.
Why get braces?
Nice teeth weren’t so important 30 – 40 years ago — look at the “shagedelic” Austin Powers! Today, though, people are more aesthetically aware, and they want to look as good as they can. And fair enough, too!
Thankfully, getting braces is easier than it used to be, and you may be surprised by how affordable orthodontic treatment has become. Braces are also comfortable, smaller and less visible than in days gone by.
So, braces are more affordable and comfortable. But, why go to all the trouble?
Well, having a nice smile is great for your self-confidence — it can even benefit your career and social life, according to studies.
There are health benefits, too. For example, even minor crowding can make it difficult to clean your teeth properly, which can lead to decay and gum disease.
Does treatment differ with older patients?
When treating adults, we aim to keep things simple and treatment times down to a year to a year and a half. As you might expect, adults often have dental issues that younger patients don’t such as missing teeth, severe wear or gum disease. Adults’ facial bones have also stopped growing. So, we modify our treatment accordingly.
Issues preventing getting braces
Gum disease resulting in the loss of bone that supports teeth can cause problems. Though gum disease doesn’t necessary rule out getting braces, it does need to be dealt with before we begin treatment. This is because orthodontic treatment works by moving teeth within the supporting bone.
If you suffer from a medical condition such as leukaemia, diabetes or heart-valve disease, we also recommend that you discuss your condition with your doctor or orthodontist. For example, some patients suffering from cancer or osteoporosis are prescribed bone modifying drugs that affect how teeth move.
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