Like many Kiwi businesses, we at Turner Lim moved into lockdown on Wednesday the 25th of March. What does this mean for us? How can you cope over the coming weeks? We explain in this post.
Holding the fort
First off, we are keeping busy. All of us are working remotely and spending lots of time in Zoom and What’s App meetings. Everything must continue to run efficiently so that we can ‘hit the ground running’ when everything gets back to normal. And, although we’re working fewer hours — many of us have to juggle our time around kids — it’s important for everybody’s wellbeing to stay active and have a sense of purpose.
Free virtual consultations
Our clinic may be closed, but we are determined to be available for our patients. And, thankfully, there is some amazing technology around that allows us to do that.
So, we are now conducting free virtual consultations. Using your smartphone, just take some simple photos of your mouth and teeth (watch this video), and send them to us at clinic@turnerlim. If you’re a NEW PATIENT, send your photos to us using SmileMate on our website (more information).
By sending in your ‘teeth selfies,’ you’ll enable us to remotely see your progress and modify your plan to ensure your progress continues.
What you can do during lockdown
It is super important that you take extra care of your braces because, at the moment, we can’t fix or replace anything.
- Wear your appliances as recommended. If you have any doubts, please contact us via email.
- Only eat recommended foods. Avoid tough-to-bite fruit, like apples; chewy sweets, like toffee and bubble gum; or other foods, like nuts, carrots and corn chips. For more information about looking after your braces, read this post.
- Be careful to not lose your retainers. As mentioned, we are unable to provide replacements.
Do you have an emergency?
At the moment, we are thinking laterally about how to be available to our patients. So, we will take significant consideration on how to manage emergencies.
Don’t forget to brush and floss. Remember that it’s essential that you brush your teeth two to three times a day for at least two minutes at a time. And, floss for a couple of minutes each time that you brush — before or after is okay.
Like with other things that test us in life, positives will come out of the covid-19 pandemic. For example, have you seen how our environment is recovering? Also, in our business going forward, we will be working smarter and carrying out more virtual consultations. Doing so will mean that we will be able to operate more efficiently, and many of our patients won’t have to waste time in traffic getting to appointments. That’s got to be a good thing.
Finally, please look after yourself and stay within the government’s guidelines. The sooner we beat this virus, the sooner we start enjoying the ‘new normal.
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Right now, the world is in a panic over COVID-19, otherwise known as Coronavirus. At this stage, nobody knows how dangerous the new virus is — that depends on how easily it spreads and the proportion of people infected that become seriously ill. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to stay safe.
What is COVID-19?
Caused by a type of Coronavirus, COVID-19 can affect your lungs and airways.
The symptoms are similar to that of a cold or flu and include:
- Shortness of breath
- A cough
- A high temperature (at least 38 °C)
Although no one is certain, the World Health Organisation suggests that it can take 2 – 10 days for an affected person’s symptoms to show.
What precautions do we take?
At Turner Lim Orthodontists, we take hygiene and the threat of Coronavirus very seriously. Hand sanitiser is available at our front desk for all patients, and we sterilise or dispose of all equipment and instruments used to treat each patient. All staff wear scrubs, not street clothing, and Drs Donna Lim and Fiona Turner put on tunics over their clothes. We also wear eye protection and face masks, the latter we change regularly.
What can you do to stay safe?
Good hygiene is essential, so here are three practices to take on board:
Wash your hands
Make sure you wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. A useful way to make sure you spend enough time washing your hands is to sing Happy Birthday while doing so. Also, don’t forget to clean between your fingers. Washing your hands is particularly important if you’ve been out in public or have coughed, sneezed or blown your nose.
Cough into your elbow
If you need to sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not a handkerchief) and put it in the bin. Whatever you do, DON’T sneeze into your hands. Instead, use the inside of your elbow. Why? Well, according to experts, when you sneeze into your hands, there is a good chance that you will pass on germs to people you come into contact with or contaminate objects that you touch. The Coronavirus may survive on hard surfaces up to 48 hours and around half that time on fabrics and soft surfaces.
Avoid touching your face
On average, people touch their faces about 23 times an hour. That’s a habit we should all try to break. Why? Well, it’s easy for germs to enter your body through your eyes and mouth. So, as hard as it may be, try not to touch your face unless you have just washed your hands.
What if you have symptoms?
If you are feeling unwell and think that you might have Coronavirus, don’t panic. Call Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0200 358 5453 or get in touch with your doctor — phone ahead of your visit. Also. visit the Ministry of Health website for latest updates.
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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.
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.
Does your child need orthodontic treatment to straighten her teeth? There are several types of appliances available these days. So, you’re probably not sure about which to choose. Well, lately, we’ve been fitting children with Invisalign.
What is Invisalign?
The Invisalign system consists of a series of clear overlay templates, otherwise known as “aligners.” Your orthodontist will use proprietary software to map out your child’s smile to ensure that her teeth move in the right order and at the right time. The aligners need to be changed every one to two weeks and, for the planned results, worn for 22 hour a day.
Why might Invisalign be right for your child?
Invisalign aligners are almost invisible, which explains why, at Turner Lim Orthodontists, most of our Invisalign patients have been image-conscious adults. Lately, though, we have been fitting more children with the system, and not just for aesthetic reasons.
Your child can eat what she likes
Let’s face it: Kids are eating machines. What they put into their mouths, though, can damage standard braces — nuts, chewing gum and potato chips, etc., are to be avoided. So, for kids, a key reason for choosing Invisalign is that the system allows them to eat anything they want. You see, without the wires and brackets of standard braces, Invisalign has far fewer things to break. Most importantly, though, whenever your child wants to eat, all she has to do is remove her aligners.
Remember that your child must wear her aligners for 22 hours per day. You can make sure that she is wearing them enough by checking blue compliance indicators on the aligners.
Invisalign aligners are easy to clean
Navigating wires can make standard braces challenging to clean. As already mentioned, though, Invisalign aligners are easy to remove, which makes cleaning simple.
Steps for cleaning aligners:
- To prevent bacteria growth, rinse them every time you take them out.
- Soak your aligners in denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals.
- Brush them with a soft toothbrush to remove plaque.
What if my child loses an aligner?
Not only are kids eating machines, but they also have a ‘bad rep’ for losing things. The reality, though, is that most kids only wear Invisalign for seven to ten days before changing aligners. So, if they do misplace an aligner, in most cases, they can just move on to the next one, rather than needing to get new aligners.
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Christmas is just around the corner. And so, we thought the time is right to look back at some of our favourite posts.
Our holiday schedule
We all deserve a break — even orthodontists! So, before we reminisce, to follow are the days that we are closed during the holidays:
- Last day: Friday the 21st of December (close at 12 pm)
- Reopening: Monday the 14th of January.
Look after your braces
It’s easy to let your guard down during the holidays. You’ll probably try different foods and slip out of your daily routine. We’d hate for a braces a malfunction to spoil your holiday fun, so here are some things you can do to ensure you don’t run into any orthodontic problems:
- Get a braces ‘warrant of fitness’ — if you’ll be out of town for a while, see your orthodontist before you leave to make sure everything is in place.
- Put together a holiday hygiene kit — this should include a travel toothbrush, dental floss and orthodontic wax.
- Avoid certain foods — foods to avoid include corn on the cob, nuts and boiled lollies.
For more information about preparing for the holidays, read this post.
3 nearly invisible braces
Is your New Year’s resolution to do something about your crooked teeth? Good on you! If you’re an adult, though, you may be worried about how you will look wearing braces. After all, looks are important in the grown-up world. In reality, increasingly more people are getting braces later in life thanks largely to the several nearly invisible options of braces available. In this post, we explain three of these options.
Do you have to wear a retainer?
In case you don’t know, the purpose of a retainer, usually made or wire or plastic, is to hold your teeth in place after your orthodontist has removed your braces.
Around 10 – 15 years ago, many orthodontists didn’t tell their patients to wear a retainer. However, research shows that there is always the chance that your teeth will move post-treatment. So, ideally, you should wear a retainer for a couple of nights a week for a lifetime.
In this post, we explain:
- How retainers work
- For how long you should wear them
- What happens if you don’t wear a retainer for a short period.
Finally, on behalf of the team at Turner Lim, have a brilliant Xmas and New Year!
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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Maxillary expansion is the orthodontic process of widening the upper jaw (maxilla) to align with the lower jaw. There are several benefits of this procedure that go even beyond orthodontics, which we discuss in this post. But, first, let’s look at why and how orthodontists use maxillary expansion.
By widening a patient’s upper jaw, orthodontists can create space to correct crowding. The procedure also often eliminates the need for tooth extraction.
Why is expansion needed?
A narrow upper jaw won’t come right over time or as a child grows into an adult. Luckily, jaw problems in children are visible early. In fact, orthodontists usually carry out expansion on pre-adolescents because, at that age, their bones are not yet fused together, making it easier to widen the palate.
Crowded teeth because of a narrow jaw can cause the following problems:
- Teeth are difficult to clean. As a result, food can become trapped and cause bad breath and gum disease.
- Teeth can wear abnormally. Crowded teeth often don’t align correctly with their counterparts and touch tooth areas they shouldn’t.
- It can be difficult to chew. The inability of teeth to make contact with each other can make chewing a problem.
How does maxillary expansion work?
The orthodontist will cement a custom-made appliance (expander) to the patient’s posterior upper teeth (bicuspids and molars). The expander has a small screw or spring that when turned, generates a force that gently separates the two palatal bones. The orthodontist will instruct the child or parent to turn the screw once a week, sometimes more often.
As mentioned in our introduction, there are other non-orthodontic problems maxillary expansion can address. Here they are.
Yes, you read right. It is thought that expanding a child’s upper jaw can reduce or stop bedwetting. Now, you may be sceptical that maxillary expansion could cure for such a condition, but it makes sense. You see, many experts believe there is a link between bedwetting and breathing sleep disorders. The palate forms the base of the nasal airway, so widening it can improve airflow.
Again, because maxillary expansion improves patients’ airways, it is thought to improve obstructive sleep apnoea in children — where the child stops breathing several times during the night. In adults, the lack of decent sleep can manifest in them falling asleep at inappropriate times. With children though, poor sleep can lead to hyperactivity, behaviour sometimes misdiagnosed as ADHD.
Finally, several studies show that the hearing of hearing impaired children can improve from between two to 19 decibels after maxillary expansion.
There is still plenty of debate over the merits of maxillary expansion beyond orthodontics. If you feel, however, that the procedure may help your child, we recommend you consult a doctor to investigate allergies or adenoid problems first.
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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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