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Have clear aligners improved for better treatment?

July 18th, 2022

For many patients seeking treatment for tooth alignment, there is the preferred option of clear aligners. In fact, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team place or swap these orthodontic appliances on patients every day. And while he counsels that this treatment is not for everyone, he does suggest they can be a safe and effective way for some patients to achieve a straighter smile. But have they improved enough since their introduction to the market to provide better treatment? Let’s explore!

In a study published June 2020 in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Orthopedics, a study on the efficacy of tooth movement with Invisalign or clear aligners concluded, “There was a marked improvement in the overall accuracy; however, the strengths and weaknesses of tooth movement with Invisalign remained relatively the same.” (Haouili et al., 2020)

So, what does this mean? According to Dr. Yan, it means that successful and accurate treatment with clear aligners is predicated on the types of tooth movement required on a case-by-case basis. In other words, clear aligners are not for everyone. But the question here is have clear aligners improved or evolved to provide better treatment? The short answer is yes. The longer answer? Yes, but of course there’s more!

First invented in 1997, clear aligners are a moderately-priced, shorter-treatment term option for patients seeking minimal orthodontic alignment. Again, according to the research paper cited above, clear aligners afford patients who do not require a large amount of tooth movement a decent amount of improvement by moving them from 41% of alignment to an average of 50% overall tooth alignment. While this number may not seem like a lot, it can imply a noticeable difference in a smile’s overall appearance and for some patients that is all they are looking for.

So, how did clear aligners come to make such a difference in the field of orthodontics?

Alongside the introduction to clear aligners, 2001 brought the first 3D oral scanner for digital impressions. These ingenious devices not only replaced the traditional goop impressions, Dr. Yan says this type of intra-oral mapping offers “a more accurate visualization of the patient’s orthodontic need allowing for more precision in the development of the overarching treatment plan.” (See what he did there?)

Dr Yan also said clear aligners, more specifically Invisalign materials have drastically improved through technology and continue to evolve decreasing the length of necessary treatment time for some patients.

“Today, aligners employ SmartForce attachments and SmartTrack materials to control tooth movement and move teeth more precisely and comfortably for shorter treatment times,” said Dr. Yan “Kinda like a Jedi mind trick on your teeth, using ‘the invisible force’ to move teeth to the preferred alignment. For example, we can achieve 100% correction in less severe cases, but in complicated ones average correction is around 50%,” he added.

So all this said, while clear aligners may have improved, they may still not be the right choice for some patients.

“We have learned Invisalign is not as effective in instances where a patient’s teeth are severely rotated - more than 20 degrees, or off tilt - angled more than 45 degrees,” said Dr. Yan. “They are also not as effective with patients who have larger gaps between teeth, have deep overbite, open bite, or in cases where extraction of teeth may be required. In these cases, we will likely explore and ultimately prescribe another form of treatment.”

All-in-all, orthodontics is an evolving science. As technology changes, so too do the tools that allow for more accurate tooth movement, improved bite, quicker treatment, and better overall outcome. That’s why Dr. Yan and the Forever Smiles team continue to share articles like this with patients, so they may learn the latest in orthodontic treatment options including this exciting and ever-changing one.

Haouili, N., Kravitz, N. D., Vaid, N. R., Ferguson, D. J., & Makki, L. (2020). Has Invisalign improved? A prospective follow-up study on the efficacy of tooth movement with Invisalign. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 158(3), 420–425.

Electric Toothbrushes vs. Regular Toothbrushes

July 13th, 2022

Convertible or sedan? Downtown or suburbs? Electric or manual toothbrush? As life decisions go, it’s certainly not choosing your next car, or deciding where you want to live. But, even when you are selecting a toothbrush, it helps to make a list of the pros and cons of the contenders before you make that final selection.

  • Efficiency

The most important factor in choosing a toothbrush is finding out which model works best to eliminate bacteria and plaque. And studies have shown that, used properly, both electric and manual toothbrushes do a great job of removing plaque. Some electric models can reach the backs of teeth and the gumline more easily, some manual head designs work better for your individual mouth and teeth, so your particular needs should dictate which style of toothbrush you use. Talk to us about the best methods to brush with your preferred toothbrush, and we’ll let you know if one type of toothbrush or the other might work better for you.

  • Health Considerations

Brushing too energetically can actually harm teeth and gums, causing sensitivity and damage to the enamel and gum tissue. An electric toothbrush should provide a continuous brushing motion without needing any pressure from the brusher. This might be the model for you if you have a too-vigorous approach to brushing, or sensitive teeth and gums.

An electric toothbrush can also be more efficient for older and younger brushers, those with limited mobility, and those with health conditions or injuries that make brushing with a regular toothbrush more difficult.

  • Cost

An electric toothbrush is not a one-time investment. You should change the removable head as often as you change your manual toothbrush (every three to four months, please). But this cost is offset if an electric toothbrush is more efficient in removing your plaque, easier to use, or even if you just prefer it to manual brushing. If you find that you brush better and more often with an electric toothbrush, the added expense is well worth it.

Whichever brush you decide on, the most important part of the brush is the person holding it! A regular appointment with your toothbrush for two minutes of thorough brushing in the morning and two in the evening, daily flossing, and regular visits to our office for checkups and cleanings will keep your teeth healthy and strong no matter which toothbrush you choose.

Questions about your toothbrush choices? Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky at our Buffalo Grove office.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

July 6th, 2022

You’re going to the game! And no matter which sport you follow, there’s so much to enjoy—the best athletes, exciting play, hometown pride—and those delicious concession stands! But if you’re wearing braces, your team spirit might be flagging. Here are a few ideas to help keep your food choices out of foul territory.

You know that you should avoid the foods that can damage braces or stick around your wires and brackets. This means any snacks that are sticky, chewy, hard, or crunchy are benched. So most of the traditional game foods—peanuts, popcorn, nachos, licorice—are just not safe for traditional metal or ceramic braces. Let’s save those for next season.

So what is on the program? You still have many great choices.

  • Ice Cream. A favorite that’s easy on your braces (no nuts or caramel, please). If you want a healthier option, try frozen yogurt or a smoothie.
  • Hearty Snacks. Pretzels and pizza can be too thick and chewy. Go for the mac and cheese, chili, or deli meats on soft bread. And remember, small bites! Check with us to see if hamburgers and hot dogs are safe for your braces.
  • Soft Candies and Cookies. Licorice, caramels, and crunchy cookies are out, but soft chocolate bars and moist, tender cookies are still on the menu.
  • Sodas and sports drinks can create a sugary and/or acidic environment which can damage enamel over time. If you do indulge, try to rinse with water ASAP.

Stadium and arena menus contain a lot of starches and sugars, which stick to braces and fuel cavity-causing bacteria. So it’s best to go easy on the snacks. But you don’t have to give up a half-time treat entirely—just enjoy in moderation and be sure to brush thoroughly when you get home.

If you wear clear aligners, your choices are simpler. You can remove your aligners, eat normally, and clean your teeth thoroughly before replacing them. But one flag on this play—remember that you’re supposed to wear your aligners for a set number of hours each day. You don’t want to be putting your treatment behind schedule if the game goes into triple overtime. Keep your eye on the clock, and you should be fine.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our Buffalo Grove team are always happy to recommend the best food options for your individual orthodontic treatment, and we can help you select a roster of safe and healthy choices. You might miss out on a few of your favorite sports snacks right now, but let’s remember the true fan’s motto: There’s always next year! Taking care of your braces and teeth means faster treatment and healthier teeth. Your All-Star smile will be worth it!

Fun Facts for the Fourth

June 29th, 2022

The Fourth of July is a great time to get together with friends and family members for BBQ, games, fireworks, and other celebrations in honor of our country’s independence. While your fellow revelers eat hot dogs and wave flags, you can impress them by sharing these fascinating facts and historical tidbits about some of our country’s traditions and symbols from the team at Forever Smiles.

The Statue of Liberty

With a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols of our country. However, as recognizable as certain parts of the statue are, not many people know that broken shackles, which represent oppression and tyranny, are lying at Lady Liberty’s feet. According to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the copper-plated lady weighs in at a whopping 450,000 tons and has been holding her torch up for more than 125 years, which must make for some impressive arm muscles.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Since 1916, people have been flocking to Coney Island on the Fourth of July to witness what some people call the “superbowl of competitive eating.” Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest challenges competitors to devour as many hot dogs as they can in just ten minutes, with the current record holder swallowing a whopping 68 hot dogs! If you’d like to witness this bizarre and frenzied eating competition but you won’t be anywhere near Coney Island on the fourth, don’t worry. ESPN has been broadcasting this popular event for several years, so you can watch from the comfort of your couch while you eat a reasonably portioned meal.

The History Behind Fireworks

Viewing the nighttime fireworks display is exciting way to finish off the fourth. Many people know that these brilliant displays probably originated with the Chinese. However, many historians also believe that fireworks were stumbled upon when the Chinese roasted bamboo sticks over fires and watched them explode. After many years of roasting the sticks, a group of alchemists created an early form of gunpowder, which they stuffed into the bamboo sticks to create an even more powerful explosion, paving the way for the today’s modern fireworks.

Whether you’re planning on visiting the Statue of Liberty, watching fireworks in Buffalo Grove, or even participating in a hot dog eating contest, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team hope you have a safe and fun-filled holiday. Happy Fourth of July!