Saturday, March 26, 2011

What's growing on YOUR retainer?

A study out of UCL Eastman Dental Institute found that insufficient cleaning of your retainer could lead to the growth of potentially pathogenic microbes. Samples from the mouths of people without retainers were compared to those wearing retainers. The study looked for microbes which are not normally found in the oral cavity, with particular interest in Candida (a type of yeast) and Staphylococcus (including MRSA). These researchers found that species of these microorganisms were present on 66.7% and 50% of retainers, respectively, regardless of the retainer type. These microbes were also present on the interior cheeks and tongue of retainer wearers.

Candida and Staphylococcus rarely cause problems in healthy individuals, but are potentially highly problematic in people with a compromised immune system. The bacteria on the retainers live in biofilms, which are communities of bacteria living together covered in a layer of slime. Once these biofilms form, they are very difficult to remove and often have high levels of resistance to antimicrobials.

The researchers advised that retainer hygiene is of the utmost importance in preventing transmission of these microbes. So don’t forget to wash your hands before and after handling your retainers, rinse them every time you remove them, brush them regularly and soak them occasionally in mouthwash or retainer cleaning solution.


Newsbites. Orthodontic Products, March 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Is Invisalign Teen different from Invisalign?

For the most part, Invisalign has always been considered a method of treating adults. However, with the launch of Invisalign Teen, we now can provide the same advantages of Invisalign treatment to our teenage patients in the Waterloo, Cambridge and surrounding areas. 

Invisalign Teen has several features that are different from Invisalign. One of these features includes its ability to allow for partially erupted teeth (teeth that are not all the way through the gum tissue) to now be included as part of treatment. Previously, teenagers were only considered a candidate for Invisalign if all their permanent teeth were present. This is no longer the case.

A second feature is its compliance indicators. Since Invisalign is a removable appliance, it is different from traditional braces which are used to treat the majority of teenagers, since these are glued to the teeth for the length of treatment. Therefore, Invisalign treatment was considered an unsuitable treatment option in the eyes of most orthodontists for teens.  To work effectively, a patient needs to wear their aligners 20-22 hours a day. Invisalign Teen introduced compliance indicators, which are colored indicators that fade with use, allowing your orthodontist to gauge if the appliance is being worn the required amount of time.

Finally, Invisalign Teen also provides up to six free replacement aligners should they be lost or broken. This was in recognition that teenagers may not be as responsible as adults. However, since the launch of Invisalign Teen, research has shown that there has been no significant difference between teenagers and adults when it comes to losing trays.

If you are a teenager and are considering improving your smile but don’t want a mouth full of metal, contact an orthodontist who is a specific Invisalign Teen designated provider and who specializes in using Invisalign for teens in the Waterloo, Cambridge and surrounding areas.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Braces and Teeth Whitening

Tooth whitening, also known as tooth bleaching, is used to brighten the shade of teeth. Tooth whitening procedures attempt to remove extrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains are found on the surface of the enamel layer and can usually be removed by having a professional cleaning. Stains that are not removed will begin to penetrate deeper layers of enamel and tend to be more difficult to remove. It is these persistent stains that may still be removed by teeth whitening procedures.

If you have braces or are thinking of getting braces, you should consider having your teeth whitened after your orthodontic treatment is complete, that is when your braces are removed. This usually results in a more esthetic result.

If whitening is done prior to having your braces placed, it is difficult to distribute the whitening gel evenly on teeth that are crooked resulting in different shades and overall dissatisfaction. If teeth whitening is done when the braces are still on, not only is it difficult to do, but after your braces are removed, you will notice darker areas where the whitening gel could not penetrate your teeth under the braces.

Regardless of what stage you are at with your orthodontic treatment, before you start whitening your teeth, consider speaking with your orthodontist. It is also recommended that you have your dentist check your teeth and gums. Whitening a cavity or exposed root could penetrate deep into your tooth and cause sensitivity. Patients who already have sensitive teeth may also experience increased sensitivity.