James Pelletier, an orthodontist, created a hydroponic vegetable garden in his Dracut back yard to grow a better crop of tomatoes in a smaller space. Watch video at lowellsun.com. SUN photos /Julia Malakie)
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DRACUT — James Pelletier says he’d cry if he ever came home to find his tomato plants wilted.
“The biggest fear every hydroponic gardener has is a power failure,” he says.
The Dracut orthodontist circles around his labor of love on a recent Friday to make sure the solar-powered garden in his backyard is running seamlessly. The Big Boy tomatoes that grow in bato buckets are not yet ripe. All are bright green, some plumper than others.
As the sun bears down on Pelletier and the tight rows of tomato plants, he shares that he has trained them to thrive on one vine. “Because one vine doesn’t allow them to grow bushy and get wet, and get diseases,” he explains, reaching out to pull a velvety sucker from one plant.
Above, the crop; at right, a jar of sauce made from his tomatoes.
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“You only want one grow point, and that’s how you have one vine.”
After years of trouble with growing tomatoes and subsequently running out of space in his yard for more tries, Pelletier, 57, wanted to find a way to grow the vegetables every year without having to move it to a new spot. He wanted something easier than conventional gardening. Pelletier read books on hydroponic gardening — a method of growing plants without soil — and made several attempts at the garden before building his current one two years ago. Three solar panels supply energy to batteries that run two special pumps and an aerator that, in turn, feed the tomato plants. Instead of soil, Pelletier uses coconut fiber and perlite.
He regularly pours different liquid nutrients into a reservoir built into the ground, which are then pumped into each tomato plant. Once the buckets the plants are in reach a certain level, the fluid drains back into the reservoir. The cycle repeats four times a day.
“I’m a scientist in my heart. I just get a lot of satisfaction out of doing it,” Pelletier says. “I am creating something from nothing and tweaking it this way and that way over the years to get it to do exactly what I want it to do.
It’s like a big, huge science experiment and, when it goes good like this, it feels great.”
The garden’s greatest threat according to Pelletier is blight, a plant disease that actually hasn’t affected his garden. There’s also a pesky chipmunk who sneaks into the garden to steal tomatoes. On this recent Friday, the chipmunk made an appearance, having stolen a small, green one.
After the science comes the fruit of Pelletier’s labor. Once the tomatoes have ripened, he and his wife, Karen, pluck them and prepare them for canning, sometimes with the help of their daughter, Mollie Andrews, 30. On the weekends they sit on their deck to can the tomatoes in Mason jars before storing them away.
The irrigation system for James Pelletier’s hydroponic vegetable garden in his Dracut backyard is powered by these solar panels. The garden also includes a bed of asparagus, center. SUN photos /Julia Malakie
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Karen makes sauce from the tomatoes, and dishes that also incorporate the other vegetables growing in their backyard such as zucchini. Pelletier says he also gives out canned tomatoes to relatives and neighbors across the street.
“I love it. He works very hard on it,” Karen, 58, says. “It takes a lot of time, but he enjoys gardening so we get a lot of beautiful vegetables from it.”
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo
Batteries on the top shelf of this cabinet store power produced by Pelletier’s solar panels.
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ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama offers news, sports, and weather reporting for the surrounding communities including Tuscaloosa, Anniston, Cullman, Gadsden, Talladega, Sylacauga, Carbon Hill, Jasper, Hoover, Bessemer, Vestavia Hills, Alabaster, Trussville and Homewood.
As Robert Cavanaugh walked through the Old Town Banquet Hall in Valparaiso last month, the former Valparaiso High School and Valparaiso University basketball player was struck by the amount of meaningful relationships he’d made with people in the room over the years.
Cavanaugh was one of 10 individuals inducted into the Valparaiso High School Hall of Fame on Jan. 20, and while he had two tables of supporters, Cavanaugh spent plenty of time floating around the room.
Joe Otis was holding court on one side of the room, telling old basketball stories. Mike Jones and Scott Anselm traded stories while forming a unique bond with Cavanaugh with the three having played for both the Vikings and the Crusaders. Former coach Bob Punter told a tale or two before introducing Cavanaugh to the audience.
The honor of getting inducted into the Hall meant a lot to Cavanaugh, an orthodontist with Cavanaugh & Nondorf Orthodontics, but the people is what he’ll remember.
“(Getting inducted) was kind of humbling,” Cavanaugh said. “The best part of it was going to the event and seeing all these people that were such a big part of my life. The evening itself was really neat because of getting to spend time with so many different people.”
Cavanaugh knows a lot of people simply because he is as ingrained in the Valparaiso community as one can be. He and his wife, Heather, have five children that have come up through the Valparaiso school system, the same system that produced Cavanaugh before he graduated in 1990.
Cavanaugh spent his first three seasons at VHS playing basketball under Skip Collins. The 1988-89 team won a sectional championship before falling in the regional. Collins gave way to Punter and Cavanaugh for his first taste of a different coaching philosophy.
“Skip was very regimented, very organized and very detailed,” Cavanaugh said. “Punter let us go a little bit more. We scored a lot more points going up and down the floor, but we gave up a little bit more, too.”
The 1989-90 Vikings also won a sectional title and Cavanaugh learned a life lesson in watching Collins, and then Punter, that he has taken with him to his orthodontics practice.
“You can see there’s ways to look at different approaches,” Cavanaugh said. “Now as a business owner, being in charge of 10 to 12 staff members, you can see that they’re all different. The coach has to decide what everyone is good at. Watching (Collins and Punter), there’s not only one way to do something, there’s positives and negatives.”
Cavanaugh set the IHSAA record for consecutive free throws at 72 his senior year and he made 102 out of 104 attempts from the charity stripe. Despite scoring 18.5 points per game and leading the Vikings in assists, Cavanaugh wasn’t highly recruited out of high school and it wasn’t until he had a stroke of good fortune that he found his landing spot.
“(Second-year Valparaiso University coach) Homer Drew called me and told me that he really liked me, but also wanted to tell me that he wasn’t going to recruit me because they didn’t need a guard,” Cavanaugh said. “The season ends and two of their guards leave. Homer called me and immediately offered me a scholarship. I was lucky how the opportunity came about.”
Cavanaugh started all four years for the Crusaders and has made a profound impact on the Valparaiso record book. He finished his career with the highest 3-point percentage at the time and now ranks No. 6 in program history. Cavanaugh is joined in the top 10 by Bryce Drew, Casey Schmidt and Mike Jones, all Valparaiso High graduates. Cavanaugh also ranks among the program’s best in assists and free throw percentage.
More important than individual statistics was the ascent of the team when Cavanaugh played for the Crusaders. Valparaiso won five games in each of his first two seasons before breaking through for 12 wins in 1992-93. The following year the Crusaders won 20 games, a mark they’d hit in eight of the next nine seasons.
“We were starting to see the hard work paying off,” Cavanaugh said. “It was about setting goals higher, having persistence. Those first couple years when you’re not winning, it’s hard. People are hanging their heads, but once you start winning, it changes your whole feeling.”
While basketball was a passions for Cavanaugh, so was dentistry. His father, Tom, worked in the field for 40 years and Rob gotten bitten by the bug at an early age. After graduating from Valparaiso, Cavanaugh completed his dental studies at the Indiana University of Dentistry in 1998 and then graduated from NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale with orthodontic specialty education in 2001. Cavanaugh became board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics in 2005.
“During some of those summers (when I was younger), I worked for my dad in his office,” Cavanaugh said. “I started making some appliances. My grandfather was a general dentist and I had the opportunity to visit some of the other dentists in town.”
Dentistry is certainly a family business as far as Cavanaugh is concerned. His partner, Matt Nondorf, is the same way as his father, sister and wife also work in the field. Just as dentistry brings Cavanaugh and his family together, so does flying. Tom was a longtime flight instructor and Rob’s brother Brad owns Air One, an aerial photography business.
“During my sophomore year at VU I got my pilots license,” Cavanaugh said. “My dad was a flight instructor and was honored by the FAA with the Wright Brothers Award for 50 years of no accidents. Hanging out at the airport with all the guys, it’s something I’ve always had an interest in.”
Cavanaugh has built a successful business career, but the itch to compete is still there. He cures it with weekly basketball games and by coaching his children. While basketball has always come natural to him, Cavanaugh is finding a new love with following his children in cross country. While dentistry and sports don’t quite go hand in hand, Cavanaugh has found a balance between the two that is rooted in more life lessons he learned back at Valparaiso High.
“The big thing going into dental school was to remember time management and being able to multitask,” Cavanaugh said. “Learning how to deal with failures, how to make mistakes and to be persistent.”
Invisalign aligners are an effective alternative to metal braces. Most patients are able to get the same results with these clear aligners that they would achieve with brackets and wires. Invisalign aligners are clear, unobtrusive, and easily removable. If you’re considering Invisalign for your treatment, here are some quick answers to common questions about what it’s like to live with Invisalign.
What Should I Do About My Sports Guard?
Invisalign aligners help straighten your teeth, but they do not protect them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your aligners can double as a sports guard. If you play contact sports, it’s best to remove your Invisalign aligners before playing and protect your teeth with a sports guard designed for just this purpose. This will protect your teeth while you’re on the field or the court and keep your aligners safe from damage as well.
Does Invisalign Effect What I Eat and Drink?
No, Invisalign won’t have any impact on what you eat and drink. This is one of the most compelling reasons to choose Invisalign over other treatment options. While popcorn, taffy, and other tricky treats can get stuck in the brackets and wires of braces, you won’t have any such problem with Invisalign. You can remove your aligners at any time. Just pop them out at mealtime and brush your teeth carefully before putting the aligners back in.
Can I Still Play an Instrument With Invisalign?
Since Invisalign is a removable option, you can take your aligners out if they make it difficult to play an instrument. If you play a woodwind or brass instrument, you’ll likely find it’s easiest to remove your aligners when you’re playing. This is fine as long as you remember to keep them in for 20 to 22 hours a day.
Will I Still Be Able to Kiss?
Though it can seem like a touchy topic, there’s no need to worry about kissing while you’re using Invisalign. The aligners are barely noticeable in your mouth, so there’s a good chance your partner won’t notice a thing. If you’re with someone who asks about your aligners, you can explain that it’s much easier and more comfortable to kiss with aligners than with braces, and plenty of people have braved kissing in braces!
Aligners are smooth and fitted close to the tooth. They won’t dislodge while you’re kissing. Though you may feel nervous your first few kisses, you’ll soon forget all about these unobtrusive aligners. Although it may be tempting to take your aligners out, try to do so only on special occasions. You need to keep them in for as many hours as possible each day to get the right results.
Will Invisalign Change How I Talk?
During your first few days with Invisalign, you may notice a slight change in your speech. Your tongue needs a little time to get used to this new device in your mouth. While you may have a slight lisp at first, this typically goes away. You should be speaking normally again in a short time.
How Can I Keep My Aligners Clean?
There are two steps to keeping your Invisalign aligners clean. First, you need to keep your mouth clean. Brush and floss your teeth after every snack and meal. If you skip brushing, you’ll get food, plaque, and bacteria in your tray. Since aligners sit so close to your teeth, they can trap these hazards right next to the tooth and gum line where they can cause ample damage. Keep your teeth clean to prevent this.
The second thing you need to do is clean the aligner itself while it’s out. There are several methods for doing this. You can soak your aligner trays in clear mouthwash, a 50-50 solution of water and hydrogen peroxide, Polident denture cleaner, or a 50-50 blend of vinegar and water. Invisalign also sells a cleaning kit designed just for your aligners. Whichever method you choose, make sure you’re using it daily to prevent discoloration of the aligner tray.
Do Invisalign Aligners Smell?
No, your Invisalign aligners should not smell if you’re taking care of them properly. If your aligners have an odour, this means you’re not cleaning your teeth or your trays as thoroughly as you should. Step up your cleaning routine to help eliminate the smell.
Will Invisalign Give Me Bad Breath?
Properly cared for, your Invisalign aligners won’t do anything harmful to your breath. As mentioned previously, if there’s any unpleasant odour coming from the tray, you may want to re-examine your oral hygiene routine. Since you should be brushing your teeth several times a day with Invisalign, you should actually enjoy much fresher breath than you might if you were brushing just twice daily.
Invisalign is a comfortable alternative to traditional braces, and as you can see, living with Invisalign is easier than you might think!
A lot of people feel that, once they are adults or older teens, the time to improve their smiles with braces has gone by. But, thanks to advanced cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign allows many people to discreetly straighten their teeth without calling attention to the work.
Not convinced? Invisalign dentists straightened the smiles of all these celebrities while they were in the public eye:
1. Khloe Kardashian’s Invisalign Treatment
As a reality star, Khloe Kardashian is rarely far from the public view, which makes her self-improvement projects all the more noticeable. She’s slimmed down significantly during her years in the spotlight, shedding over 30 pounds with the help of a personal trainer. She decided to straighten her smile, as well, and had her braces put on last year at the age of 28.
2. Justin Bieber’s Invisalign Treatment
This Baby singer was still a teenager when he opted for clear Invisalign braces. In a Youtube video, he praised the braces’ unobtrusive look. The unobtrusive nature of the braces meant that they could really only be seen when he took them out to show them off.
3. Katherine Heigl’s Invisalign Treatment
Actress Katherine Heigl began wearing Invisalign in 2007 in preparation for her wedding. With these discreet braces, she could keep attention on her instead of on the corrections to her teeth. These days, the former Grey’s Anatomy star is all smiles as she prepares for the premiere of her upcoming TV series State of Affairs.
4. Tom Cruise’s Invisalign Treatment
Hollywood hunk Tom Cruise has always been famous for his smile. But, when the star began bringing his kids to the orthodontist in 2002, he discovered that his front teeth were not as straight as they could be. He chose a combination of Invisalign and ceramic brackets to keep his smile metal-free while straightening his teeth.
5. Gisele Bundchen’s Invisalign Treatment
Not even supermodels are born perfect! Gisele Bunchen told interviewers that she started wearing Invisalign because one of her teeth was moving and made her smile look less than perfect in pictures. She wore the braces only at night, taking advantage of the Invisalign system’s flexibility.
6. Zac Efron’s Invisalign Treatment
As this actor made the jump from teen heart throb in High School Musical to grown-up stunner in fare like The Neighbors, he decided that it was time for the slight gap between his front teeth to transition to a solid white smile, as well.
7. Eva Longoria’s Invisalign Treatment
This steamy star began wearing Invisalign at age 36 to straighten her bottom teeth. No longer spooked by a crooked smile, the star is working on a new horror TV series based on Latin American folk tales.
8. Serena Williams’ Invisalign Treatment
This powerful tennis player made sure that her smile was as strong as her serve by wearing Invisalign braces as a teenager. Years later, she has a straight and stunning smile, and continues to stack up the Grand Slam wins.
Are you ready to take on your insecurities and improve your smile? Talk to a local dentist about Invisalign in Mansfield. There are a number of highly qualified Mansfield MA dentists who can talk to you about whether these invisible braces are right for you.
At the Rapid 2019 3D printing conference, the company said they will use 49 HP Jet Fusion 3D printing systems around the clock to make more than 50,000 unique mouth molds per day. This means they have the capacity to make as many as 20 million individualized 3D-printed mouth molds in the next 12 months.
The goal is to revolutionize the way millions of people achieve a straighter smile.
“SmileDirectClub is digitally transforming the traditional orthodontics industry, making it more personal, affordable, and convenient for millions of consumers to achieve a smile they’ll love,” said Alex Fenkell, cofounder of SmileDirectClub, in a statement. “HP’s breakthrough 3D printing and data intelligence platform makes this level of disruption possible for us, pushing productivity, quality, and manufacturing predictability to unprecedented levels, all with economics that allow us to pass on savings to the consumers seeking treatment using our teledentistry platform.”
The orthodontics industry is 120 years old. SmileDirectClub cofounders Fenkell and Jordan Katzman first met at summer camp as teens with metal braces. They decided later that innovations in technology and telehealth could democratize access to safe, affordable, and convenient orthodontic care.
They started the company in 2014 using a digital network of state-licensed dentists and orthodontists who prescribe teeth straightening treatment plans and manage all aspects of clinical care — from diagnosis to the completion of treatment — using the company’s proprietary teledentistry platform. To date, they have served half a million customers in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, with plans to expand to Australia and the United Kingdom in 2019.
An estimated 80% of Americans could benefit from orthodontic care, yet only 1% receive it each year, with cost being the biggest prohibitive issue. In the U.S., 60% of counties do not have access to an orthodontist. By leveraging the benefits of teledentistry coupled with HP’s 3D printing technology, SmileDirectClub is bridging these gaps, offering people a chance to build confidence through a straighter, brighter smile at a cost that is up to 60% less than traditional options.
SmileDirectClub and its manufacturing partners rely on HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions to produce the mouth molds for each patient’s aligners and retainers, creating an average of more than 50,000 personalized mouth molds each day.
“SmileDirectClub and HP are reinventing the future of orthodontics, pushing the boundaries of customized 3D mass production and democratizing access to affordable, high-quality teeth straightening for millions of people,” said Christoph Schell, president of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing at HP, in a statement. “Through this collaboration, HP is helping SmileDirectClub accelerate its growth, enabling a new era of personalized consumer experiences only made possible by industrial 3D printing and digital manufacturing.”
HP and SmileDirectClub also announced a new recycling program, through which excess 3D material and already processed plastic mouth molds are recycled by HP and turned into pellets for traditional injection molding, leading to more sustainable production.
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Wilmington orthodontist John Nista has developed a new process called “Simply Fast Smiles” that combines new industry concepts and emerging technology. The doctor said through clear, plastic trays, he can straighten some people’s teeth in six months. And the bill is typically about $3,000, half the normal cost of most sets of braces.
“If you say you’re going to the orthodontist because you need braces, the first thing that goes to your mind is that it’s going to be expensive, it’s going to take time and it’s going to be painful,” he said.
“My piece of the puzzle doesn’t have to do that.”
Nista uses a 3-D scanner and printer, as well as advanced software, to create about 25 plastic moving aligners. He prints all of the plastic trays at the same time for the patients, resulting in fewer check-up appointments. The patients wear a new aligner every week, which incrementally straightens their teeth.
While this program can be for anyone with adult teeth, most of his patients have been adults who have had previous dental work.
Nista, who has been an orthodontist for 28 years, said the industry has changed and adapted its practices every couple of decades. But it wasn’t until Invisalign was created in the late 1990s that there has been such a major technological breakthrough in orthodontics, he said.
Invisalign showed orthodontists that clear, plastic aligners can efficiently move people’s teeth while avoiding the severe pain and unattractive look of braces. Forbes reported in April that Invisalign hit its 4 millionth patient last September. In 2016, the company’s sales reached $1 billion for the first time.
In recent years, it has led to the creation of a handful of other clear aligner competitor companies.
The startup SmileDirectClub has received national attention in recent months for its business model of saying it will straighten people’s teeth — without in-person doctor consults and X-rays.
People can get fit for aligners by going to a SmileDirectClub store or ordering a mail-in kit. The aligners are then sent in the mail and cost $1,850. There aren’t any locations based in Delaware.
The American Association of Orthodontists has filed complaints with dental boards and attorney generals in 36 states against the company, saying its service can lead to medical risks.
While Nista is also wary of the company, since there’s no direct contact with a doctor, he said it does signify the changing times of the industry. People don’t want to pay a fortune and invest a lot of time to get straight teeth.
“There is a big wave of this coming,” he said.
The first step of Nista’s “Simply Fast Smiles” is the free online consultation — which is done via selfie.
To see if a patient qualifies, Nista asks people to complete the “Smile Test” by submitting four photos that show different angles of a person’s mouth through his website. The images will be sent directly to Nista’s email. He’ll then determine the amount of work he or she needs and email the patient directly.
The idea to use telemedicine for orthodontics came to him when he watched his niece, a dermatologist, do a consult on her phone while on the beach during a family vacation. There’s no reason he couldn’t do the same thing, Nista recalled thinking.
“Everyone knows how to take a selfie,” he said.
Nista said it only takes orthodontists a couple minutes (at most) to decide if the aligners can properly straighten a person’s teeth in a short period of time. Looking at images via email saves time for both him and potential patients, he said.
Telemedicine applications have become increasingly popular because doctors can treat patients in the comfort of their own homes reducing costs including travel time. The Medical Society of Delaware and Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children have encouraged their doctors to use this technology in the past year.
In addition to orthodontic X-rays and photographs, Nista uses software that takes a digital scan of a patient’s mouth. The computer program then shows what it will take for the teeth to get into a “goal position.”
It also creates the design of the 25 plastic aligners which are then 3D printed at the same time. Whitening gel is also included in the individual aligners.
For most patients, the aligners are changed about once a week. Additional aligners can be printed over the course of the six months if necessary, Nista said.
Unlike other patients, Keogh has about 40 aligners due to the amount of work she needs on her teeth. She said the whole process was a lot easier than what she imagined, especially with the payments.
She was still quoted a total of about $3,000. That’s about $800 less than what her mother paid for aligners at another practice. Since Keogh paid for it upfront, she said she doesn’t need to worry about for copays or charges for follow-up appointments.
Now at the halfway point, Keogh said she’s seen progress in her bottom teeth. It’s already boosted her confidence, she said.
“I can’t wait till they’re all the way straight,” Keogh said.
Contact Meredith Newman at (302) 324-2386 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @merenewman.
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icsnaps/ShutterstockYour smile is one of the first things somebody notices about you, and seeing an orthodontist practically ensures you’ll always have straight, pearly whites. At least, that’s the idea. But as with any other doctor, your orthodontist has some things they wish you knew, but probably won’t ever tell you. (By the way, you’ll definitely want to follow these 10 golden rules for white, healthy teeth.)
Someone else might’ve used your braces before you
VP Photo Studio/ShutterstockBefore you get grossed out, this isn’t always the case—and if it is, it’s not actually as skeevy as you might think. According to foxnews.com, some orthodontists professionally sterilize and remanufacture used braces through companies like Ortho-Cycle, which saves up to 50 percent on costs. This process “is based upon the dissolution of polymerized acrylates at temperatures at which simultaneous sterilization occurs,” according to orthocycle.com.
We know when you haven’t been wearing your Invisalign
Andrey_Popov/ShutterstockDespite how persistent you are when you tell your orthodontist you’ve been actively wearing your Invisalign, they’ll know the truth right away. “We know if you haven’t been wearing your Invisalign because of a cool feature [on the aligners] (not just because of your answer to our question or the way your teeth look),” says Dr. Matthew LoPresti, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in Stamford, CT. “There are little blue marks towards the back of your aligners that should wear away as you wear the Invisalign. If the blue mark looks untouched, we know you haven’t been wearing the aligners.” (Here are some things your dentists NEEDS you to start doing differently.)
Your treatment will probably take longer than what we initially tell you
Rocketclips, Inc./ShutterstockYour orthodontist might tell you your treatment will only take a year and a half to two years, but that’s a rough estimate. A lot of treatments take much longer than expected. “Delays in the process may occur like a misdiagnosis of your case, patient’s neglect, or unanticipated movement of the teeth,” says Danica Lacson, a representative for Hawaii Family Dental.
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Our fees might be negotiable
sumire8/ShutterstockLet’s be honest, a trip to the orthodontist is anything but cheap. “The good news, though, is that orthodontists offer a variety of payment plans. Many allow patients to pay through monthly installments with no interest, and with some orthodontists, you can negotiate the fee itself,” according to foxnews.com. “Some orthodontists will give a discount, usually 5 to 10 percent, if you pay the total in cash or with a credit card at the beginning of treatment.” (You won’t believe these shocking diseases that dentists find first.)
You have to wear retainers after you complete your treatment—forever
Olga Miltsova/ShutterstockIf you think you’re done with orthodontics after you finish your treatment—think again. “A retainer holds your teeth in place. After you complete Invisalign or any orthodontics, it is necessary to hold those teeth in place,” says Dr. LoPresti. “There are different options which include a removable clear retainer that is worn at night or a permanent fixed retainer that gets bonded to the back of your teeth.”
We know when you’re lying about wearing your retainer
ponsulak/ShutterstockNot only do you have to wear a retainer after you complete your treatment, but your orthodontist will definitely know if you’ve really been keeping up with it. “Patients that complete their advised treatment and achieve their desired result but then fail to wear their retainers, generally have teeth that drift apart,” says Dr. Timothy Chase, co-founder of SmilesNY. “This can cause a relapse such as crowding, spacing or flaring of the teeth.” (Whatever you do, never, ever ignore these symptoms of a cavity.)
We know when you eat or drink with your Invisalign in
karelnoppe/ShutterstockIt might seem harmless to eat or drink with your aligners in, but you won’t be fooling your orthodontist. “When patients eat or drink liquids (other than water) come in to see me, their Invisalign trays are often slimy, dirty, and stained,” says Dr. Chase. “Not only does this result in a cosmetically undesirable appearance to the aligners but it also damages them and can lead to decay.”
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Braces aren’t just a cosmetic treatment
salajean/ShutterstockIt might seem like people go to the orthodontist just to straighten out their teeth, but there are tons of other reasons, too. While some people can go through life with crooked teeth and be just fine, others actually require fixture in order to chew and speak properly. “While we do want everyone to have a perfect smile, the reality is not everyone requires orthodontics,” says Seth Newman, DDS, a board-certified orthodontic specialist. (You’ll never catch your dentist eating these 15 foods—and you shouldn’t be snacking on them, either.)
We know you don’t floss or brush as much as you say you do
Andrey_Popov/ShutterstockRemember all those times you lied to your dentist or orthodontist when they asked if you’ve been flossing? Yeah… they knew you weren’t. “Those who do not brush and floss properly generally have a higher incidence of plaque calculus, gingivitis, and tooth decay,” says Dr. Chase. “A single day of forgetting to floss is damaging but a week or a month of poor hygiene will result in swelling of the gums, bleeding and a foul odor.” (This is the easiest way to get rid of bad breath, according to a dentist.)
Even if you don’t think your child needs orthodontics, get them checked out anyway
pattara puttiwong/ ShutterstockEven if your child doesn’t show any signs of needing to see an orthodontist, you should really bring them in for a check-up no later than age seven. “If we see a patient early, we can remove baby teeth and the canine has a good possibility of coming in properly,” according to Dr. Jackie Miller, an orthodontist in Washington, MO, and member of the American Association of Orthodontists. “An early visit to the orthodontist can prevent and help detect future problems.” (Here are some dental etiquette rules everyone should follow.)
If you smoke, your treatment might take longer
Quinn Martin/ShutterstockIn case you needed more of a reason to not smoke, it might actually cause you to need to make more trips to your orthodontist’s office. “Smokers give away their habit because of the excessive plaque that builds up on their teeth,” according to Dr. Chase. “This can have a big impact orthodontic appliances used to straighten teeth and result in a longer treatment period.”
You don’t have to wait for your dentist to refer your child to an orthodontist.
Parents are often the first to recognize that something is not quite right about their child’s teeth or their jaws. A parent may notice that the front teeth don’t come together when the back teeth are closed, or that the upper teeth are sitting inside of the lower teeth. They may assume that their dentist is aware of the anomaly, and that the dentist will make a referral to an orthodontist when the time is right. A referral might not happen if the dentist isn’t evaluating the bite.
AAO orthodontists don’t require a referral from a dentist to make an appointment with them.
Dentists and orthodontists may have different perspectives.
Dentists are looking at the overall health of the teeth and mouth. He/she could be looking at how well the patient brushes and flosses, or if there are cavities. While dentists look at the upper and lower teeth, they may not study how the upper and lower teeth make contact.
Orthodontists are looking at the bite, meaning the way teeth come together. This is orthodontists’ specialty. Orthodontists take the upper and lower jaws into account. Even if teeth appear to be straight, mismatched jaws can be part of a bad bite.
A healthy bite is the goal of orthodontic treatment.
A healthy bite denotes good function – biting, chewing and speaking. It also means teeth and jaws are in proportion to the rest of the face.
The AAO recommends children get their first check-up with an AAO orthodontist no later than age 7.
Kids have a mix of baby and permanent teeth around age 7. AAO orthodontists are uniquely trained to evaluate children’s growth as well as the exchange of baby teeth for permanent teeth. Orthodontists are expertly qualified to determine whether a problem exists, or if one is developing.
AAO orthodontists often offer initial exams at no (or low) cost, and at no obligation.
When you choose an AAO orthodontist for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a highly skilled specialist. Orthodontists are experts in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics – properly aligned teeth and jaws – and possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Locate AAO orthodontists through Find an Orthodontist at aaoinfo.org.