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Posts for: October, 2016

By Geary Dentistry
October 24, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Invisalign   braces   orthodontics  

Thinking about correcting your smile with orthodontic treatment may give you visions of metal braces and headgear. However, thanks to invisalignmodern orthodontics, you have more options than only traditional methods. Invisalign uses clear aligner trays, meaning you can straighten your teeth in a much more discreet way than with traditional braces. But how does Invisalign hold up to traditional braces? Find out with Dr. Terence Geary and Dr. Mary Eileen Geary at Geary Dentistry in Brookfield, WI.

Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces in Brookfield

  • Comfort: Your Invisalign aligner trays are soft, flexible yet sturdy, comfortable plastic. Invisalign’s laboratory takes special care to customize each aligner tray to your mouth, ensuring they fit snugly against your teeth. Traditional braces, made from metal, can have sharp wires which could damage the inside of your mouth.
  • Maintenance: Traditional braces require about once monthly orthodontic appointments for adjustments. Your orthodontist examines your braces to ensure your teeth move on track and “tighten” the wires as necessary. Invisalign patients simply switch their current aligner tray for the next tray in the series every two weeks. They see their dentist about once every 6 weeks for a check up appointment to ensure their teeth move correctly.
  • Eating: Eating with traditional braces can prove to be tricky. Orthodontists warn patients to avoid foods like popcorn, caramel, sticky candies or whole apples as they can damage the metal components. However, Invisalign patients can simply remove their aligner tray to eat, eliminating the need to avoid certain foods.
  • Oral Care: Invisalign’s design also allows the patient to remove the trays while brushing and flossing. With traditional braces, patients must use special threading floss to reach between each bracket and wire. However, Invisalign requires no special steps in the oral care routine, cutting down precious time and effort when you brush and floss.

A simple consultation with your dentist can help you determine if Invisalign is your best orthodontic option. For more information on Invisalign, please contact Drs. Terence and Mary Eileen Geary at Geary Dentistry in Brookfield, WI. Call (262) 860-1500 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!


HowKathyBatesRetainsHerMovie-StarSmile

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.


By Geary Dentistry
October 07, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   braces  
BeVigilantwithDentalCareWhileWearingBraces

If you or a family member wears braces, you're used to visiting your orthodontist for adjustments and progress monitoring. But it's just as important that you continue regular visits with your family dentist, especially if you begin noticing abnormalities with your teeth and gums.

We need to be on alert for dental health because risks for disease increase during orthodontic treatment. Most oral infections arise from plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces. You avoid plaque buildup by brushing and flossing at least once a day and undergoing semi-annual office cleanings for any remaining plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits).

Braces, however, can complicate hygiene. It's harder to get into areas blocked by the brackets and wires with your brush or floss. This can quickly give rise to gingivitis, a form of periodontal (gum) disease characterized by gum swelling. If not treated, gum disease could eventually cause the gums to detach from the teeth and lead to bone and tooth loss.

The brackets and wires can also irritate the gums and cause them to swell or overgrow, a condition called hyperplasia. This further complicates proper hygiene, which then increases the risk for infection even more.

It takes more time and effort to brush and floss effectively while wearing braces. But it's necessary to prevent these problems. Interproximal brushes (which fit in the spaces between teeth) can help, as well as special floss threaders. You might also consider a water flosser, which use a high-pressured water spray to remove plaque between teeth.

And, don't neglect seeing us on a regular basis. If you notice gum swelling, redness or bleeding, contact us as soon as possible.

If the swelling is due to hyperplasia, treatment could wait until after the braces come off, as long as there doesn't appear to be any gum detachment from the teeth. If there is, though, you may need to see a periodontist (a gum specialist) for further evaluation. It may be necessary in advanced cases to remove the braces to treat the underlying gum condition.

It pays to keep a close eye on your teeth and gums while wearing braces. Catching problems before they become too serious will help ensure your new smile is just as healthy as it is attractive.

If you would like more information on dental care while undergoing orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gum Swelling during Orthodontics.”