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How Turner Lim Orthodontist straightened Yoana’s smile

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.

Yoana before front 3

Yoana before her treatment.


A far nicer photo of Yoana before her treatment.










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


Yoana looking good.

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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Turner Lim’s favourite orthodontics blog posts of 2016

It’s been more than two years since we started this orthodontics blog. Writing it has been a lot of fun, and we hope you enjoy reading! In recognition of this milestone, we thought we’d revisit some of our favourite post of 2016. Enjoy.

Kids & sport

There are lots of reasons why children should play sport. It keeps them physically fit and also teaches teamwork and social skills. These days, there are too many children becoming obese and socially inept due to excessive online activity. So, you don’t want your child side-lined because they’ve had dental braces fitted. The solution is a mouth guard. If your child wears one, there is no reason why they shouldn’t play sports while also wearing braces. With this in mind, in January we published My child wears dental braces. Can they still play sport?

There’s more to nice teeth than you think

“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover,” as the saying goes. And no, you shouldn’t, but society does anyway. It’s a hard fact of life. And, unfortunately, the way others perceive us also affects how we feel about ourselves. So, there is more to a nice smile than looking good — psychological factors also come into play. That’s what our May post, How your smile can affect your physical & mental health, is about.

Does Richie really do that?

Top sportspeople have a big influence on many Kiwi kids. In June, we were shocked to learn of a five-year-old All Blacks fan who had to have rotten teeth removed. The cause of the decay was his taste for sports drink Powerade. In fact, he was sipping on the stuff when he arrived at the dental clinic to get his teeth pulled out. What were his parents thinking? Anyway, when asked why he drank Powerade, he said because Richie McCaw drinks it. Read our June post, Drink sports drinks: Is that really what Richie does?

It’s never too late

These days, it’s not unusual for adults to get dental braces. In fact, our oldest patient was about 65 years of age. It seems braces are no longer a ‘fashion accessory’ exclusively for teenagers. So, why are older people getting braces? Well, teeth move over time. Also, many people who couldn’t afford braces when they were younger can as adults. So, why not do something about those crooked teeth? We discussed the trend of older people getting braces in our July post, Am I too old for dental braces?

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Propel VPro5: A new advancement in orthodontics

Do you wear dental braces? Are you thinking about getting them? Either way, you’d probably like your treatment to be as fast as possible. So, in this post, we highlight a new product that may be of interest.

The world of orthodontics is exciting. New techniques and technologies are being developed at a rapid pace. And, at Turner Lim Orthodontists, we do our best to keep up with the latest developments.

A new product we now offer is Propel VPro5. This is a horseshoe-shaped device that patients use for five minutes every day. It vibrates. And the theory is that the vibrations facilitate tooth movement.

The jury is out

Now, you may have noticed we used the word “theory” in the previous paragraph. This was intentional. So far, there is no solid research to prove that the device makes any significant improvements.

So, we make it very clear to patients that there is no guarantee. Of course, Propel VPro5 may work. Time will tell, and it certainly won’t do any harm.

The theory

Though the manufacturer says Propel VPro5 can be used with a variety of braces, we offer it to patients taking Invisalign treatment.

With Invisalign, your orthodontist fits buttons to your teeth. Aligners then sit on top of these buttons. If the aligners are in the right place, your teeth will be pushed more effectively, and the results will be better.

Sometimes, however, a bit like a lid on a takeaway coffee cup, the aligners don’t engage properly with the buttons. This is because, if you were to view the wire through a microscope, you’d see little nicks, which can be problematic.

Your teeth are in a little suspension network—they’re not locked into bone. So, by jiggling the teeth using Propel VPro5, we can seat the aligner better.

A summary of the benefits

Propel VPro5 is designed to produce

  • better treatment because Invisalign aligners engage better with the buttons
  • faster treatment because of better engagement.

How does it work?

Patients use Propel VPro5 in their own time. Just before bed is common.
Here’s how to use it:

  • Charge the device before use.
  • Depress the button on top of the unit to start.
  • Make sure the device is clean before use
  • Bite onto the mouthpiece for five minutes (Don’t bite too hard. Apply just enough force to hold it in place).

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