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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 posts 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 on Propel VPro5

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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little girl brushing teeth

Why orthodontists use fluoride on teeth

Water fluoridation is a controversial subject. And, at Turner Lim, we have no intentions what so ever of entering the debate. Instead, in this post, we explain why orthodontists recommend fluoride to their patients.

A bit about fluoride

It was at the beginning of the 20th century that American dentist Frederick McKay accidentally discovered that fluoride could prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride is not a substance cooked-up in a science lab. Actually, it is a natural mineral found in water sources such as rivers, lakes and oceans.

When applied to your teeth, fluoride absorbs into the enamel — a process called ‘remineralisation.’ As a result, by replenishing lost calcium and phosphorus, the fluoride can put a stop to tooth decay.

The bugs in your mouth HATE fluoride, which is a good thing. And fluoride also protects your teeth from acid-filled fizzy drinks.

Toothpaste and fluoride

Many kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride. And for patients with low saliva counts or high decay rates, we often prescribe toothpaste with extra-high levels.

Note: The saliva in your mouth is responsible for washing away the acid. Due to factors such as age or medications, some people have low saliva counts (dry mouths). For them, fluoride is beneficial for acid protection.

Fluoride tooth mousse

A good way to apply fluoride is with the topical treatment tooth mousse. Incidentally, at Turner Lim Orthodontists, we recommend Tooth Mousse Plus.

Because you can apply it with a cotton bud, tooth mousse is absorbed deeper into the tooth’s surface than fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash.

When is tooth mousse used?

In general dentistry

Dentists often use tooth mousse to remineralise teeth showing the very early stages of cavities. Doing this eliminates the need to take the more drastic measure of putting in a filling. Tooth mousse is also effective for treating sensitive teeth.

In orthodontics

It is common for patients to find white marks on their teeth when their braces come off. A build-up of plaque is the cause, and in most cases, marks are very mild. However, with about 10% of patients who don’t do a particularly good job of cleaning their teeth, the marks can be quite nasty. To remove these marks, orthodontists use tooth mousse to add minerals to the affected teeth.

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