WELCOME TO TURNER LIM AUCKLAND ORTHODONTISTS


  Contact : (09) 827-1478 facebook

All Posts in Category: Braces

What are self-ligating brackets & are they faster?

Self-ligating brackets (SLBs) have been around for many years. In fact, a gentleman called Charles E Boyd first introduced them in 1933. In this post, we explain what SLBs are and whether they do as claimed — offer faster treatment.

What are self-ligating brackets?

Standard metal braces consist of brackets that are attached to a patient’s teeth, and an archwire is threaded through the brackets using o-rings — little rubber bands — to hold it in place.  Self-ligating brackets, on the other hand, feature a small gate at the front that secures the archwire when closed. SLBs apply less friction to a patient’s teeth, and no o-rings are required.

The purported benefits of self-ligating brackets

Here are some of the benefits that manufacturers of SLBs claim:

  • Faster treatment because less friction allows teeth to move more freely
  • More comfortable due to less friction
  • Longer intervals between appointments
  • Better results

The benefits sound impressive — who doesn’t want faster treatment? However, many orthodontists, including us at Turner Lim, remain unconvinced that SBLs are any faster or better than other braces. In fact, a recent study suggests that SLBs could be slower than traditional braces by up to two months. Also, SLBs are not the most cost-effective option.

Should you avoid self-ligating brackets?

No. If fast treatment is important to you, SLBs are worth a try. Just be aware that the evidence to back up that they work faster is ‘thin on the ground.’

One of the better-known self ligating brackets is the Damon System. We have used this system in the past at our West Auckland clinic but feel it’s quite bulky — more compact brackets are easier for our patients. We do currently use a clear SLB  because it doesn’t have o-rings that discolour over time due to food. It also has a lower profile than the Damon System and so is more comfortable for our patients.

What determines the speed of orthodontic treatment?

It is claimed that SLBs apply less friction and, therefore, work faster than other braces because they allow patients’ teeth to move more freely. Yes, the initial alignment of teeth can be rapid, but the roots still require time to move into their correct positions.

In our experience, several factors determine the speed of orthodontic treatment, not least the skill of your orthodontist — her treatment plan, bracket placement and selection of wires and mechanics, etc. There are other factors, too, including:

  • Cooperation of patients — whether they wear the elastics as instructed.
  • Biology — every patient is different.

We hope you found this post useful. If you did, please share.

Read More
A woman wearing lingual dental braces.

3 nearly invisible dental braces that adults love

These days, a growing number of adults wish to improve their teeth later in life. There could be a couple of reasons for this: orthodontics is more affordable and available than it once was, and baby boomers feel younger and want a look to match. One thing most adults are not too keen on, though, is visible braces

Yes, wearing braces can feel like being transported back to school. When you’re a teenager, they are a ‘badge of honour’ — a rite of passage. As an adult, though, they’re not so cool. After all, in the ‘grown-up’ world, we are, unfortunately, judged on our appearance. Looks are important — which, of course, is why you might be considering braces in the first place.

Well, we have some good news for you: If you want to get braces, there are less obtrusive options available, including lingual braces.

Lingual braces

Most dental braces fit on the outside of a patient’s teeth and are difficult to hide. Lingual braces, however, sit on the inside and are almost invisible, which makes them ideal for image-conscious adults.

Unfortunately, as many orthodontists are reluctant to fit lingual braces, they are not readily available. You see, compared to other types of braces, there is a bunch of stuff (like there being a smaller arc to work on) that makes fitting and maintaining lingual braces more mechanically tricky.

Anyway, in recent times — thanks to Alla, an old hand in the art, joining the team — Turner Lim has become more involved in lingual orthodontics.

Like many things in life, though, with lingual braces, as well as pros, there are a couple of cons to be aware of:

  • Mind your tongue. Because the braces are on the inside, they can affect tongue movement and take a bit of getting used to.
  • Your budget. Lingual braces are a premium product and, therefore, cost between 30% to 50% more than standard options.

Other discrete dental braces

Apart from lingual braces, there are two alternative non-obtrusive types to consider.

  • Invisalign®: With this system, there are no restrictions on what you can eat and drink. It consists of almost invisible computer simulation-generated templates (aligners), which are changed every 1 to 2 weeks. Your orthodontist will provide a new set at each check-up appointment (usually 8 to 10 weeks). For Invisalign®, the length of time between appointments is longer than many other treatments, which makes it easier to balance other commitments. Invisalign® isn’t effective for some bite issues — although advancements mean the bites types it isn’t suitable for continue to become fewer. In fact, for some bites, Invisalign® is the best option. For tricky work, and to make treatment as efficient, smooth and attractive as possible, we may first use a combination of fixed braces on the back teeth and Invisalign® on the front — there are so many options.”
  • Ceramic braces: Like standard types, ceramic braces have a small gate to hold an archwire in place and are not susceptible to the elastic ring changing colour with your latte or curry. Due to being made of a translucent material — some even come with tooth-coloured wires — ceramic braces are less visible than standard metal braces and even Invisalign®.

Read more about the different types of braces we offer.

We understand that aesthetics are particularly important for our adult patients, which is why we don’t charge adult patients extra for ceramic or Invisalign® braces. Also, with all ceramic and lingual treatments, we routinely use SureSmile on adults to achieve optimum results and treatment times.

So, there you have it: If you’re worried about what braces will look like, there are options available. If you enjoyed this post, please share.

Read More
Girl smiling after orthodontic treatment

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.

Orthodontist-Auckland

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

Auckland-orthodontist

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.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, please share.

Read More