Office News & Blog
Advantage Orthodontics Blog
Imagine achieving a beautiful, confident, straight smile without the challenge of traditional braces. Dr. Ford can help you can get the confidence you deserve with a solution you will love. Invisalign® uses a series of clear, removable, and comfortable aligners to help teeth gradually shift into place. Here are some of the reasons patients prefer the Invisalign® experience:
• Virtually Invisible Appearance.
Personal appearance plays a significant role in how we perceive ourselves. Traditional braces, although sometimes necessary for more serious alignment issues, can cause both young and old to be self-conscious about their smile. With the clear and virtually invisible aligners, you can achieve beautifully straight teeth without metal brackets and wires.
• No Limitations on Activities
Because Invisalign® aligners are removable, you may engage in athletic and musical activities that traditional braces may alter. By simply removing the aligners, you are free to play sports without fear of getting a cut lip or a bloody mouth from the wire braces. Playing certain musical instruments can also be a struggle with traditional metal braces, but Invisalign® removes any barrier to teens and adults becoming great musicians.
• Eat What You Want When You Want
Unlike food restrictions that may accompany traditional braces, removable aligners allow you to eat anything at anytime. Simply remove the aligners, eat what you want and replace the aligners when finished.
• Comfort is King…or Queen
As anyone who has experienced traditional braces will attest, they can be uncomfortable at times. Wires and brackets sometimes push into the front or sides of the mouth. Broken wires have a tendency to cause bleeding. Invisalign® is a comfortable solution because each aligner is custom designed to fit precisely over the teeth as it puts gentle pressure on the teeth to move them into place.
• Brushing and Flossing are Much Easier
Removable aligners allow brushing and flossing to continue normally without the special care needed with traditional braces. Simply remove the aligners, perform your regular oral hygiene tasks, and put the aligners back in place.
With extensive training and experience, Dr. Ford is ready to help you discover your most beautiful confident smile with the magic of Invisalign®. Contact us today to learn more about how Invisalign® works for both teens and adults.
Do you or your child want straight teeth and a confident smile but are hesitant to commit to traditional braces? If so, there may be a viable alternative to braces called Invisalign Teen.
Invisalign is a brand that manufactures clear, plastic aligners used to straighten teeth.
The majority of Invisalign users are adults. But, many teens are opting for Invisalign as an alternative to traditional braces for lots of reasons. We will discuss some of the pro's and con's of Invisalign compared to traditional braces.
How Does Invisalign Work?
First of all, we take a 3-D scan of your teeth using our iTero scanner. Dr. Ford studies your bite and smile to formulate a complete treatment plan. Next, we electronically send it to the Invisalign manufacturing center. Invisalign uses the impression to create a series of plastic aligners based on Dr. Ford’s guidelines.
Each aligner is a thin, discrete, almost invisible, plastic aligner that covers your teeth. You wear each aligner for 20+ hours per day, for up to two weeks. The number of aligners in your plan may range from 10 to 50 or more depending on how crooked your teeth are and how they need to move.
How much does Invisalign Teen cost?
Advantage Orthodontics charges the same for Invisalign Teen treatment as treatment using traditional braces.
How long does orthodontic treatment with Invisalign Teen take?
The length of treatment time with Invisalign Teen is similar to traditional braces.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign Teen?
Above all else, Invisalign Teen patients are: 1. Responsible, and 2. Motivated to achieve an awesome smile.
Invisalign Teen patients need to wear aligners for 20+ hours per day for them to work. This means that you should only remove them to eat, brush, floss, and for specific activities. They won't work if they spend most of their time in a backpack pocket or locker at school.
If you or your teen often lose things, then they may be a better candidate for traditional braces.
[NOTE: Patients with more significant bite problems might be better candidates for traditional braces. A consultation with an orthodontist can determine if Invisalign is an option for you. ]
PRO's of Invisalign #1: It is almost Invisible!
There is no completely invisible way to straighten your teeth. But, Invisalign is as close as it gets. You smile and socialize throughout your treatment without brackets and wires in the way.
PRO's of Invisalign #2: More Comfortable than Braces
Invisalign Teen treatment is usually more comfortable than orthodontic treatment with traditional braces.
There is still some soreness and tenderness of the teeth when you change aligners. But, the patient does not experience discomfort from braces rubbing against the cheeks and lips, pokey wires, etc.
Do you or your teen play musical instruments which may put pressure on the lips? Do you or your teen play sports or activities which require a mouthguard? These are factors that you may consider.
PRO's of Invisalign #3: Brushing and Flossing are Easier than with Braces
The biggest difference between Invisalign Teen and braces is that you can remove Invisalign aligners at any time. Braces bond to your teeth for months or years at a time. This makes brushing and flossing easier with Invisalign Teen than it is with braces. Braces patients must brush and floss around the braces. Invisalign Teen patients can remove aligners and brush and floss the same way they did before orthodontic treatment.
PRO's of Invisalign #4: Fewer Food Restrictions than Braces
With braces, patients need to be careful what they eat. Certain hard foods can break a braces bracket and cause it to come loose. Certain sticky foods can pull a wire loose. And forget about biting into corn on the cob or an apple!
Invisalign Teen patients can remove aligners and eat pretty much whatever they want. A low sugar diet is still recommended, though.
PRO's of Invisalign #5: Fewer and Shorter Appointments than Braces
We see you or your teen for appointments less often with Invisalign Teen than with braces. Braces need adjustments every 6-8 weeks. Invisalign appointments are often further apart. Also, Invisalign appointments are often shorter. This means less time spent away from school and activities.
There are some advantages to opting for orthodontic treatment with Invisalign Teen. But, there are some definite drawbacks that you should consider as well.
CON's of Invisalign #1: The Patient Does More of the Work
Invisalign Teen patients need to be responsible and motivated because they play a more active role in their treatment. Aligners need to be worn for 20+ hours per day, removing them as little as possible.
The patient's ability to wear the aligners is a critical factor that determines the outcome of the case. If a patient cannot wear aligners as prescribed, we may need to switch to traditional braces.
CON's of Invisalign #2: Aligners can be Lost or Broken
A typical Invisalign Teen patient gets 1-3 months worth of aligners at each appointment. These aligners need to be kept by the patient in a safe location. If aligners are lost, this may delay treatment while replacement aligners are made.
When aligners are removed to eat they should be stored in their case, not wrapped in a napkin where they may end up in a cafeteria garbage can.
Also, if a patient has a dog they need to be careful to keep aligners secure when they are not worn. Dogs love to sniff out and chew up dirty Invisalign aligners!
CON's of Invisalign #3: Not all Teens are Candidates for Invisalign Teen
As mentioned before, certain cases may be better suited for traditional braces.
A consultation with Dr. Ford can help decide if you or your teen are candidates for Invisalign Teen or traditional braces. Call our office at (989)931-9860.
Have a look at our Spring 2017 Newsletter by clicking HERE.
Chalky, opaque-looking white spots on the teeth are not uncommon today. Maybe you have them or perhaps you’ve seen them on the teeth of friends or family.
When undergoing orthodontic treatment, white spots can develop if plaque is allowed to remain “around the brackets and along the gum line” for an extended period of time without proper brushing and flossing. Good oral hygiene is critical during orthodontic treatment. Since the bonding material that glues the bracket to each tooth creates an air tight seal, you seldom see white marks underneath the braces but around the braces and along the gum line after braces are removed.
Flouride Treatments used at Advantage Orthodontics
Dr. Ford is now using Vanish (5% Sodium Fluoride White Varnish) to treat some of our patients who are more at risk. This treatment is applied to your teeth during your regularly scheduled appointments. After you leave our office, we ask that you not resume normal brushing until the following morning. Also avoid hot beverages until the next day.
Dr. Ford prescribes Prevident for some of our patients who have plaque build-up around their brackets and gums. Prevident is available by prescription only. Prevident has the highest concentration of neutral sodium fluoride available for home use. It has five times the amount of fluoride of an over-the-counter toothpaste.
How to use Prevident
At night, brush with Prevident, once per day. Do not swallow the extra paste. Rinse lightly with water only after brushing. Use only a small amount of the Prevident, about the size of a pea.
At Advantage Orthodontics, our goal is to make sure your smile is beautiful and healthy!
Q: [Teens & Tweens] My teen is trying to talk us into opting for Invisalign instead of traditional braces. I’m just not sure he will actually keep them in his mouth. The fact that it is removable just makes me think he’ll be using any excuse — basketball, dates, food/snacks, sax practice, etc. — to avoid wearing them and it will just be a waste of time and money. Should I insist on traditional braces?
A: There is no simple answer to the ‘clear aligners vs. braces’ debate. Ultimately, it depends on individual expectations and one’s desired result. Consider these pros and cons when making an informed decision.
Clear aligners are best suited for minor amounts of simple tooth movement. They are less visible and removable, making them aesthetically suitable for even the most discerning patient. There are still drawbacks to clear aligners, most important of which are the final results of treatment. They cannot correct a bad bite and if one or more teeth do not ‘track’ properly, the next aligner may not fit properly. Additionally, they need to be worn 22 hours per day, 7 days a week, for 2-3 weeks before moving on to the next sequenced aligner.
Traditional braces are the gold standard when it comes to orthodontic problems that can be corrected using fixed appliances. Typically, braces are worn for 12-24 months with adjustments being made every 6-8 weeks. Fixed braces can correct the most severe orthodontic problems and provide better outcomes for a beautiful end result. The downside to traditional braces is they can be viewed as unaesthetic. Also, some patients have challenges keeping them clean, as brushing and flossing with braces is cumbersome. Finally, braces may occasionally develop areas of discomfort from poking wires or broken brackets.
Excerpt from Parenting OC
Because of the addition of braces, you will need to take more time and more care brushing your teeth to ensure that no food or plaque remains.
- Patients should brush above and below the brackets, paying special attention to the space between the gumline and the brackets.
- Be sure to brush all sides of your teeth including the inside, and biting surfaces.
- Gently brush your gums.
Look carefully at your teeth and brackets and if they are not clean and shiny, brush again.
For many patients, a battery operated toothbrush can be helpful. If you use a handheld toothbrush, choose either a soft-bristle or a bi-level toothbrush (one with longer bristles on the edges and shorter ones in the middle).
For hard-to-clean areas a proxabrush is recommended. The small bristles of this special tooth-cleaning aid, which is shaped like a pipe cleaner, can brush between wires, brackets and teeth.
Whatever brush you choose, the key is to brush daily with fluoridated toothpaste. Dr. Ford does advise in certain cases to use a prescription fluoridated toothpaste.
You should floss at least once a day during orthodontic treatment. While it's a little harder to do with braces, there are some special products available, including floss threaders and particular kinds of floss, that can help you get the floss between wires and gum line. Our staff will review proper brushing and flossing techniques with you when your braces are put on, but if you ever have questions, don't hesitate to ask!
If you have a retainer, it should be brushed daily, the same way you brush your teeth.
See your Dentist:
Even though you're seeing an orthodontist regularly, that doesn't mean you don't need to visit your regular dentist. In fact, it's more important than ever! While Dr. Ford is focused on improving your bite and smile, your dentist will make sure your teeth stay healthy with regular examinations, cleanings and preventive care. Your orthodontic treatment is a team effort and our office, you, and your family dentist all have an important role to play. As a team, we have one goal and that is to ensure you have a winning smile.
To stay fresh and germ-free, all retainers require proper cleaning on a daily basis. A Hawley-type retainer (this is the type most often used by Advantage Orthodontics) can be brushed gently with a soft-toothbrush, cold water and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Soaking your retainer in Efferdent, Polydent, or plain lemon juice for five minutes will clean stubborn stain build-up. To freshen up your retainer taste, rinse well with mouthwash (but do not soak them in mouthwash).
Fixed retainers are cleaned by brushing and flossing; a floss threader or interproximal brush can also be a helpful cleaning tool when needed.
Remember to keep retainers away from all animals! Pets love to eat retainers.
Also, remember to always carry- and use - a retainer case. You’d be surprised how many retainers end up folded in a napkin and accidentally discarded. Finally, don’t expose your retainer to excess heat by washing it in hot water, keeping it on a hot dashboard or storing it near a heater. This many cause the retainer to warp and become unusable. Retainers do require periodic replacement, but with proper care your retainer can last about five years.
If your retainer breaks or becomes unusable, please contact our office as soon as possible. Remember, your retainer protects your orthodontic investment.
Habits that Require More Discipline
Be aware that there are certain habits that require more discipline with regards to retainer wear.
- Spacing between teeth prior to treatment
- Mouth breathing
- Clenching or grinding of teeth
- Tongue thrusting or abnormal tongue posture
- Lip sucking
- Pen or pencil biting
- Severely rotated teeth during orthodontic treatment
- Playing a musical instrument with a reed
At Advantage Orthodontics, our goal is to keep your smile beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Retainer-wear as directed by Dr. Ford is essential in order to achieve this goal.
Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for teens - in fact 25% of Advantage Orthodontic’s patients are adults. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) reports adults are seeking orthodontic treatment in record numbers. In 2012 the Association found some telling statistics:
- The number of adult patients climbed 14% from 2010 to 2012
- As of 2012 there was a record high of 1,225,850 patients ages 18 and older
- Collectively, AAO members report treating at least one million adult patients each year since 2004
- In 2012, 44 percent of adult patients were male – a 26 % jump from 2010
For many adults, the thought of having metal braces is a barrier to receiving treatment. That has changed. At Advantage Orthodontics we offer sleek and modern treatments better suited to meet the aesthetic demands of adults. Our treatments include Invisalign, which employs clear, plastic aligners to gradually shift teeth into the ideal position as well as clear traditional braces.
Adults seek treatment for various reasons to include:
- A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
- Teeth are crowded or spaced apart, leading to tooth decay or gum disease
- Abnormal jaw pain or pressure that is caused by a bad bite
- Desire for a healthier mouth and more confident smile
Adults today expect their orthodontic options to be attractive, comfortable and convenient. Invisalign is an excellent option to match these three orthodontics trends and Advantage Orthodontics is a Preferred Invisalign provider.
Trend #1- Attractive
Appearance is paramount to our adult patients, but they don’t want to sacrifice their looks in the short-term for the long-term benefits of a beautiful smile. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners (removable trays that fit gently in the mouth that guide the teeth into place) are virtually invisible.
Trend # 2- Comfort
Invisalign aligners are smooth and comfortable to wear. There is less gum and mouth irritation than traditional teeth-straightening methods. The aligner trays are removable for easy cleaning so you can continue doing all the things you normally would, from brushing and flossing to eating anything you like.
Trend #3 – Convenience
Our patients are looking for a flexible and convenient treatment process to help improve their smiles without making sacrifices to their lifestyle or valuable time. Invisalign requires fewer orthodontic visits to our office and treatment intervals can be adjusted to work with your travel schedule or longer absences. Finally, for special occasions, you can forgo wearing your aligners and pop them back in after the event.
Advantage Orthodontics recognizes that adults and children have different needs and require a different level of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatment, a flexible follow-up schedule, and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from our staff. A stunning smile signifies success and Advantage Orthodontics is ready to help you achieve your best smile.
To learn more about the benefits of adult orthodontics, please contact our practice to schedule a complimentary exam at (989)631-9860.
Orthodontists are the experts within dentistry for tooth alignment and proper occlusion (fit of the bite). Be aware that all orthodontists are dentists but only 10% of dentists are orthodontists. At Advantage Orthodontics, all we do is orthodontics with hundreds of beautiful smiles created every year. Dr. Ford and Dr. Klomparens are both board certified orthodontists who have the knowledge, experience and training to create your healthy, beautiful smile.
Q: So what's the difference between an orthodontist and general dentist?
A: As Orthodontists, Dr Klomparens and Dr Ford attended a full-time university program focusing solely on orthodontics for an additional 2 and 3 years beyond dental school. Orthodontists limit their practice to straightening teeth and aligning jaw irregularities. Orthodontists diagnose and choose the correct treatment from all available treatment options. In other words, at Advantage Orthodontics, orthodontics is all we do, and we do it well.
Q: How do I know if the dentist I am seeing is an orthodontist?
A: There are 4 good questions you should ALWAYS ask the doctor when considering orthodontic treatment (braces or clear aligners):
Question 1: Are you an orthodontist? If you are looking for a specialist with the highest level of training, the only answer is "YES."
Question 2: Where did you do your orthodontic residency, and was it a full-time 2-3 year accredited orthodontic residency program? Dr. Klomparens attended the University of Michigan and Dr. Ford attended the University of North Carolina to earn their masters degrees in Orthodontics.
Question 3: What is your specialist number given by the Michigan State Board of Dentistry? While all dentists and specialists have a "dental license number," only specialists are given a "specialist number" by the state.
Question 4: Are you a Board Certified Orthodontist? YES. Dr. Ford and Dr. Klomparens completed hundreds of hours of preparation for the rigorous process of evaluation by the American Board of Orthodontists. This highest level of certification is achieved by only a third of orthodontists.
Orthodontic treatment is a significant investment of both time and money that will have a tremendously positive impact on your overall health, appearance and smile. By choosing Dr Ford and Dr. Klomparens for your orthodontic treatment, you are in the care of specialists with the highest level of training, education and experience to give you the results you deserve.