Archive for April, 2012

Will I still have to wear a retainer after Invisalign?

Many patients are turning to Invisalign for their orthodontic treatment because the system looks better and is more convenient.

Your dentist will use the system of clear plastic trays to reposition the teeth based on the basic orthodontic principles of exerting specified forces on the teeth to move them.

This process is facilitated by remodeling of the bone. Essentially, the patient’s previous bone structure breaks down. Then, the teeth are relocated and new bone support builds up around them to secure the new positions. After active treatment, retainers help to reinforce this new bone structure. 

Many patients are turning to Invisalign for their orthodontic treatment because the system looks better and is more convenient.

Regardless of the type of orthodontic intervention used, the teeth have a natural tendency to revert back to their original position after active treatment. If no retainer is in place, the months spent in orthodontics will be all for naught!

So, yes, even Invisalign patients need to wear retainers if they want to preserve their perfectly aligned smiles.

Invisalign patients have different retainer options. They may choose a traditional retainer, which is made of plastic and wires, or opt for the more modern style retainer, which is made of clear plastic and looks similar to an Invisalign tray. Invisalign patients often go with a more modern retainer to maintain minimal intrusion on the appearance of their smiles.

Some patients believe that they can use their final Invisalign aligner tray as a substitute for a retainer, but that is not wise. The aligner trays are intended to move the teeth rather than hold them in place, as a retainer does. If you wear an aligner tray as a retainer, your teeth may continue to move past their targeted positions.

Dentists used to think that patients only needed to wear retainers for several years after treatment, but more recent research is supporting the idea of lifetime retention. So, if you’re going to have to wear your retainer for decades, you need to be comfortable with the retainer that you choose.

To learn more about Invisalign orthodontic treatment in Round Rock and the surrounding areas, contact our experienced team at Balcones Family Dental.

Posted in: Invisalign

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Purpose of Dental Sealants

dentist North AustinPatients who are particularly susceptible to cavities may need to take additional steps beyond brushing and flossing to protect their teeth. In such cases, dentists may use dental sealants as an extra safeguard for patients’ pearly whites.

Dental sealants may also be beneficial for patients who don’t have access to enough fluoride, such as those who live in communities without fluoridated water.

This treatment involves a thin layer of plastic that creates a seal between the tooth and the rest of the mouth. The sealant is applied in liquid form and then hardened, or cured, using a special light. The whole process happens right in the office and it takes only about a half hour, at most.

Dental sealants are most often applied to the molars, which have larger chewing surfaces along with pits and grooves in which bacteria and bits of food can collect. It can be difficult to keep those areas totally clean.

Because children sometimes are not yet adept at brushing and flossing, dental sealants have a great deal of value for patients in this age group. Kids are also inclined to choose sweet, sticky foods as treats.

Although a dentist often recommends dental sealants for pediatric patients, teenagers and adults may also need to have the treatment. The premolars and molars continue to have a high likelihood of decay, in comparison with the other teeth, well into adulthood.

Dental sealants are very affordable, and the investment is even more worthwhile when you consider the potential outcomes of postponing treatment until decay is present. To put it in perspective, a sealant costs less than a filling. The treatment is less invasive, too.

Even when dental sealants are in place, patients still need to be fastidious about brushing and flossing. Although they are quite durable, lasting for up to a decade, sealants still need to be restored and repaired periodically to ensure that the patient gets maximum protection.

For more information on dental sealants, contact the North Austin office of Dr. Paul Lounsberry at 512-200-7422 today.

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