What do orthodontists do?
Orthodontists are puzzle experts who are deeply skilled in understanding the complex ways that teeth and facial bones grow together to help you smile, speak, chew and even breathe. After dental school, orthodontists take a further two to three years of schooling to master the physics of the face. Orthodontics is a profession that requires a mathematical mindset and an engineer’s facility with designing and building devices to solve a problem.
Dr. Serban Nicolaescu and Dr. Shawn Faust are part of the orthodontics team at Smilebuilderz. What makes them smile? Dr. Faust is the son of an orthodontist and is busy raising his own 3-year-old son to become a third-generation orthodontist. Dr. Nicolaescu has three children, ages 10 months, 4 and 6. As parents, both doctors are eager to share their knowledge of orthodontics with other parents.
Surprising orthodontic facts every parent should know
Orthodontics has come a long way since the days when parents may have had braces themselves. One major change, says Dr. Faust, is that tooth extraction is much less common than it used to be. Sometimes extraction may still be necessary if a patient’s mouth is severely crowded, Dr. Faust says, but the use of palate expanders has greatly reduced the need to pull teeth. Palate expanders make the upper jaw wider, thus creating more room for the teeth.
Another significant development in modern orthodontics, Dr. Faust says, is that the entire process is much less cumbersome than it used to be. Gone are the days of smelly, uncomfortable molds clamped into the patient’s mouth, a procedure that was especially vexing to young children. The orthodontics team at Smilebuilderz uses the latest in digital scanning technology to create a model of the patients’ mouth entirely without contact or stress.
Dr. Nicolaescu says that parents should also know that Invisalign (a transparent teeth aligner) is now an appropriate treatment for adolescents who have mild to moderate crowding. If your teen is put off by how braces look, ask if Invisalign is an option. Invisalign has the advantage of requiring fewer visits to the office, easier oral hygiene and fewer dietary restrictions. This flexibility makes Invisalign more compatible with playing sports, which can be a concern for many teens.
Can children avoid braces?
Can parents do anything to help their children avoid braces? Maybe. Dr. Nicolaescu says that one important way parents can help their children avoid braces is by discouraging thumb sucking, especially as the child leaves babyhood. Thumb sucking can distort growing jaws, potentially pulling teeth out of alignment and interfering with proper bite.
Interestingly, the orthodontists at Smilebuilderz can actually help your child give up thumb sucking by providing a custom-fitted thumb-sucking appliance. Dr. Nicolaescu says that a thumb-sucking appliance sits inside the mouth and makes thumb sucking uncomfortable. The appliance can be removable or fixed, and gently discourages thumb sucking every time the child attempts it. This provides the added advantage of removing conflict over thumb sucking from the parent-child relationship.
Dr. Faust says that another factor in avoiding braces is keeping up with regular dental hygiene appointments throughout childhood. Regular cleanings ensure that the child does not develop small problems that later become large problems that might impact the growth and development of the teeth and jaw.
According to Dr. Nicolaescu, many parents don’t realize that an initial orthodontic screening should be performed at age 7, before all of the baby teeth have fallen out. Why so young? Catching orthodontic problems when children are young can shorten treatment time, reduce expense and provide better outcomes.
Why orthodontics at Smilebuilderz is different
Dr. Nicolaescu says that one word defines the difference at Smilebuilderz: teamwork. The orthodontists at Smilebuilderz can collaborate with fellow team members from every area of dental expertise, including oral surgeons, periodontists, pediatric dentists, anesthetists, endodontists and general dentists. This collaborative, all-under-one-roof approach is unique in Lancaster County and ensures comprehensive orthodontic treatment.
Why is this such a big deal for patients?
Dr. Faust says that having all the specialties in one place saves patients time, money and hassle. Patients can schedule an appointment with a specialist in the same visit as their general cleaning. Consulting with multiple specialists about a dental problem is as easy as walking across the hall. Sharing records and information is instantaneous. This synergistic, inclusive approach to dentistry is sure to bring a smile to the face of every Smilebuilderz patient.
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