Thursday, January 31, 2013

Taking Digital Impressions with an iOC scanner

One of the most invasive and unpleasant parts of the orthodontic process is taking impressions for orthodontic records and retainers.  Over three years ago, Jarrell Orthodontics became the first practice in Indiana to employ the use of an digital iOC Scanner for taking oral impressions.  This means that when you start orthodontic treatment with our office, we don't have to take traditional impressions of your teeth - we do a scan of your teeth - which is as safe and simple as taking a series of photographs.

If you are interested in Invisalign, you will definitely appreciate the iOC scanner.  Traditional impressions for Invisalign are notoriously unpleasant and can be difficult to take accurately.  By using the iOC Scanner, a significantly more accurate "impression" is made which translates into better fitting, more accurate Invisalign aligners.

What is an iOC Scanner?

The iOC Scanner is a digital orthodontic impression system in which a scan is taken of the teeth with a camera-like wand. The traditional way to take an impression is to mix a powder with water creating a paste which is placed in the mouth using a small tray.  The accuracy of the digital system ensures a more accurate impression of the patients mouth is made from the start of treatment, which results in more accurate and improved orthodontic treatment. An accurate impression is the foundation of the accurate study model required for effective treatment planning and orthodontic care.

Why is using an iOC scanner better?

Conventional vs Digital Impressions

• Imaging quality superior to results achieved with alginate or PVS impressions
• Produces a more accurate dental record
• Less invasive for the patient
• Results in more effective treatment
• Less anxious impression experience
• Fewer repeat appointments
• Eliminates the goop, gagging, and patient discomfort experienced by traditional impression moulding

A digital scan performed with iOC is, quite literally, digitally perfect and can be easily produced by our orthodontic assistants in a fraction of the time taken to begin to prepare a conventional impression. At Jarrell Orthodontics we are always on the lookout for new techniques and technologies that can benefit our patients.  We strive to be Ahead of the Curve.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What to expect with a palatal expander

One of the most common orthodontic appliances used in young children is the palatal expander. These appliances look intimidating to patients and the thought of having to “do the turns” every day scares a lot of parents. What can you expect while your child has an expander in their mouth?

Arch expansion is one of the most common ways to eliminate crowding and crossbites in growing patients. Successful expansion requires that the growth plate in the room of the mouth (the midpalatal suture) is not fused. This fusion usually occurs between 14 and 16 years of age, but if expansion is needed in an older teen or even an adult it can be worth it to make the attempt because it is often successful. If the suture is completely fused in an adult, a surgical procedure may be required to allow the expansion, so starting young is important!

An expander is attached to the upper arch by bands placed around the teeth or plastic bonded over the teeth. Although there are removable expanders, fixed ones have an important advantage in that they cannot be lost or forgotten.

While there may be some initial discomfort when an expander is placed just because there has never been anything like that attached to the teeth before, upper arch expansion is relatively painless. Patients report that they feel pressure on the teeth, in the roof of the mouth, behind the nose, and even between the eyes as their expander is activated. This pressure fades within minutes.

Besides pressure, you can also expect your child to speak differently for the first few days. Additionally, you may hear them slurping as their mouth creates extra saliva after expander cementation. One of the most visible signs that the suture is opening (the desired effect) is the appearance of a space between the upper central incisors. The space is created as the expander pushes the two halves of the palate in opposite directions. Once you have stopped activating the expander, it is normal for the space to close spontaneously, often within a few days. This occurs as the elastic fibers in the surrounding gum tissues return to their original positions. The underlying bone, however, remains expanded. It is also normal for the front teeth to feel a little loose and get sore as they move back together.

To make the first couple of days more bearable for your child as they adapt to their new expander, you may want to find some fun foods for them to eat that don’t require a lot of chewing. Examples include pasta, yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, ice cream, etc. A day or two after their delivery appointment, the expander will feel natural in their mouth and normal eating will resume. While expanders are more forgiving of hard and sticky foods than are braces, it is recommended that patient avoid gummy-bear type candies that would get stuck in the expansion screw.

Because there is always some relapse (movement back towards the original size), your orthodontist may choose to over-expand your child’s palate. He will decide how much expansion is necessary as part of the initial diagnosis and treatment plan. After your orthodontist indicates that you’ve reached your target, he will instruct you on how long the retainer should stay in place to stabilize the results. This is usually a few months but may be for the entire length of treatment.