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Good Vibrations

March 28th, 2018

Dr. Nate here today and I wanted to discuss a new trend in Orthodontics.

Every profession chases their own ‘Holy Grail.’  It is the target at which progress attempts to hit.  Orthodontics is no different…but what IS our target?

Speed.  And more speed.  In fact, this is the most common question we hear…”How long do I have to be in braces?”  It is an appropriate question too.  Families want to get the maximum benefit with the minimum treatment time.  That not only helps the patient in terms of the final smile, but also minimizes the biggest risk of Orthodontics (think oral hygiene here).   

The quest for faster treatments has had many targets.  For example, bracket designs have been changed umpteen times and wires have been modified in both materials and sizes.  The result after roughly 75 years of tinkering…a slow, but definite decrease in treatment time.  Recently, however, speed has plateaued with traditional appliances.  More novel concepts are being developed and brought to market.

One popular product is focused on making teeth move faster with vibration.  They make a powerful assertion…use their device for 20 minutes a day and teeth will move up to 50% faster!  Amazing, right? 

But, as with anything else in the medical and dental worlds, research results are the ultimate proof of success.  As of me typing this on a very early Saturday morning there are 4 published articles on this topic.  Any guesses as to the consensus???

Three out of the four articles show absolutely no increase in tooth movement when using this vibrating device.  The one article with a positive increase (0.37mm) in tooth movement per month is barely more than the width of a human hair (0.2mm).  This apparent outlier actually has other very serious problems with their statistical analysis, and if that sounds like an interesting conversation to have let me know…

So, what is the point of all of this?  If you made it this far, here you go.  If you picture Orthodontics as a biological process (which it is), bone and bone cells are the arbiter of treatment time.  Logically, do bone cells “care” that they are being vibrated?  And is their response going to be to make the teeth move faster?  The research clearly states that the answer to both of those questions is a resounding NO. 

We obsess over the best research to determine whether new treatments are going to make a difference to our patients.  If we use it, then we can easily back up WHY.  If we don’t, well make your own conclusions.  Speed is undoubtedly important, but we NEVER compromise the quality of our treatments.  And the smiles are all the better for it. 

A Thank You to Our Patients

December 23rd, 2017

Thank you to everyone who donated their time and money to help make this year’s Christmas gift drive a spectacular success.  For the past few years we have partnered with The Haslinger Pediatric Palliative Care Center of Akron Children’s Hospital in order to do some small part in making the Holidays better for families who have a child with a serious illness. 

We are profoundly humbled by your generosity.  This is a time of year that pulls us in so many directions, and yet look at all of the presents under our tree! 

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Thank you for being a part of our Orthodontic family, and we are honored to serve you. 

Sincerely,

Drs. Nate, Theresa and Nick and the Mellion Team.

Dr. Nate Writes a Poem...

December 13th, 2017

As I sit down every Tuesday night to brainstorm over the week's blog post, I find my mind easily wanders.  And, most of the time that is a unwelcome distraction.  However, last night I went quickly from Orthodontics...to Christmas.  The reason is obvious, but what came next was very serendipitous (or, at least, amusing).  So, without any more ado let me present my Orthodontic interpretation of "The Night Before Christmas."  Enjoy...

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even for floss;

The rubber bands were all set in their mouths with care,

In the hope that Dr. Nick soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of braces danced in their heads,

And Mom with her Invisalign, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap-

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away down the hall I flew like a kite,

Tore open the door, and threw on the light. 

The moon on the surface of the new fallen snow,

Gave the luster of white teeth to objects below;

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so spry and so quick,

I knew in a moment it must be Dr. Nick!

More rapid than a plane his reindeer they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.

“Now! Brushin', now! Flossin', now! Fixin', and Pliers,

On! Molars, on! Cuspids, on! Incisors, and Wires.”

“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

Now scrub away! Scrub away! Scrub away all!”

As plaque leaves before our appointments we try,

When they meet the doctors with eyes to the sky.

So up to the house-top the reindeer they flew,

With a sleigh full of brushing supplies—And Dr. Nick too:

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. 

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney Dr. Nick came with a bound:

He was so dapper dressed, from his head to his foot,

But his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of gloves and tools flung on his back,

And he looked like our doctor as he opened his pack:

His eyes—how they twinkled!  His dimples how merry,

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry.

His smile was drawn all up like a bow,

And his teeth were like pearls as white as snow;

His spectacles were held high and light on his nose,

With his white doctor's coat down to his toes. 

He had a thin face, and the kindest of eyes

They twinkled when he smiled, like he'd won a prize.

He was skinny and fit, a right jolly old elf. 

And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to work,

And fix’d all our smiles; then turn’d with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside with his nose

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew, like a down of a thistle:

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-

Happy Christmas to all, and to all smile bright!

Netflix Loves Teeth-Part Deux

December 6th, 2017

Dr. Nate here again today on the blog. Last week I left everyone in suspense regarding Part Deux of Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things and their connections to the dental world. If you didn’t read last week’s post, head back to our blog to catch up!

Now, in full disclosure I didn’t notice this other dental connection myself. It came across my email from a friend/colleague in Missouri. What’s cool about this connection is it’s much more specific to Orthodontics than General Dentistry.

Recall last week I wrote about Dustin’s (real-life Gaten Matarazzo) genetic condition called Cleidocranial Dysplasia. It requires significant dental work, which Dustin frequently referenced in this second season by calling his new teeth ‘pearls.’ The second connection to Orthodontics is actually a t-shirt!

In one of the episodes, Dustin is wearing a t-shirt that reads “Brace Yourself for the Future!” It is from an Orthodontist in Springfield, MO named Dr. Wes Allai. When he first opened his practice in 1982, he made these shirts to hand out to his community. They are cool in the way the rest of Stranger Things is cool…very 1980’s. The graphics and the wording all point to something very familiar to those of us who did grow up in the 80s.

I found a recent interview with Dr. Allai and he said he doesn’t know how one of his shirts made its way onto the set of Stranger Things. He stopped making them over 30 years ago! But, being a true business man he is now offering the same shirts through Etsy.

And, yes, I did already buy one…

Generations of Smiles