Our Blog

What I did on Vacation

July 13th, 2018

Dr. Nate here today.  So, here we are in the middle of Summer...We sincerely hope everyone has had a great start to their Summer activities!  Our whole family just got back from our yearly beach vacation, and while we were there I was finally able to catch up on the latest Orthodontic news. 

My last post focused on a supposed revolutionary vibration device designed to make Orthodontic treatment go faster.  If you want to re-visit that, click here.  I had concluded that there was no substantial evidence this system would make teeth move faster.  And now I have some semblance of vindication...

There is an Orthodontist in England named Kevin O’Brien who writes a very good blog about Orthodontics.  He is a professor of Orthodontics and a talented writer who has made quite the name for himself, even in the US.  In his most recent post (which is here) he mentioned that the British government, namely the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), forced the company promoting their Orthodontic vibrating device to remove their ads for a very serious reason.  Instead of summarizing, I will pull the important quote.

“The ad must not appear again in its current form.  We told OrthoAccel Technologies Inc. not to make claims that their AcceleDent device could move teeth faster and reduce the pain for brace wearers unless they held adequate evidence to support such claims.”

When I finished Dr. O’Brien’s post, and then read the full ASA document, I could hardly believe it!  And then I became frustrated for two reasons.  First, the same standards haven’t been applied here in the US.  Treatments without excellent research results should not be presented to the public through advertisements!  Secondly, as a supposed learned specialty within Dentistry, Orthodontists should be able to discern good quality research from poor research.  That is our responsibility to the public...don’t treat patients with something that doesn’t work!

If you have made it this far, you should know that I fully understand that this rant has been more cathartic for me than entertaining for you.  Selfish?  Of course.  But my (and Dr. Theresa’s and Dr. Nick’s) standards are very high when it comes to treatment decisions.  Ask us why we do this treatment, and not that one.  We will be glad to tell you, and show you the research backing it up.  

New technology is great, but not always effective.  That is an important distinction. 

Some beach vacation...

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!

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