Stark County

Bad Tooth Bart!!

February 4th, 2019

Welcome to February everyone!  While this month is considered many things, it holds a special place in dentistry because it is National Children’s Dental Health Month.  To celebrate, The American Dental Association sponsors many events nationally, as well as locally.  One of the largest community events, Give Kids a Smile Day, was held on February 1st.  The goal is to have local dentists provide dental exams throughout the area schools, especially in under-served areas.   

At Mellion Orthodontics, we celebrate Dental Health Month by providing oral hygiene education to 2nd and 3rd grade classes throughout Stark county.  Our presentation is called ‘Bad Tooth Bart’ (it’s a Spaghetti Western), and it has significantly grown in popularity over the past 8 years.  This year we are scheduled to teach the benefits of good oral hygiene to over 1500 students! 

As always, our team is excited to provide this service.  If you read this and want us to come visit your school, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.  At the end of February we will post pictures of our adventures!

What’s in Your Water?

December 5th, 2018

First things first…we hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Hopefully those who travelled had uneventful trips with nothing approaching Planes, Trains and Automobiles.  But now it is time to return to the business of this blog, TEETH!

We are going to answer 2 questions today.  Do you know if you have fluoridated water?  And what does fluoride have to do with teeth?  

The first question is easily answered.  If you have well water, there is a very strong chance that you do NOT have fluoridated water.  If you have community water (Canton City, Massillon, etc.) then chances are you DO.  

Our second question will take a tad longer and requires some history and science.  Stay with me, it isn’t that boring.  Fluoride was first added to select water supplies in 1945, with The US Public Health Service recommending that water fluoridation be instituted nationwide in 1962 (more on that later).  

The science is very simple.  Fluoride acts much like Calcium in that, when ingested, it collects in certain areas of the body (specifically the bones and teeth).  For children whose permanent teeth are still being formed, the fluoride helps form a compound called Hydroxyapatite, and that gets incorporated into the enamel portion of the new tooth.  Hydroxyapatite makes the tooth stronger and more resistant to the formation of cavities, which is the main benefit of fluoridated water.  Adults also benefit from fluoridated water because Fluoride provides a way to ‘heal’ damaged enamel surfaces through a process called ‘remineralization.’  

Alright, hopefully you are still with me because now I can explain why we decided to talk about this in the first place.  Remember that the US Public Health Service recommended the nationwide implementation of fluoridated water (I only mentioned it 2 paragraphs ago)?  Well without going too deep into our Constitution and the concept of Federalism, local communities have the authority to determine whether their water gets fluoridated, not the Federal Government.  And every November (i.e., election time) the American Dental Association (ADA) sends a newsletter stating that some communities have decided to stop fluoridating their water supply.  It just so happens that this year multiple communities voted to stop!  Why?

It turns out there are two common reasons.  The most common one is the existence of ‘studies’ attempting to connect the presence of fluoridated water with autism and various types of cancer.  These studies are poor at best.  The other often cited reason is a fear of a government putting things into the water supply.  I really don’t feel I need to rationalize that statement…just throw away the tin-foil hats.

In reality, the effects of fluoridated water have been vigorously studied by both the government and private researchers.  And the results are quite clear.  With over 50 comprehensive studies and 25 systematic reviews (think studies of the studies), there is no strong link to cancer or autism.  Water fluoridation has been a resounding success because dental cavity rates have significantly declined since 1962.  The CDC even cited water fluoridation as one of the top 10 most significant public health programs of the 20th century!  

Ok, lets wrap this up.  Obviously we feel that fluoridated water is a tremendous benefit to a growing child’s teeth.  Teeth are going to be stronger and more resistant to cavities.  Adults also see the same benefits but at a more superficial level.  So here is some homework.  You can find out about your water supply by contacting your water company.  Ask them if the water is fluoridated, and what is the concentration.  The current recommendation is 0.7mg/L (that’s milligrams per Liter).  If you have well water, you should ask your Dentist (or Orthodontist) if supplemental vitamins would be beneficial for your kids.  

If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

-Drs. Nate, Theresa and Nick

Thanksgiving Reflections

November 19th, 2018

I sit here on a (very early) Sunday morning planning what is a short work week for our team.  It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here!  I envisioned a dental-focused post about water fluoridation, but that will have to wait until next week.  Instead I find my thoughts drifting towards Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving has always been a favorite time of year for our family, as I am sure it is for yours as well.  So please indulge me while I touch on two of the most important things we are thankful for this season. 

First and foremost, we want to thank our patients and their families for the opportunity to serve them daily.  You are our motivation and the reason we strive to improve.  We are continually humbled by the opportunity you have given us.

Secondly, as doctors we are so thankful to work with such an amazing team.  We are extremely grateful to have a team so dedicated to our patients.

We sincerely hope your family has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And I will leave you with the quote from the great philosopher, Charlie Brown…

“What if, today, we are grateful for everything?”

-Sincerely,

Drs. Nate, Theresa and Nick

 

 

Do-it-Yourself Orthodontics!!!

November 1st, 2018

Welcome back everyone.  While there are still so many topics to discuss, I wanted to briefly touch on one of the newest, and worrisome, fads today in Orthodontics.  

Most likely you have read/heard about Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) companies.  To make sure everyone is on the same page, I will briefly explain.  D2C companies are those that market their goods and services directly to the public.  There are no middlemen (think stores), and as such they are able to reduce their costs AND therefore sell their products more cheaply.  

For this reason D2Cs have exploded in popularity.  Chances are you have heard of (if not bought from) some of the most successful D2C companies.  Do the names Casper (mattresses), Warby Parker (glasses) and Dollar Shave Club sound familiar?  For the record I have purchased items from some of these companies and am thrilled with their products.  Alright, now that we are all caught up…

Dentistry and orthodontics are not immune from the D2C trend.  These companies specifically market do-it-yourself (DIY) treatments.  There are dental labs that will produce snoring appliances, removable dentures, and different versions of veneers to make someone’s smile appear whiter and brighter.  Those are all treatments that have the potential to permanently change teeth, bone and gum tissue!  Even in orthodontics there are now a few companies advertising to produce clear aligners (trays) to straighten teeth!  

The American Dental Association (ADA) and American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) have both released statements regarding these D2C companies.  Obviously consumers, when using D2Cs, are bypassing the doctor’s essential role in diagnosing and treatment planning.  What could possibly go wrong with this scenario? 

Well, apparently many things have gone wrong and now the American Dental Association (ADA) is working with the FDA on helping consumers report their problems.  Check out the article here.   

In our own practice we have re-treated 5 people in the past year who have tried their luck with DIY orthodontics.  Also, one of our colleagues recently posted a video of a patient who was seeking his orthodontic expertise to correct a DIY treatment gone bad.  I was going to include it but it was recently taken down because the D2C company is suing him!  Go figure.  

Obviously we discourage anyone from pursuing DIY dental or orthodontic treatments.  Without proper oversight, these seemingly “simple” and “easy” treatments can lead to irreversible harm at worst, or simply a very expensive re-treatment at best.  Unfortunately I don’t believe we can now close Pandora’s box.  DIY treatments will remain, especially as their marketing budgets swell and consumers remain largely uneducated on the necessity of doctor-based care.  

So, why write something like this?  Well maybe you will share it with someone who is thinking about DIY orthodontics.  If nothing else perhaps it will persuade them to dig a little deeper with their research.  Consumer education is everything, and hopefully this helps.   

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. 

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…

Stewardship

June 21st, 2017

Dr. Nate here today, and I thought I would write about something entirely outside of dentistry: community pride.  Canton, Ohio has been my home my entire life.  After a 10 year period away at different schools, I couldn’t wait to move back home and raise a family here.  Unfortunately, with my generation, and now the Millennial generation, this is becoming more and more rare.

Why am I proud to live in Canton?  Quite simply, the people are fantastic!  Certainly it isn’t for the weather…but is it really that bad????  No comments on that, please.

Another source of local pride is Hall of Fame Week.  Knowing that all of the football inductees speak with The Pro Football Hall of Fame in the background on national TV is a proud moment as a significant portion of the country focuses on Canton.  There aren’t too many cities our size that receive such exposure!

But I feel there is more to community pride than a TV event.  To me there can’t be pride without the responsibility to be a steward to the community.  And that requires ACTION!

At the beginning of 2017 I was honored to be a part of Leadership Stark County’s Spotlight Program.  I included the link for those that are interested.  At our meetings we learned about some of the inner-workings of Stark County— how it runs, open service projects, our local history, and so much more.  I gained a tremendous level of respect for those who have helped shape Stark County (and the surrounding areas).  Their secret?  Service to others.

My hope (and challenge) is that you use this summer of 2017 for more than vacations, pool time, sports, or even barbecues.  Become engaged in our community, maybe even do something service oriented.  Be a steward for this amazing place we all call home.

Photos Credited:

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_benkrut'>benkrut / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_benkrut'>benkrut / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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