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We need to keep things in perspective. In the early 80’s, the percentage of adults in an orthodontic practice was at most, 20%. Nowadays, adults can be anywhere from 40 to 60% of the patient base of any given practice throughout the United States. It’s very important, or at least, it was very important for us to be able to cater to the needs of those adult patients, which in some events are different from the needs of a patient that is in his or her teens. For instance, some adult patients may have bruxism problems. They wear down their teeth a lot faster than younger patients, just because they have that ailment, which can also lead to problems of your joint, which is also known as TMJ.
We’ve been able to incorporate the features of our retainer for a patient that has just finished orthodontic treatment with the features of a splint appliance. The splint is basically a sign so that you do not load up your TMJ, and it also helps you to protect against early attrition of your dental enamel. That has been a huge hit for our adult patients. Moreover, some of these patients may also have rehab work done to their arches, so they may have crowns, they may have implants, and they may have bone grafts. Having this splint that protects their teeth is pretty much insurance for their investment. When you think about, if you add things up from a orthodontic treatment, to a dental implant, to a crown, young adults, or adults in general do have a sizable investment in the way they want their teeth to look, and we want to be able to give them the tools to protect that investment on the long term.
That’s how we cater to our adult patients. Also, we make appliances more aesthetic, if you will. A dreaded feature of a regular retainer is the labial bow across your teeth, so when you smile, when you grin, people are able to see that wire coming across your teeth, so we are able to give, or manufacture retainers for these patients that have a labial bow that you can barely see, because it’s made out of a very high quality plastic. Also, the color combinations, the way we finish the acrylic, everything is geared toward giving patients a more aesthetic look, while also meeting the function the appliance is going to have. That’s how we cater to our growing number of adult patients.
Traditionally, retainers have been clear pink or clear; however, there has been a huge trend that has taken place in changing that tradition of clear and clear and pink. The reason is simple, patients nowadays need to have a little bit more other than, “You need to wear this,” in order to do something. Having the ability to personalize one’s retainer increases the likelihood of the patient wearing the retainer because now there is a connection, there is a bond. “I helped create this. I’m having it in the color I like. I have it with my pet’s picture embedded into the retainer. I have my jersey number,” or, “I have the karate school’s logo in it and it’s black because I’m a black belt.” Those are the connections that patients make with their retainers, which make them far more likely to
wear their retainer.
When a patient undergoes orthodontic treatment, during the entire course of the treatment the orthodontist is on the driver’s seat because the orthodontist, whether the patient wants or not … The braces are fixed to your teeth, so things are going to happen regardless. Compliance is not really a factor unless you need for the patient to wear elastics, or things of that nature, but all that changes when the patient finishes treatment and you give the patient a retainer, because now the orthodontist is relying 100% on the willingness of the patient to wear that retainer. Sure, traditional wisdom will say, “Well, he underwent two years of treatment. It has been a huge sacrifice for the patient and their parents to get this treatment. He or she is going to wear their retainer.” Not so in some cases. Having the ability to customize that retainer, to personalize the color, really increases the likelihood for the patient to wear their retainer.
The inspiration comes from many places. A lot of times, it is our own technicians. For instance, we have a design called Florida, and it’s pretty much like a landscape, if you will, of the sun coming down at the beach, with birds and all that. Who would have thought that all of that could be clustered into a little retainer? A lot of times, inspiration comes from patients themselves. They say, “Hey, I want the picture of my pet in the retainer,” or, “Hey, I have this cool picture of a galaxy. Can you put it in there?” Or, “Hey, my favorite album is Pink Floyd’s Prism. Can you put it in there?” So, it goes.
The options are endless and we cater to any request, from any patient. Having such a wide variety of colors to start with, and allowing patients latitude to create their own, has really given us a powerful tool to elicit compliance from patients. That’s why colors, nowadays, are very important when manufacturing orthodontic appliances.
OrthoDenco Sports Guards
Over the years OrthoDenco has seen an optic on the demand for splint appliances because more adult patients are entering or seeking dental treatment. We’ve been able to expand our offering when it comes to splints, we now specialize our plans based on the specific need of the patient, whether it is grinding of the teeth or if we want to level the bite or position the jaw in a certain place or not allow the patient to load up the joint. It’s very very specialized and over the years we’ve been able to develop an entire line of appliances that caters to that.
It’s not only how it’s finished, it’s also the material. We now have access to special materials that increase the level of performance of these appliances. The chief complaint for patients wearing the splints in years past was that they couldn’t tolerate a splint over two hours because the appliance is so rigid. You can imagine just having something really stiff on your teeth is going to tire you very quickly. The materials we use now are more benign that way and allow the patient to really use it over extended periods of time, which of course allow them to really see the benefits of undergoing treatment with such appliance.
That’s the splints. Now, the night guards also have allowed us to cater to that specific segment of patients that just want relief while they’re sleeping. The night guards do not necessarily will position your jaw or seek certain specific things but the main purpose for those is to achieve comfort and to avoid early attrition of the teeth. On both of those aspects, we’ve come a long way in understanding what the needs are in catering to those at the highest level of performance.
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OrthoDenco Gives Back to the Community
OthoDenco at Florida Association of Orthodontists Annual Meeting March 3-5
OrthoDenco is proud sponsor and attendee of the Florida Association of Orthodontists (FAO) Annual Meeting. The FAO Annual Meeting will be held at the Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza, March 3-5, 2017.
The FAO Annual Meeting offers nine hours of continuing education and is a great opportunity for orthodontists to learn new techniques and check out local vendors.
To learn more about OrthoDenco contact us, or visit us during the Florida Association of Orthodontists Annual Meeting.
Orthodontic Appliances at OrthoDenco
OrthoDenco is a full-service Orthodontic lab facility, at the lab we have the ability of making the simplest and most ubiquitous appliances like a retainer, to the most complex and custom made. Retainers, again, are the most common and we do those all the time, but not each case is the same. Even with retainers, a lot of times we have our doctors calling in to talk to our technicians about designing or changing the design on a particular retainer, to address a specific need. It goes the same across the board. We have other appliances that we do all the time, including functionals like the Herbst appliance, that sometimes need to be modified for a specific need or purpose. Including the age of the patient, which matters a lot in terms of the size of the mouth, and how do you lay out the design of the appliance, it can be efficient while also comfortable for the patient.
At the same time, we sometimes get calls because doctors may have a very special case that is being treated surgically; and so, when it comes down to cases that are being treated with oral surgery, you need to have custom-made appliances. These are not appliances that you can find in a book, but rather that you piece together from different [trends 00:01:33] or different solutions, that the orthodontist may have seen before. Having the experience we have, which is over 35 years in orthodontics, and having the ability of making everything in-house, gives us that latitude to be able to help our customers with whatever their needs are.