Saturday, November 30, 2013

Starting Elastics with my Braces in Stouffville!!

7 months in and starting elastics!! Elastics are used for many different reasons, usually connecting the upper jaw with the lower jaw. There are many different patterns which are specified to the patient by your Orthodontist.
Orthodontic Elastics
Reasons for elastics include closing a bite and/or shifting over the lower jaw either forward or back depending on the bite.
Orthodontic elastic on left hand side
For my particular case, you will notice I am in a full upper Power Chain (Chain that closes spaces). The particular elastic I'm wearing is to prevent my upper left canine from shifting forward so my upper midline can shift to the left. I wear the elastic all day and all night except when I'm eating and brushing. It's not bad at all!!!! I barely feel it to be honest :) Which is why it is difficult to remember putting it back on after a meal. A good way to remember and here, at your Stouffville Orthodontist, we tell our patients to keep the elastic around their pinky finger while they eat. It has been working so far!! I cannot wait for my upper midline to shift and all the spaces to close!!! Tune in for the progress!
Orthodontic Elastics

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Braces vs. Invisalign at MCO Stouffville Orthodontist

I have often been asked why I chose to get metal braces instead of going ahead with Invisalign. Most of the people asking have been Invisalign patients at the office.  Invisalign is an excellent option and is definitely one of the more popular options in our office for patients at MCO Orthodontics, due to Dr. Tam's expertise.

As you see in the picture above, Invisalign is portrayed as a better option. Being more comfortable, virtually invisible, and easier to keep clean. These are extremely attractive features with Invisalign.

The reason why I went for braces is that I don't mind the look of the braces or the feel of them. With Invisalign, you have to consciously remove the trays (called aligners) to eat and to drink anything but water. I tend to snack a lot and I am constantly on the go. I didn't want to think about removing the aligners every time I wanted to drink something or when I go to an event.  I still brush and floss after eating, but I don't have to do it right afterwards.  It is crucial for Invisalign to be on the teeth for 22 hours a day. However, braces are on 24 hours a day and I didn't want to think about them as much. The most important thing is knowing how to keep them clean, which as a Dental Hygienist, I know how to do! I also always wanted braces since I was a teenager, but did not have the benefit of getting them. Eating with braces is not as limited as people think. I can still eat anything I want, but I'm careful with them.  Again, most people at my stage of life will want Invisalign, and it's an excellent choice, but working in an orthodontic office around braces makes it easier for me to get them also :).

One of our Dental Hygienist's named Isha is currently going through treatment with Invisalign! You should also check out her Inviaslign blog because she definitely didn't want braces and is extremely happy with her Invisalign. As for myself, I am incredibly happy with my decision to go with the metal braces and love my new MCO smile so far!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Progress of My Stouffville Braces Treatment!

As promised, here are my progress photos of my treatment involving an extraction.  It has been 5 months so far into treatment and I can't believe how straight my teeth are!

Initial records MCO Stouffville Orthdontics
Progress Records MCO Stouffville Orthdontics
You will notice that Dr. Jason Tam has begun closing the space where my tooth was extracted. Starting with my first premolar, and eventually we will work on shifting my front teeth over. The blue stuff present on my upper molars is called occlusal bonding. It is used to prevent the top teeth from biting on the lower brackets. It will be removed once I no longer need it! 

I found the most noticeable difference would be my profile. The position of my lips in my progress photos are move relaxed. I am very happy with the changes!! I'll keep you all updated with progress photos every few months!!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Goodbye Tooth! Dental Extraction for My Braces Treatment in Stouffville!

When someone thinks of a tooth extraction, they do everything to avoid it. However, in orthodontics it is not always a bad thing and can be a good thing in some situations!  In my case, Dr. Tam, my orthodontist at MCO Stouffville Orthodontics, explained that I needed an upper left premolar extracted for my upper midline shift. In my initial photos, you will see that the middle of my 2 front teeth is not aligned with my nose. It is almost a full tooth to the right. Extracting 1 of my upper left premolars will give space to shift over my teeth to the left to centre the midline.

I had a dental fear in the past, especially when it came to tooth extractions. It only takes one bad experience when you are younger to traumatize you. Most of the fear people have is because they don't understand or know what is really going on. It is important to find a dentist that makes you comfortable and explains things very well to you. My dentist I have had for 15 years now helped me with gaining confidence in dentistry and getting over my fear!  I had 4 wisdom teeth out when I was 19 and the experience was a very good one. So when it came to extracting 1 small tooth, I wasn't too worried.

My dentist made me very comfortable, gave me anaesthetic to freeze the whole tooth and within 2 minutes, it was out!!!!
Tooth #25!!!
The after-effect was very minimal. Soft foods for the remainder of the day and Advil for any discomfort as well as preventing inflammation. It was a little uncomfortable for the same day I got the tooth extracted, but then I didn't feel it at all!!! Another great experience!!! I'm excited to show off the progress photos on my next posting :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Getting My Braces at My Orthodontist in Stouffville !

So the day finally came!!! Being a dental hygienist, and having placed braces in Stouffville with hundreds of  patients, I was very intrigued as to how it felt. I will go over how the process actually works, and then how I felt about the procedure. Follow along with my journey at MCO Stouffville Orthodontics!
Selfie before my braces go on.
After my impressions were taken and models were made, one of our team members prepared my braces with what is called an indirect bonding method. The braces are placed directly on your model and Dr. Tam checks to see where the braces should be placed.  This means that Dr. Tam is the one that determines where your braces are placed, even though it might not seem like it. Then we are able to make custom trays out of these braces on your model, so that the braces go on each arch all at once, comfortably and accurately!
Model of my teeth 
The day of the appointment, a resin material is placed on the braces to prepare them for your mouth. In order for this resin to dry and set, everything needs to be very dry. Retractors are used in order to keep the cheeks and lips off the teeth. The following are step by step pictures of the Indirect bonding procedure.

1. Dental Hygienist Stephanie working with me.  She's been a hygienist for over ten years, is great and speaks English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Taiwanese!
2. Cheek retractors and tongue guard used to help keep my teeth free from any saliva.
3. Stephanie polishing my teeth before the braces go on.
4. Inserting the custom tray of braces made specifically to my teeth from my dental models.
5. Stephanie using a high intensity light to harden the resin in order for my braces to stay on my teeth. It is very important not to look directly into the light because it is not good for your eyes. The dental hygienist has an orange guard to look through.
6. The top and bottom are completed the exact same way. Once the braces are on, you must remove the trays that are covering them!
7. Checking to make sure every brace is well adhered to my teeth.
8. Final product :)

Once all the braces are on, the wires need to be placed to complete the process! The brackets are placed in a specific area on the tooth for maximum anchorage, and the wires are engaged inside the brackets to move the teeth. The coloured and silver elastics are what hold the wires in place. At each adjustment appointment, I will be able to change my colours! You will notice that my wires are not completely straight. The reason being that my teeth are not straight. The first wire used is a Nickel Titanium wire that is flexible, yet set in it's shape, so the teeth will start to straighten because the wire will try to straighten itself out. The pressure of this wire wanting to re-take it's shape is what will gradually move my teeth!!
Braces with wires.

We skipped the part about how to take care of the braces, what to eat, etc, but we normally sit down for about 15 minutes and go through a hands on demonstration on this.  We also give you a kit of everything you need to take care of your braces.

Getting the braces put on was completely painless. However, when the wires get tied in, it does feel very tight. The braces also feel rough against the inside of my cheeks and lips. Already have a few canker sores, but that can definitely happen! My inner lips and cheeks will toughen up over time. In a couple weeks I will be getting my upper left pre-molar removed by my general dentist. Looking forward to seeing the progress!!!

Thank you so much to MCO Orthodontics for giving me a great experience!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Impressions for my Stouffville Braces: The Next Step Towards Getting My Braces!

One of the first steps in orthodontic treatment at our Stouffville Orthodontist is a dental impression, to create records of my teeth. It is taken in order to finalize a treatment plan, and in my case, to prepare my braces for indirect bonding (I will describe this in more detail in a future entry).

I had my impressions taken a few days ago! The impression material called alginate is placed inside impression trays that the dental hygienist or assistant chooses to fit your mouth.
Alginate impression trays for models

Then you place it inside the patients mouth and wait for it to harden. It usually takes 30-45 seconds.

Selfie having my impression taken at my Stouffville Orthodontist!
Out came an impression of my teeth and a wax bite for how my teeth fit together.
This whole process only took a few minutes doing top and bottom, including a wax bite to figure out the position of my jaw/teeth when they are together.

Many people are worried about gagging.  The picture above shows my upper impression with too much material in it.  The material flowing into the back of the throat is not necessary (but I wanted you to see what it might look like!) and can be avoided by the impression-taker not filling the tray completely.  It is very important to breathe through your nose while the impression is taken. If the patient gags during this process, the hygienist/assistant is not able to remove the impression from the mouth until it is set.

A few easy tips to make this as seamless as possible:

-Breathe through your nose.
-Keep your tongue down & don't swallow.
-If you do start to gag, start to kick your legs! It distracts your mind from gagging and when your stomach muscles tighten, you won't feel like gagging anymore.

Keep in mind that there is also another way to take a record of the teeth with an intraoral scanner.  You can learn more about the Invisalign iOC scanner we have here:

In a couple days my braces will be ready!!! So excited to finally get them put on after so many years of wanting them.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Journey to A Beautiful Smile with Stouffville Orthodontist Dr. Jason Tam

My name is Emma and am currently a Registered Dental Hygienist at a Markham Orthodontist. I've been in the dental field for about 8 years now, starting as a Level II Dental Assistant at an Endodontic (Root canal specialist) office. I joined TeamMCO in the fall of 2011 and after seeing so many beautiful MCO smiles, I decided to get my own perfect smile!

When I was younger, my mom could not afford braces. Understandable seeing as she is a single mom with three kids. Wanting the perfect smile, I decided to seek out a consultation when I was 19 at a previous Orthodontist office. The Orthodontist informed me that I am a surgery case. Meaning I would need 3 years of braces, with upper and lower jaw surgery because my lower jaw was too far back. Being 19, my body stopped its growth, therefore we were not able to direct my lower jaw forward with appliances. Then I was told once my lower jaw came forward with surgery, my chin might have to get shaved down because it was very prominent. Once hearing about that last part, I decided against it. So life went on and I always had the idea of braces in the back of my mind. Working with MCO Orthodontics brought that back to the forefront.

Dr. Jason Tam gave me an alternate treatment option knowing that I did not want surgery. The option was braces for 2 years, with an extraction of my upper left premolar to correct my deviated midline and class 2 elastics. I could have chosen Invisalign, ceramic braces or metal braces. I decided on metal braces. As we move forward in my 2 years of treatment, I will describe the process of getting the braces and the journey that comes along with adjustments as well as getting my premolar extracted!