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Posts for: August, 2016


Wearing braces isn't just for teenagers — straightening teeth can be just as viable a need when you're an adult. For example, it may be necessary to first move teeth away from an empty tooth socket before you obtain a dental implant or other restoration.

But braces could have complications, especially if you have periodontal (gum) disease. These infections caused by plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles, inflame and weaken gum tissues and erode supporting bone. It can be treated and brought under control — but keeping it under control requires daily brushing and flossing, along with frequent office cleanings and checkups.

Braces can make this more difficult: it's harder to brush and floss effectively through the hardware of brackets and wires, which can give plaque a chance to build up. Patients susceptible to gum disease are more likely to have re-infections while wearing braces. The hardware can also cause enamel to come in prolonged contact with acid, which can dissolve its mineral content and open the door to tooth decay.

Clear aligners are an alternative to braces that can accomplish tooth movement while minimizing infection flare-ups for people with gum disease. Aligners are a series of customized clear plastic trays worn over the teeth, with each succeeding tray incrementally moving the teeth further than the preceding one. After wearing one tray for a specified time period, you then switch to the next tray. The teeth gradually move to the desired new position over the course of the aligner series.

This option is especially advantageous for gum disease patients because the trays can be removed temporarily for brushing and flossing. There are also other benefits: we can hide a missing tooth space with a temporary false tooth attached to the aligner; and, they're nearly invisible so it won't be obvious to others you're undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Not all orthodontic situations benefit from this alternative, while some cases may call for a combination approach between aligners and braces. But in the right setting, clear aligners are a good choice for not only obtaining better teeth position, but also helping you avoid a new encounter with dental disease.

If you would like more information on orthodontic treatments for adult teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
August 11, 2016
Category: Invisalign
Tags: invisalign  

Learn more about caring for your Invisalign trays from your Pittsburgh dentist.

Do you have questions about caring for your Invisalign trays? Dr. John Sartorio, who practices cosmetic dentistry in Pittsburgh, PA, invisalignexplains why it's important to clean your trays daily.

What happens if I don't clean my trays?

Your aligner trays will soon look and smell awful if you don't spend a few minutes cleaning them every day. Smelly bacteria will begin to grow on your uncleaned trays, thanks to the the combination of plaque and dried saliva. If plaque begins to build up on your trays, they'll look cloudy and ruin the appearance of your clear braces.

How should I clean my Invisalign trays?

Keep your trays clean by rinsing them when you remove them from your mouth and just before you reinsert them again. Place your trays in your case when you remove them to eat. If you don't keep them covered, they may be exposed to bacteria and other germs.

Use anti-bacterial soap and a toothbrush to clean your trays every day. Brush trays thoroughly, and make sure you clean grooves and other recessed areas that can trap plaque and bacteria. Choose a clear type of soap, as colored soap can stain your trays. A soft-bristled toothbrush will help keep your Invisalign trays in good shape.

Although it might seem like a good idea to use toothpaste on your trays, many types of toothpaste are abrasive and can scratch or damage your trays. Cleaning them with anti-bacterial soap is a much better idea. After cleaning, rinse your aligner trays thoroughly before placing them in your mouth. Be sure to use cool water to rinse your trays because hot water can warp them.

If you notice a coating of plaque on your aligner trays, use Invisalign-brand magic crystals or denture cleaner to remove the coating. After the trays soak for the recommended time, brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove the loosened plaque.

Invisalign is an excellent cosmetic dentistry option that allows you to improve your smile without the wires and brackets required for traditional braces. If you're interested in straightening your teeth with this clear brace option, call Dr. Sartorio, your Pittsburgh, PA dentist, at (412) 831-8700. Transform your smile with Invisalign!

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
August 01, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”

Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.

A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:

  • Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
  • Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
  • Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
  • Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.

If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”