Herzliya, Israel – August 31, 2017 – CephX and SIRONA Dental Systems signed a partnership agreement, to integrate AlgoCeph technology and service into Sirona’s Sidexis software, and distribute is to its clients worldwide. The service official launch will take place in Las-Vega, USA, September 14-16th, at the Dentsply-Sirona World convention.
One of the most overlooked — yet extremely important — stages of orthodontic therapy is that of retention. After all, we all know that relapse is a serious concern for anyone who has recently completed their orthodontic treatment. Yet for many patients, there just isn’t as much concern for a retainer as there is for their braces.
Emphasize Home Care
Your patients remember how important it was to keep their braces, appliances, and other orthodontia completely clean. While they’re still in the same mindset, shift that concern to the maintenance of their retainers before they ever leave your office.
The closer you compare retainers with braces, the easier it is to shift that concern so that they are one and the same. For example, you may want to roll over some of the same “rules,” like:
- Clean your retainer with lukewarm tap water. Hot water could cause removable appliances to warp and not fit properly.
- Use only approved cleansers to lift away debris and prevent buildup, as harsh chemicals could lead to the material becoming brittle, breaking, or discolored.
- Do not eat with your (removable) retainer in place, as it could cause it to break.
- Clean around fixed retainers with the appropriate oral hygiene aids, such as a floss threader or water flosser. Don’t let the patient leave without them first watching and then demonstrating the proper oral hygiene method during their retainer “try-in” appointment.
- Encourage them to see their dentist regularly for preventive care appointments.
- Removable retainers must be worn for a set number of hours per day, or number of days per week, to avoid tooth movement. (Patients with clear removable aligners may relate to this example the most.)
- If something breaks or comes loose, call your office office immediately to have it repaired.
Fixed vs. Removable Retainers
Compliance with any orthodontic treatment is hard. Between removable bands and clear aligners, adding in a removable retainer is just as challenging. There are many benefits to incorporating fixed retainers, especially for patients that may be less likely to comply with wearing a removable device.
However, it’s vital that these individuals have a firm understanding of how to clean areas that are not visible on the facial surfaces of their teeth. Someone who wore lingual braces may be more likely to feel dedicated about flossing under a fixed lingual retainer than, say, someone who wore removable alignment trays.
Removable retainers are still sometimes the best option. When selecting the type of retainer, opting for a clear Essix-type of prosthesis may be better for your adult patients than a Hawley version. When aesthetics is a concern, adults are more likely to better care for their retainer and clean it as advised. Not to mention, many of them like the idea of utilizing their clear retainer as a whitening tray.
More than likely, you’ll know which is the better option for your individual patients based on their past compliance, age, maturity level, and the likelihood of relapse due to their unique anatomy.
Part of planning for your retainer will be keeping records on hand like models and cephalometric x-rays. The extra angles of interpretation allow you to take various orofacial anatomical structures into consideration: not just the alignment of the teeth. Not to mention that digital ceph films can easily (and securely) be stored in the cloud by off-site providers like CephX for you to conveniently access them anytime in the future. When and if anything needs to be analyzed or re-analyzed months to years down the road, the data is available at your fingertips.
Follow Up Appointments: Make Them Worthwhile
Once an adult or teenager gets out of braces, most orthodontists never see or hear from them again…unless there’s a problem. The best way to avoid common problems — like lost or broken retainers, and tooth relapse — is to intermittently assess their bite.
Like a jeweler who inspects a wedding ring or diamond jewelry once a year to ensure that the prongs are holding everything in place, an orthodontic patient can benefit from having his or her bite reassessed on an annual basis from their orthodontist.
The intermittent appointments allow you to monitor retainer use, oral hygiene, maintenance of their prosthesis, and if any adjustments need to be made. As with other type of dental appliances, an orthodontic retainer can gradually wear out or break. Communicate with your patient that this is normal, and they need to have a new retainer made 5-10 years down the road. You might even want to consider offering the retainer for free as a “courtesy” to people who make their annual follow-up appointments and have been wearing their previous retainer on a routine basis.
Retention is for Life
It can’t be emphasized too much: an orthodontic retainer needs to be worn regularly for life. Even if it’s 20 years down the road, this must be stressed to your patients. Unfortunately, many orthodontic offices do not push this concept enough. As such, many adults come back for re-treatments due to lack of retention strategies following treatment as a teenager or busy college student.
For individuals that have — or still are battling — oral health conditions such as periodontitis or TMJ disorder, maintaining proper tooth placement is part of a comprehensive approach to their overall dental care. Be sure to get their family dentist or specialist on board by sending a letter back to their practice once your treatment has been completed. If you haven’t heard from the patient in a while, consider asking his or her dental provider to refer them back for a follow-up appointment.
Implementing Digitally Advanced Strategies to Enhance Care
In the days of digital patient information and images, it’s important to know that your patients’ data can be stored safely and securely…especially when you don’t see them for months at a time. At CephX, our cloud based record keeping systems are secured and accessible from any device, anywhere in the world. Now you can securely back up your patients’ old x-rays and other records without them taking up extra space in your office. Contact us today to learn more about our digital AlgoCeph analysis and more.
A lot of kids look forward to the day when they finally get to have their braces put on. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for all of them. Either they may have a bad outlook on dental care in general, have fears related to discomfort, or even struggle with sensory issues when another person is working on their mouth.
Ask Lots of Questions
Orthodontic therapy can be just as much about a teen’s self-esteem as it is their dental health. During the initial exam or consultation, ask children what they like best about their smile, or if there’s anything they wish they could change. A concerned parent may think that diastema between 8 and 9 is a big concern, while your patient feels it adds character!
Connect with each child personally and add notes into his or her file to remember their interests or hobbies the next time you see them. Are they headed to the state soccer tournament? Did they get a new pet? Maybe they’re taking up a new hobby that they can’t wait to share. With all of the face-to-face time that you’ll be getting in the coming months, a personal connection is vital. With kids growing up in your office, they’ll usually leave as a “friend” once treatment is over with.
Let Them See the Pictures!
Kids love to see pictures of themselves. Whether it’s a profile shot for their digital file, a cephalometric x-ray, or a 3D digital scan, there’s something about being able to sit back and see what you “really” look like.
In orthodontics, we’re able to capture a number of different digital images, scans, photos, and gather other data that a general practice usually does not. With adults, it’s common to use these images to “co-plan” treatment, but we often overlook children’s interest in the same information. Just because they might not understand the same things an adult patient would doesn’t mean they aren’t beneficial during the orthodontic process.
Use pictures and non-invasive equipment to show kids what’s going to happen during the orthodontic application process. This is a great opportunity to have models on hand or before/after flip charts to go over.
Explain things in simple, easy-to-understand language that is age appropriate. Remember to leave out negative phrases like “hurt,” “sore,” etc. Stick with positive phrases that deflect anxiety and make things seem more straightforward. Talk through the treatment in a non-threatening manner, leaving “scarier” topics like surgery to private conversations with the parent.
Finally, talk the child through what’s going on during the actual braces application. They’ll hear you repeating what you’ve already discussed, so they know exactly what to anticipate.
Get Them Involved
Have a mirror handy during exams, so that kids can watch what’s going on, or even use a cheek retractor while you’re taking photos. With them being a part of the action, they’ll feel independent and responsible.
Some offices use mobile apps or iPads in the office with interactive videos to review home care, treatments, before-and-after shots, and what’s expected. Kids love high-tech tools, so these are a great resource to utilize in private practices…they also save time on patient education, so that your team doesn’t have to repeat the same thing 20 times each day.
Make Oral Hygiene Fun Again
One of the biggest challenges during orthodontic treatment is paying attention to good oral hygiene practices. Everyday brushing or flossing becomes mundane at times, especially if there are extra appliances to clean around or the child doesn’t already have good brushing habits.
You can encourage mom or dad to invest in special toothpaste, electronic toothbrushes, or water flossers to make tooth brushing a little more fun than it usually is. Or you can consider making these aids available as part of the package price of your treatment. When kids are the only one in the household to have a fun new dental “toy” to play with, they’ll be a bit more inclined to put it to good use.
Reward Good Behavior
- Positive reinforcement is a great motivator for things like:
- Keeping your orthodontic appointments
- Showing up on time
- Maintaining good oral hygiene
- Wearing removable appliances or orthodontic aids as directed
- Eating foods that are safe for orthodontic appliances
- Following home care instructions
Consider offering quarterly rewards or drawings in your office. Let kids earn tickets or entries into the drawing when they do thinks like stay cavity free, have good brushing habits, keep appointments, etc.
Don’t forget about having a “hall of fame” on the wall. Kids usually love to have their photos taken. Consider asking them if they want their picture on the “new braces club” board, or on the wall with everyone’s “after” portrait. It’s an exciting thing to look forward to, once they do finally get their braces on.
Highlight Customized Appliances
From different shaped brackets to unique band colors, kids love to customize their smiles with their favorite school colors and more. Find out who their favorite sports teams are or show them which selections might go along with the current holiday. They’ll have something to look forward to at each appointment.
There are even companies now that allow orthodontists and dentists to use brackets that are shaped like stars, footballs, and other popular shapes. For someone who is going to be wearing appliances on their smile for several months at a time, this can add a fun twist on conventional orthodontic therapy.
Be There for Them
Attentive care is vital to running a successful orthodontic business. Your patients — whether adult or child — want an attentive staff and provider that pays attention to them. One of the ways you can do this is by offering accurate therapies that are carefully mapped out, for the most successful outcome possible.
At CephX, we utilize innovative AlgoCeph technology so that orthodontic providers around the world can access professional image analysis within a matter of minutes. The data is securely stored and backed up, so that you don’t have to worry about additional privacy concerns. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to learn more!
Herzliya, Israel – August 01, 2017 – Dr. Harry Chweidan (DMD) is a leading prosthodontics specialist. His vast experience and profound understanding of practitioners needs will aid CephX to better its products.