Questions to Consider When Researching Direct-To-Consumer Orthodontic Companies

Some online orthodontic companies make their treatment sound so easy. Perhaps you take a selfie and/or an impression of your teeth or get your teeth scanned. Next, you receive aligners in the mail and after so many months – straight teeth! Right? What else is there to think about?

Before you decide to proceed with a direct-to-consumer orthodontic company, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) believes there are a number of factors and questions you may want to consider. For example, in some instances direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies do not involve the in-person evaluation and/or in-person supervision of your orthodontic treatment by an orthodontist. An in-person evaluation and in-person supervision throughout treatment can be very important, because there is more to creating a healthy, beautiful smile than moving the visible portions of your teeth.

Orthodontic treatment involves the movement of biological material, which if not done correctly could lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues. For an example of a consumer who claims to have had an issue with her orthodontic treatment, click here to view a news story. 

Consider this question: What other transforming medical treatment would you undergo without an in-person, pre-treatment evaluation or ongoing in-person supervision from a medical professional.

Ask Questions, Get Answers

If you are researching orthodontic treatment, here are a few questions you may want to consider:

  1. As part of your treatment, are comprehensive diagnostic records like x-rays taken before your treatment?
    • YES
      • Does the treatment and fee include x-rays of your teeth and jaws?
      • Does the treatment and fee include a clinical examination of your jaw alignment, teeth, bite, and the relationship of your teeth to the skeletal structures?
      • Does the treatment and fee include taking photographs of your face, facial profile, mouth, and teeth?
      • Does the treatment and fee include taking digital scans or other impressions of your teeth?
    • NO – are you comfortable starting orthodontic treatment without comprehensive diagnostic records? If you still want comprehensive diagnostic records taken, are you all right going to another dental professional to take them? If yes, what will that cost?
  2. As part of your treatment fee, do you receive any in-person visits to a dentist’s or orthodontist’s office during your treatment?
    • YES
      • How many?
      • What occurs during these in-person visits?
      • Is there a licensed dentist or orthodontist in the office to supervise the visits?
    • NO – are you comfortable with orthodontic treatment that does not involve any in-person visits with a dentist or orthodontist?
  3. If a dentist or orthodontist is involved with your treatment, do you know the name of the dentist or orthodontist who will be specifically involved with your case (for example, is it available on the company’s website or elsewhere)?
    • YES
      • What are his or her education and credentials?
      • In what state is he or she licensed?
      • In what state does he or she practice?
      • What do other patients being treated by him or her have to say?
    • NO – are you comfortable not being able to research your dentist’s or orthodontist’s background, credentials, patient reviews, etc. before you begin treatment?
  4. Is only one treatment type offered (such as invisible aligners or a certain appliance)?
    • YES – how do you know that is the best treatment option for you, given your unique situation and oral condition, compared to other treatment models (such as braces)?
    • NO – how is the decision being made for the best treatment model for you, and who is making that decision?
  5. How do you know if your teeth and gums are healthy enough for orthodontic treatment?
    • Who is making that decision and how is it being determined?
    • If the decision maker is a dentist or orthodontist not associated with your treatment, who pays for that assessment?
  6. What are the possible risks (financial, health, etc.) associated with your orthodontic treatment?
  7. Who can you speak with at the online orthodontic company about your orthodontic treatment?
    • What is his or her education, background, qualifications and/or experience with orthodontics?
  8. Who is responsible for detecting any issues that may occur during your orthodontic treatment?
    • Is it you?
    • If it is a doctor not associated with your treatment, who pays for those check-ups?
  9. If an issue arises during your treatment, how will it be handled and who will be responsible for handling it?
  10. If a doctor is involved with your orthodontic treatment, how can you contact him or her over the course of your treatment? How can you contact him or her if an emergency arises?
  11. If an emergency arises, does the company have a dentist or orthodontist in your area that you can see in-person? If not, who would cover the costs associated with seeing a dentist or orthodontist in your area?
  12. If you are injured or have another dispute involving your orthodontic treatment, how is it handled (litigation, arbitration, etc.)? State dental boards have their own complaint processes for patients who have had issues with orthodontic treatment. Contact information for your state dental board can be found at https://www.aaoinfo.org/aao/state-dental-board-info.
  13. If you are injured or have a dispute involving your orthodontic treatment, what rights do you have against the person or company involved with your orthodontic treatment?
    • Are you asked to sign any forms that seek to release them from liability?
  14. Does the treatment model comply with the dental laws in your state?

Your Health Care Decisions Are Very Important Personal Decisions.

The AAO is a professional association of orthodontists dedicated to, among other things, “improving the health of the public by promoting quality orthodontic care, the importance of overall oral healthcare, and advocating for the public interest.” Your health and well-being are extremely important.Remember that orthodontic treatment is not a product or device – orthodontic treatment is a professional, medical service. When your care is personally supervised by an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, you are assured that your orthodontist spent years in a post-doctoral residency program focused on providing orthodontic treatment to patients.

Before making any decision about orthodontic treatment, consider doing some research and having an in-person consultation with a member of the American Association of Orthodontists. To find an AAO orthodontist near you, simply click here: https://www.aaoinfo.org/.

DESIGN ACTS AS A HEALER

“We are living in era of uncertainty, our minds and bodies frayed by stress. You see it in the headlines everyday: Kids paralyzed by anxiety. Suicides by gun. Addiction to opioids. We live in the most technologically connected times, yet our rates of loneliness are increasing. If you dig deep, the common root is an absence of emotional and mental well-being.

“I’m not talking about the well-being that’s branded through luxury experiences, like wellness retreats. I’m talking about what Maslow missed at the very bottom of his hierarchy: that sense of inner well-being that is absolutely necessary for our survival as humans.

“What’s exciting about our moment now is that science has surfaced the myriad of ways we can cultivate emotional and mental well-being—all of which are new channels for design.

“Designing ways to get better sleep is a way of designing for resilience to stress and better ability to manage our emotions. Tackling loneliness and designing for meaningful social connection is also designing for a stronger immune system and brain protection. (Conversely, enabling chronic loneliness is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!) Designing ways to help people find their sense of purpose and meaning in life is an incredibly powerful way to design for healthier mind and bodies.

“More and more designers will realize their superpowers. You don’t have to have a doctor or nurse to help people. Designers are healers, too.” —Ann Kim, portfolio director, Ideo Cambridge

Wilson, Mark. “The 9 big design trends of 2019.” Fast Company, 19 December 2018, https://www.fastcompany.com/90281299/the-9-big-design-trends-of-2019.

Free Consultation – Our Way, 2019


We are happy you chose our LEOMINSTER or GARDNER office for an evaluation. All of us here want to give you the best experience and best advice regarding your treatment. In order to do so, we include the following on you first visit:

LISTEN TO YOUR CONCERNS, LEARN YOU PRIORITIES AND START TO GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER
The best treatment plan involves a conversation between us to arrive at the best level of involvement.

MEDICAL/DENTAL HISTORY
We want to know if there are any conditions that may limit our success.

INTRA ORAL PHOTOGRAPHS
These provide a visual of how your teeth look from several different angles.

EXTRA ORAL PHOTOGRAPHS
Shows a look at your smile line, full-face proportions and profile-view in order to create well balanced facial proportions.

PANOREX X-RAY
This type of x-ray shows if there are any missing teeth, extra teeth, what stage of development the teeth are in, wisdom teeth, as well as the size, shape and angle of the roots of the teeth. It also shows the bones of the jaws and jaw joints along with any anomalies that may be present.

CEPHALOMETRIC X-RAY (if needed)
Shows a side-view of the head to look at the tip and tilt of the top and bottom front teeth, the direction of the growth of the jaws, the relationship of the jaws to each other and any potential airway difficulties.

DIGITAL SCAN OF THE TEETH (if needed)
Our iTero Element scanner provides a before/after computer simulation to help you visualize what you would look like if treatment is pursued via clear aligners such as Invisalign, Invisalign Lite, Express 10 Invisalign, Express 5 Invisalign, clear braces or metal braces. This is a 3-D view of how the teeth come together.

COST OF TREATMENT
Treatment option(s) are presented and discussed along with the associated cost of each. Several different payment options are available such as: Third party financing plan, In-house financing, and payment in full. If no treatment is needed at this time, you will be scheduled for follow-up visits at no cost.

Finally, on this one comprehensive visit which takes approximately forty-five minutes, you should have been given all the information needed to make an informed decision. We encourage you to ask many questions. We hope you choose to have treatment in our office!

If you found this blog helpful, please send it to families and friends!

Common Issues with Braces: How to avoid bad breath

A bright, beautiful smile is often achieved with braces. The time you spend wearing braces is an investment in the good health and appearance of your smile. However, Dr. Yamin and our staff know that having braces on your teeth can pose challenges. Many of these challenges are commonly faced by all who wear braces, such as flossing, getting food stuck in your braces, and bad breath.

Today, let’s address bad breath and what to do about it. There’s no reason you have to shy away from conversation for fear that you’ve got bad breath.

Fresh Breath Tips for Braces Wearers

  • Eat a Healthy Diet. Unhealthy foods that are laden with sugar can contribute to bad breath. Stick with healthy produce, protein, grains, and dairy found on the list of foods your orthodontist says are safe to eat with braces.
  • Drink Non-Sugary Beverages. Likewise, steer clear of sugary sodas and juices for the same reason. They contribute to bad breath.
  • Stay Hydrated. A mouth that’s continually dry can lead to bad breath by inhibiting your production of saliva. Regular production of saliva removes bacteria and excess food from your mouth, both of which cause bad breath.
  • Brush Often. Brush your teeth and tongue first thing in the morning, after each meal and snack, and before you go to bed, to remove food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath.
  • Don’t Forget to Floss. Flossing with braces might seem tricky, but it is a necessity. Ask Dr. Yamin to show you the best way to floss effectively with braces.
  • Mouthwash Use. Use the mouthwash recommended by Dr. Yamin. For the best results, swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for 30 seconds.
  • Get Regular Cleanings. Regular dental exams and cleanings are more important when you have braces. Cavities can delay your treatment progress, so be sure to visit your dentist every six months.

Practice Good Hygiene Daily

Good oral hygiene practices are important every day, whether you wear braces or not. But they become even more important during the months you wear braces. In addition to your regular orthodontic checkups, see your general dentist for cleanings and exams.

Together, you and our Leominster or Gardner, MA team will keep your mouth healthy and fresh during and after your orthodontic treatment.

I have halitosis. What can I do?

Halitosis is the fancy, scientific word for “bad breath.” Dr. Yamin and our team know there are several reasons why you may have halitosis; let’s look at a few:

  • Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) – There are five main types of gum disease, and each one can range from mild to severe. For example the most common one is gingivitis; it is caused by bacteria in the plaque that has been allowed to build up, usually as a result of poor oral hygiene. A more serious and uncommon type of gum disease is called necrotizing periodontal disease. It is most common in people who have a suppressed immune system.
  • Smoking
  • Dry Mouth – This can be caused by something as simple as a medication you take.
  • Food – Of course, if you eat something that is potent like garlic, it is going to give you bad breath.
  • Diseases of the Body – Some diseases such as sinus infections and diabetes, among a few other types of infections, can also cause you to have halitosis.

How to Get Rid of Halitosis

The most obvious answer to how to get rid of halitosis is to practice good oral hygiene, although, depending on the cause of halitosis it may not be that simple. If you have an infection that is causing the halitosis then you may need an antibiotic to clear up the infection and then the bad breath will go away. Here are more tips:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal and before bed.
  • Floss your teeth. The more plaque you get out of your teeth, the better chance you have of not getting cavities or bad breath.
  • Address any medical conditions that are not related to your teeth that can be causing the halitosis.
  • Ask Dr. Yamin for a prescription mouthwash that kills bacteria.

Halitosis (bad breath) can be an embarrassing condition to live with, but there are plenty of ways to get rid of it permanently. Start by talking to a member of our team at our Leominster or Gardner, MA office.

Helpful Hygiene Tips for Patients Who Wear Braces

Today, Dr. Yamin and our team thought we would offer a few tips for our patients currently undergoing orthodontic treatment. For those of you wearing braces, it’s important to be even more dedicated to good oral hygiene than those not currently in treatment.

After getting your braces, it is important to know how to take care of your teeth in order to ensure that your braces stay intact and do their job so that your teeth are in top-notch condition after you complete your orthodontic treatment.

Braces are known to trap food, which contributes to plaque formation. If it is not carefully removed from the teeth and gums, plaque will develop into decay or gum disease, leading to costly delays during your treatment. It is important to practice good oral hygiene by following instructions from Dr. Yamin during your treatment.

We are proud to offer supplies to help fight plaque, such as a proxabrush, dental floss, and floss threaders. The use of an electric toothbrush and or a water pick can also be helpful in combating cavities and decay. And, of course, our team at Joseph J. Yamin, DMD PC suggests brushing at least twice a day.

We hope that helps! If you have any questions, please give us a call at our Leominster or Gardner, MA office or ask us during your next adjustment appointment!

Five Fun Ways to Count Down Your Braces Time

Braces can straighten your teeth to give you a more attractive smile for life. The process can take 18 months to two years or more, and this amount of time can seem unending when you first get your braces. Counting down your brace time can help the time pass more quickly and build the excitement for when you finally get your braces removed.

Make a Wall Calendar

Crossing out each day on a calendar is a standard way of counting down time. You can make this more personal by designing your own calendar to help you count down. Use an online customization service to upload photos or designs for each month. Each month’s picture can also display the number of months remaining until you expect your braces to come off.

Schedule Rewards

When you receive regular rewards for continuing to wear your braces, they can seem less burdensome. Plan to buy yourself a reward every month that you wear your braces for the duration of the treatment. The time will pass much faster when you feel you are earning rewards for your patience.

Lengthen a Paper Chain

Use strips of paper to make the links of your chain, and add a new link each week to lengthen the chain. Before sealing each new strip of paper into a circle, write on it a reason why you are getting your teeth straightened, or an event in the future when you will appreciate your straight teeth as you smile.

Use a Wall Hanging

Purchase a large pad of blank white paper. Write a “0” on the bottom sheet and a “1” on the next, and continue until you reach the number of days remaining in your treatment. Rip off the top sheet each day to see how many days are left and remind yourself of the progress you are making.

Find a Buddy

If any of your friends get braces around the same time as you, share the experience. Make a pact to celebrate each trip to Joseph J. Yamin, DMD PC when one of you receives news about your progress.

What should I ask during my orthodontic consultation?

If you have been thinking about undergoing orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth or correct jaw alignment, the first step is scheduling an orthodontic consultation at Joseph J. Yamin, DMD PC. During the consultation we will actively listen to your concerns and address all of your questions, as well as discuss a treatment options that would best suit you or your child’s situation.

Here are the top five questions that most patients want answered during their initial orthodontic consultation:

  • Can I benefit from orthodontic treatment, and if so, how long will it take?
  • How frequently will my appointments be scheduled?
  • Can I expect any pain when getting braces? (Ask Dr. Yamin about the ways we address pain management).
  • Will I need to have teeth extracted, headgear, expansion appliance, etc.?
  • How much will it cost and what payment options do you offer?

Visit our website for more answers to your questions prior to your initial consultation. Dr. Yamin and our team at Joseph J. Yamin, DMD PC are happy to answer all your questions and concerns, and excited to explain all aspects of your treatment plan, as well as the expected outcome. We believe your orthodontic experience should be comfortable, hassle-free, and most importantly, leave you with the smile you’ve always wanted.

Best Ways to Prevent Bad Breath

Nobody likes bad breath, and although it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have it, it is always better to practice good oral health than risk having a smelly mouth. There are many ways to reduce or eliminate bad breath, some are definitely more effective and longer lasting than others. Check out ways to do so below.

Floss Regularly

As difficult as it can be to remember to floss regularly, when it comes to bad breath, flossing is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to freshen your mouth. See, flossing reduces the plaque and bacteria found in areas of your mouth that a toothbrush simply can’t reach, and in turn, it rids your mouth of the smell associated with that bacteria. While flossing may not eliminate bad breath on its own, if you do it along with other health oral hygiene habits like brushing, then you may just develop a fresher smelling mouth.

Use Mouthwash

Using some sort of mouthwash can really freshen up your breath, especially if you find it still smells after brushing and flossing. There is a wide variety of mouthwash products on the market, however, you can also create your own by simply using baking soda mixed with water.

Always Brush after You Sleep

Whether after taking a nap, or having a full night of sleep, you will want to brush your teeth in order to reduce bad breath. The truth is, bacteria accumulates in your mouth while you are sleeping (even during a short nap) and that is ultimately the source of bad breath. So next time you wake from a good slumber, give your mouth some brushing and you will find it makes a big difference in the freshness of your breath.

There are many ways to freshen your breath beyond just using gum or mints, the above mentioned are just a few for you to try. Test them out and you will likely find your bad breath problem is solved, or at least considerably reduced. Of course, you can always ask Dr. Yamin at your next visit to our Leominster or Gardner, MA office.

What’s the best dental floss?

Dental floss is similar to a lot of products that depend mainly on the consumer’s preference. Fact is, floss comes in a wide variety of flavors, coatings, and other variations, but all types of floss essentially do the same thing. After all, that is what is most important: that the dental floss you buy is functional—cleaning the areas in between your teeth. If you want to know what the best dental floss is, the answer is the kind that enables you to successfully and regularly clean those areas. So to help you find the right type of floss for you, here are some options.

Flavored Dental Floss

Many people that floss prefer a flavored dental floss because it freshens their breath even more than unscented floss. The latter can also take on the smells associated with bacteria in your mouth. And we all know how bad that can be. So, if flavored dental floss is what you prefer, and it allows you to floss your teeth regularly, then it is automatically best for your mouth.

Flossers

There are also products on the market called flossers, which usually consist of a plastic instrument with strung floss and a pick on the opposite end. This option can be both effective at cleaning the areas in between your teeth and scraping off plaque. These flossers also come flavored in mint and various other varieties.

Gentle Dental Floss

Some people find that typical dental floss is too harsh on their gums. For that reason some companies make floss with soft coatings that are less abrasive on the gums. For the most part these types of floss are just as effective as regular floss, and for those people that require a more sensitive approach to flossing, especially when just starting out, this is the best option.

Of the aforementioned options, it is difficult to name an absolute best type of floss. However, Dr. Yamin and our team say that the type of floss that works best for you, giving you the greatest chance of succeeding at regular flossing, is the best. For more information on floss, contact our Leominster or Gardner, MA office.