The PearlFection Blog

June 15, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

When it comes to orthodontics and choosing an orthodontist to treat your children or yourself, the questions and the right approach can be overwhelming. Some of the questions we have heard are should I use traditional steel brackets and wires, should I use clear braces, when am I too old for braces, when is my child too young, do I need a retainer when I’m done, what are the potential risks and the big one, WHAT DOES ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT COST and will insurance pay for it and is it all the same and does it matter where I get my treatment done?

All these questions are valid and can make your head spin. The good news is there are answers and a qualified team that can help you answer all of them. Remember, orthodontics is not just about aesthetics, it’s often about ensuring proper teeth alignment to prevent abnormal wear and tear, as well as ensuring that good oral hygiene can be performed. Improper alignment can lead to major dental problems and high costs later in life.

Let’s start with should I use clear aligners or standard brackets? This treatment really depends on personal preference, and what the objective is as well as the individual patient habits and level of personal responsibility. Some tooth movements cannot be achieved with clear aligners, at least not as easily as traditional braces, but for the most part, clear plastic aligners are as good, and in some instances a superior option over metal brackets. The beauty of clear aligners is that most people will not know you have them in. The other major advantage of clear aligners is that they are removable. This means it’s easy to clean the teeth with a traditional toothbrush and floss. One of the worst things that can happen during orthodontic treatment is for home care to suffer because it’s difficult to brush and decay begins. The downside of clear removable aligners is they are easy to lose and sometimes children and yes some adults, don’t wear them religiously. This can result in longer treatment times, teeth moving back to their original position and overall frustration and higher costs with the process. With steel brackets, we see better compliance, particularly in children. Also, due to the higher lab fees associated with clear aligners, there is often a cost added of a few hundred dollars.

We often hear, “Am I too old for braces?” the answer to this is that no one is too old for braces. This totally depends on personal preference and does the patient have good oral health. Tooth movement can occur at any age, so orthodontic treatment for both clinical reasons and cosmetic reasons can be done at any age. We have patients over 70 years old who are currently in treatment. And the number of adults in orthodontic treatment has skyrocketed in recent years

The other question about age, is when is too young to intervene with orthodontic treatment for children? Depending on the situation and what the orthodontist is trying to accomplish in the long run, patients as young as 6 years of age might start orthodontic treatment. This is often done to create space so future teeth can come in properly and is usually done with the anticipation of some sort of additional orthodontic treatment planned when the child has their permanent teeth.

Ok, let’s address the retainer question. Do I need to wear a retainer? The answer is yes……well only if you want your teeth to stay where you want them to. Teeth move and if we don’t use a retainer device after completion of the primary orthodontic treatment, the teeth can move back. To prevent this we recommend wearing a retainer. The amount of time each day it needs to be worn depends on many factors but usually we recommend wearing it all the time for some period following the primary treatment and then only at night for the long term. Retainers can be clear plastic aligners, more rigid devices sometimes referred to as a hawley or in some instances, fixed devices that can be placed in the mouth. Your orthodontist can go over what retainer is right for you.

There are some risks associated with orthodontic treatment. Some patients’ mouths just are not healthy enough to withstand the stress that tooth movement can impart on the gums, bones and teeth and in those rare cases, orthodontic work might not be recommend. Basically as long as your gums are healthy, you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment. In other cases, what appears to be a simple case, can result in teeth becoming loose. This is usually corrected by slowing down the movement, but in some cases, it is recommended we stop the treatment temporarily or in rare instance permanently. The biggest complaint we hear, and it’s usually after a tightening visit, or when new aligners are put in, is that it’s uncomfortable, at least for a while. This is due to the wires or aligners putting additional pressure on the teeth to gradually move them into proper position. This constant pressure can be uncomfortable for a while but usually subsides after a few hours or days, as the teeth move. Mild pain killers like Ibuprofen is usually enough to take the edge off.

Finally the big question, “What is the cost of orthodontic work?” We are not trying to be coy, but IT DEPENDS!!!!! The cost for full blown orthodontic work where the patient is in active treatment for 24 months or more, needs to visit the office every 4 weeks and then followed by 24 months retention phase can be over $7000. However, on cases where only minor tooth movement to correct things like crowding or minor movement to correct a diastema can be as low as $1500 and then there is everything in between. The costs will ultimately depend on how long the patient is in treatment and whether there are large lab fees. The lab fees occur when a case must be sent out to have aligners made. Some dentist can reduce costs and get excellent results with “generic” clear aligners vs using a brand name like Invisalign. Insurance often, but not always, provides a benefit that will pay for orthodontic treatment, but there is usually a lifetime cap of $1000 – 2500. A good front desk insurance coordinator will help patients utilize this benefit.

Yes, there is a lot to consider when deciding on orthodontic treatment for you and your family, but remember, you have a partner who has the expertise, experience and options to help you make the right choice. PearlFection Dentistry in Urbana MD and Frederick MD offer free consultations to answer all these questions and help you pick the right treatment option. Our orthodontic team, led by Dr Jennifer Smith and Dr Stephen Tigani offer traditional braces, Invisalign and generic clear aligners to deal with any orthodontic needs. With over 40 years of experience and multiple offices to choose from we are one of the best orthodontic choices in the MD and DC area. Call one of our two PearlFection Dentistry offices for a free consultation. In Frederick call – 301-663-5550 or Urbana Maryland – 301-831-8303.

By Pearlfection Dentistry
June 01, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics   Braces  

Considering your options when choosing the best orthodontic treatment for you can seem overwhelming. However, understanding these orthodonticsoptions can help you work with your dentist choose the most beneficial orthodontic treatment. Dr. Jared Lawson, Dr. EJ Stringer, Dr. Pratik Patel, Dr. Brian Chang, Dr. Amadeus Lopez and Drs. Jennifer and Melanie Smith at Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick, MD, can explain more about your orthodontic options and what they can do for you.

What is orthodontic treatment? 
An orthodontist is a dentist who has undergone additional training in the field of orthodontics. Orthodontics focus on moving the teeth into the proper positioning to improve their functionality and provide a beautiful smile. Orthodontic treatment also corrects the jaw’s placement, realigning it to improve the mouth’s bite. Orthodontics often take the form of traditional metal braces, but other, more subtle options are also available. Ceramic braces, which are tooth-colored ceramic instead of metal and invisible braces, which use clear plastic aligner trays rather than brackets and wires, can straighten your teeth without compromising your look.

Candidates for Orthodontic Treatment
A good candidate for orthodontic treatment is a teen over the age of 12 or adult who wants to improve the aesthetics or functionality of their smile by straightening their teeth and correcting their bite. While treatment can sometimes begin at an earlier age, many dentists choose to wait with treatment until the jaw is finished growing, around the time a patient is 12 years old. Braces are permanently affixed to the teeth during treatment, requiring a strong at-home oral care routine to keep the teeth free of tooth decay between monthly checkup appointments. Patients should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss between each tooth, threading the floss through the wires of the braces, at least once daily.

Orthodontic Treatment in Frederick, MD
If you think you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, you should consult with your dentist to determine if braces would benefit you and your teeth. For more information on orthodontics in Frederick, MD, please contact Dr. Jared Lawson, Dr. EJ Stringer, Dr. Pratik Patel, Dr. Brian Chang, Dr. Amadeus Lopez and Drs. Jennifer and Melanie Smith at Pearlfection Dentistry. Call (301) 663-5550 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!

By Pearlfection Dentistry
May 17, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics  

Orthodontic treatment can straighten the teeth, align the bite and correct issues which can affect everyday tasks like eating or thoroughlyorthodontics cleaning your teeth. Luckily, your Urbana and Frederick, MD orthodontist at Pearlfection Dentistry can help you find the best course of treatment for your smile to help you look and feel great. Find out more about the importance of orthodontics with Dr. Jared Lawson, Dr. EJ Stringer, Dr. Pratik Patel, Dr. Brian Chang, Dr. Amadeus Lopez and Drs. Jennifer and Melanie Smith.

What can orthodontic treatment do for me? 
Orthodontics focus on treating irregularities in the alignment of the teeth and jaw. Orthodontic treatment is performed by an orthodontist, who goes through the same education process as a standard dentist, plus several years of continued education to earn their orthodontist title. Orthodontics treat several dental issues related to the teeth and jaw, including:

  • misaligned teeth
  • overcrowded teeth
  • under crowded teeth
  • overbite
  • underbite
  • crossbite
  • open bite

The Importance of Orthodontics 
The most obvious benefit of orthodontic treatment is its aesthetic result of a straight, beautiful smile. However, orthodontics benefit your smile in many other ways as well. Overcrowded or overlapped teeth create tiny spaces which your toothbrush’s bristles or floss may not reach. Straightening the teeth eliminates these small spaces, making brushing and flossing more effective. Additionally, orthodontics align the bite along with the teeth, making chewing and eating more efficient and, in some situations, easier. Orthodontic treatment can also help relieve the symptoms of jaw-related conditions like TMJ disorder.

Orthodontic Treatment in Urbana and Frederick, MD
When it comes to choosing the right step forward into orthodontic treatment for you, you have several different options. When you hear the word “braces” you probably picture traditional metal braces, with metal brackets and wires affixed to the teeth. However, you can also choose from less obvious options like ceramic braces or Invisalign’s clear plastic aligner trays. Your orthodontist can help you determine if orthodontic treatment is right for you at a consultation.

For more information on orthodontic treatment, please contact Dr. Lawson, Dr. Stringer, Dr. Patel, Dr. Chang, Dr. Lopez and Drs. Jennifer and Melanie Smith. Call (301) 663-5550 to schedule your appointment with your dentist in Urbana and Frederick, MD today!

By Pearlfection Dentistry
March 10, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dental Emergency  

Know how to address a dental emergency if it happens to you.dental emergency

It can be scary suddenly being faced with a damaged tooth. Before panic sets in, the best thing you can do is remain calm. Know that you have our Frederick and Urbana, MD, general dentists - Dr. Jared Lawson, Dr. EJ Stringer, Dr. Amadeus Lopez, and Dr. Melanie Smith, as well as our oral surgeon Dr. Brian Chang, endodontist Dr. Pratik Patel and orthodontist Dr. Jennifer Smith - standing by to help when something like this happens.

So, what exactly constitutes a dental emergency?

It isn’t always easy to know when to come into our Frederick and Urbana dental office for treatment or whether you should just wait a problem out. When it comes to dental issues, most of them won’t get better without proper attention and care. Seeking professional dental treatment is a necessity, and the sooner the better. Of course, we understand that you may be feeling rather uncomfortable, so here are some ways to ease your symptoms until you make it to our office:

Dental Pain

If you are experiencing a toothache this could be a sign of severe decay or an infection. Gently rinse your mouth out with warm salt water, which can help to temporarily alleviate pain and swelling. You can also opt for a topical numbing cream from your local drugstore.

Knocked-Out Tooth

This scenario can be a scary one. The most important step is to call us right away. Time is of the essence when it comes to handling a knocked-out tooth. The tooth can often be saved if you come in right after the incident happens. In the interim, make sure to find the tooth, carefully rinse it off and then try to place it back in the socket. If you can’t place it, hold the tooth between your cheeks and head straight to our office.

A Loose Tooth

There are many reasons a tooth may become loose, from severe periodontal disease to a sports-related injury. Very carefully try to move the tooth back into the proper position, then immediately come in to have the tooth treated.

Fractured Tooth

If a part of the tooth has chipped off, try to save the piece and place it in a damp cloth to keep it moist. How we treat a fractured tooth will depend on how much damage has occurred. We may be able to fix minor chips by buffing out the tooth or by placing bonding material over it. In cases of more severe damage, a dental crown may be placed over the tooth to restore it.

If you are dealing with a dental problem, know that Pearlfection Dentistry is ready to provide you with emergency dental care right here in Frederick and Urbana, MD. Put your trust in us.

By Pearlfection Dentistry
March 09, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

It’s time to find out how you could benefit from getting dental implants.

If you are dealing with one or more missing teeth then chances are pretty good that you are doing your online research to figure out what dental restoration could restore your smile and replace those teeth. The staff at Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick and Urbana, MD, dental implantgeneral dentists Dr. Jared Lawson, Dr. EJ Stringer, Dr. Amadeus Lopez, and Dr Melanie Smith, as well as our oral surgeon Dr. Brian Chang, endodontist Dr. Pratik Patel and orthodontist Dr. Jennifer Smith - understand that you have a lot of choices; however, it’s important to know just how advantageous getting dental implants can be for your oral health.

Why get dental implants?

A dental implant is a great option for any adult who is missing one or more teeth. A dental implant is designed to not only look but also function like real teeth so that you’ll get a new tooth that blends seamlessly with the rest of your smile. No one will even know that you have a dental implant.

What are the benefits to getting dental implants in Frederick and Urbana?

While you do have other options from which to choose, many healthy individuals find that dental implants are truly the best way to replace their teeth because dental implants can:

  • Restore chewing
  • Make it easier to speak (severe tooth loss can affect speech)
  • Improve your appearance
  • Prevent teeth from shifting out of place
  • Prevent jawbone deterioration
  • Protect and support the facial muscles to prevent premature sagging
  • Last a lifetime, if you care for your smile properly
  • Provide superior durability and comfort

Who is a good candidate for dental implants?

Most adults dealing with tooth loss can be great candidates for this treatment. Of course, here are some situations that could prevent you from being a good candidate for implants:

  • You have unmanageable or untreated gum disease
  • You have chronic health conditions that aren’t under control
  • You have a weakened or suppressed immune system
  • You are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant
  • You are a smoker who doesn’t plan on quitting prior to treatment
  • You are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation

If you want to find out more about dental implants and whether they are right for you, then it’s time to call Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick and Urbana, MD. Let us help you achieve that gorgeous smile.





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