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All Posts in Category: Invisalign

Model Teeth

What Is Malocclusion?

Braces and Invisalign are both orthodontic appliances used by an orthodontist to fix malocclusion. Some fast facts about malocclusion: it is both diagnosed and treated by a medical professional, and is incredibly common (just in the United States alone, there are about 200,000 cases per year). This term started with Edward Angle, better known as the “father of modern orthodontics.”

What is malocclusion, exactly?

Malocclusion is misalignment of the upper and lower teeth when your jaw is closed. This is also known as the “incorrect” or “imperfect” relation of the dental arches as well. There are different types, or classes of malocclusion:

  • Class I: crowding/spacing/over eruption/under eruption or neutrocclusion
  • Class II: overjet/overbite or distocclusion/retrognathism
  • Class III: underbite or mesiocclusion/prognathism

More generally speaking, any kind of bite problem, crowding, or spacing is considered a kind of malocclusion.

Why should malocclusion be treated?

When your teeth are crooked, or misaligned, it can subsequently lead to much more serious oral health problems – like tooth decay or gum disease! You may also have some more “minor” problems that are associated with misaligned teeth. These problems can include: mild discomfort when eating, speech problems, such as a lisp, breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, and even the alteration of your face!

How does it happen?

Believe it or not, you can actually inherit crooked teeth (thanks mom and dad!). The traits that you can inherit can be jaw size and tooth size. An example would be small teeth in a large jaw. You may also inherit traits like missing or transposed teeth. A more rare condition would be a severely underdeveloped upper or lower jaw, or a cleft palate. More minor causes range from thumb-sucking to tooth loss to impacted teeth. even having a filling or crown that does not fit correctly can cause teeth misalignment!

What are treatments for misaligned teeth?

If you have been recommended by a dental professional or believe you would benefit from orthodontic treatment, come in to see us for a complimentary consultation! Orthodontic care from Dr. Hickory will treat any kind of crooked teeth you may have. In addition to treating any kind of health issue associated with malocclusion, having a straight smile has been proven to boost confidence.

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Invisalign facts (fact #1, they're invisible!)

Facts About Invisalign!

There is so much to know about Invisalign – we thought we would share the facts!

  • Invisalign is manufactured by Align Technology, Inc.
  • Invisalign was “born” in 1997 and founded by Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth.
  • Chishti was an orthodontic patient himself, and while using his retainer post-treatment, he realized that a similar approach could be used for the entire orthodontic treatment!
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Invisalign in 1998.
  • In 2000 Align Technology spent $31 million dollars in an aggressive television advertising campaign (New York Times called it “the most aggressive consumer advertising plan the dental profession has ever seen”)!!
  • Invisalign went public in 2001.
  • In 2005 The Harvard School of Dental Medicine began requiring its ortho grad students to complete Invisalign certification prior to graduating.
  • Invisalign is a series of thermoplastic, clear, BPA-free aligners used in orthodontic treatment as an alternative to braces.
  • The aligners are custom-made for the patient (you!).
  • In order to create the aligners made specifically for the patient, x-rays, pictures, and impressions will need to be taken.
  • All orthodontic diagnosis for Invisalign is done digitally.
  • Aligners are worn for about 14 days, or 2 weeks, at a time.
  • There are no wires or metal brackets with Invisalign.
  • Invisalign corrects many orthodontic problems including crowding, underbite, overbite, spacing, and deep bite (all ranges of malocclusion).
  • Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces.
  • Aligners need to be work for at least 22 hours a day.
  • If you have an important event, such as a date, an interview, a photoshoot, or whatever else, you can remove your aligners for a short amount of time for that!
  • Total treatment time in Invisalign is generally one year.
  • Invisalign aligners are clear, which makes them invisible to the eye!
  • It is easier to keep your teeth clean with Invisalign (in comparison to metal braces).
  • There are no restrictions on what you can eat or drink with Invisalign.
  • Teens wear their Invisalign aligners more diligently than adults patients!
  • More than 3 MILLION patients have been treated with Invisalign.

Whew. If you want to know more about Invisalign after reading all of these interesting facts, contact us! We can set you up for a complimentary consultation or just talk to you.

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Young Person with Traditional Braces

History of Orthodontics

You may think orthodontics is a modern branch of the dental field, but really, did you know the idea of straight and perfect smile has been around for centuries (thousands of years, even!)? The history of orthodontics goes back 50,000 years! While exactly how people throughout the years have tried to straighten their smile varies, the concept has remained the same: a perfect smile is something everyone wants!

History Lesson: Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans

Orthodontists today use braces and Invisalign to straighten teeth, and while Invisalign is a bit too advanced for the Ancient Egyptians, they did try braces! Archaeologists have found a type of wiring system on Egyptian mummies. Want to know what archaeologists think Egyptians used to put pressure on the teeth? Catgut (coincidentally, this is made of dried “guts” and intestines of horses or sheep, not cats!).

A gold wiring band has been known to be used on Etruscan women after their death to keep the positioning of their teeth. This looked similar to a mouthguard, and was found uniquely only in Etruscan women! This signified the need to have straight teeth as a vain or cosmetic procedure. In Ancient Rome, a writer named Aulus Cornelius Celsus, told people to “push” on new teeth regularly to bring them to a proper position. Census spent his whole life researching and finding out new medical procedures.

The 1800s

While orthodontics seem to have hit the pause button after Ancient times, there was a huge push for orthodontic development and research in the 1800s. The Father of Dentistry, Pierre Fauchard, created a dental appliance called a bandeau. This was a U-shaped piece of metal that had holes to fit around teeth to move them! Fauchard wrote a book in 1728 called “The Surgeon Dentist.”

United States and Orthodontics

There was significant increase in orthodontics in the United States – J.S. Gunnels made something called the occipital anchorage (a kind of early, crude headgear) in 1822, Chapin A. Harris wrote the first book on dentistry “The Dental Art” in 1840, and E.G. Tucker (an American Dentist) used rubber in orthodontics in 1846.

The Father of Modern Orthodontics

Edward Hartley Angle is credited with identifying what really classifies misalignment of teeth (malocclusion) and identified orthodontic appliances that would truly straighten teeth in 1880.

Braces As We Know Them Today

Orthodontists used to wrap wire around each tooth to secure the bracket to the tooth, but in the 1970s orthodontists discovered they could use adhesives to place the bracket directly onto the tooth. Also during this time, orthodontists stopped using gold and silver for wiring and instead started using stainless steel! This caused the pricing of braces and orthodontic work to be much lower (go figure, right?).

Lingual braces were also invented during this time because people were interested in discreet treatment. They would have to wait 20+ years for…

Invisible braces!

In the 1990s a man named Zia Chishti saw that when he didn’t wear his plastic retainer for a few days, his teeth would shift back. Chishti went to Kelsey Wirth and the two of them created a way to use 3D computer technology to make plastic retainers. Chishti and Wirth went on to cofound Align Technology, the company known to make Invisalign. In 2000 their process was available to the public, and the rest?

Is history!

If you are interested in getting either braces or Invisalign, contact us!

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Adults at AAO Meeting

Adults Seek Orthodontic Treatment

Image source

As most of our patients (roughly 90%!) are adults, we at Embassy Row Orthodontics already knew that more adults seeking orthodontic treatment was higher than ever! While we get a wide range in ages of patients (patients range from as young as age 7, to over age 65!), we are seeing more older, non-teenager patients than ever before.

The Dental Tribune reports that from 2012 to 2014, “adults seeking treatment from orthodontists in the United States and Canada increased 16 percent, resulting in a record high of 1,441,000 patients ages 18 and older, according to the American Association of Orthodontists’ “Economics of Orthodontics” survey of 2014.”

That’s a huge amount! Why are so many adults opting for orthodontic treatment now?

  • A healthy and straight smile is directly related to higher social and professional success
  • Treatment is much more affordable now. Ten or so years ago, many patients could not afford orthodontics and it was seen as a more cosmetic, rather than necessary, treatment. (Contact us for a complimentary consultation!)
  • There are options for subtle, hidden treatment
  • A straight, aligned smile leads to better oral health

Some fascinating facts… Did you know?

  • An estimated 27% of orthodontic patients in North America are over the age of 18
  • 92% of adults that have gone orthodontic treatment would recommend to others
  • 75% of adults say that success in personal and career life is related to orthodontic treatment

Teeth can really be moved at any age, even with the common misconception that orthodontics is limited to teenagers. Whether you are interested in braces or Invisalign, or just want to know more about orthodontics and our services, we are here to help. As leading experts in the orthodontic field (Dr. Hickory was one of the original Invisalign pioneers), we know what we are doing.

Read the full article from Dental Tribune here.

(Source: Dental Tribune and American Association of Orthodontics)

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Old Woman Pulling Mouth Open with Fingers

Orthodontics: Good for All Ages

Image source

What is the best age for orthodontics? It could be any age depending on the problem.

How old is too old for orthodontics? How young is too young? While teenagers make up a large percent of our patients, did you know that some of our patients are as young as age 5? Patient ages can range from over age 5 to seniors in their 80s.


As early as age 5 (or even earlier, if needed), there are treatment appliances that look very similar to sports mouth guards. While these simple appliances may not look very complex, they can have a huge impact for many dental or oral problems such as: proper swallowing, nose breathing instead of mouth breathing, poor tooth alignment, and jaw growth.

There are other systems that can be used in addition to mouth appliances – one system is called Myobrace. Myobrace was developed over a course of 20(!) years by an Australian dentist who was particularly interested in preventative orthodontics. One major problem that Myobrace appliances can help aid in are poor sleep for children. This is helpful as poor sleep effects a child’s behavior during the day and their performance in school.

Early Phase Treatment

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend orthodontic evaluation by age 7. At this age, there are usually enough permanent teeth to use many different appliances such as expanders, jaw growth modifying appliances, conventional braces, or Invisalign to correct narrow jaws, overbites and underbites, or crowding.

This is also a great time to make space in a child’s mouth for teeth that may not have room to grow. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, American orthodontists waited until a child was around age 12 to begin treatment. However, at that age, most permanent teeth have grown in. This resulted in extraction of permanent premolar teeth in 60% of their patients! Today, orthodontists extract in less than 5% of their patients. This is due partly to early phase creation of space.

Teenage Treatment

Preteens and teenagers age 11 to 15 is the standard orthodontic age. The benefit of treating at this age is that while most of the permanent teeth are present, there is still growth happening, which can be used to correct jaw and bite problems.

Teenagers benefit greatly from orthodontics as a misaligned, crooked smile may have immensely negative effects on a teenager’s confidence.
Adult Treatment

Today, many adults are seeking orthodontic treatment because while they may have had treatment as children/teens, they did not wear their retainer (learn more about retainers here!). The lack of retainer wear, or replacing their retainer, caused relapse.

Relapse can occur for many reasons, but with orthodontic treatment, teeth can be straightened again. Whether it is through braces or Invisalign, many adults are opting to undergo orthodontic treatment again. While the majority of our patients (roughly 90%) are adults and opt for Invisalign due to the discreet treatment, the primary goal is to have straight and healthy teeth.

Teeth are never “too old” for orthodontics as long as they are healthy and in good care! Adults may also take note that orthodontic treatment can be a huge health benefit, and prevent serious oral problems such as gum disease or even tooth decay.

Interested in learning more about orthodontics? Contact us here!

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