All posts by Dmitriy

Boost Your Confidence and Improve Your Smile with Orthodontic Treatment

It is no secret that orthodontic treatment offers a wealth of health benefits for children and adults alike. Poorly aligned teeth and uncorrected bites may eventually lead to problems such as jaw pain, tooth grinding, headaches and even gum disease. Having a good bite and straighter teeth at any age means it’s easier to chew, bite and speak. Yet, the most common reason that people seek orthodontic treatment is the desire for a beautiful and bright smile. The wonders that straighter teeth and improved appearance can do for a person’s self-esteem cannot be overstated.

Over the years, we’ve seen many published studies that link straighter teeth to healthy boosts in confidence and improved self-image. These improvements can even be observed in children and teenagers, who often struggle with self-esteem issues that stem from feelings of insecurity about their appearance. Children who have misaligned teeth may choose to avoid smiling and laughing, hide their mouth when speaking or avoid speaking altogether. Some even encounter teasing from classmates or peers. Correcting orthodontic problems alleviates anxiety about physical appearance and enables children to smile, laugh and speak confidently. This boost in self-esteem can set up a child for success in school and personal relationships for years to come.

At Smaha Orthodontics, we’ve witnessed this transformation in teens and tweens again and again. What’s even more exciting is that adults can experience similar benefits from orthodontic treatment. Yes, healthy teeth can be moved at any age! Our adult patients not only enjoy improvements in self-esteem, they also find that their new-found confidence has a positive effect on their professional success.

Orthodontic treatment can be truly life changing and it is one of the best investments you can make in your overall health and appearance. At Smaha Orthodontics, we offer several types of braces and clear aligners for our patients. While regular metal braces are still widely used and are commonly worn by our younger patients, clear braces are becoming increasingly popular because of their cosmetic appeal. For our adult patients and teenagers with milder cases of misaligned teeth, InvisalignÒ aligners are a state-of-the-art alternative to braces. Virtually invisible to the eye, these aligners are removable and offer superior comfort.

Our experienced staff proudly offers a simpler path to beautiful, healthy smiles. Dr. Ched and Charles Smaha carry over 62 years of combined experience, creating not only a comfortable, but extremely knowledgeable environment. Whether you seek orthodontics for yourself or your child, you can rest assured knowing that Smaha Orthodontics always has your best interest in mind.

If you’d like to smile, laugh and speak with more confidence, contact us at (478) 743-9331 to schedule your first healthy smile consultation at our Forsyth location. During this first visit, we will review your individual needs and discuss the financial options that will work for you. We look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve a lifelong smile solution!

The iTero® Scanner: A Great First Impression

If Invisalign® aligners are part of your orthodontic treatment, Dr. Smaha will use a state-of-the-art scanner called iTero® to take a digital impression of your mouth. Orthodontists and patients alike love this system because it eliminates the discomfort and mess associated with traditional, goop-filled tray impressions.

 


When taking digital impressions, Dr. Smaha will scan your mouth with a wand and capture 3D images of your teeth, soft tissue, and bite. The wand works by emitting a red laser light and a white LED light, so the process is completely pain-free, comfortable, and safe. You can breathe and swallow normally—and even pause to ask a question. Best of all, there is no unpleasant taste, smell, or gagging.

The iTero software used in conjunction with the iTero scanner creates the digital impression real-time. You will be able to see the 3D model of your mouth on the screen and discuss it with Dr. Smaha immediately! All scans are stored safely on a hard disk and are easily accessible.  The iTero technology also has a built-in Invisalign® Outcome Stimulator which allows us to show you a projection of how your smile may look after treatment. For some, being able to see how Invisalign can improve your smile will make the decision to go forward with treatment a lot simpler.

A major advantage of iTero’s 3D scan is that it ensures a superior fit of Invisalign® aligners for our patients. The digital impressions are precise and highly accurate, which results in fewer fit issues and eliminates the need to take additional impressions.

If you are ready to take the next step and see if Invisalign® can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, contact us to make an appointment. We look forward to ­­serving you!

Clear, Hawley and Permanent Retainers

Why Do We Need Retainers?

Teeth can move for any person at any given time. Wearing a retainer is the only way to prevent teeth from changing over time. A person who wears a retainer after the braces come off is most likely to see lasting results. Once your braces are removed, you will begin the retention phase of treatment which is focused on maintaining the newly formed bite and preventing the teeth from shifting back to their previous positions.   

This phase of orthodontic treatment is of vital importance: The periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth will take many months to adjust to the new positions, leaving the teeth vulnerable to movement. If you don’t wear your retainer as directed, your teeth may start to shift back to their old positions, undoing the progress you’ve made while wearing braces.

You’ve already invested a lot of time and money into developing straighter teeth, and retention treatment is key to ensuring this new smile lasts a lifetime. Here are three types of retainers we use in our office:

Clear Retainer

The clear retainer is made of molded clear plastic and it fits over the arch of your teeth. It looks like Invisalign and is also removable. Patients like clear retainers because they are easy to wear, almost undetectable and are relatively inexpensive. However, because they are clear and removable, clear retainers can be easy to lose or misplace, and they are the least durable of all retainers. Since the retainer molds around the teeth, it can trap liquid inside, so you’ll need to take extra care to rinse and clean it during the day.

Hawley Retainer

The Hawley retainer is made of two parts: a sturdy acrylic (usually pink) frame and a metal wire. The frame is molded either to the roof of your mouth or, if used for lower teeth, to the tissue surrounding your bottom teeth. This ensures a comfortable and snug fit. The wire spans the arch of your front teeth and keeps them in position. The Hawley retainer is much more noticeable than the clear and, at first, may make it difficult for you to speak. It is also easy to lose. However, the Hawley retainers are very durable and are simple to clean.

Fixed/Permanent Retainer

A permanent retainer is a thin wire bonded directly to the surface of your teeth, and it sits behind the front lower or upper teeth. This retainer is completely hidden, and because it cannot be removed, it provides round-the-clock support for your teeth. The downside to the fixed retainer is that it is more challenging to clean and can brake loose. You’ll need to use a floss threader to reach the space between the teeth and be vigilant about cleaning the inside of your teeth and the wire.

Accelerated Orthodontics with AcceleDent® Aura

Traditional orthodontic treatments for the average patient range from a few months to a few years.  Some may find the length of treatment to be inconvenient, citing careers, schedules or the hassle of wearing braces or aligners for an extended period of time. What if you could achieve the same amazing results faster? With AcceleDent® Aura, you can reduce your overall treatment time by 30 to 50%!

AcceleDent is a lightweight, comfortable and hands-free device that you use at home for just 20 minutes a day in conjunction with your existing orthodontics, such as fixed braces or clear aligners. It works by accelerating the bone remodeling process that takes place during an orthodontics treatment, which, in turn, speeds up teeth movement. In clinical trials, AcceleDent was clinically proven to move teeth up to 50% faster.

To use AcceleDent, you simply insert the mouthpiece, bite down gently to hold it in place, and turn it on. During this time, AcceleDent uses SoftPulse Technology® to generate mild and safe micropulses that guide teeth to their optimal position. These tiny vibrations exert up to 8x less force than an electric toothbrush, so you’ll hardly feel them. Most patients get used to the sensation quickly. When the 20 minutes are up, the device shuts off automatically.

Not only can AcceleDent help you get straighter teeth faster and reduce overall treatment time, it also has been shown to decrease discomfort you may experience from orthodontic treatment.

AcceleDent is easy to charge at home or on the go and the mouthpiece is simple to remove for cleaning. Our patients enjoy the simplicity of using it at home while watching TV, reading, doing homework or listening to music. Most of all, they love the accelerated results! If you would like to learn more about AcceleDent and how it may benefit you, schedule an appointment today.

Research Supports Braces for 7-8 Year-Olds

By Ched Smaha, DMD MS

As a practicing orthodontist, a large amount of my time, both professional and personal is spent as a “resource” for all matters dental. I enjoy this role because I am passionate about delivering high-quality orthodontic care, which itself requires a populace with a high “oral health IQ.”

Over the course of my eight years in practice, I find one question that comes up frequently in casual conversation about orthodontics is, “Why does it seem that I see increasingly ‘younger’ children in braces? When I was a kid in the 80s (or 90s), everyone started orthodontics sometime around 7th or 8th grade.”

It’s a valid observation. There are statistically far more children beginning orthodontic treatment at an earlier age. Many of the people that have raised the question have wrongly assumed that this trend reflect an insincere motive within the dental industry. They implied a belief that orthodontists are taking advantage by treating younger and younger patients. However, the fact of the matter is that the advancements brought by the technological boom of the past three decades have revolutionized orthodontics. Along with three dimensional treatment planning, Invisilign®, and a greatly reduced length of treatment, the growth of early interceptive treatment is one of the most notable outcomes of this revolution.

The American Association of Orthodontists, learning from decades of research, advises that all children receive an orthodontic evaluation between ages 7 & 8. The reasoning behind its recommendation is of such significance, that most orthodontists in the U.S. provide this screening at no charge to the patient and will continue to do so every six months through this “observation phase”.

In the simplest of terms, the overall cost of any orthodontic treatment plan is based on the complexity of the issue needing to be fixed. And because our tissues are less flexible as we age, some treatments that require surgery in teens and adults can be fixed with the use of an appliance in younger children, as is the case with palatal expansion, which is the opening of the upper arc of teeth for a wider smile. Avoiding surgery makes everyone happy, as does the potential cost savings to the patient.

Along with the potential of minimizing the complexity of care, early evaluation can add the benefit of an overall shorter, more comfortable time in treatment. A shorter time in treatment translates, again, to a reduction in cost. So while it may strike one as odd to see an 8-year old in braces, this “phased” approach to orthodontics has evolved as a result of the imaging and treatment technologies that were still “science fiction” as recently as the 1990s.

You know the story that our parents always told us, “When I was your age, I had to walk six miles through two feet of snow to get to school every morning at 5 a.m.?” We should tell our kids about what we went through having braces when WE were their age.

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

Did you know that the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children see an orthodontist by the time they are 7 years old? Yes, that means that your child should have an orthodontic exam while they still have some of their baby teeth!

While that may seem like too early of an age for an evaluation, it’s important to note that an examination does not always result in orthodontic work. Whether treatment is needed is determined on an individual basis and the direction their teeth are growing.

So, why so early? The transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth is extremely important. During this stage of jaw development, the emerging adult teeth work in harmony with the baby teeth and changes in the bite begin to emerge. Often, these changes are easy to miss with an untrained eye and problems may go undetected, especially if the teeth appear to be straight.

Children have growing bones that are easier to change and guide into proper alignment.  Early detection can prevent further problems and even save your child from having more extensive orthodontic work down the road.

Below are just some of the problems orthodontists look for during an oral examination:

  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Overbite
  • Open bite
  • Tooth crowding

Keep in mind that orthodontists are also trained to look for signs of alignment and bite problems that can develop in the future. Taking a proactive approach to your child’s smile will not only will save money and time, but it will set your child up for a lifetime of optimal oral health.

The Basics of Lingual Braces

Lingual braces—sometimes referred to as invisible braces—are placed behind your teeth, so nobody will know you have braces unless you tell them. They are a great alternative for people whose occupations or hobbies prevent them from being able to wear regular braces.

Lingual braces are uniquely created and customized to the shape of your teeth using state-of-the-art technology. Because they are customized to your mouth, lingual braces are especially effective and efficient in tooth movement and work better at correcting alignment than other types of invisible aligners.

After the initial consultation, we will take an impression of your teeth and send that off to the laboratory. After a few weeks, we will receive the custom brackets, and Dr. Smaha will use a special cement to attach the braces to the back of your teeth. As with regular braces, how long you will have to wear lingual braces will vary, but typical wear time ranges from 18 to 36 months.

It will take a couple of weeks before you get used to the sensation of having the braces behind your teeth. While it might also be challenging during this time to speak or eat, most people adjust quickly.

Lingual braces require the same care as standard braces, and you’ll need to pay special attention to your oral hygiene and home care.  It’s imperative to keep your cleaning appointments with your general dentist while in braces.  Read our tips of keeping a healthy smile.

If you want to get the benefits of braces while staying discreet, lingual braces might be the right choice for you. Because of the training and expertise required to attach lingual braces, not many orthodontists perform this treatment. Dr. Smaha sits on the Board of Directors of the American Lingual Orthodontic Association and is the only orthodontist south of Atlanta, Georgia who offers lingual braces!

Click here to request an appointment.

Building World-Class Smiles Is a Local Family’s Legacy

When Dr. Charles Smaha moved to Macon to open his orthodontics practice in 1972, little did he realize that his practice would touch the lives of generations of local families, including his own. Dr. Smaha was a husband and new father, having just finished his orthodontics residency at the Medical College of Georgia and was simply embarking on his career. He was of a new generation that viewed his craft, the specialty of orthodontics, in a much broader sense than just “moving teeth.” He was passionate about engineering faces and building self-esteem in his patients, and this revolutionary approach would pave the way for huge advancements, both in terms of orthodontic technology and the impact it makes to millions today. This longview of what his practice would mean was far more philosophical than practical in those early days.

“I was really just focused on my patients, trying to provide the best quality of care and customer service. I learned early on to treat each person uniquely, adjusting the care that I provided them around their unique concerns. I think that alone was probably the revolutionary part, what I was doing differently than other orthodontists. I was listening to my patients’ needs, not just dictating their course of treatment,” says Dr. Smaha. This adherence to quality of care and personalized orthodontic treatment quickly proved to be the secrets to Smaha Orthodontics’ success.

Dr. Ched Smaha, Charles’ son, was so inspired by his father’s passion and approach that he joined his father in practice after completing dental school and orthodontic residency in 2005. “My father was friends with everyone in town, having treated them or their children. And the way that he made a difference in their lives…I knew that this was what I wanted to be and do,” states Dr. Ched.

“I learned early on to treat each person uniquely, adjusting the care that I provided them around their unique concerns.”

And today Ched, now the managing partner, maintains a dedication to the same principles that have made Smaha Orthodontics a staple of quality.

Dr. Ched continues, “Everything that we do starts and ends with customer service. We want our patients’ time in treatment to be a legendary, life-changing experience. That means not only achieving perfect smiles, but making the path to those smiles thoroughly enjoyable. So we invest in technology to keep us cutting edge and in continuing education to learn techniques that maximize the comfort of orthodontics while reducing the time it takes to finish.”

But while this investment into the practice bears significant cost, it also means that orthodontic treatment is more affordable now than at any time before. “My father and I have always believed that finances should not get in the way of someone achieving the smile of their dreams,” offers Dr. Ched. “The newer technologies that we bring to Macon, Warner Robins, and Forsyth mean that patients finish treatment faster. This time savings pays for itself. As such, orthodontic treatment is less costly to the patient now than it was when my father first opened when taking inflation into account.”

Even with all the vacillations in healthcare over the past decade, orthodontics is now, more than ever, within the reach of the masses. The governing body of orthodontics, the AAO, posits that 30% of patients today are adults. “What this tells us is that people for whom orthodontics wasn’t an option decades ago, can now realize the smile and con dence that they’ve wanted,” offers Dr. Charles. “We even see that most dental health plans now include some amount of orthodontic benefits, where it wasn’t when I began my practice.”

At the core of the discussion about Smaha Orthodontics is the aforementioned “secret formula” pioneered by Dr. Charles and continued by Dr. Ched today. The legacy that the Smaha family has conferred upon the communities they serve is not just about straight teeth. It is about self-esteem and joy. “We will always strive to provide the best quality of care available, that’s a given,” states Dr. Ched. “But by focusing the unique patient we can help build the confidence that will empower them throughout their lives. That is what matters most to my father and me.”

Dr. Charles Smaha concludes, “Our entire team is part of this community. We are neighbors, family, and friends with all of our patients. So each of us take it as a point of pride to do more than what is expected. That is what makes Smaha Orthodontics stand apart.”