Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Getting Wiser about Wisdom Teeth

In the dental profession, there is a changing wave of thinking regarding the removal of wisdom teeth—and it’s making for some rough waters between the different disciplines of dentistry.  For years, oral surgeons and dentists have been prophylactically removing wisdom teeth under the assumption that if left intact, major problems will occur.  While it is true that wisdom teeth can cause major problems, it’s only in a small percentage of individuals that problems arise.  A recent article on Yahoo news highlighted a dentist who’s made it his mission to educate the public and the profession on the removal of wisdom teeth.  He published an article in the American Journal of Public Health, claiming two-thirds of the wisdom teeth removed each year were done for “no good reason”.  As well, the total cost for the extractions was in the billions!  Click here for a link to the article. 

The decision to extract wisdom teeth should be looked at closely by your dentist, oral surgeon and orthodontist.  The risks versus the rewards of extracting or keeping wisdom teeth need to be evaluated on an individual basis.  There are no absolutes.  The dental profession in Akron Ohio and the surrounding areas stays at the forefront when it comes to continuing education.  Know with confidence, your dental community is aware of the updates.

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, our practice has long been advising patients that the early removal of wisdom teeth does not prevent the other teeth from shifting later in life.  The teeth can shift with or without the wisdom teeth.  The most important variable to keeping your teeth straight after braces is wearing your retainer at night. 

Please call our office in Barberton, OH should you have any questions.  330-745-4497

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

11 years in braces? Hopefully never in our office, but who's to blame when it happens?

There are numerous reasons someone can get stuck in braces longer than the average 1-3 years, but most of the time, it's not the orthodontist's fault. In a recent article I saw on Yahoo, someone is suing their orthodontist after spending 11 years in braces.

This person is suing for $185,000 to make up for the pain and suffering of prolonged treatment and the cost of corrective dental work to repair his damaged and decayed teeth.   In all, he had to spend $35,000 on crowns, implants, and other dental work to repair his teeth once the braces came off.  He feels $150,000 is due to him for the pain and suffering of 11 years in braces. 

Just to be clear, I don't know the specifics of this case or the orthodontist being sued. I do want to make the point however, that braces do not damage and decay teeth. If you don't care for your teeth while in braces, whether it be for a few months, a few years, or 11 years, the teeth can decay and get damaged--sometimes beyond repair. Brushing your teeth is a personal responsibility. You can't blame someone else because you didn't make the effort to do it well.

I'm sure there's more to this case that what we know publicly and there has to be blame on both sides, but for an individual to sue for this much money,when there is clearly an issue with personal responsibility is sad. Braces don't do the harm, the build-up of plaque from poor brushing and flossing by the INDIVIDUAL causes the damage.

At Barnett Orthodontics, we always take the time to educate our patients on proper home hygiene before and during treatment. If the brushing is poor, we sometimes need to discontinue treatment altogether. It's imperative to keep regular appointments so the treatment can be monitored and the brushing can be checked. Communication between the doctor, patient and parent is crucial regarding all facets of care. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dental X-rays and Cancer, In the News and Over Hyped

Major media outlets have been covering the recent report in the Journal of Cancer that dental x-rays may be linked to a certain type of brain cancer. The study found that some adults with brain cancer were 2-5x more likely to have had repeated dental X-rays as children than those that did not have X-rays. The study could NOT prove however that the X-rays caused the cancer, just that those with the cancer were more likely to have had dental X-rays as children.

A major flaw with the study was the fact that the participants were asked to remember if they had a lot of X-rays as children as opposed to actually checking their dental records for the facts. This can lead to data which is not entirely factual as its based on the participants memory. As well, those already diagnosed with cancer may be more likely to "remember" having numerous dental X-rays as children as they try to place the cause of the cancer on something tangible.

Another issue is the fact that dental X-ray equipment has improved drastically over the last 15 years emitting 1/10 of the radiation now, than it did in 1999. That means most of the participants in this study, whom are now adults age 20-79 had dental X-rays with less sophisticated and more dangerous equipment than we have today.

The fact of the matter is, that the less exposure you get to radiation, the better off you are. We in the dental profession have been well trained on the risks vs. rewards of using dental X-rays. They should be ordered when necessary for diagnosis and treatment planning and we should ensure that radiation exposure is as low as reasonably achievable for every patient.

At Barnett Orthodontics, we will make every effort to keep X-ray exposure to a minimum and only order X-rays when needed for diagnosis and treatment planning. We have state of the art equipment and we strive to provide the best care possible in the Akron area. Should you have any questions or concerns about X-rays at our office, please don't hesitate to ask. 

The overuse of X-rays can absolutely be dangerous, but the current study out of Yale University has some major flaws. The take home message is; be responsible and X-rays will do more good than harm. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Akron Organization Donates $160,000 Annually for Braces...

Akron's Barnett Orthodontics is proud to partner with The Beacon Journal Charity Fund to provide braces to area families whom otherwise could not afford orthodontic treatment. 

Accepting a significantly reduced fee, Barnett Orthodontics (along with other area practitioners) provide the orthodontic treatment funded by the Charity Fund.  This partnership has allowed over 500 children in the past 10 years to get an amazing smile and healthy bite--thus increasing their self-esteem and self-worth by giving them a smile they can be proud of.   

The Beacon Journal Charity Fund was set up to make orthodontic services available to families with teens age 13 to 18 who reside in the five-county circulation area of the Akron Beacon Journal. These families don’t earn enough to pay for braces, but earn too much to be eligible for government aid. The fund fills the gap to provide orthodontics to a population which would otherwise have to go without. 

 Please let us know if you'd like more information on eligibility and or making donations to this great fund.