Dr. Golden's Blog

Ahh, October. Easily one of my favorite months. Time to break out the sweaters as the last leaves change color and line the streets with the brilliant oranges, yellows and reds that make the fall so beautiful here in the Columbus area. Orthodontists find even more to love about October because it is also National Orthodontics Health Month.

Every October, the American Association of Orthodontics (or AAO) celebrates National Orthodontics Health Month as a way to help educate the public about the importance of orthodontic treatment. As members of the AAO, we here at Golden Orthodontics embrace this opportunity to engage our community in a conversation about when, why and how to pursue orthodontic treatment for people of all ages.

I have written about braces in previous blog posts , most notably this post, which discusses the different types of braces (metallic braces, clear braces and Invisalign) and the best age to get braces. It’s worth reading that post if you haven’t yet, or if you just need to refresh your memory. I mention in that post that, while it’s never too late to get braces, the AAO recommends that children have an orthodontic screening by age 7 to determine whether early treatment would benefit the child.

But there is another important factor to consider when deciding when to get an orthodontic screening, of course. Open enrollment for insurance and flexible spending accounts are coming up for most people in the next month. That means October is a great time to see an orthodontist. We urge you to come to Golden Orthodontics for a FREE consultation to determine if (and when) your child (or you) might need treatment. You can contact us to schedule an appointment by clicking here or calling our office at (614) 235-4800.

It may not have escaped your attention that National Orthodontic Health Month happens to be the same month that culminates in the greatest candy-gorging holiday of the year: Halloween. After all, what better month to keep oral hygiene in the public consciousness than the one that leads to so many oral maladies?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Halloween as much as anybody and I would never advocate for denying children the joy of trick-or-treating. (And, just between us, even orthodontists enjoy the occasional piece of candy.) But there are a few important things to keep in mind before diving into that sack of sticky sugar.

As with all things, it’s best to approach candy with moderation. If you care about maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile, it’s also best to know which candies are toughest on your teeth. Consider these distinctions when deciding what your child eats and/or what to hand out at your door:

>>Chewy, sticky candies: Candies with caramel, taffy or gum are the worst for teeth. The sugars get stuck in crevices, making it difficult for saliva and brushing to wash them away. Also, these candies are particularly rough on braces. Ask yourself, before biting into that caramel apple, is this worth a broken bracket?

>>Sour candies: Sour candies are highly acidic and quickly break down tooth enamel. It’s best to stay away from them, but if you do indulge, wait 30 minutes before brushing. Saliva will restore the acid balance in your mouth, but brushing right away actually spreads the acid and increases enamel erosion.

>>Sugary snacks: The bottom line is that sugar is bad for your teeth, especially when it gets stuck in your braces. Don’t overdo it and remember that it is crucial to keep your braces clean.

I come bearing some good news:

Sugar-free lollipops and sugar-free gum stimulate saliva, which is good for your teeth. Sugar-free gum is particularly good because it can help clean your teeth.

No matter your Halloween plans, give us a call to set up a free consultation or to let us answer any questions you might have.

Enjoy October, Columbus.

It’s been a very exciting month here at Golden Orthodontics, even more than usual. First, I’m very proud to say that I’ve been chosen by my peers as one of the best orthodontists in Columbus. Every year, Columbus Monthly magazine asks dentists and dental specialists (including orthodontists) in Columbus to vote for their peers in the community who they consider to be among the very best. I was chosen in the field of orthodontics and as a result I have received an award and will be featured as a Top Orthodontist in the July issue of Columbus Monthly, which will be published in the last week of June.

I am truly honored to have received this recognition and I’m extremely excited that other professionals in the area appreciate and value my work.

That said, this honor is still secondary to the award I receive every day: Luckiest Orthodontist in Columbus/the World. I’m lucky to love what I do, to walk into the office every day as passionate about my work as the day before. But mostly, I’m lucky to love what I do in the community I love the most.

Obviously, the people who walk into my office are but a small sample of the larger Columbus community. Still, I’m constantly amazed by their stories, their passion and their compassion. Let me just give one recent example.

Montrose Elementary School, here in Bexley, is a wonderful place. The only problem is that its playground hasn’t been renovated in 25 years. The paint is chipping, it’s not entirely safe and, worst of all, it’s not handicap-accessible. A few years ago, the good people of Bexley started the Montrose Playground Project with the goal of renovating and modernizing the playground. They applied for grants, held a 5k run and a “Black Tie & Blue Jean BBQ” to raise money for the project. While the community was very responsive and generous, they were still $28,000 short of their fundraising goal as the deadline drew near.

Then someone did something amazing. One of our patients, John Laing, a 9-year-old Montrose student, made a video challenging the rest of us to reach into our pockets and help the last-minute push to the top. You see, John is a small-business owner who makes pot holders and wax molds. He saved $50 to donate to the Montrose Project and asked viewers of the video to beat his donation. Do you remember how much $50 was at 9 years old?!

John’s plan worked. The project hit its goal before the deadline and the renovation has already started. They still need volunteers for their community build. You should “like” their Facebook page and receive updates.

But their story is just one of many. There are countless more local heroes, and I try to highlight them on our Facebook page.

These are the amazing people I get to meet every day. That’s why I’m so lucky. So, while it’s an honor to be voted as one of the Best Orthodontists in Columbus, the real honor is just to be part of the Columbus community. Golden Orthodontics is still a young practice. We’ll turn 2 this August. But the lesson I learn every day is one that John Laing knew all along: When you work hard and care about what you do, the rewards are endless. Especially in Columbus.

The entire history of orthodontics, going back thousands of years, has been a battle between humankind’s inventive intellect and the naturally occurring imperfections of our teeth. Most of us are born with crooked teeth, and our malocclusions can result in some very real, very devastating consequences, both medically and socially.

For thousands of years, some of our best minds struggled to straighten the snaggles in our smiles. And though our imaginations are limitless, we are bound by the technology of our time. So we meddled with metal bands and wires, tinkering, twisting and affixing them until we arrived at modern-day braces.

Today’s braces are a marvel of human ingenuity and continue to be the smile’s best friend. But, even though we've developed ceramic braces and lingual braces to make braces as invisible as possible, the fact remains that today’s braces still have a few drawbacks. First, the metal they require is still visible. This problem is purely aesthetic, but it does make some people hesitant to get the treatment they need, especially adults. Braces also require a slight change in lifestyle. Some foods and snacks, like gum, popcorn and even apples, are forbidden. Keeping braces clean can be difficult because you can’t brush and floss as normal. Finally, braces can sometimes scrape against the tongue and cheeks, causing discomfort.

Ever since plastic came into widespread use last century, orthodontists theorized its application in treating patients. But the great breakthrough came not from an orthodontist, but from two graduate students at Stanford University’s MBA program who had no background in medicine.

Zia Chishti wore adult braces. After his treatment, he was given a clear plastic retainer. Sometimes Chishti would ignore his orthodontist’s advice and go days without wearing his retainer. (I must note that this is a very bad idea.) He noticed that his teeth slowly moved out of place without the retainer, which one would expect. What surprised him was that when he put the retainer back on, his teeth eventually moved back into their proper place. In other words, the plastic retainer wasn't just “retaining” the position of his teeth, it was actually moving his teeth back to that desired position.

Chisthi teamed up with classmate Kelsey Wirth, who had braces in high school and did not reflect kindly upon the experience, and the two founded Align Technologies in 1997. They went to venture capitalists in Silicon Valley with a bold idea: Invisalign.

Advancements in 3D imaging and thermoplastics made possible an entirely different approach to straightening teeth. Invisalign uses 3D imaging to map a patient’s mouth and plot a path for the proper realignment of his or her teeth. Then the patient wears sets of clear plastic aligners that slowly move the teeth, changing sets about every two weeks.

Consider for a moment what a revolution this was in dental technology. There are no standardized parts. Every Invisalign retainer is specially manufactured for the unique mouth of the patient. Every day, I get to treat the great people of the Columbus area. Orthodontists find that inside every unique person is a unique mouth. I approach every treatment plan with that in mind, and the makers of Invisalign share that sentiment.

But the best benefits of Invisalign are seen — or, rather, unseen — in the everyday lives of patients. They truly are virtually invisible. Braces can’t be removed by a patient, but Invisalign aligners can be popped on and off with ease, allowing you to eat whatever you like and to keep brushing and flossing like you normally would. And, unlike braces, Invisalign aligners won’t irritate your mouth as much.

Although Invisalign can be a great alternative to braces, it isn't the best treatment option for everyone. You might be wondering, “How do I know if Invisalign is right for me?” There are many factors involved in making that decision and the answer varies person to person, so you need to find an orthodontist and get a consultation. The good news is, if you need to find an orthodontist in Columbus, we offer free consultations and we’d love to meet you. Just give us a call at (614) 235-4800 or make an appointment online.

If you want to know more about Invisalign, you can look at my page in the about orthodontics section or head over to the Invisalign website, where they have a wealth of information. You should definitely stop by our Facebook page, where you can hear the opinions of other patients or ask any question that’s on your mind.

So, folks. That’s it. We’ve reached the end of our History posts. That History is history. All things considered, 9,000 years in seven posts ain't too shabby.

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