Sometimes there are things you find out about in your career that defy or are against everything you supposedly learned during your many years of professional education.
If you aren’t paying attention you might miss out on an idea that can change your calling and alter the path of what you thought you were supposed to be doing! For me it was stumbling across an orthodontic appliance called the Ortho-Tain. This device has changed, in a most positive way, the way I see orthodontics and the way I practice dentistry.
For some reason training in orthodontics during dental school is very minimal. I was fortunate, however, to have spent over 8 years in Nome getting to do orthodontics under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Beck, an orthodontist from New Mexico. Dr. Beck has traveled rural Alaska for over the last twenty years helping clinics in Bethel, Kodiak, and Nome. I learned about the Ortho-Tain from Dr. Beck, but we never had much success with it due to compliance issues so I basically swept its power and potential “under the rug.”
Fast forward 7 years to my moving and starting my own small practice in Anchorage. At this point I now I have a 7 year old who, one day, appears with a smile in cross bite, i.e. his new upper front teeth are growing behind his back teeth. As a mother and a dentist, I think, “This cannot be!!!!” (Even though I personally spent 3 miserable years myself in braces: 7th, 8th and 9th grades—ugh!). Here is my son when he was seven:
I immediately think back to this Ortho-Tain appliance, contact the company and start my son in treatment.
SO let me introduce to you to the Ortho-Tain appliance. There are actually multiple appliances that the company Ortho-Tain makes, but they are all very similar. They are all a mouth-guard type appliance that basically guide teeth into their correct position through a few hours of daily wear and through night-time sleep. In many cases, if the child is young enough, it can guide the teeth in straight before teeth are ever crooked. What I used on my son is the Occlus-o-guide appliance.
His cross bite was actually corrected in a few short weeks of only sleeping in the appliance and now that he is 11 years old he regularly just sleeps in it to guide the rest of his teeth in straight.
This picture was taken when he was 9, but correction was much earlier, I just never recorded it! Note that he never wore any wires, but only slept in the Occlus-o-Guide and would wear it during night-time reading.
I want to make it clear that because this appliance exists, does not mean that traditional wired braces is a thing of the past. I still enjoy and practice band and bracket orthodontics as a general dentist. And I still refer many people to orthodontic specialists if need be.
However, I am absolutely obsessed and impressed with the appliance! If you have any questions, please call me and would be happy to discuss its benefits.