Girl with sore jaw

Orthodontic Emergencies

Nearly every new, rewarding experience has a learning curve, and orthodontic treatment is no different. Whether you’re straightening your smile with Invisalign’s clear aligner system or straightening with traditional metal braces, the process can take a bit of getting used to.

Here at Mateer Orthodontics, we understand patient concerns. It is uncommon for a day to go by without a patient cautiously asking if the treatment being considered will be painful. We like to be upfront with our patients and manage their expectations.  With that being said, we inform our patients that some initial soreness is completely normal, and at times, as teeth are moving, they may ache a bit. While most of the temporary discomfort a patient may feel is typical, true orthodontic emergencies, while rare, can occur.

What constitutes a true orthodontic emergency?

Thankfully, there are just a few instances where orthodontic emergencies apply. They include:

  • any major trauma or injury to the teeth, face, or mouth
  • infection and/or swelling and/or bleeding of the gums, mouth, or face
  • severe discomfort or pain in these areas that don’t respond to treatment

If during the course of your treatment, you experience any of these issues, seek help as soon as possible. Start with your orthodontist’s office unless you believe heading to the emergency room is your best option. We totally understand that deciding whether something is ER-worthy or not is difficult. A good example of things that need immediate attention are a fractured tooth, severe unmanageable pain, or serious swelling. Once you’ve attended to the emergency situation, we can adjust your orthodontic treatment plan as needed.

The great news is that in many cases, orthodontic problems can be resolved at home. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend trying to treat the pressing issue of discomfort first, and then schedule an appointment with our office. Remember though, even if you can temporarily alleviate some or all of the pain caused by a stray wire or broken bracket, you’ll still need to come see us for a repair appointment. While you’re waiting to be seen, the following guidelines can help you take care of quite a few minor emergencies at home.

Minor orthodontic emergencies and remedies

Loose or broken brackets/bands/wires

Many times, “user error” is a normal cause of issues with brackets, bands, or wires.  This can be as seemingly “harmless” as eating some hard candy or sticky food, only to realize the situation just went gloriously wrong. Behavior like this can cause you not only pain but also extra time in your braces.

If it’s a band or bracket that’s broken and causing you pain but is still attached to the wire, don’t connect any elastics to it; leave it alone until your appointment. However, if it is irritating or scraping the inside of your mouth, cover the offending wire with orthodontic wax.  If the piece has broken all the way off, house it somewhere safe and bring it to your next appointment. Either way, be sure to give us a call in our Commack office to let us know what’s happened. We’ll be able to recommend what you should do next.

Misplaced archwire/bracket/tie

Sometimes the archwire can start poking out near the back of the mouth as your teeth start moving into their new positions. This can be irritating to your cheeks. In most instances, you can push the wire into a better position by using a Q-tip or the end of a pencil eraser. If misplaced wires or ties are causing you trouble, they can usually be manipulated back into place with a pair of tweezers.

If any wire or brackets are irritating your mouth, cover them with orthodontic wax. And of course, make an appointment to fix the problem as soon as possible.

Tooth pain or loosening

Ask people what a common fear is, and many will answer it’s their teeth falling out. Now, the realization of having a loose tooth in your post-Tooth Fairy years can be scary, but it’s entirely normal for teeth to loosen up a bit when undergoing orthodontic treatment. If anything, it’s proof they are moving in the literal right direction! Sometimes this can be accompanied by tenderness. Using a salt water rinse twice a day can be beneficial and soothing to sore gums. Mix one teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water, and then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or a heating pad on the low setting can also be placed on the outside of your jaw for additional relief.

Broken retainer

Like anything else, retainers can break. It’s possible for the metal or plastic parts of your retainer or other removable appliance to bend or break, leading to an uncomfortable or improper fit. If this happens, stop wearing your retainer immediately and call the office for an appointment.

If your retainer cracks or breaks, keep all the pieces in a plastic bag and bring them with you to your next appointment. We try to repair broken retainers first if we can.

Handling orthodontic emergencies with the help of Mateer Orthodontics

While rare, orthodontic emergencies can happen, and we recommend that you seek treatment immediately if one happens to you. That said, we know even non-emergencies can cause stress and discomfort, and our number one goal is to make your orthodontic experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible. We try to be available to our patients as much as possible, so please reach out if an emergency happens. We will do everything we can to correct the problem as quickly and pain-free as possible!

teenage girl with braces leaned back and laughing

Wisdom Teeth and Braces

When patients find out that braces are in their near future, it spurs a lot of different questions like, “Will they hurt?” “How will I take care of them?” “Will they affect my wisdom teeth?”

Hold on, wisdom teeth?

Yes, wisdom teeth! Even though these might not be big your biggest concern when it comes to braces, we still deal with questions about these guys on a regular basis. Often times, patients who are near the completion of their orthodontic treatment will start to feel their wisdom teeth coming in, and may begin to panic and worry that their now straightened teeth will be moved around and once again become uneven. We at Mateer Orthodontics know this a legitimate concern for both patients and parents, so let’s look at how wisdom teeth affect your smile and separate fact from fiction.

 

Can They Affect My Straightened Smile?

At around 17-21 years of age, patients can expect their wisdom teeth to begin making an appearance. At the same time, they may feel the slightest shifting of their teeth. This is known as a relapse. Is it coincidence, or is it a result of emerging wisdom teeth?

Interestingly enough, research has shown that wisdom teeth are not the cause of teeth shifting around this age! According to researchers at the University of Iowa, wisdom teeth are not able to exert enough pressure on teeth to cause them to shift. Researchers tested this by putting sensors in between teeth on patients both with and without wisdom teeth. The results? There was no noticeable difference.

So if wisdom teeth aren’t the cause for shifting teeth, that what is?

Portrait Of Smiling Young Woman Standing Outdoors Against White WallThe biggest reason we feel a shifting in our teeth at this point is because we age.

Yep, just like the rest of our body, our teeth begin to show signs of wear and tear as we get older. Teeth naturally drift and this can cause some overlap, slightly moving them forward. When the teeth overlap, the lower teeth can be pressed in towards the tongue by the upper teeth. During this time there is still some residual jaw growth happening, which can force teeth into not so desirable positions.

If you’ve ever heard Dr. Mateer telling patients to wear their retainer, this is why! Because your retainer is a mold of your teeth when you first got your braces taken off, wearing it on a consistent basis is your best defense against the shifting of your teeth. With the natural pressure from your teeth to start drifting, you’ll lose that smile you’ve worked so hard for! That’s why we can’t stress enough how important it is to keep wearing your retainer post-treatment.

 

Be Wise About Wisdom Teeth

While your wisdom teeth may not be the cause for teeth shifting, it’s still important to know how they can still affect your overall oral health by learning about some problems they can potentially cause when they erupt, like:

  • Sometimes wisdom teeth only partially emerge. If this happens a flap of skin can form, which has a bad habit of trapping food, which in turn can gause gum infections and possible tooth decay.
  • Often times there won’t be enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to fully erupt. They are unable to break through to the surface and become stuck in your gums and jaws. This is what’s known as being teeth being impacted.
  • Painful cysts can form when the wisdom teeth become impacted. These can cause decay and infections to the surrounding tooth roots.
  • If the back of your mouth is particularly crowded, wisdom teeth that come in at an angle will painfully rub against your cheeks.

 

How to Handle Your Wisdom Teeth

The biggest concern with wisdom teeth is that most patients we see just don’t have enough room for them in their mouth for the wisdom teeth to come in comfortably. And often times even when patients do have enough room for them. They are so far back in the mouth that they are hard to brush and floss them properly, leading to gum disease and oral decay.

 

Post-Braces

After your braces come off, wearing your retainer in a consistent manner and scheduling an appointment as soon as your wisdom teeth start coming in is the best way to avoid any potential problems. Plan on regular visits with us even after you’ve completed your orthodontic treatment.

 

To Sum It Up

Portrait Of Three Teenage Girls Laughing and Leaning Against WallProblems with overcrowding can generally be diagnosed long before the wisdom teeth erupt and they can be extracted to avoid any of the complications that come along with them. Wisdom teeth can even be removed while wearing braces. No need to worry if they start to appear during your orthodontic treatment. There’s also no need to remove wisdom teeth if there aren’t any problem with your’s, which means not everyone needs or has to have their’s removed. Again, it is paramount to wear your retainer every night once your braces come off. This will keep your teeth nice and straight. If you happen to notice it getting tighter, or it feels like there is a pressure in the back of your mouth, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with us!

At Mateer Orthodontics, we want you to feel taken care of throughout your treatment with braces and beyond. Our team works hard to give you the smile you’ve always wanted and help you keep it. If you’re in the Commack area and are looking for more information about wisdom teeth and how they can affect your orthodontic treatment, get in touch with us today! We are more than willing to answer any questions you have and would be happy to schedule a free consultation at our office.

Happy couple hugging on the couch

Orthodontics for Adults

Sometimes adults can feel like the opportunity to get a gorgeous, healthy smile has passed them by. Most think that only children and teenagers get corrective orthodontic treatments, but it’s simply not true! While adolescence may be the best time to get braces or aligners, that doesn’t mean that’s the only time you can get straighter teeth. Adult orthodontic treatments are extremely effective in correcting crooked teeth, overbites, and a host of other oral issues adults have. There is no age limit when it comes to orthodontics!

At Mateer Orthodontics, we personalize solutions for patients of all ages that can be created to suit any situation. Many adult patients have now approached us either to seek treatment or just talk about the questions and concerns about being an adult with braces.

Why Seek Treatment?

Everyone wants a beautiful, healthy smile and having questions and concerns about how your smile looks is always a good reason to visit an orthodontist. By discussing your situation with a friendly, experienced professional like Dr. Mateer is a wonderful way to ensure your dental health is on-track. Even if you walk away with a clean bill of health, you know you have covered your bases.  

Changes During Adulthood

Like pretty much everything that happens with age, change is always possible, and that includes your teeth! Most people are under the misconception that teeth stop developing and shifting around once adolescence is over. It’s definitely a crucial time for your mouth, but it isn’t the only factor affecting your adult smile. Injuries, regularly applied exterior forces, and even natural factors can lead to adult changes in the mouth. These factors can lead to painful things like jaw pain, misalignment, and severe bites.

There’s No Better Time Than Right Now

Portrait of a businessman wearing braces and smiling confidentlyThere are a number of reasons that a patient might have delayed orthodontic treatment. It’s possible they couldn’t or didn’t want to see an orthodontist when they were younger. It’s also possible their oral issues are just now presenting themselves. Perhaps they are seeking treatment for aesthetic reasons, or they’ve been referred by their dentist in the interest of oral health. Bad bites and misaligned teeth can lead to severe issues like tooth decay and gum disease. That’s why we encourage patients of any age to receive the treatment they might have put off so that they can keep their teeth and gums as healthy as possible!

What Are the Concerns?

Adult orthodontic treatment does need to be undertaken a bit differently than adolescent treatment. The entire landscape of the mouth is different. There are just some extra considerations that need to be taken into account when treating adults that aren’t in play for their younger counterparts.

Previous Treatments

Sometimes when an adult patient has had a tooth extracted, it is hard to treat the area with an appliance. This isn’t an issue for all patients, but it is for some. When this happens, we guide the teeth to their correct alignment using a small, custom-made piece of prosthetic bone.

Bone Development

Since adult bones have had more time to develop, they are harder and have a more challenging time shifting into their desired spots with treatment. At times this means that orthodontic solutions will take longer than they would for younger patients, but not always. Treatment duration varies from person to person, and your orthodontist will be able to tell you more about your specific situation.

Pain

Braces and aligners are known to cause a bit of soreness for all patients, but thanks to modern orthodontic techniques, pain is becoming more and more rare with treatment. Now, you can expect some soreness for the first few days of treatment as you adjust to your braces or aligners, but so long as you keep up with proper maintenance, pain shouldn’t be an issue.

Aesthetics

People want to look attractive, and for many, traditional braces are just not the look most people are going for while they are a very effective and cost-efficient option. There are a some other more discreet alternatives that offer the same level of effectiveness.

Treatment Options for Adults

During your initial consultation, your orthodontist will do a thorough examination and discuss your personal situation with you. He or she will also go through all your treatment options. You may be surprised to know most adults deal with one or more of these issues:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • A bad bite

At Mateer Orthodontics, we can treat these instances with a few noninvasive techniques.

Traditional Braces

One of the best options for busy adult patients, conventional metal braces are more sanitary, effective, and comfortable then they have ever been. Patients report that they become accustomed to wearing the brackets and wires quickly. So long as you take care of your braces, they’ll be removed in no time, and the only evidence that’ll remain is your new beautiful, straight smile.

Translucent Braces

Braces with clear or tooth-colored brackets are an option many people forget about, but they are an excellent option for those who would like their treatment to be a bit more discreet. For patients who select these clear braces, it’s important to know there are a bit more sensitive than their metal counterparts, so you’ll need to be extra careful when chewing sticky or tacky foods.

Invisalign

Invisalign clear aligners are a popular choice for many adult patients because they are almost invisible and totally removable. It allows them to eat and drink whatever they choose without the worry of foods getting stuck.

doctors showing Invisalign aligner to patientThe Invisalign system involves of a series of custom-made thermoplastic tray aligners the patient replaces every two weeks on average. Progressively, these BPA-free aligners guide the teeth into their proper alignment. The treatment can consist of anywhere from 12 to 48 trays, but most patients have a relatively short treatment. Your orthodontist will give you the actual estimate once you discuss your treatment plan.  

Ready to Get Started?

We want to assure you that there is no better time than now to get a straighter and healthier smile, and there’s no such thing as “too late!” If you’re looking to get orthodontic treatment and you’re past the adolescent age, the best place to start is by contacting us for your initial consultation. From there we can talk about your needs, concerns, and possible treatment plans to create a beautiful, healthy smile! We hope to see you soon!

Girl in glasses with braces

How Long Will I Be In Braces?

If you’ve recently learned that your smile could benefit from braces, you probably have a whole laundry list of questions, everything from whether or not they’ll hurt to what kind of foods you should avoid. Here at Mateer Orthodontics, one of the first questions we hear from patients is often “…but how long will I have to wear them?”  While there’s no easy answer, we can take a look at some of the factors that can impact treatment time, as well as the average estimated treatment times for braces. We’ll even discuss things you can do to possibly speed up your time spent in treatment! Let’s start with….

Factors that affect treatment time

Young girl with question mark on a gray background .

Each patient is treated according to their own unique orthodontic issues, so there are several factors we have to take into consideration when looking at an estimated orthodontic treatment time. These can range from the age of the patient, to their adherence to recommendations, to the severity of their case. Because we can’t predict exactly how a patient will respond to treatment, the treatment times will vary from person to person.

Even though there’s no answer set in stone when it comes to the total time you’ll be in braces, taking all factors into consideration, braces tend to be worn for anywhere from roughly one to three years on average, for comprehensive treatment.

Wondering which factors play a part in determining treatment times? The single biggest factor in determining the length of time you’ll need to be in braces is the severity of your specific case. We also look at things like

  • the amount of room available in your mouth
  • the distance the teeth will have to travel to meet their goal
  • the health of your teeth, gums, and supporting bone
  • how closely you follow instructions

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children see an orthodontist by around the age of 7, and we agree. One of the biggest reasons why is because many potential problems can be caught early this way. Research has shown that the earlier someone gets braces, the faster their treatment will usually be. Generally speaking, the most optimal time for getting braces is around 11-14 years old. As long as dental development is normal, and barring any serious oral issues, treatment time can often be fairly quick at this age. Don’t worry if you’ve bypassed this window, though – even adult treatment can be more successful if you practice excellent oral hygiene!

For younger patients, it’s especially important to stress good dental hygiene, and the valuable role it plays in orthodontic treatment. Although traditional metal braces can make thorough brushing and flossing a little tricky, there are several products designed to make it easier, such as interdental toothbrushes and Waterpiks. By brushing and flossing at least twice a day, and strictly following instructions about caring for their teeth, our tween and teen patients can sometimes even cut time off how long they’ll need to wear braces.

Body response plays a part in treatment times, too. For some patients, the teeth move faster than normal, while for others, they move more slowly than we anticipate. These are factors that neither you nor your orthodontist can control. Even if you’re both vigilant about your braces treatment, we still need your teeth and jaws to cooperate in order for you to complete it in the time estimated.

Because there are so many different components to orthodontics, estimated treatment times can change at any point in the process. For example, damaged braces may have to be worn a bit longer as they’ll require repairs to be made. There are times where a patient’s teeth just aren’t cooperating with the process for some reason, and the orthodontist will have to make some adjustments and come up with a new estimate for when the braces are likely to come off. On the plus side, though, there may be times when teeth move faster than anticipated, and the braces can come off sooner than expected!

The part you play in treatment time

Beautiful young woman with teeth braces

There is one way you can maintain some control over your treatment plan and how long your braces remain on, and that’s by always following the instructions you receive from your orthodontist! Getting the perfect diagnosis and treatment plan won’t mean much without your cooperation.

Paying special attention to your dental hygiene is a great way to work with your orthodontist to keep your treatment sailing along. But what else can you do to help ensure you complete your treatment within the estimated time?

To avoid any potential complications, it’s important to keep all your appointments and to visit your orthodontist as directed. To keep your treatment plan on schedule, you should try to always

  • stick to all your scheduled appointment dates
  • when you can’t, reschedule appointments as close to your original appointment date as possible
  • arrive on time for your appointments
  • take care of any required procedures in a timely manner to prevent complications
  • follow your orthodontist’s guidelines on dental hygiene

It’s easier than you think to sabotage your own treatment! Doing any of the following things could result in more time in braces:

  • missing, changing, or spreading your appointments out too far
  • regularly arriving late to appointments
  • putting off necessary procedures like surgeries, extractions, etc.
  • frequently breaking or bending your wires or brackets between visits
  • not practicing good oral hygiene

Diet is also an important, but often neglected, aspect of your oral health. When wearing braces, there are certain foods you should steer clear of because of the damage they can cause to your braces or teeth. This includes:

  • anything hard, like popcorn, certain candy, raw apples or carrots
  • anything sticky or chewy, such as caramel, tough cuts of meat, or gummy bears

You should also avoid acidic items (sodas, lemons, or oranges) and sugary foods and drinks (sweets, sodas, smoothies, and overly processed foods) because they can affect the enamel and bacteria levels in your teeth and mouth.

A little patience goes a long way

It’s important to remind yourself throughout the course of your treatment that no two smiles are the same. Understanding that not everyone will respond to orthodontic treatment in the same way will give you some much-needed perspective that will help keep you patiently waiting for the big day your braces come off!

The total treatment experience with Mateer Orthodontics

Here at Mateer Orthodontics, we take pride in providing an honest, caring approach to orthodontic treatment for all our patients. You’re not just another number to us! We believe that long-term treatment builds a meaningful relationship between our office and our patients, and that that can translate to a lifetime of better oral health.

If you’re in the Commack or surrounding areas, and want more information on how braces can have a positive impact on your life and your smile, get in touch with us today. We’re here to get you started on the road to a straighter smile!

Girl with tennis racket

How to Protect Your Braces During Sports

How to Protect Your Braces During Summer

It’s summer, and you know what that means: time to go outside and play your favorite sport! What is your favorite sport to play? Football, basketball, baseball? Or maybe you like to nothing more than to spend your days in the pool! Whatever the activity is, making sure your braces are on the right track is our goal. Protecting yourself during contact sports is pretty important. After all, you want to be able to get back into the game without any injuries.  We don’t want you to don’t to miss out on any of the fun on or off the field, and having braces shouldn’t stop you from enjoying any of your favorite sports. Sometimes, you can have a few minor accidents, but our goal is to reduce those best as possible, so there are some precautions that you should take in order to protect you and your smile. After all, braces will help make your smile the best version of itself and is a top priority for Mateer Orthodontics!

Having braces does limit the food that you can enjoy, but it doesn’t have to limit the sports you can play. That being said, you should take every precaution to protect your teeth, especially if the sport involves head contact of any sort. We want you to still enjoy your active life, but also to keep your future smile in mind.  Protecting those braces is of the utmost importance if you want to keep up with your treatment plan. Mateer Orthodontics is here to help you explore what choices you have for protecting your braces and what you should do if there is an accident.

Full Head Protection

Custom Mouthguards

If you are involved in any contact sports that have the potential of strikes or hits to the head, we recommend wearing full head protection. For the most part, if there is any potential for head injuries in a sport, the coach or administration will already be employing head protection.  This doesn’t mean you need to wear a helmet if you’re just walking out of the house; that may be a bit too overprotective, but you should still remain aware of your surroundings and cautious.

Mouthguards

Most contact sports usually require you to wear a mouthguard just as a precaution.  But if you are wearing braces and want to stay on track with your orthodontic treatment, these are a must.  There are a few options that you can pick from: stock mouth protectors, boil and bite protectors and custom fit protectors.

Stock mouth protectors are inexpensive mouthguards that you can buy from most sports stores. They can offer immediate protection, but they may not be the most comfortable.  Depending on how they fit, they could potentially cause more damage to your braces if you receive a blow to the face.  

Boil and Bite protectors are mouthguards that you can buy at most sports stores. These mouthguards mold to your teeth after being boiled in water, left to cool, and bit down on.  These are more comfortable than the stock mouthguards and can also offer more protection as they can mold around the brackets and wires protecting them.

Custom Mouth Protectors are going to offer you the most protection along with the comfort that most desire out of a mouthguard.  These you can get made by your orthodontist, and they protect not only your braces but the front of your mouth as well. With traditional mouthguards, they may not fit over the braces. The boil and bite may fit, but your teeth will be moving around during your orthodontic treatment, so they end up pushing back on your more aligned teeth! Having custom made orthodontic mouthguards is the best option for protecting your braces.  They will be able to protect and fit your teeth and braces because they are designed to fit comfortably over both.

Cleaning your custom mouthguard is also important as well: just use a toothbrush and hot water and lightly scrub around. This should get any of the grit or grime out of it and will make sure that you don’t have any unnecessary bacteria accumulating in your mouth.  

After you have selected how you want to protect your teeth, there are a few other precautions that you can take just in case there is an accident. Communicate to your coach that you have braces and are wearing a mouth guard. This will help keep them aware of any situations that could lead to an accident. If you want to have that beautiful smile you’ve been waiting for, you must stay on track with your orthodontic treatment, and if you have an accident, that could lengthen the time you have to wear them.

How to Protect Your Braces During Summer

You should also keep the wax that is given to you by your orthodontist on hand just in case a wire pops-out or breaks and you need to stop it from poking you. If your braces require rubber bands, make sure you have an extra few of those as well. Also, you should have the emergency contact information for the orthodontist. If you break a bracket or snap a wire, you should call your orthodontist immediately and schedule an appointment.  If there is an accident or any problems with your braces it could cause damage to the teeth and increase the time needed for the orthodontic treatment.

We want everyone to have a wonderful summer enjoying your favorite sports or activities. Having braces shouldn’t deter you from participating in all the summer festivities. Just take these precautions, and you should have a fun filled holiday. However, if you do have an accident in Commack, NY or the surrounding area, please don’t hesitate to call us at (631) 462-1970 or schedule an appointment online. Mateer Orthodontics is here to keep you on track with your orthodontic treatment to create that beautiful smile you’ve always wanted!

Invisalign for Teens

Invisalign For Teens

mateer ortho commack braces invisalign teen

Teenagers these days have more than enough to worry about and keep track of without having to feel stressed out by their smile, too. Crooked teeth have the potential to keep them tight-lipped, but the thought of a mouth full of metal braces might be even more embarrassing to contemplate. Modern orthodontics have come a long way over the years, becoming less noticeable and more comfortable, but the stereotype has an enduring image of fussy wires and bulky brackets.

Fortunately, Invisalign Teen® is an excellent alternative treatment option for teens, and Mateer Orthodontics is proud to provide this for our patients! Let’s take a look at all the ways it can positively impact your teen’s smile and their life.

Invisalign® is Virtually Invisible

We can’t deny that image is important, especially in the teen years. Feeling like they fit in with their peers is a big part of a student’s self-esteem, and more traditional braces can make them stand out in ways they may not want to. Invisalign aligners are made of a smooth, clear plastic that is virtually impossible to see, and most people won’t even notice them. In fact, when Invisalign® conducted a Teen Confidence survey recently, they found that teens wearing Invisalign® were much less likely to be teased than those wearing traditional metal braces. That’s a pretty significant benefit!

Boost self-confidence

In the same Teen Confidence survey, results showed that teens wearing Invisalign® aligners were twice as likely to experience a boost in self-esteem while in treatment than teens wearing metal braces. Let’s face it, middle school and high school happen smack dab in the midst of hormonal craziness, and it doesn’t take much to be singled out. Clear aligners can help teens feel more confident in their appearance, allowing them to focus on the things that matter.

No food restrictions

Anyone who’s ever worn traditional braces can tell you that one of the hardest things to get used to is the dietary restrictions. Hard stuff, chewy stuff, crunchy stuff – there’s quite a list of items to steer clear of. Not only is it hard to part with their favorite snacks and treats, but so much socializing revolves around food that it can be extra awkward having to avoid what everybody else is enjoying around you.

With Invisalign Teen®, teens remove their aligner every time they eat or drink, which means there are no restrictions at all on what they can eat or drink!

In and Out

Although they’ve improved a great deal over the years, metal braces still have the capacity to hold you back from certain activities, or at least the potential to make it difficult to enjoy them thoroughly. Brackets and wires can make it hard to hit the right note when you’re playing an instrument, and it can be difficult to concentrate on scoring the game-winning goal if you’re afraid of what a ball to the face could do to your braces. That’s why we love recommending Invisalign Teen® to our athletic and musically inclined teen patients!

Because the aligners are removable, your teen can easily pop them out before an important concert or the big game. And since they’re made of smooth plastic, they don’t need to worry about any wires irritating the soft tissues of the mouth whether they’re making music or making magic on the field. Oh, and as an added bonus: athletes can comfortably wear their standard mouthguards since Invisalign is fully removable.

Keeping it clean

Brushing and flossing regularly should be a part of everyone’s dental hygiene routine, but it’s especially important for those undergoing orthodontic treatment. Traditional braces can make it a little more difficult since there are so many wires, brackets, and bands to navigate around and in between. But with Invisalign Teen®, teens will remove their aligner before brushing, making it easier to clean out all the nooks and crannies of the mouth successfully. And cleaning the aligner itself is a cinch, using only water and a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Reliability

So, now you know that Invisalign Teen® has many benefits and very few restrictions, but you may be worried about how reliable your teen would be with a removable aligner. The system will only work if worn as directed, which is between 20-22 hours a day over the entire course of treatment. Can you trust your teen to maintain those kinds of hours?

The good news is that orthodontists consistently see that teens are at least as reliable as adults when it comes to wearing their Invisalign® aligner. They tend to average about 21 hours per day, which is right on target. But just in case you’re still skeptical, there are blue indicator dots to help you, your teen, and your orthodontist monitors their compliance.

How does Invisalign® work?

It’s a straightforward process! Once we fit your teen for their Invisalign® aligner, they’ll wear each one for approximately 1-2 weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss. As we replace each aligner with the next in the series, your teen’s teeth will shift week by week until they have straightened to the final desired position.

Plan to visit our practice about once every 6-8 weeks to ensure your teen’s treatment is progressing as planned. Total treatment time typically lasts anywhere from 9 to 15 months, and the number of clear aligners worn during this period is between 18 and 30, but treatment time and aligners used will always vary from case to case.

Choosing Mateer Orthodontics as your Invisalign® Teen provider

Dr. Mateer

It’s important to choose an experienced orthodontist to start and oversee your teen’s treatment. The training and expertise our team has, for instance, will help to ensure the most favorable outcome possible! Each smile that we create here at Mateer Orthodontics starts with a free orthodontic evaluation. This complimentary consultation will give you the chance to meet our team, learn more about orthodontics, and find out what treatment options will best meet your teen’s needs.

Our goal is to make you and your family feel comfortable with our team and to make sure we answer all of your questions and concerns.

At Mateer Orthodontics we strive to not only provide the best possible orthodontic treatment to our patients but also to build a relationship with you and your teen that will put you both at ease! If you’re in the Commack or surrounding area and have wondered if your child could benefit from an orthodontic treatment like Invisalign® Teen, get in touch today to schedule their free initial evaluation.

We’re looking forward to helping your teen discover their best, most beautiful smile!

 

What is Orthodontics? Commack, NY,

What is Orthodontics?

Mateer Orthodontics, Commack, New York
Dr. Scott Mateer – Mateer Orthodontics

With so many different titles for dental professionals, it can be hard to nail down exactly what each really means. This confusion is completely understandable, since most health professionals share common aims, and all dental professions work in some capacity with the mouth. The principle similarity between each branch of dentistry is our shared goal: to keep people healthy and happy with the way they look. That said, we each have our own specialty; each branch has a unique, extensive body of knowledge attached that makes its mastery a lifelong commitment. The mouth is a complicated place, and the best way to care for it is with multiple specialists who know whatever there is to know about a specific problem, area, or treatment. Of course, each individual dentist has a comprehensive framework of knowledge on which to build this specialization. Let’s take a moment to define some specialties.

 

General DentistOrthdontics, Commack, New York

You might compare a general dentist to a primary care doctor in general medicine. At these offices, you’ll find healthcare services like teeth cleaning, cavity filling, root canals, etc. They keep your teeth healthy and looking great. As you might have guessed, general dentists have obtained a doctorate and have gone through a licensure process. Make sure to see your dentist at least once a year; we recommend stopping by every six months. Just like any other field in healthcare, more monitoring means a better chance of catching problems before the progress very far.

Periodontist and Maxillofacial Surgeon

These fields of dentistry deal with specific, specialized challenges. In fact, most people will never see a periodontist or maxillofacial surgeon. If you do need their services, though, their expertise is invaluable. A periodontist specializes in the care of what’s called periodontium. This includes alveolar bone, gums, and ligaments. Mostly, they help fight diseases resulting from bacterial infections. Maxillofacial surgeons specialize in surgical care for periodontium and other facial bones. They often see patients who’ve had facial injuries resulting from physical trauma, bacterial infections, and cancers of the neck or mouth. These specialists often work closely together to create comprehensive treatment plans.

Orthodontist

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. The importance of orthodontic care and a knowledgeable orthodontist cannot be overstated. To be a licensed orthodontist, one must attend an ADA-accredited orthodontic residency program.  These are usually three additional years of full-time training.  For example, Dr. Mateer completed his undergraduate studies at Marist College, with a Bachelors Degree in Biology. He attended Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, where he graduated at the top of his class. Upon completion of his dental degree, he then attended Montefiore Medical Center where he received his specialty certificate in Orthodontics. Here he underwent extensive training in Orthodontics on patients of all ages using the most state of the art techniques. He is also a member of the American Association of Orthodontics and the American Dental Association. Dr. Mateer with patient

 

While orthodontics does address cosmetic issues, there are many issues that orthodontists treat that are essential to ensuring proper oral health for you and your family. Teeth that are crooked or not in the right place can detract from one’s appearance, but more importantly, crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean. This puts your teeth at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease. The misalignment can also cause extra stress on certain enamel surfaces, which can chip or break down.

Outside of general dentists, orthodontists are the most commonly seen dental professionals. That’s because many people deal with misaligned teeth and jaws, which is what an orthodontist specializes in. Any time you see someone with braces or clear aligners on their teeth, they’ve more than likely been to an orthodontist. 

 

Why Orthodontics Is Important for You and Your Family

When a patient comes in for his or her first consultation, our team will precisely diagnose orthodontic issues and offer solutions that workmost effectively. Many times, our patients need these treatments to avoid physically painful symptoms.

If you have any of the following issues, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment:

  • Overbite, sometimes called “buck teeth” — where the upper front teeth lie too far forward (stick out) over the lower teeth
  • Underbite — a “bulldog” appearance where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth too far back
  • Crossbite — when the upper teeth do not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting together normally
  • Open bite — space between the biting surfaces of the front and/or side teeth when the back teeth bite together
  • Misplaced midline — when the center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth
  • Spacing — gaps, or spaces, between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not “fill up” the mouth
  • Crowding — when there are too many teeth for the dental ridge to accommodate

 It’s not all about appearances here—misaligned teeth and malocclusions (irregular bites) can lead to the following:

Hygiene Problems

When teeth are pushed together in ways they shouldn’t be, it can lead to increased plaque build-up and tooth decay. While regular dental cleanings can prevent some of this, it’s best to look into all the options, such as straightening your teeth, in order to decrease the chances of a tooth extraction becoming necessary

Under Pressure

Crooked teeth and misaligned bites can result in teeth grinding. It’s important to identify and stop this habit early. Orthodontists provide solutions for those who grind their teeth unconsciously during the night. Other malocclusions—especially crossbites—result in increased pressure on certain molars, and the underlying tissue and bone. More pressure means inflammation, and increased chances of infection. Yikes!

Along with these and other physical symptoms, orthodontic issues can also substantially affect a patient’s self-esteem. This can be more serious than it seems at first. For many, the development of crooked teeth at a young age shapes the way they think about their smile, and ultimately their self-image. Most don’t think consciously about these effects, but that doesn’t mean their behavior isn’t influenced. Perhaps a person doesn’t smile where they might have if their teeth were straight. To prevent both physical and psychological effects, Mateer Orthodontics provides non-invasive solutions like Invisalign, as well as traditional braces. 

Family smiling looking down

Come See Us At Mateer Orthodontics!

Outside of visits to your general dentist, we recommend regular check-ups with an orthodontist to ensure a straight, healthy set of teeth. Regular check-ups may allow us to prevent problems before they get very far along, especially in adolescents and children. It all starts with an initial consultation, and we’d love to see you! Give our Commack, New York office a call at 631.462.1970, or drop us a line here.

Mateer Orthdontics, Commack, New York

girl smiling with braces

Braces vs Invisalign

Have you thought about the benefits of Braces or Invisalign? Do you want to update your smile for a confidence boost? Maybe your child needs some attention to their oral care?  Whichever the decision, having an experienced Orthodontist working beside you is important. That’s why Mateer Orthodontics is here to help; we can guide you through the different options that are available to you and make your smile the talk of the town.

Basics of Braces and Invisalign

Teen girl with Invisalign aligner in handWe currently have two treatments that you can decide between when correcting your teeth, Braces or Invisalign. Both are designed to straighten teeth over time while improving your smile and overall oral health.  Braces are the more traditional approach and have been around for quite a while now. Invisalign is a much newer treatment option, having only been widely used for the last fifteen years or so, but the system continues to increase in popularity.

So what’re the differences?

Well, traditional braces consist of metal brackets, wire and rubber bands to straighten your teeth and is slowly adjusted over time to create that perfect smile. It has advanced to the point where it is less noticeable, more comfortable and can be made to look like the color of your enamel.  However, if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, you may choose to make them a fashion accessory and decide on different colors such as pink, blue or even neon green.

Invisalign uses X-rays, pictures, and impressions are taken to create a precise 3-D image of your teeth which is then used to customize your aligners. The clear aligner trays are made of smooth plastic and worn over the teeth, and they are switched out every 1-2 weeks for a new tray as your teeth gradually move. It has two upsides versus traditional braces which are that they are almost entirely invisible and removable.

How do they compare?

Braces

So as you may have guessed braces are not removable.  Traditional braces focus on the functionality versus the style of them, even though it can be fun to change the colors.  With that being said braces are extremely efficient at what they do. Which is to at fix complex tooth issues, and they often work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than Invisalign.

While treatment time will vary from patient to patient, the average with braces tends to be anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. However, with metal braces, there’s often the noticeable movement of misaligned teeth within a relatively short period. And when you start to see even the slightest improvement in your smile, you will feel a huge boost of to your self-confidence and a desire to stay the course!

Close up of clear bracesThe maintenance required for metal braces can be a little bit more involved than it is with Invisalign. The brackets and wires can be tricky, particularly where flossing is concerned, but regular, thorough dental hygiene is a must for good oral health. There are accessories available to make cleaning easier, though, like Water-Piks that can help rinse those hard to reach places or orthopedics for braces-specific flossing. Unfortunately, there are also quite a few foods you’ll need to avoid while in braces, just about anything that is too crunchy or sticky. Sadly, this means favorites like apples, popcorn, gum, and other chewy favorites will be little more than a fond memory while you’re finishing up your treatment.

Patients wearing traditional braces can expect to have followed up visits about every 4-6 weeks. At these times your orthodontist will change the bands that are attached to the brackets and may replace the wire as well. These appointments are a quick process, usually taking about half an hour to an hour.  There may be some slight soreness after each adjustment, but it should be temporary. These visits shouldn’t be missed! They’re crucial to ensure you get the very best results in the least amount of time.

Invisalign

There are two main benefits of Invisalign aligners, they are almost completely invisible, and that they are removable. They also tend to be more comfortable than traditional metal braces, because the aligners are made of a smooth plastic, and they won’t irritate the gums or cheeks as much as the brackets and wires do. Invisalign is an efficient method for gently moving teeth in cases that are not too complicated.

Invisalign is the least invasive treatment for straightening teeth than braces. However, it’s hard to say how long a patient will need them. The average is somewhere between 6 and 18 months, though of course, that will vary from case to case. This average is also based on the patient sticking to the recommended guidelines of wearing the aligners at least 20-22 hours every single day, throughout the entirety of treatment. Any deviation from this can add time to the process.

Young woman with clear bracesAnother decisive factor for Invisalign is that they are extremely easy to take care of and maintain. Since they are removable, you take them out before you eating and drinking, other than water. This takes away the hassle of food getting stuck in the brackets and wires of traditional braces.  This also means that keeping up with regular oral care is far easier as well, flossing and brushing your teeth with easy access.  Also cleaning the Invisalign trays is quite simple as well, you can get a cleaning system, or you can just clean them with warm water.

Like braces, if you choose Invisalign, you’ll be expected to attend follow-up visits every 4-6 weeks, but you’ll also be changing out your aligner every two weeks. This is an important part of the straightening process. The trays are custom designed to fit each patient’s unique needs and are changed every two weeks to keep up with the shift in the movement of your teeth. Skipping appointments or not changing aligners when you’re scheduled to can undo progress.

It is a close contest when comparing Invisalign and braces. For both Adults and teens, the discrete look of Invisalign, as well as the removability, can be incredibly appealing. However, it’s important to note that the success of Invisalign is highly dependent on the patient’s using the trays on a consistent basis.  If you don’t wear them as directed, they won’t work.  With the traditional braces route, you don’t have a choice of removing them and may have more success because so. It is also important to remember that if you have a complex dental issue Invisalign may not even be an option.

That is why it is important to work with an experienced practice like Mateer Orthodontics.  Our team friendly and professional, with extensive experience in both Invisalign and braces.  If you are in Suffolk County and surrounding areas Mateer Orthodontics and need help on deciding between traditional braces or Invisalign we are here to help, get in touch with us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.  Mateer Orthodontics is dedicated to making your smile one that you are proud of and that others can’t forget!

Author: Dr. Mateer

 

Scott Mateer Opens new Orthodontics office.

Dr. Scott Mateer has opened up his own practice right on Long Island, offering the Long Island community another great choice when searching for an experienced and trustworthy orthodontist. However, Dr. Mateer brings even more to the table than the average orthodontic with his outgoing personality, innovative approaches, and state-of-the-art training/experience. In fact, Dr. Mateer’s age is the very thing that sets this orthodontist apart from all of the rest.

Dr. Scott Mateer’s experience in the field of dentistry and orthodontics is quite remarkable and truly noteworthy. Dr. Mateer knew he wanted to make a difference in life and began his journey towards the field of medicine, while attending Marist College in New York. There, he majored in Biology, but found himself even more intrigued by the world of medicine. He then continued his education at Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine and graduated at the top of his class. Craving more education and training, this young, ambitious man pushed even harder, attending Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. It was at Montefiore Medical Center where Dr. Mateer chose to specialize in orthodontics, enduring a rigorous and extensive training program, and excelling every step of the way. After graduating, Dr. Mateer joined an extraordinary team of orthodontists, which he considers an incredible experience and opportunity to continue to learn while further refining his skills.

Now, Dr. Scott Mateer has taken his experience and knowledge to a new level, in order to fulfill a personal dream, giving even more to the community – he opened his own practice. Dr. Mateer prides himself on his youth as he is fortunate to be one of the few who are trained and experienced in the most recent technological advancements and approaches in the field. Dr. Mateer has the skill, experience, and opportunity to offer his patients what others cannot, including diverse options, in effort to address the needs of his patients and ensure the best treatment/experience possible.

Everything Dr. Mateer encompasses and stands for is reflected through Mateer Orthodontic’s website,http://mateerortho.wpengine.com. The site takes a unique approach, as the home page displays adolescents with braces or beautiful smiles, as well as a picture of himself, his wife, and their two dogs, immediately portraying him as an outgoing, personable individual, who loves working with children. The site provides viewers with his credentials, an explanation of services, as well as orthodontic options. However, the website displays several, unique components which make it clear that Dr. Mateer wants to make every patient’s experience as pleasurable as possible. The site includes a question submission section, a link for patients to schedule his/her appointment online, and even a link to the “New Patient Form” so patients (or the parents/guardians) have the option to print and fill out the paperwork, ahead of time.

In all truth and honesty, a person’s face, especially his/her smile is one of the most important things in regards to physical attributes. Long Island communities are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Scott Mateer as an option when choosing an orthodontist because it is very rare that a doctor such as Dr. Mateer comes around. Aside from his extensive experience, Dr. Scott Mateer has a unique energy, ambition, and love for his profession, while going above and beyond to develop positive, trusting relationships and creating connections with all of his patients, young and old.