Orthodontics on Silver Lake!

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Why NOT consult an Orthodontist..? Part 1

his month, and next month, I hope to save you time (and money) and provide some evidence to support the title premise. Believe it or not orthodontic treatment is not for everyone. It may seem like I’m turning away potential patients, but you’ll soon see that doctors really want what’s best for their patients.

1. Bone preservation medications-

Prescription meds such as Actonel®, Boniva®, Fosamax® and others are used to protect against osteoporosis and reduce the risk of bone fractures. These same meds actually inhibit your teeth from straightening and affect bone healing. I have consulted with patients and their physicians about possible “drug holidays.” With this, our patients see some straightening, and then a treatment slow down to where the patients’ teeth stop moving altogether.

What can you do?

Knowing you will achieve at best an incomplete orthodontic result, most of our patients choose or are encouraged to look at cosmetic options such as veneers or crowns, and to speak to their dentist about this option. PLUS- you may see the improvement you are looking for sooner than you would with orthodontic treatment! J

2. Piercings and other oral habits-

Habit (Def.)-an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary

If repeated with enough intensity, frequency and duration, oral habits can move teeth, and not in a way you would like.

Children can stop a finger habit with encouragement and time, and if necessary a fixed appliance can be inserted and act as a reminder to stop. This is important in growing children due to the possible distortion of the developing jaws.

Photo courtesy of the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics

Tongue thrust habits are seen in children and adults, and can affect the treatment results. Awareness of the habit is the first step to reduce the habit, and some exercises can reduce or eliminate the habit.

Oral piercings can lead to oral habits. In the figure above you can see her teeth the day her tongue was pierced- no space present. She habitually pushed the bar into the teeth and forced the teeth apart, and stripped the gum tissue. The treatment to correct this involved removing the piercing, then 4 months of periodontal/gum therapy and then orthodontic treatment.

Photo courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists

What can you do?

Stop the habit. Sometimes an appliance to interrupt the habit is indicated.

Remove the oral piercing, let the area heal. Then consult Dr. Steckel if alignment correction is needed.

Until Part II, here’s to your health and super smiles!


1. Zahrowski, J.J. “Bisphosphonates: An Orthodontic Concern”; presented at the AAO Annual Session Washington D.C. May, 2010.

2. Sawsan T., Guigova, I., Preston, C.B. “Midline Diastema Caused by Tongue Piercing” Journal of Clinical OrthodonticsVol 44, No.7: Pages 426-428, 2010

3. “Problems to Watch for in Growing Children” AAO publication July 2012.

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