LO Blog

Wise About Wisdom Teeth

February 27th, 2018

Wisdom teeth, AKA 3rd molars, normally make their appearance in the later teen years, between the ages of 17 and 21.  Many of our very astute LO patients ask if erupting wisdom teeth will disrupt their beautiful straight smiles. The answer to this fabulous question is no. Research carried out at the University of Iowa found that wisdom teeth don’t actually exert enough pressure on the teeth in front of them to cause them to shift. Sensors were placed between the teeth of all the test patients. The results showed that there was no noticeable difference between pressure on the teeth of patients with wisdom teeth and patients without wisdom teeth.

Although you do not need to worry about your wisdom teeth wrecking your new straight smile, there are other factors that you would be WISE to consider.

  • If the wisdom teeth only partially emerge, a flap of skin can form, which partially covers the wisdom teeth and traps food making it difficult to keep clean. This, in turn, can cause tooth decay or gum infections.
  • Sometimes the wisdom teeth can become impacted, meaning they get wedged and stuck, possibly causing painful cysts, which may lead to infection and decay to the surrounding tooth roots.
  • Wisdom teeth can come in at awkward angles; they may be uncomfortable to your cheeks or difficult to reach for proper brushing and flossing.

Dr. LeMert or your general dentist is often able to identify these problems even before the wisdom teeth erupt by evaluating a panoramic x-ray. If the recommendation is to extract them, there will also be a recommendation on when to extract them. The best time to remove wisdom teeth is after they have developed past their jelly stage and are firm enough to grab hold of but before their long roots develop fully.

Although extracting is almost always an option, it's not always necessary. If you are one of the lucky few who don’t have any problems with your wisdom teeth, the good news is, you can keep them! As for the rest of us, we may not be as lucky, but we can still be wise!

When do I get my braces off?

February 27th, 2018

The ultimate ortho appointment is the one in which the braces come off and a new, beautiful, healthy, stable smile is unveiled!  Sometimes, our enthusiastic LO patients see perfection in their smiles months before Dr. LeMert does. What exactly is he looking for? Here are several smile send-off goals:

1. STRAIGHT TEETH with no spaces! This mostly happens during the 1st stage of orthodontic treatment. It is very exciting to see your smile straightening out! Oh yeah! But, that’s not the end of the story….

2. A CLASS 1 BITE! This happens mostly during the 2nd stage of orthodontic treatment. Although the changes during this time may not look as exciting, they really are. This stage is not so much about esthetics, but function. A class 1 bite, describes a bite in which all the back and side teeth are in the most ideal position for chewing. This is absolutely vital to the long term health of your teeth and not a step you would want to be cheated out of!

3. IDEAL OVERBITE! Overbite is a measurement of your front teeth. Ideally, the top teeth over hang and cover 20-40% of the bottom teeth. This is esthetically pleasing and most importantly, keeps your front teeth from wearing down.

4. PARALLEL ROOTS! You guessed it: Not only do your teeth need to be straight, your roots do too! If teeth are straightened without lining up the roots, the teeth will most likely return to their pre-braces starting position. YIKES! Dr. LeMert is able to leverage and move the individual roots by adding force to one or more of the 4 corners of each bracket. He adds the needed force by making custom steps, bends, or ties in the wires. Although your teeth look straight, trust Dr. LeMert that it is important to move your roots into a STABLE position, so your beautiful, healthy smile will last!

5. A SMILE to MATCH your FACE! Every smile, like every face is YOUnique! Beginning at your initial consultation and continuing throughout all of your ortho journey, Dr. LeMert is attentive to the harmony of your face structure and smile.

Variations in treatment time are due to many factors including how severe the teeth and jaw problems are to begin with, the age of the patient, the rate in which each person’s teeth move, and patient cooperation. Dr. LeMert usually gives a very close estimate of how long your treatment should last, give or take a couple months. However, there are 3 primary reasons, you could be in braces loooooonger than planned: breaking brackets, missing appointments, and not wearing rubber bands.

Orthodontics is a partnership of trust and cooperation between YOU & DR LEMERT! Let’s create a lasting masterpiece!

Can my Dentist do Braces?

February 27th, 2018


The answer to your “smile problems” is found in the philosophy of a complex society. Beginning in Mesopotamia with the transition from hunting & gathering to agricultural communities, societies have continued to advance the model of specialization.

Back in the days of Little House on the Prairie, Ma & Pa sold their crops and were able to trade for staples like flour, salt and sugar as well as tack and tools, and the occasional nicety like a glass window or velvet fabric. Still, their life required a jack-of all-trades approach and they did everything from build their own house to grow their own crops and sew their own clothing. They spent 14 hours a day, trying to get the basics done, with relatively limited time for researching, inventing, progressing or perfecting.

Increased specialization ensures that the group as a whole will certainly accomplish more, as each individual is free to focus on specific skills and contribute their expertise to society while relying on others to accomplish a multitude of things which the former is not as skilled in. The sum total of everyone’s efforts is significantly greater than any single individuals could be. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. Your dentist is an expert at diagnosing and treating tooth decay, as well as identify various oral pathologies. Although everything teeth is technically included in the dental scope-of- practice upon graduating from dental school, expertise comes with years of daily practice. An orthodontist has completed 2-3 years of formal orthodontic training after dental school and straightens smiles, day-in and day-out, year after year.

In the same way that your trusted family doctor refers you to an orthopedic surgeon to realign a broken leg, your general dentist best cares for you by addressing smile problems that are within his expertise, and referring you to an Orthodontic Specialist for your orthodontic problems.

A referral, however, is not required and you just asked the right question. YOU are invited to schedule a complimentary consultation, and to ask more great questions. In our Complex Society, calling on each dental specialist for their unique set of 10,000 hours is how you will find your perfect “smile solution.”

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Roseburg, OR 97471
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