Monday, 18 June 2018

The Technology of Invisalign

Many of us remember an age without cell phones, and even more remember a time when the only thing cell phones did was make calls. Now, thanks to technology, the tiny computer we carry in our pocket is more technologically advanced than the system that sent the first shuttle to space! 


The same can be seen in the orthodontic technology. From ancient braces found on mummies in Egypt (that relied on animal skin attached to the teeth) to the traditional braces of the twentieth century (that relied on stainless steel), technology has evolved significantly. 

 Invisalign technology

What’s interesting about tracing the history of orthodontia back to ancient Egypt is that all the varying versions of braces relied heavily on the model of brackets and wires. While it’s obvious how modern elements and our growing medical knowledge shaped these changes, it’s shocking that it took thousands of years to completely throw out the old model and try something new.  


That’s exactly what Invisalign did in 1997. As we’ve previously discussed, Invisalign founder Zia Christi was able to revolutionize modern orthodontia by leaning on his background as an engineer—not a dentist! 


Invisalign technology has shaken up the bracket and wire braces world and spurred one of the greatest dental advancements of our time.  


What did Christi do? 


Christi and his partners relied 3D imaging software to map out a patient’s mouth and create custom aligners that would slowly transform his or her mouth over time. This imaging software has helped propel the era of digital dentistry. 


Previously, dentists relied on physical impressions that many patients dreaded and found uncomfortable. But by taking the treatment planning online through new software and computer programs, dentists are now able to ensure there are no human errors or botched physical impressions that could slow down the process and add time to a treatment schedule.  


Before coming to market, this new retainer technology was tested for over three years. The plastic aligners used are called Smart Track. The design of Smart Track balances patient comfort with straightening ability using the design that allows the aligner to fit snuggly around your teeth to ensure they move into the correct position. To prevent pain, the aligners are built with light elasticity. This minimal “give” allows your teeth to not be moved too quickly (which is where pain sets in), but still fast enough that each tray generally lasts only two weeks. The gentle-yet-consistent force against your teeth improves tooth movement and has been scientifically proven to work 99.9% of the time. 


What did they make it out of? 


The trays themselves are made of medical-grade plastic. Since these devices are used in the body, the materials must pass strict safety requirements and inspections. The components in Invisalign have been proven to be biocompatible to use for human use in the mouth.  


Finally, thanks to the us use of robots, each Invisalign tray is carved with laser precision. Invisalign technology is cutting-edge, which results in minimal mistakes or deviations from the designated treatment plan in each tray. 


Since each tray is based on this fancy technology, not to mention mathematics and algorithms to predict tooth movement, fewer appointments and trips to the dentists are needed. Not only can you save time and money, but you can experience less pain compared to traditional braces. 


Technology is the key component of Invisalign’s business model. It has allowed for the company to grow rapidly and service patients all around the world. If this seems like something you’re interested in, give our office a call today. We would love to be part of your journey to a straight smile!

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Looking For More To Do In Retirement?

The number of those who are retired in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex continues to grow. Thanks to our easy access to great international airports, top-notch health care centers, culturally stimulating museums and international cuisine, there’s no doubt why those 65-and-up continue to call this area home. 


If you or your retired parents are looking for the best activities in the area, we’ve created the perfect go-to list! Many of these tours and experiences also accommodate those with mobility issues, so don’t let walkers or wheelchairs stand in the way of getting out and about! 

 Activities in retirement

Locations with senior discounts 


There is no reason to be ashamed that you now qualify for the senior discount. Saving a little money helps you save up for more adventures. Take a look at some of our favorite places that are wallet and retiree friendly that offer discounts you can take advantage of: 


  • Dallas Arboretum ($9 for seniors): Sit in the gardens or elevate your heart rate with a walk around the 66 acres. The Arboretum also offers cooking, crafting, and horticultural classes, which are great for people with extra time on their hands! 
  • Angelika Film Center ($8.50 for 60+): This iconic theater features current releases and indie films. Located right downtown, you can also visit local eateries and go shopping. 
  • George Bush Presidential Library ($13 for seniors): Sit at the desk in the Oval Office and learn more about the history of President Bush’s time in office.  
  • Dallas Museum of Arts ($14 for seniors): This summer, head to the DMA on the second Thursday of the month for live music and special programming! 


Educational opportunities  


Many experts believe that the way to keep a sharp mind is to never stop learning. To encourage that, many intuitions across the metroplex open their doors for seniors. Below are some the best, most affordable options: 


  • College for all Texans is a program that joins with local universities and community colleges to offer free college classes to seniors. From health science to history, the course options are many!  
  • The Parks and Recreation Departments in Dallas and in Fort Worth offer active senior adult programs at a discounted price. From book clubs to exercise classes, there’s something for everyone. 
  • Central Market and other cooking stores offer a variety of cooking classes that are offered throughout the day. Learn a new cuisine at class and then perfect it at home! 


Volunteer opportunities  


  • Plain-O Seniors is and organization that does free home repairs and maintenance for seniors in the area. The best part is that many of the volunteers are retirees as well! A huge number of volunteers have lauded the program as a great way to give back to the community and to meet new neighbors. 
  • The Dallas Public Library has a diverse selection of volunteer jobs that range from reading with kids to shelving books, all of which are enormously popular for seniors who want to spend more time around books. 
  • If you’re an animal lover, look no further for volunteer opportunities than the Dallas Zoo. Volunteers are needed year-round to prepare foods for the animals and to tend gardens.  


Staying engaged mentally and physically as we age is important. Thankfully we live in the best place to keep our mind and body active! Take advantage of the metroplex and live it up in your retirement. 

Monday, 11 June 2018

Invisalign—A Company History

Do you ever have those great ideas that you think could change lives, but aren’t sure where to start? Or maybe you’re nervous it won’t get traction… 


That’s exactly what Invisalign company founder Zia Chishti did. He envisioned the technology used today while he, personally, was suffering from pain associated with orthodontic work. He thought, “There has to be a better way to accomplish the same outcome.” 

 The history of Invisalign

Chishti drew inspiration from the retainer he was wearing and hypothesized that it, with the right design, could leverage a similar design to focus on tiny movements before the “maintenance” period of the classic retainer was ever reached. From there he began his work.  


With Chishti’s background in engineering, he created a medical device technology company. Working with Kelsey Wirth, the two of them developed a product as they brought in more partners over time. In 1997, the then-four partners cofounded Align Technology. And this is where the Invisalign history begins. The goal was to create a product that could mimic braces without the cost (and many of the hassles) of traditional orthodontia. In addition, they wanted to make it almost invisible in the mouth—which, with the state of braces at the time, was a pretty radical idea. 


Using sophisticated computer technology coupled with 3D printing, these entrepreneurs were able to create alignment trays that were changed slightly over the course of a treatment. With their first models build, they decided to get approval for sales in the United States through the federal government. Invisalign was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 and sales on the new product began the following year.  


Just like with any new technology, it took time for the appeal of the new product to catch on. Orthodontists were hesitant to try something new since the results had not been proven to be more effective than traditional braces. After an aggressive ad campaign that far outdid what is typically seen in the dental profession, the technology began to take off. By 2001, 75% of orthodontists had been trained in the Invisalign system. At the same time, the company made the product available to dentists, which only grew its reach.  


In 2004 alone, 175,000 patients were treated with Invisalign. This was a huge accomplishment for a company that was still trying to convince practitioners that their product was just as good, if not better, than traditional braces. And thanks to this interest, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine began requiring all practitioners to be certified in Invisalign prior to graduation. In addition, the Academy of General Dentistry approved Align Technology’s continuing education class on Invisalign. This educated professionals who hadn’t yet used the technology and further broadened the reach of Invisalign.  


In the last 20 years, the Invisalign device has gone through numerous redesigns to ensure that the materials used and the technology itself remain cutting edge. While other competitors have entered the market, Invisalign remains the most used by dentists and orthodontists. Some experts expect Invisalign to continue to reinvent itself as a technological leader well into the future. Many assume that, while the current technology is only meant for moderate or mild tooth alignment issues, Align Technology will continue to push the envelope and develop a product for even severe cases. There could be a day in the future that traditional metal braces become completely obsolete. 


Next time you have that great idea, think about Zia Chishti who was able to take the pain he felt from him braces and turn it into a multimillion dollar company.  


And in the meantime, if you do have alignment issues or think Invisalign might be for you, call Dr. Marchbanks and take advantage of this miraculous technology!

Monday, 4 June 2018

Your Invisalign FAQ

If you’ve ever looked at your smile in the mirror and wished it was straighter, but will never consider the “eye sore” of braces, we completely understand. Many of our patients come to us wanting a vibrant and straight smile, but are concerned not only about the look but about the lifestyle limitations of braces. 


One of the best alternatives to traditional metal braces is Invisalign. And since patients of all ages come to us with a variety of Invisalign questions, we’ve compiled a FAQ to answer everything in one place. We’ll be discussing Invisalign all month, so come back every week through June to read more about how an Invisalign retainer can benefit you! 

 Everything to know about Invisalign

What is Invisalign? 


Invisalign has been on the market for almost 20 years, and due to that has built quite the reputation. The technology is based on a treatment process that relies on removable trays that provide alignment correction for teeth. Each tray is specially made to allow for incremental movements of your teeth, exactly as they are. And while the idea behind the incremental movements wasn’t solely discovered by Invisalign, they were the first company to harness its use and bring it to market.  


How is it different than braces? 


The braces that many of us remember from high schools relied on a system of brackets and wires that were tightened or manipulated by an orthodontist. While braces have become more streamlined through the years, they’re still bulky and result in limitations with what you can and can’t eat. The Invisalign retainer is made from clear, flexible plastic that fits snuggly over your teeth. This product is FDA-approved and is made from a patented thermoplastic. Unlike metal braces, you can remove the trays to eat. No more worries about food stuck in the wires or having to avoid favorites like popcorn! 


Whats the timeline? 


After an initial consult with an Invisalign provider to ensure you’re a candidate, your dentist will create a customized treatment plan. First, 3-D images of your teeth will be taken to help map out the movement that will occur over the course of Invisalign’s use. These images will then be used to make aligners that mold perfectly to your mouth. The duration of time you could be expected to wear the Invisalign retainers is similar to what you would experience with normal braces. Most patients can expect for treatment plans to last anywhere from six months to two years. The severity of the corrections to be made in addition to how diligent you are about the retainers’ use will factor in when determining your treatment duration. 


Does it hurt? 


Anytime you realign teeth, it’s expected to be less-than-comfortable at times. However, most patients would describe the feeling of Invisalign retainers as pressure instead of pain. If you are experiencing pain, it’s important to contact your dentist.  


What is daytoday life like? 


Unlike traditional braces that easily collect food, you can take your Invisalign trays out when you eat! This means you don’t have to give up favorites that have been known to break brackets. To ensure your aligners stay fresh, brush them every morning and night. Many wearers forget they have them on during the day because they’re so discreet. In fact, many professionals wear them to meetings and presentations without anyone knowing. 


What do I do when I finish? 


After finishing your treatment course, your orthodontist may recommend retainers. This is important so your teeth don’t shift back to their original position. Unlike the retainers of yesteryear that are bulky and give you a speech impediment, there are new retainers made from the same technology as the Invisalign aligners. Low-profile retainers ensure you finish your treatment plan entirely and have a straight smile that lasts forever! 


If you are looking for straighter teeth, but are concerned about the look of traditional braces, then Invisalign may be the best treatment option for you. Take the first step today by giving us a call! 

Monday, 28 May 2018

What Do Drugs Do To Teeth?

The harmful side effects of drug addiction are far reaching. From neurological side effects to those effecting the musculoskeletal system, drugs can severely damage most parts of the body quickly. Drug abuse can also cause significant damage to your mouth and teeth, including severe tooth decay and gum disease. Many times, the mouth is the first indicator that a person has a severe addiction. This is a result of the drug’s side-effects in addition to lack of oral hygiene.  


While all drugs lead to oral health issues, some cause more issues than others. For example, methamphetamines and the teeth are commonly associated due to the obvious destruction it can do. However, it shouldn’t be just limited to that. All drugs do damage to your teeth. 

 What do drugs do to teeth

How drugs damage teeth 


Diverse drugs ultimately react the same way in the mouth, causing issues that can lead to severe tooth decay, gum disease or loss of teeth. Dry mouth is commonly associated with drug use and can lead to an increase in acid in the mouth, which leads to the destruction of enamel. Once enamel is gone, it can’t be replaced. This leads to tooth discoloration and an increased likelihood of developing cavities. In addition, drug use restricts blood vessels, which decreases blood flow to the mouth. Less blood flow results in root and gum damage. Finally, stomach ulcers are also common in those who abuse drugs, and a lack of oral hygiene combined by continued drug use can cause these ulcers to become infected. These infections can spread to the rest of the body and become dangerous for the patient.  




The most common association of poor oral health and drugs occurs when someone abuses meth. Colloquially known as meth mouth, meth and teeth do not coexist well together. Meth causes the blood vessels all over the body to shrink and shrivel, and in the mouth this can lead to tooth loss. In addition, dry mouth is common, which leads to an increase in acids in the mouth. As previously mentioned, this leads quickly to tooth discoloration. Many times, when you see someone who is addicted to meth, their teeth have a grey or brown tint. This is due to the loss of enamel. Studies have shown that 96% those who struggle with a meth addition have a cavity, while 58% have tooth decay and at third had at least one missing tooth.  




While some states have chosen to legalize the use of marijuana, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean there aren’t adverse health events that can occur with its use. Those who smoke marijuana have an increased likelihood of developing oral cancer. In addition, and just like smoking cigarettes, this can cause severe dry mouth which leads to a destabilization of oral acids. Finally, marijuana can cause vomiting, which increases the amount of acid in the mouth as well. None of this is good for your teeth. 




Drug users addicted to cocaine ingest the drug in a variety of ways. For those who rub the powder on their gum lines, there is a greatly increased likelihood of developing mouth sores. Not only are they painful, but these sores can easily become infected and lead to other infections in the body. Since cocaine is a stimulant, it may also lead to movement disorders that can result in jaw and muscle spasms. Grinding of the teeth is also common, which can cause significant damage to the enamel and wear down the teeth.  



Drug abuse can lead to significant oral health problems such as losing teeth, gum disease and even oral cancers. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addition, please give us a call and we can help identify resources available in our community.

Monday, 21 May 2018

The Great Debate: Can Genetics Cause Cavities?

Just like professionals in every field of work, sometimes dentists disagree on medical theories. One of the most popular areas of disagreement and lively engagement surrounds the theory that dental genetics plays a leading role in the likelihood someone will have cavities. 


Some patients deflect the perceived embarrassment of poor teeth on that they are more “prone” to cavities since their parents also suffered. Therefore, it’s not a reflection on their oral hygiene skills, but instead more of a result of genetic tooth decay. 


However, does anecdotal experience outweigh data from dental studies? Stay tuned and we’ll dig into the research and let you decide for yourself if you think dental genetics weigh heavily on the health of your teeth! 

 Genetics and cavities

First, what are cavities? 


A cavity is another way to say “tooth decay.” The cavity itself is a hole that can grow deeper over time—which is why it’s so important to seek treatment if you think you have a cavity.  


Cavities can affect people of all ages. In fact, 90% of adults are walking around with tooth decay at this moment and one in four people currently have an untreated cavity. Cavities are a result of plaque, which results from eating excess sugars and carbohydrates and not cleaning your teeth well. When the plaque attacks the enamel, it eventually wears it down leaving your tooth vulnerable to bacteria and acid. If left unresolved, the bacteria move through the layers of your teeth causing decay at every level. 


So, are these cavities caused by poor oral hygiene or bad dental genetics? 


Certain populations are more cavity prone  

New data from the CDC shows that African Americans and Hispanics have a higher incident of tooth decay and of cavities.  Experts have concluded that there are three overarching factors that contribute to oral health: biology, social conditions, and behavior. Related studies have shown some African Americans are missing a variant form of salivary protein that helps stop cavity-causing bacteria. And while outstanding oral health might be able to compensate for the lack of that protein, this biological difference creates an additional hurdle for patients in preventing tooth decay. 

Additionally, there are certain DNA strands that make teeth able to absorb more fluoride, creating harder enamel on the surface of the tooth. Those lacking this strand may have weaker enamel, which can result in more cavities. Individuals who produce more saliva also benefit from that genetic quirk, since saliva is one way to eliminate harmful bacteria in the mouth while allowing healthy bacteria a warm, moist place to thrive. Saliva also helps to neutralize the pH of the mouth and prevent excess acids from wearing away enamel.         

Tooth shape 

Both the shape of your mouth and the shape of your teeth are two factors that contribute to the likelihood of you getting cavities. First, small mouths make it harder to brush and floss and reach all the nooks-and-crannies in your mouth. If you know you have a small mouth, take extra time and be diligent on brushing all the hard-to-reach places. Next, teeth that naturally have deep grooves are more susceptible to cavities since food can easily become lodged. Food lodged in these deep groves can be difficult to reach, and since it’s closer to the root any erosion will be more likely to cause extensive and painful damage. Decay in the grooves is very likely to cause cavities, so visiting the dentist to ensure they remain clean and healthy is important. Diligent brushing and flossing is the best way to safeguard against bacteria buildup and tooth decay. 

To summarize, there are many genetic factors that can lead to a higher likelihood of having cavities. Whether it be the shape of your mouth or the makeup of your DNA, tiny genetic factors can cause serious oral health issues if you don’t take the best care of your mouth possible. If you are concerned about cavities that haven’t been treated, call our office today!

Monday, 14 May 2018

The Unknown History of Chewing Gum

There are many aspects of modern dentistry that have ties back to ancient times. From primitive toothbrushes to tooth fillings in ancient Egypt, we’ve learned and progressed significantly from practices originally used thousands of years ago. 


However, what if we told you chewing gum history is just as storied as some of the practices mentioned from ancient Egypt? In fact, there’s evidence that Europeans chewed birch bark tar more than 9,000 years ago as a way to relieve toothaches. Will you ever look the same at those colorful packages lining the grocery store checkout? Chewing gum for dental health is a practice that has transcended millenniums while helping to cure dry mouth or relive pain. Keep reading as we unpack the chewing gum’s sticky history! 

 The history of chewing gum

The history of chewing gum 


There’s evidence that chewing gum actually dates back more than 9,000 years. Originally the substances chewed had medicinal purposed and were thought to receive toothaches or quench thirst. Some cultures even had strict social constraints on who could chew gum. For instance, in many societies, kids and single women could chew it in public while married women were allowed to only do it in private as a way to freshen their breath. Men, on the other hand, had to chew gum in private and used it solely as a way to clean teeth. 


Fast forward to the 19th century where Europeans began to use products that local Indians already used as part of their cultures. By 1850 this led the first chewing gum factory to be opened. The original gum was made from spruce tree resin boiled down and coated with cornstarch. Unfortunately, the combination was less than ideal, and led subsequent produces to use paraffin wax instead of spruce tree gum. Once again, the products evolved, and chicle was substituted for paraffin wax. This combination of ingredients worked so well that it remained largely unchanged until the mid-1900s. 


In 1928, bubble gum made its first entrance onto the market. This product was different than other chewing gums since it was made with the purpose of blowing bubbles. After more than a decade of comic failures, Flank Fleer finally created what we know as Double Bubble.  


Today, the market is full of different varieties of gum. From dental chewing gum to the gum that comes inside lollipops, there is something out there for everyone. In 2017 over 72.04 million Americans chew at least one stick of spearmint flavored gum—the most popular flavor on the market. Peppermint, wintergreen and fruit flavors fill out the next three spots. Although it took over a decade to produce, bubble gum is one of America’s least favorite flavors with only 22 million people chewing it.  


Dentists have long recognized the oral health benefits of chewing gum. Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can help rinse off harmful acids and help prevent potential of tooth decay. In addition, chewing gums helps to stimulate up to ten times as much as saliva in your mouth as an otherwise unoccupied mouth (dry mouth can lead to significant oral health problems since bad bacteria are able to infiltrate gum lines easier). 


Finally, chewing gum can prevent the growth of bad bacteria that causes cavities since one of the main ingredients in gum—xylitol—causes the mouth to become inhospitable to these bacteria. It’s due to these benefits that the American Dental Association has put its seal of approval on sugar-free gums. If you’re in a pinch after a meal and need something to freshen your breath or otherwise don’t have the opportunity to brush, popping in some sugar free gum is a great and long-since popular option!