Brush Up On The Basics of Orthodontic Care

Maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine is an essential part of preventing dental problems like plaque, tooth decay, and gingivitis. It’s even more important to take good care of your teeth and gums when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment! Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, we’ve seen cavities and gum disease interrupt and slow the progress patients are making, which can lead to longer treatment times or even affect the final results. That’s why it’s important to brush up on the basics of orthodontic care!

If you’re currently in treatment with braces or aligners with our Sacramento office, you already know that keeping your mouth healthy and your appliance clean plays a big role in how successful your treatment is. Keep reading for the best ways to maintain your smile during orthodontic treatment! 

Tools of the trade

Orthodontic treatment can sometimes leave your teeth and gums feeling a little sensitive, so we recommend using a toothbrush with soft bristles. Manual toothbrushes are fine and will get the job done as long as you’re taking the time to properly brush, but they can sometimes leave food particles and plaque behind even if you’re being careful. Electric toothbrushes provide the extra power to get those hard-to-reach places, so we encourage you to invest in one during treatment!

There’s no particular brand or type of toothpaste for brushing if you’re an orthodontic patient, but one with fluoride is recommended by dentists and orthodontists alike. Using mouthwash daily can also help clean those tiny spaces in between the teeth where food particles may still be trapped. It’s also great for rinsing around your brackets if you have clear or metal braces.

Tips for braces patients

If you’re new to braces, you may find that you need to adjust the way you brush your teeth and how often you do so. Ideally, you should brush after every meal and snack, but we know that’s not always possible. Try your best to brush 3-4 times a day for at least two minutes each time to keep food particles and plaque from building up in the spaces between your braces and teeth. For the best results when brushing, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Hold the toothbrush parallel to the floor against the side of the teeth, moving the toothbrush in small circular motions. Follow the regular curve of the gums and teeth as you go from tooth to tooth.
  • Brush each tooth for several seconds, ensuring that all debris is removed along the gum line, between the braces, and on the surface of each tooth.
  • Brush each surface of the teeth, including the top, inside, and back. Make sure you get behind the molars, too! Angle the toothbrush upward on the lower teeth and downward on the upper teeth, and remember to get the roof of your mouth and tongue before rinsing.
  • To keep your brackets clean and shiny, angle the toothbrush against them with gentle but firm pressure. Don’t forget to brush thoroughly under the wires, too, as lots of icky stuff can collect there. 

Flossing properly can be tricky without treatment, but it’s essential that you take the time to do it right if you’re wearing braces. Even if it seems like you’ve brushed everything away, food particles can be trapped in nooks and crannies that are hard to see and reach. 

You should floss every night before bed, but you might find it comes with a bit of a learning curve when there are brackets and wires to workaround! There are products to make this less difficult, including “threader floss,” which has a stiff end that permits flossing between brackets, and reusable plastic floss threaders. Use the following guidelines to get the best floss when you’re wearing braces. 

  • Slide a piece of floss about 18 inches long under the wire, above the space between the two teeth. Insert the floss halfway through, and then hold both ends of the floss. Carefully slide the floss up and down a few times between the teeth. Listen for the slight squeaking sound that means your teeth are clean! 
  • Floss the gum line with the floss in the shape of a “C,” and below the gum line with a soft up and down motion. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when flossing around the archwire.
  • Gently remove the floss, thread it under the next wire, and repeat the steps above as you go.

Flossing effectively with braces can take some getting used to in the beginning, but your speed will increase with practice, so be patient and give yourself time to adjust to the new routine! 

Brush Up On The Basics of Orthodontic Care

Tips for Invisalign patients

Invisalign aligners are made to be removed before you eat, drink anything other than water, and brush your teeth, which makes it easier to keep up with your oral hygiene routine! There are some basic guidelines you should follow to ensure your teeth and aligners stay in good shape throughout the treatment process, however. To start with, always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before putting your aligner in. Pay careful attention to your fingernails and fingertips since these come into the closest contact with your mouth and aligners. 

You’ll need to care for your aligners when they’re out of your mouth, too! It can be tempting to toss them onto the nearest surface when you take them out, but you should always place aligners in a sealed container or leave them to soak in a cleaning solution when you’re not wearing them. This protects them from germs and also prevents you from accidentally throwing them away (which is a surprisingly common occurrence!) 

Once you’re done eating or your teeth are brushed and flossed, wash your hands again and rinse your aligner well before putting it back in your mouth. Remember that aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours every day throughout the treatment process and switched out for the next in the series every one to two weeks, as recommended by Dr. Szymanowski. When you stick to these guidelines, your Invisalign aligners can work just as well as braces, leaving you with a healthy smile that feels good and looks great! 

Brush Up On The Basics of Orthodontic Care

Achieve your best smile with Szymanowski Orthodontics 

Caring for your smile is important, especially when you’re going through orthodontic treatment. Once you brush up on the basics of orthodontic care, you’ll be able to boost your oral health while we work on straightening your teeth! 

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic care, our expert team is always happy to walk you through the treatment process. If you’d like to learn more about being proactive on your journey towards a more confident smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with Szymanowski Orthodontics in Sacramento!

Recognizing And Treating Your Child’s Misaligned Jaw

As a parent, it can be difficult to tell which small imperfections in your child’s toothy smile are endearing and which stem from a serious jaw misalignment that might be causing discomfort or self-consciousness for your child. Recognizing and treating your child’s misaligned jaw and other orthodontic issues is a common point of concern for parents, as we often hear from patients who all want to know the answer to the same question: how do I know if my child needs orthodontic treatment for their misaligned jaw? 

The answer to this will depend on many factors, including their age, their particular oral alignment, and the results you’re hoping to achieve. This complex answer is one reason why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child see an orthodontist by the age of 7! Most children around this age will have enough dental “landmarks” in place that their teeth, jaw, and bite can be assessed to ensure everything is developing normally, while also allowing ample time for recognizing and treating your child’s misaligned jaw and other orthodontic issues as (or before) they arise. 

While Dr. Szymanowski customizes every treatment plan to meet the specific needs of the child that he is treating, there are several common conditions he’ll be looking for during their initial evaluation. It can be helpful to outline these so parents understand how the oral challenges their child may be facing can be successfully corrected with orthodontics! Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues related to misaligned jaws we see most often in young children. 

Crowded teeth

You probably already know that healthy teeth and gums are essential to your child’s oral health. Unfortunately, crowded teeth can be difficult to brush and floss effectively. It can be challenging to maintain good dental hygiene, which increases the chances of tooth decay and cavities. If your child has crowded teeth, orthodontic treatment can move them into more optimal positions over time, resulting in a more evenly spaced smile that’s easier to clean! Treatment can also lessen general facial tension and relieve chewing or speech difficulties. 

Gapped teeth

Gaps between teeth are very common and can develop for a variety of reasons: genetics, thumb or finger sucking, extended bottle or pacifier use, and even gum disease. If your child has a bit too much space between their teeth, our doctors will be able to identify the underlying cause and create a personalized treatment plan to close the gaps and improve the overall appearance of your child’s smile. 

Missing teeth

Sometimes these gaps exist because of congenitally missing teeth that never grew in. In other cases, these gaps may be created when permanent teeth are lost due to injury or disease. If this is something your child has experienced, we can use braces to move existing teeth into their proper positions, then place bonded bridges where the missing teeth would have been. This approach allows us to create an evenly-spaced smile for your child that looks great and feels great, too!

Open bite

An open bite is where the upper and lower rows of the front teeth don’t touch or close properly when the mouth is closed. Many open bites come from extended thumb sucking in childhood, which can cause the teeth to grow into a noticeably rounded formation. 

Whatever the cause, an open bite can generally be treated with a combination of braces and an orthodontic appliance known as a “crib.” This device prevents the tongue from putting pressure against the anterior teeth when swallowing, thus allowing the teeth to be adjusted while also training a correct swallowing pattern. 

Once treatment is complete, your child will enjoy an aligned bite that allows them to close their teeth and enjoy all their favorite foods with ease.

Deep overbite

When a child has a deep overbite, the lower teeth recede so far behind the upper teeth that they bite into the roof of the mouth. The upper front teeth also overlap the lower front teeth. Out of all the bite disorders, a deep overbite is the most detrimental to the teeth and health of the jaw joints. It can also have an impact on face shape and appearance. 

Treatment for a deep overbite may be achievable with orthodontics alone, or a combination of orthodontics and restorative dentistry, depending on the severity of the case. Correcting deep bite misalignments will not only improve the functionality of your child’s teeth but will also dramatically improve the appearance of their smile.

Underbite

An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth. This type of bite misalignment can cause pain at the jaw joint, and the angled pressure it creates can wear down teeth over time. Children with underbites have quite a few treatment options available to them, including:

  • an upper jaw expander, which can be widened nightly until treatment is complete
  • a reverse-pull face mask, which wraps around the head and attaches to metal bands on the back upper teeth to pull the upper jaw forward
  • traditional braces to adjust the misaligned teeth

Orthodontic treatment like this will often relieve any pain and discomfort associated with the underbite. It can also make smiling, eating, and even breathing easier for your child!

Overjet

If a child has an overjet, their top front teeth will protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. This particular malocclusion is often referred to as “buck teeth” and is most effectively treated when diagnosed as early as possible. This gives us the chance to use their growth to our advantage by preemptively guiding a child’s tooth eruption. The child’s age and specific needs will determine what treatment approach we take, but options will usually include:

  • bite correction devices
  • traditional braces
  • removable orthodontic appliances
  • tooth removal
  • surgery

Once we treat your child’s overjet, they’ll be left with a beautifully balanced, functional smile. 

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Find the best fit for your child at Szymanowski Orthodontics

Szymanowski Orthodontics is proud to provide customized care for every child we treat. If you’ve been wondering if your child would benefit from orthodontic care, we’d love to meet you both and take a look at how your child’s smile is developing! If you’re in Sacramento and would like to know more about recognizing and treating your child’s misaligned jaw and other benefits of orthodontics, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation. Whatever your child needs, we’ll provide them with the best orthodontic experience possible!

Trust Your Family’s Smiles To An Experienced Orthodontist

As a parent in Sacramento, we know you want the best for your family. That includes healthy teeth and a confident smile! If you’ve considered an orthodontic evaluation for you or your child, you may be wondering about the differences between your general dentist and an experienced orthodontist. There are some big differences between the two that many may not be aware of. Dr. Damon Szymanowski and his expert team are proud to provide high-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages. Keep reading below to learn why you should trust your family’s smiles to an experienced orthodontist! 

Education, training, and experience

While dentists and orthodontists both start their careers in dental school, their paths diverge after graduation. Orthodontists like Dr. Szymanowski must complete two to three additional years of specialized training in orthodontic residency. During this residency, orthodontists-in-training learn how to identify and treat misalignment of the teeth and jaws. They’ll also:

  • study the growth and maturation of a child’s mouth, teeth, and jaw
  • learn biomechanical techniques to reliably move the teeth with braces and appliances
  • develop their diagnostic skills
  • Specifically and only provide orthodontic treatment as a resident to patients with the supervision of trained orthodontic faculty
  • Complete their own research as well as be up to date on all existing and current orthodontic research

As you can see, there’s quite a lot that goes into becoming an orthodontist! General dentists, while they are some of our favorite people and provide excellent dental and oral health care to our patients, they do not possess this level of orthodontic training and experience. That being said, all dentists will receive some very basic level of orthodontic training in dental school. Some dentists will try to learn with continuing education seminars and workshops. 

The downside to this, of course, is that workshops and seminars are taught by other dentists that have not gone through an orthodontic residency program. Additionally, they are unable to cover such extensive material in the same depth as the years of specialized training of an orthodontist, including consistent hands-on experience. Dentists with orthodontic experience will still lack the level of education and training an orthodontist has. 

If you have a family dentist who offers orthodontic care, it’s understandable that you’d consider them as an option. After all, you’re already comfortable with them and their team, and most people prefer the familiar over the unknown. But before you move forward with orthodontic treatment by your dentist, you should consider the benefits of choosing an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Szymanowski. These include:

  • a doctor who only performs orthodontics on every patient, every day, therefore is their only focus
  • a customized treatment plan created just for you based on your unique needs, lifestyle, and desired results
  • more efficient treatments and visits, since orthodontics is their only focus
  • the best possible outcome for your smile, especially if your case is complex or severe

At Szymanowski Orthodontics, we keep our focus on orthodontic care and treatment. Dr. Szymanowski focuses on performing teeth straightening procedures and works constantly to perfect his technique. Our entire team stays up to date on the latest in industry practices by regularly attending continuing education courses, whether in-person or online (much more common these days!). Our Sacramento office is equipped with state-of-the-art orthodontic equipment that allows us to provide patients with high-quality care and exceptional results!

Trust Your Family's Smiles To An Experienced Orthodontist

Specialized care produces the best smiles

As a patient, you have the right to choose the healthcare provider you feel most comfortable with. But when it comes to the way your smile looks and feels, it makes sense to find an orthodontist who has specialized education and training in how to safely and effectively move your teeth. While some dentists can provide orthodontic services, Dr. Szymanowski has over 15 years of experience in creating beautifully aligned smiles. 

Orthodontic care can also help you avoid any unnecessary complications. Orthodontists are more likely to notice small things that a general dentist may overlook and will only recommend the appropriate treatment plan for you. This can reduce treatment times and lessen the chance of any complications. The treatment plan itself will be time-effective, affordable, and built around your unique smile.

Trust Your Family's Smiles To An Experienced Orthodontist

Trust your family’s smiles to Szymanowski Orthodontics

At Szymanowski Orthodontics, our goal is to provide you with the most satisfying treatment experience possible. Our team offers the highest quality care, the latest treatments, and the most innovative technology. We provide a welcoming environment and unmatched service from your first appointment to your last! And since our only specialty is orthodontics, we’re able to give our patients nothing but the best. 

If you’re ready to take the first step towards a healthier smile, our team would love to meet you! When you schedule a FREE consultation with our office, you’ll receive a thorough evaluation by Dr. Szymanowski. Following this exam, we’ll provide you with a diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Don’t worry—this is a no-pressure visit! Even if you decide not to start your orthodontic treatment right away, our team will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you have to help you make an informed decision.

Your family deserves a lifetime of confident smiles! Get in touch today to schedule your FREE in-office exam!

Debunking Common Myths About Adult Braces

For many people, the first image that comes to mind when thinking about orthodontics is some version of a teenager wearing metal braces. While it’s true that we do see many younger patients, treatment can have a multitude of benefits for patients of all ages! If you’ve been considering orthodontic treatment to straighten your smile, our team is debunking common myths about adult braces! 

More adults than ever are exploring orthodontics as a way to achieve a straighter smile, with about 1 in every 5 current patients over the age of 18. If you’ve spent a lifetime feeling self-conscious about how your teeth look or function, Dr. Damon and the team at Szymanowski Orthodontics is here for you. We offer a variety of treatment options to correct a wide range of orthodontic issues, including traditional braces. 

While today’s braces are comfortable, efficient, and affordable, many patients are still not sure about using them to improve their oral health. This is often because of what they think they know about braces.

If you’ve been hesitant to consider traditional braces as a treatment option, keep reading below as we debunk some of the most common myths about braces. 

Myth #1: Braces are only for kids

This is the most common myth adult patients believe about braces and Invisalign. However, you’re never too old to take advantage of the many benefits orthodontics has to offer! As we age, we often begin to understand more about how our oral health is related to our total body health. This can result in a desire to take better care of our teeth and gums, which can often include seeking dental care or orthodontic treatment.

Many adults have crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw positioning, or other issues that they’ve waited years to correct. Others would just like to improve their smile cosmetically. Whatever your reason for seeking treatment as an adult, braces can give you a straighter, more confident smile!

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Myth #2: Braces will make you even more self-conscious about your smile

If you’re already feeling insecure about your teeth, the last thing you want is to draw even more attention to them! Many people think that’s exactly what will happen when they get braces. However, thanks to modern technology, there are multiple treatments available to adult patients, many of which are nearly invisible. For your complete smile makeover, Szymanowski Orthodontics offers the following options:

Self-ligating metal braces

Metal braces are one of our most popular and efficient treatments. Generally made of high-quality stainless steel, modern metal braces are much more comfortable and lighter than they used to be. Self-ligating metal braces hold archwires in place without using rubber bands. This allows wires to move smoothly and efficiently, meaning fewer office visits, less discomfort, and a beautiful smile that will last. These braces deliver excellent results and are especially useful in cases that are more severe or complicated.

Incognito braces

Incognito braces use state-of-the-art technology to straighten your smile – and no one ever has to know! Since they’re placed on the backs of your teeth, Incognito brackets are completely invisible to anyone who sees your smile. These are the only 100% customized fixed appliance system available and are an excellent choice for braces patients in Sacramento. 

Insignia braces

Insignia metal braces are completely customized to your unique smile. Using 3D mapping, we use a model of your teeth to create one-of-a-kind brackets for each patient we see. That means your brackets are made just for you and provide a more comfortable treatment experience. 

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

Invisalign clear aligner therapy consists of a series of removable plastic trays that fit over the teeth and gently move them into the desired positions over time. These customized aligners are replaced with the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movement of your teeth. Invisalign offers patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than fixed braces since the aligners can be removed when eating or drinking. It also makes maintaining an oral hygiene routine much simpler since patients brush and floss as they normally would.  

Myth #3: Braces will be painful

Fortunately, modern orthodontic treatment can move the teeth far more gently and effectively than it has in the past. Braces in general are more comfortable than they’ve ever been and although you may occasionally experience a little discomfort as outlined below, these minor issues are usually easy to take care of with a little know-how.

General mouth irritation

Non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums isn’t uncommon throughout your treatment. Orthodontic wax is an easy way to get some relief! Make sure the bracket or wire is completely dry, then pinch off a small amount of wax and roll it into a ball. Flatten this ball and then gently but firmly place it over the source of irritation.

Protruding wires

Occasionally, a wire may come loose and irritate the inside of your mouth. This can be fixed with nothing more than an ordinary pencil by using the eraser end to nudge it back against the teeth until it flattens out. You can also place a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire to reduce irritation and provide extra stability.

Loose brackets

We’ll need to know about loose brackets as soon as possible so we can help you decide what the next step should be. In the meantime, however, try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth. Orthodontic wax placed over the bracket can also add stability.

Tenderness in your mouth or gums

You may have some slight tenderness immediately after your braces are put on, or following adjustment appointments. A saltwater rinse is an excellent home remedy that can be beneficial for braces patients. To relieve soreness, simply mix one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds.

A warm washcloth or a warm heating pad placed on the outside of your jaw can also offer you some relief. Over-the-counter pain relievers are another useful remedy, just be sure to check with Dr. Szymanowski first!

Myth #4: Braces are too expensive

There’s no getting around the fact that orthodontic treatment of any kind is an investment of your time and finances. However, the benefits can last a lifetime! Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, you’ll never have to worry about any hidden costs. During your free consultation, we’ll outline everything included in your treatment plan, such as:

  • all appointments, including emergency visits
  • braces or aligners
  • retainers
  • post-treatment follow-up visits

Our treatment fees reflect our skillful technique, the quality of the technology we use, and the world-class service we provide to all our patients. We appreciate what a big investment treatment can be, and our office will work with you to find a payment option to fit your family’s budget! 

We offer no interest, in-office financing, and also accept cash, check, credit cards, debit cards, and automatic monthly payment options. If you have dental insurance that covers orthodontics, we will be happy to verify your orthodontic benefits and process your insurance forms for you.

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Get the beautiful smile you deserve with Szymanowski Orthodontics

No matter your age, braces can be an excellent option for straightening your teeth and improving your oral health. By choosing an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Szymanowski, you can be certain you’re receiving only the best treatment for your unique smile! 

Our expert team will provide you with a rewarding orthodontic experience that’s fun and stress-free from your first appointment to your last! If you’re ready to take the first step towards the smile you’ve always wanted, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation.

What To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, we believe that educated patients make the best partners in any orthodontic journey! It’s our goal to help you feel empowered and informed from your first appointment to the last. We know choosing to improve your oral health with orthodontic treatment is a big decision, and your smile is too important to trust to anything less than an experienced orthodontist. But what if you’re not sure where to start? To help you begin your orthodontic journey, we’ve put together a guide on what to ask when choosing an orthodontist. 

Keep reading below for a more detailed look at what you should know before committing to an orthodontic practice for treatment!

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

As obvious as it seems, this is probably the most important question you can ask when choosing an orthodontist. That’s because some general dentists are also able to provide orthodontic treatment, even though they don’t specialize in it. 

A general dentist will typically offer common dental services such as crowns, fillings, dentures, and occasional orthodontic treatment like Invisalign. An orthodontist, on the other hand, spends their days providing only orthodontic services.

This distinction matters. Imagine for a moment that you or your child required specialized treatment or surgery. Would you feel comfortable with your family physician handling your case, or would you prefer a dedicated specialist? Orthodontists are essentially dentists who also have several years of additional specialized training and experience. This means an orthodontist has:

  • studied the growth and maturation of the teeth and jaw
  • been introduced to numerous case studies
  • developed diagnostic skills
  • learned biomechanical techniques to properly move teeth
  • studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and facial  growth of younger patients

Orthodontic residency programs are extremely competitive, accepting only the top students in any dental school graduating class. These orthodontic programs tend to last around two to three years and include full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. While there are exceptions to every rule, most dentists will not possess this same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience.

Since 2005, Dr. Damon Szymanowski has been practicing orthodontics. In 2006, he moved back to his hometown of Sacramento and has been creating healthy, beautiful smiles here ever since! As an expert orthodontist with years of experience, you can trust that your smile is in good hands when you choose Szymanowski Orthodontics. 

what-to-ask-when-choosing-an-orthodontist

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Szymanowski Orthodontics has a wide variety of orthodontic treatments available to patients of all ages, including traditional metal braces and clear aligner therapy.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

Lingual Braces

Incognito lingual braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces. However, they’re placed on the back of your teeth so no one will ever know you’re wearing braces. Incognito lingual braces are 100% customized to your unique teeth. That means your treatment is one-of-a-kind!

Clear Braces

Sometimes called ceramic braces, this option works like metal braces but is made of clear materials and therefore a more subtle option. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.

Invisalign clear aligners

Clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, but they are also removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

Whatever treatment option you choose, you can expect relatively frequent visits to your orthodontist. For most patients, adjustment appointments will be scheduled for every four to eight weeks or so in the office location most convenient for you. During these visits, Dr. Szymanowski will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check the progress your teeth are making, and make adjustments to the wires to ensure the teeth are being pulled in the right direction. 

Patients in clear aligners may be seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process!

While treatment time will always vary from case to case, the average patient will spend anywhere from 12-36 months years in treatment. You should be prepared to see us regularly! We know families these days are busy, and we value your time, so we never overbook patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled time.

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Trust your smile to the experts at Szymanowski Orthodontics

Are you looking for an optimal orthodontic experience? Szymanowski Orthodontics is unmatched in skill, expertise, and the level of care every patient receives! Since our sole specialty is orthodontics, you’ll receive nothing but the best in treatments, cost, and efficiency as we work to straighten your smile. Once you know what to ask when choosing an orthodontist, you can make the best decision for your orthodontic care.

If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, we would love to meet you and talk more about the smile you want! There’s never been a better time to go after the smile you’ve always wanted, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation!

The Truth About Invisalign

In the past, there weren’t many options for orthodontic treatment. If you wanted to straighten your smile, it might mean months or even years of uncomfortable, obvious braces. Thankfully, modern braces have undergone a major makeover in recent years! With smaller brackets, a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, and more efficient movement of the teeth, traditional braces are better than ever. But even with all these exciting improvements, we still speak to many patients who just aren’t sure about using braces to improve their oral health, including Invisalign clear aligner therapy. With so many misconceptions out there, Szymanowski Orthodontics is here to tell you the truth about Invisalign!

Thanks to Invisalign, we’re able to give patients the same beautiful results as braces, but without using any brackets, wires, or bands. While traditional braces have a long history of success, Invisalign is relatively new to the orthodontics scene. Since it’s only been around for about twenty years, many people aren’t sure what Invisalign actually is, or what the system can do to correct orthodontic issues. Keep reading for more information on the truth about Invisalign clear aligners!

What is Invisalign?

Although Invisalign clear aligners were developed in the late 1990s, similar trays had already been in use for years as post-treatment retainers. Invisalign was originally used for simple spacing issues or very mild crowding. Once orthodontists began to take notice of its potential, the aligners were redesigned to more efficiently move teeth in cases ranging from mild to moderately severe.

The Invisalign system utilizes unique software and technology to move crooked and misaligned teeth in stages with a series of customized aligners. At the end of each stage, patients replace their current aligner with the next in the series to keep up with the movement of the teeth. This will usually be every one to two weeks, depending on the specific treatment plan. When used as directed by an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Szymanowski, Invisalign aligners are just as effective as traditional braces. 

Does Invisalign treatment take longer than braces?

It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s recommendations regardless of the treatment method, but this is absolutely essential for patients who choose Invisalign. Traditional braces are fixed to the actual surface of the teeth, so most of the hard work is done without too much on the patient’s part. But Invisalign aligners are removable, so it’s up to the patient to wear them 20-22 hours a day throughout the course of treatment. Those who neglect to do so won’t see the results they desire and may face longer treatment times in general.

We’re often asked how long a patient will need orthodontic treatment.  The truth is, there’s no “one size fits all” answer. Every case is different and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way. In general, however, the total treatment time averages 12-15 months and the average number of aligners worn during treatment is 36-48. For comparison, this is actually slightly faster than the average time spent in braces!

Does Invisalign cost more than braces?

There are several factors associated with the overall cost of any treatment, but if all things are considered equally, Invisalign tends to cost the same as traditional braces.  

Our team is committed to providing high-quality orthodontic care to meet every budget and we’ll work with you to achieve a confident smile you love! Financial considerations shouldn’t stand in the way of excellent oral health, so we offer patients the following financial options:

  • Interest-free monthly payments
  • No down payment, third-party financing through CareCredit
  • Automatic credit card or bank drafts through OrthoBanc
  • Convenient online credit card payment
  • Payment by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and CareCredit

A beautiful smile is always in the budget with Szymanowski Orthodontics!

What advantages does Invisalign have over traditional braces?

Invisalign gives patients more freedom and flexibility than traditional treatment methods. Food restrictions are an excellent example of this. For many patients, one of the biggest adjustments during their treatment is having to give up some of their favorite foods to protect their braces. They must avoid anything crunchy or chewy, which eliminates several popular foods and snacks. With Invisalign, you’ll never have to worry about what you eat! The aligners are simply taken out before eating, then put back in when the patient is done. Not having any food restrictions makes the treatment process a lot more fun!

Removable aligners also make it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing around wires, brackets, and bands can be frustrating and time-consuming; but Invisalign aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as normal. Caring for the aligners themselves is a breeze, too! There are special kits designed to clean them, or they can be gently brushed using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

Without any wires or brackets to get in the way, Invisalign’s removable aligners are great for athletes and musicians who play certain instruments. And since they can be removed for short periods of time, they’re also perfect for any special event when a patient wants their natural smile to shine through, such as prom, weddings, or even senior pictures.  

the-truth-about-invisalign

Is Invisalign an option for every smile?

Most patients in our office will be eligible for Invisalign. However, the system is most effective for correcting mild to moderately difficult orthodontic issues, since complex or severe cases may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve. 

When you schedule a complimentary consultation with our practice, our doctors will be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you or if a more traditional method of treatment would be better. In many cases, patients are able to choose between braces and Invisalign aligners! 

What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?

Whatever method of orthodontic treatment a patient chooses, the teeth will always remember their previous places in the mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those positions if nothing is there to stop them. That’s why retainers are an essential part of achieving long-lasting results! Our office will provide you with a retainer once your treatment is complete. Wearing this retainer exactly as directed will help keep your beautiful new smile in place for years to come.

Discover the smile of your dreams with Invisalign by Szymanowski Orthodontics

Invisalign is our most popular alternative to traditional braces, and it’s no secret why! This innovative aligner system continues to change the way people view orthodontic treatment and we’d love to discuss it with you. Not all dentists or orthodontists using Invisalign have the same skills and experience, but our own Dr. Szymanowski is a certified expert. 

To learn more about the incredible things our expert team can do for your smile with Invisalign, get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation!

Is Invisalign Worth It?

If you’re like most people who first find out that someone in their family should consider orthodontic treatment to improve the health of their smile, you may not know what to expect or what treatment options are currently available. You may even assume that metal braces are your only option. Although traditional braces have undergone quite a transformation in recent years, lots of the teens and adults we treat are still on the fence about them. Fortunately, several alternatives to metal braces are now available! Is alternative treatment like Invisalign worth it? Let’s find out!

Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer clear braces and clear Invisalign aligners and the more traditional metal braces. Invisalign is the most popular alternative we have to braces, particularly among our more image-conscious patients! In most cases, aligners cost about the same as traditional metal braces. However, they can sometimes run slightly more, leading some patients to ask if Invisalign is worth the cost difference. Our team believes Invisalign is an excellent investment in your smile.

A subtle way to straighten your smile

Patients love that we make Invisalign aligners out of clear, comfortable plastic. If you’re anxious about treatment making you stand out, Invisalign could be a welcome alternative! You can also remove your Invisalign aligners for short periods, making them perfect for any special event when you want your natural smile to shine through, like prom, weddings, or senior pictures.  

Extra freedom and flexibility

Invisalign patients enjoy a bit more freedom than traditional treatment methods can offer! Take food restrictions, for example. Sticky and crunchy foods can wreak havoc on brackets and wires, so patients in braces must avoid them throughout the treatment process. Restrictions to keep your braces safe can eliminate several favorite foods and snacks, which can be frustrating. Invisalign means you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want to! Simply remove the aligner before eating, then put it back in when after the meal or snack.

Easier oral hygiene

Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine with traditional braces can be difficult, particularly in the early days. It’s tricky to brush and floss around the brackets and wires, making it harder to remove any lingering food particles or plaque. You can easily remove your Invisalign aligners before brushing and flossing as normal! Caring for the aligners themselves couldn’t be easier, either. There are special kits designed to clean them, or you can brush them gently using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

Potentially shorten treatment time

Every case is different, and each patient responds to treatment in their way, so there’s no “one size fits all” answer for how long a patient will need orthodontic treatment.

Patient compliance is an essential part of any orthodontic process, but it’s especially crucial with the Invisalign system. For the aligners to be successful, you have to wear them for 20-22 hours a day during your entire treatment. You’ll also be responsible for switching your aligners out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements your teeth are making.

For fully compliant patients, treatment time with Invisalign can last anywhere from 6-18 months, which is slightly faster than the average braces treatment. 

Treat a wide range of orthodontic issues

In its earliest days, Invisalign was mostly used to correct simple spacing issues or very mild crowding. As the system began to grow in popularity, the design improved dramatically. Orthodontists can now use Invisalign aligners to successfully treat:

  • gaps between teeth
  • crowding
  • deep overbite
  • open bite
  • crossbite
  • excessive overjet
  • and more!
Smiling young woman

Special features for teen patients

When it comes to the treatment benefits and underlying technology, Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are the same. However, Invisalign Teen was developed with features that meet the unique needs of teenage patients, including:

Compliance indicators

As noted above, patient compliance is a critical component to success with Invisalign. Your teen must wear the aligners as directed by Dr. Damon Szymanowski so they can do their job. The compliance indicators incorporated into the Invisalign Teen aligners fade from blue to clear, to show how much the aligners are being worn. You and Dr. Damon will know if your teen is wearing their aligners correctly. 

Eruption tabs

This feature accommodates the growth of the second molars in young adults. Keeping this space open for unerupted teeth makes it possible to treat more orthodontic issues with Invisalign than we could otherwise. 

Replacement aligners

Everybody loses or breaks things sometimes, and that includes teen patients. Of course, teens should always be careful with their aligners, but there’s no need to worry if something does go wrong. Invisalign Teen will provide up to six replacement aligners at no charge, just in case.    

Trust your smile to the Invisalign experts at Szymanowski Orthodontics,

Invisalign is an excellent option for many patients, but it’s not for everyone. The aligners generally work best for adults and teens with mild-to-moderate orthodontic issues. Cases that are especially complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can offer.

When you schedule your free consultation with Dr. Damon Szymanowski, he’ll be able to determine if Invisalign treatment is a good fit for your smile and your needs. If he feels that a different treatment option would serve you better, he’ll talk you through what’s available. You can trust our team only to recommend the treatment we believe is best for your unique smile!

We’ll also outline the investment needed for your new smile during this first visit with us and let you know about our payment options and insurance coverage. When you have all the right information, you’ll weigh your treatment options more clearly. Knowing there’s a comfortable, flexible, and clear option available that’s just as effective as braces mean any extra cost will be worth every cent!

If you’re in the Sacramento or surrounding areas and want to learn more about how the Invisalign aligner system can transform your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Damon Szymanowski.

Why You’re More Likely To Get Hired With A Straight Smile

When you meet something new, your smile is one of the first things they notice about you and vice versa. It’s also the thing they’re most likely to remember. These are just a few of the reasons your smile has a bigger impact on your professional success than you might think! If you have a bright, healthy smile that makes you stand out and stick in someone’s mind after you leave, it can help you land a promotion, motivate others on the job, and even negotiate a better salary. So, how do you handle struggles with crooked teeth, misalignment, or other orthodontic issues? Keep reading to learn why you’re more likely to get hired with a straight smile. 

We want all of our patients at Damon Smiles Orthodontics to get the most out of their life, including their professional lives. Feeling insecure about how your smile looks can hold you back, but our treatment options will give you what you need to put your best professional foot forward. 

Set the tone with a smile

Starting a meeting, interview, or any social interaction with a sincere smile will help put others at ease and make you seem more approachable and friendly. Potential employers are sure to notice this. When you attend a job interview, for instance, your credentials are only part of what the interviewer will be looking at! If you come across as stiff, unfriendly, or distant, it could hurt your chances of being offered the position or promotion you’re up for. Successful companies don’t just want a qualified candidate on paper; they also want someone who will contribute to a positive work environment by building a rapport with coworkers and clients. 

why you're more likely to get hired with a straight smile

Smiles spread like wildfire 

The human brain does a lot of fascinating things. One example is the way we mimic facial expressions, often without even realizing we’re doing it. When someone else smiles and mimics it, we might catch a little bit of that happy feeling and feel a slight boost in our mood. It also helps us understand the person we’re talking to better and respond appropriately, which is why we tend to smile back when someone smiles at us. It’s true – smiling really is contagious!

This phenomenon helps potential employers determine which candidates are more likely to positively influence those around them and help cultivate a better work environment. A Yale University study showed this by dividing volunteers into small groups and assigning specific tasks. One team member was secretly instructed to act upbeat upon entering the room. When that person came in with a smile on their face and a positive attitude, the room’s mood lifted almost immediately! The study also found that each individual’s performance improved. The group itself was more likely to achieve the goal it had been given.

A team of scientists at the University of Kansas conducted a study with similar results. Participants were given stressful tasks to complete. Some people were asked to smile during these tasks, while others were instructed to keep a straight face. Researchers measured the heart rates of the participants, and the subjects were asked to self-report their stress levels as they performed the tasks.

Those who had been told to smile had lower heart rates and their bodies showed more resistance to stress. They also reported feeling more positive overall than those who were told to keep a straight face, proving the power in a smile! A welcoming smile can lead to some real advantages in the workplace since it’s attractive to both employers and coworkers. 

The Halo Effect

The term “halo effect” was coined in 1920 by Edward Thorndike, a researcher attempting to describe how our brains attach multiple positive qualities to someone once we notice one. We may also attache negative qualities to a person if we perceive a negative quality. We generalize information about a person based on our own perception of them. While it may not be a particularly fair way to process new people we meet, it certainly shows just how significant first impressions can be!

One positive trait that often sparks the halo effect is a great smile. People who have a bright, beautiful smile are naturally seen as smarter, wittier, more successful and hardworking, and more trustworthy than those who don’t smile often or struggle with oral health. Have you been trying to get your foot in the door or close out a big deal? Your smile could be the exact tool you need to produce the halo effect and seal the deal.

Increase your self-esteem

Finally, your level of self-confidence often determines how willing you are to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. Often, taking risks is essential for real success. Liking your appearance, including your smile, can give you quite the confidence boost. Invisalign actually conducted a survey on this and found that almost 80% of adults who underwent orthodontic treatment said that having a healthier smile gave them the confidence to do something they would never have considered before. That number is nothing to ignore!

Why you're more likely to get hired with a straight smile

Find the secret to a successful smile at Damon Smiles Orthodontics

As you can see, your appearance plays an important role in you feel about yourself and how others see you. It can also influence how colleagues and hiring managers perceive you. That’s why you’re most likely to get hired with a straight smile. At Damon Smiles Orthodontics, we can help you achieve a beautiful smile that feels great and looks amazing, thanks to a variety of treatment options. These range from traditional metal braces to the innovative Invisalign system. Thanks to modern orthodontic technology, these treatments are more comfortable and discreet than ever before, which are perfect for our adult patients!

A beautiful smile can have a multitude of benefits. From increased self-esteem to a positive first impression at a new job, the investment of a beautiful and healthy smile is well worth it! If you’re ready to take the first step in achieving the smile you’ve always dreamed of, get in touch today to schedule your free consultation with the skilled team at Damon Smiles Orthodontics!

Am I Too Old For Braces?

What do you think about when you think of orthodontic treatment? If you think of teenagers in metal braces, you may not realize that patients of all ages can benefit from a straighter smile. In fact, we’ve seen more and more adults in recent years who are looking to transform their smile and correct issues they’ve been struggling with for years. If you’ve been unhappy or self-conscious about how your teeth look or function, and wondering, “am I too old for braces?”, this is the perfect time to explore how Damon Smiles Orthodontics can help! 

Dr. Szymanowski and the rest of our talented team are proud to offer various treatment options to correct problems like crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw positioning, and more. Let’s take a closer look at what orthodontics actually is, what treatment options are available for adult patients, and how Damon Smiles Orthodontics can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. Keep reading to learn more!

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a dental specialty. An orthodontist is a dentist who has also received years of additional education and training in:

  • Identifying and correcting bite abnormalities
  • Successfully straightening teeth
  • Correcting misaligned jaws
  • And improving the overall function of the mouth.

An experienced orthodontist can diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial abnormalities. These issues can cause more severe problems later on, such as premature wear and tear on your teeth, gum tissue, and bone if left untreated. This may result in pain to the face and neck area, headaches, and even difficulties with chewing or speaking. A good orthodontist will be able to diagnose and treat these types of issues, which will improve the function and appearance of your smile.

Why are more adults now looking into orthodontic treatment?

We understand that you have your own, unique reasons for seeking out orthodontic treatment. Everyone does! For many adults, a better understanding of how oral health connects to total body health. Understanding this can inspire many adults to seek our dental or orthodontic treatment that will allow them to take better care of their teeth and gums.

Or, you may be like many other patients who had incomplete treatment earlier in life and would like to finish the process now. Touch-up treatment is extremely common, as well. Teeth that were straightened in a patient’s younger years can shift over time due to age, genetics, or improper retainer use. In these cases, there are multiple treatment options available, including monitoring your teeth, providing new retainers, or re-treating with braces or aligners.

We also see a lot of adults who haven’t had treatment before but are finally able to improve their appearance with the smile they always wanted. This can boost their confidence and self-esteem, and may even have a positive impact on their personal and professional lives. We fully support any reason you may have to look into orthodontic treatment for yourself because you’re never too old for braces! 

Am I too old for braces?

What treatment options are available for adult patients?

Whatever your reasons for reaching out to an orthodontist, there are more treatment options available than you may realize! Damon Smiles Orthodontics offers the following treatments for a total smile transformation.

Traditional metal braces

Traditional metal braces are the orthodontic stable we’re all familiar with. As one of the most efficient treatments for severe and complicated cases, modern braces can offer shorter treatment times at a lower price than some other options. Modern braces use high-quality stainless steel, but innovations in the design mean they’re much more comfortable than previous versions. 

Clear braces

These function in much the same way traditional braces do but use ceramic brackets instead of metal ones. The brackets can be clear, white, or tooth-colored. For an almost invisible treatment option, they can be used with elastics or ties that are also clear, white, or tooth-colored. Clear braces can be an excellent choice for image-conscious patients. Still, because they are more delicate than metal braces, we generally only recommend them for older teens and adults.

Lingual Braces

Incognito braces use state of the art technology to provide genuinely invisible treatment that’s also comfortable. It is the only 100% customized and 100% invisible fixed appliance system available. No one will know that you are wearing braces unless you tell them!

Invisalign clear aligners

Instead of brackets and bands, the Invisalign system uses a series of clear, customized, removable aligners. These are custom-designed to fit snugly over your teeth, and gently move them into the desired positions over time. Aligners are made of a soft and comfortable clear plastic material. They are replaced with the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the shifting teeth.

No matter which of these great options you choose, you can get a beautiful, healthy new smile even as a busy adult. Dr. Szymanowski will always consider your unique needs before recommending any treatment. 

Get the smile you deserve with Damon Smiles Orthodontics

We’ll never treat you like a number at Damon Smiles Orthodontics. Every smile we great is unique and tells a special story. We know that what works for one patient may not work for another. This is one reason it’s so important to choose an experienced orthodontist you trust. Our talented team will create a customized treatment plan for you based on your specific needs. You can count on us for a stress-free orthodontic experience and superior results that last!

Our Sacramento, CA offices are committed to providing patients of all ages with the latest in orthodontic technique and technology. We’ve been creating beautiful smiles in our community for years, and would love to do the same for you! If you’re ready to take the first step towards achieving the smile you’ve always dreamed of, get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation.