By Eliyahu Gherman DDS
It happens all the time… A patient comes in, a week before the wedding, and says “Doc, can you fix my teeth?” Most of the time the answer is no, teeth take a long time to move; however, there are times when a small problem in the patient’s smile can be corrected in a very short period of time. For example, a space between the teeth or a tooth that sticks out can be fixed within a couple of months, weeks and, yes, even one hour!
How is that possible? Let me explain…
When I was in my orthodontic post-graduate program at Montefiore Medical Center, one of my teachers, Dr. Shelton, patented a method called “Fingerdontics.”
Besides being a high-end Manhattan orthodontist, Dr. Shelton was also a professional jazz flutist and naturally a very patient man; for Fingerdontics you need a lot of patience.
(First a warning: Do not try this at home as you may damage your teeth.)
Dr. Shelton would gently lean his finger on a tooth, while explaining that teeth are actually joints. The tooth sits in a socket of bone, surrounded by connective fibers. These fibers can stretch, so after just a short time the tooth will visibly move. After his “show and tell,” he would leave the room and within seconds the tooth would move back out of place!
We all learned the lesson; the problem with “Fingerdontics” is that the same fibers that stretched and allowed for the tooth to move will then return to their original shape and bring the tooth back with them. This is what orthodontists call “tooth memory.”
One way to reset tooth memory is through the normal course of orthodonture. This allows enough time for the fibers to take to the new position. The other way is to place a fixed or permanent retainer after the teeth are moved.
So how is it possible to move teeth in one hour and make them stay that way? We place a fixed retainer on the back of the teeth. I use a small and sleek fixed retainer and coat it with a very smooth material. Patients are very happy because the fixed retainer is comfortable and avoids the need to wear a removable retainer full-time. I’ve also modified Dr. Shelton’s Fingerdontic method, since I have rachmanus on my patients and on my finger, and instead use a couple of braces to accomplish the same thing.
To sum up: We often can correct minor spacing or tooth misalignment in one hour with some braces and a fixed retainer. So when you have an important business meeting tomorrow but fear you will look like Nanny McPhee… Or if you’re afraid your date tonight might call you Sponge Bob, it can’t hurt to give us a call. You have more than enough time! Quick braces!
Please note: We don’t recommend waiting until the last minute for orthodontic therapy. If there’s something in your smile that you want to correct, come in for a consultation as soon as possible.
TESTIMONIAL: E.H. Jerusalem
It was only a couple of weeks before my engagement party and I had a large unsightly space between my teeth. The amazing and caring team of dentists at Rechavia Dental Center met to determine the best way to solve my predicament: To close the gap before the party. They determined that bonding the tooth would not be an option as the tooth would look too large. The best plan was to move the tooth orthodontically. Braces?! Wouldn’t that take at least 6 months? I didn’t imagine that.within 2 days.Dr. Gherman could fix my smile!.Thank you Dr. Kaszovitz, Dr. Schlussel and Dr. Gherman, for your care and expertise, and for the amazing smile I will have at my engagement party and wedding.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Gherman has been creating beautiful smiles over the past 16 years. He received his dental training at New York University College of Dentistry. Dr. Gherman was granted a special award by the American Association of Orthodontists for his achievements in helping to further the science of orthodontics. As an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists and numerous study clubs, he continuously stays up to date with all the latest technology. Rechavia Dental Center is a full service American dental and orthodontic clinic in Jerusalem.
Rechavia Dental can be reached at 02-561-9770 or through their website www.rechaviadental.co.il.