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Posts for tag: braces

By Upper East Smiles
April 14, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Sometimes, looking at old pictures can really bring memories back to life. Just ask Stefani Germanotta—the pop diva better known as Lady Gaga. In one scene from the recent documentary Five Foot Two, as family members sort through headshots from her teen years, her father proclaims: "Here, this proves she had braces!"

"If I had kept that gap, then I would have even more problems with Madonna," Lady Gaga replies, referencing an ongoing feud between the two musical celebrities.

The photos of Gaga's teenage smile reveal that the singer of hits like "Born This Way" once had a noticeable gap (which dentists call a diastema) between her front teeth. This condition is common in children, but often becomes less conspicuous with age. It isn't necessarily a problem: Lots of well-known people have extra space in their smiles, including ex-football player and TV host Michael Strahan, actress Anna Paquin…and fellow pop superstar Madonna. It hasn't hurt any of their careers.

Yet others would prefer a smile without the gap. Fortunately, diastema in children is generally not difficult to fix. One of the easiest ways to do so is with traditional braces or clear aligners. These orthodontic appliances, usually worn for a period of months, can actually move the teeth into positions that look more pleasing in the smile and function better in the bite. For many people, orthodontic treatment is a part of their emergence from adolescence into adulthood.

Braces and aligners, along with other specialized orthodontic appliances, can also remedy many bite problems besides diastema. They can correct misaligned teeth and spacing irregularities, fix overbites and underbites, and take care of numerous other types of malocclusions (bite problems).

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids get screened for orthodontic problems at age 7. Even if an issue is found, most won't get treatment at this age—but in some instances, it's possible that early intervention can save a great deal of time, money and effort later. For example, while the jaw is still developing, its growth can be guided with special appliances that can make future orthodontic treatment go quicker and easier.

Yet orthodontics isn't just for children—adults can wear braces too! As long as teeth and gums are healthy, there's no upper age limit on orthodontic treatment. Instead of traditional silver braces, many adults choose tooth-colored braces or clear aligners to complement their more professional appearance.

So if your child is at the age where screening is recommended—or if you're unhappy with your own smile—ask us whether orthodontics could help. But if you get into a rivalry with Madonna…you're on your own.

If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Orthodontics For The Older Adult.”

By Upper East Smiles
January 14, 2019
Category: Orthodontist FAQs
Tags: braces  

Dental BracesFind out which type of braces will fix your smile and fit into your lifestyle.

Are you contemplating getting braces from our Upper East Side dentists? If so, you may be wondering what the best approach will be to straightening your smile, as there are a lot of factors to consider. Read on to learn the different types of braces and the pros and cons of each.


Traditional Metal Braces

When you picture braces what do you see? Do you see metal brackets and wires adhered to a smile? If so, then you’re thinking about traditional metal braces. Of course, these braces have certainly advanced over the years and are now lighter and sleeker than you might remember and can additionally handle a wide range of dental issues.

Pros: Least expensive orthodontic system; can fix severe misalignments

Cons: They are visible; may cause slight irritation to the gums, particularly when first wearing them.


Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces work in exactly the same way as traditional metal braces but as you might be able to guess, this style of braces is made from tooth-colored ceramic so that they blend in with the teeth. While you will still be able to see these braces, they are certainly less noticeable than their metal counterparts.

Pros: Blends in with your teeth; can still address more serious dental issues

Cons: Can be prone to staining if you do not work to keep them clean


Lingual Braces

With lingual braces, all we do is take traditional metal braces and bond them to the back of your teeth rather than the front. Since these braces are applied to the back of your teeth, they won’t be able to fix all misalignments and issues.

Pros: They aren’t visible when you smile

Cons: They won’t be ideal for patients with underbites or those who play certain instruments; it can be more challenging to clean them.



Most people have heard of Invisalign, a completely transparent system that uses a set of mouthguard-like aligners that fit over teeth to move them into place. Aligners are worn for around 22 hours out of the day but can be removed for eating and brushing. Invisalign is ideal for older teens/adults and requires periodic visits to our Upper East Side office.

Pros: They are nearly invisible; length of treatment is often shorter than traditional braces; less likely to cause discomfort or irritation.

Cons: Aligners can stain easily; can be more expensive than other options; isn’t right for children and young teens.


If you want to discuss your orthodontic treatment options with our Upper East Side dental team, don’t hesitate to call Upper East Smiles today to find out how we can help you achieve the perfect smile. Our number is (646) 864-1808.


Mayim Bialik has spent a good part of her life in front of TV cameras: first as the child star of the hit comedy series Blossom, and more recently as Sheldon Cooper’s love interest — a nerdy neuroscientist — on The Big Bang Theory. (In between, she actually earned a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA…but that’s another story.) As a child, Bialik had a serious overbite — but with all her time on camera, braces were just not an option.

“I never had braces,” she recently told Dear Doctor – Dentistry & Oral Health magazine. “I was on TV at the time, and there weren’t a lot of creative solutions for kids who were on TV.” Instead, her orthodontist managed to straighten her teeth using retainers and headgear worn only at night.

Today, there are several virtually invisible options available to fix orthodontic issues — and you don’t have to be a child star to take advantage of them. In fact, both children and adults can benefit from these unobtrusive appliances.

Tooth colored braces are just like traditional metal braces, with one big difference: The brackets attached to teeth are made from a ceramic material that blends in with the natural color of teeth. All that’s visible is the thin archwire that runs horizontally across the teeth — and from a distance it’s hard to notice. Celebs like Tom Cruise and Faith Hill opted for this type of appliance.

Clear aligners are custom-made plastic trays that fit over the teeth. Each one, worn for about two weeks, moves the teeth just a bit; after several months, you’ll see a big change for the better in your smile. Best of all, clear aligners are virtually impossible to notice while you’re wearing them — which you’ll need to do for 22 hours each day. But you can remove them to eat, or for special occasions. Zac Efron and Katherine Heigl, among others, chose to wear clear aligners.

Lingual braces really are invisible. That’s because they go behind your teeth (on the tongue side), where they can’t be seen; otherwise they are similar to traditional metal braces. Lingual braces are placed on teeth differently, and wearing them often takes some getting used to at first. But those trade-offs are worth it for plenty of people. Which celebs wore lingual braces? Rumor has it that the list includes some top models, a well-known pop singer, and at least one British royal.

So what’s the best way to straighten your teeth and keep the orthodontic appliances unnoticeable? Just ask us! We’d be happy to help you choose the option that’s just right for you. You’ll get an individualized evaluation, a solution that fits your lifestyle — and a great-looking smile!

For more information about hard-to-see (or truly invisible) orthodontics, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Orthodontics for the Older Adult” and “Clear Aligners for Teenagers.”

By Upper East Smiles
July 13, 2017
Category: Orthodontist FAQs
Tags: braces   Invisalign  

Orthodontists diagnose and correct a variety of problems pertaining to theOrthodontist alignment, spacing and positioning of the teeth, as well as problems with the jaw. Depending on the problem, braces, finger appliances or other orthodontic gear might be needed. Below are the answers to a few frequently asked questions patients often ask orthodontists. At Upper East Smiles, Dr. Junginn Choi is your Upper East Side orthodontist and can answer any additional questions you might have.

What Types of Braces are Available?

There are several types of braces for straightening the teeth and correcting problems with the bite. Three types of braces are traditional metal, clear ceramic and lingual. All three types utilize brackets and wires to move the teeth. With both traditional metal and clear ceramic braces, placement of the brackets is on the front of the teeth. With lingual braces, brackets are discreetly mounted on the back of the teeth. All three are effective for straightening your smile. Ceramic and lingual braces happen to be less noticeable options versus metal braces.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an alternative to braces for straightening your smile. Instead of brackets and wires, Invisalign aligns the teeth using soft trays that are both removable and clear. These two features offer several advantages. Since the trays are clear, they are is barely noticeable, which is appealing to many patients. Being able to remove the trays, as needed, is extremely convenient. The trays can be removed for photographs, important events, when eating or drinking and when brushing and flossing.

What are Thumb and Finger Appliances?

Thumb and finger appliances are metal devices worn in the mouth to help children stop sucking on their fingers or thumbs. Some appliances are removable, while others are fixed in place temporarily to keep the child from removing the device. Your Upper East Side Orthodontist can determine which type is best for your child’s situation. Whether removable or not, these appliances fit in the mouth in the area where the thumb or finger usually sits, making it impossible for children to continue sucking on the thumb or finger until they lose interest.

Is it Important to Still See a Dentist While Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment?

Although you are seeing a dental professional while undergoing orthodontic treatment, such as braces for straightening the teeth, it is still important to see your dentist regularly. Dentists and orthodontists specialize in different areas. While an orthodontist specializes in correcting problems with positioning of the teeth or jaw, a dentist focuses keeping teeth and gums healthy. In fact, since braces and other orthodontic gear can easily trap food particles, it is especially important to see a dentist for regular cleanings while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

See your Upper East Side orthodontist for additional questions about orthodontic treatments. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Choi, call Upper East Smiles at (646) 864-1808.

By Upper East Smiles
March 01, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   orthodontics  

There are many reasons why someone may need braces from your dentists Dr. bracesBenjamin Hsu and Dr. Hunter Smart at Upper East Smiles in the Upper East Side, NY. Whether for a child or an adult, we can determine the best treatment method for each oral health situation. By understanding what signs may signal the need for braces, you can better protect your teeth and gums for a lifetime.

Reasons You May Need Braces

While your Upper East Side orthodontist knows these signs, it’s important to know them yourself so you can schedule an important exam.

Here are some of the reasons why braces may be for you:

  1. Foods get stuck between your teeth: This usually means that you have a food pocket that forms when you have a small space between teeth. This space causes food to get stuck or wedged there. If you don’t floss often enough, it can sit there for a long time leading to gum disease and/or cavities.
  2. You have an uncomfortable bite: If you bite feels funny as if your teeth don’t fit together, you may need braces. In some instances, you may bite down and have a large space between both your upper and lower teeth known as an overbite. When teeth fit together properly, they protect themselves as the jaw moves. When you have a large overbite or underbite, your teeth aren’t protected and it is harder to chew.
  3. Your teeth are crowded: This makes it hard to keep the surfaces clean. Also, when they are crowded, they may be contacting other teeth.
  4. You have trouble sleeping: This can be due to the position of your jaw leading to sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that stops and starts breathing while one sleeps.

When you’re uncertain if you need braces or not, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist at Upper East Smiles in Upper East Side, NY. They are well versed in all of the issues that can lead to the need for braces, whether in children or adults. Contact them today at (646) 864-1808 to begin the journey to a more beautiful smile.