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Posts for tag: orthodontics


Sometimes it seems that appearances count for everything—especially in Hollywood. But just recently, Lonnie Chaviz, the 10-year-old actor who plays young Randall on the hit TV show This Is Us, delivered a powerful message about accepting differences in body image. And the whole issue was triggered by negative social media comments about his smile.

Lonnie has a noticeable diastema—that is, a gap between his two front teeth; this condition is commonly seen in children, but is less common in adults. There are plenty of celebrities who aren’t bothered by the excess space between their front teeth, such as Michael Strahan, Lauren Hutton and Vanessa Paradis. However, there are also many people who choose to close the gap for cosmetic or functional reasons.

Unfortunately, Lonnie had been on the receiving end of unkind comments about the appearance of his smile. But instead of getting angry, the young actor posted a thoughtful reply via Instagram video, in which he said: “I could get my gap fixed. Braces can fix this, but like, can you fix your heart, though?”

Lonnie is raising an important point: Making fun of how someone looks shows a terrible lack of compassion. Besides, each person’s smile is uniquely their own, and getting it “fixed” is a matter of personal choice. It’s true that in most circumstances, if the gap between the front teeth doesn’t shrink as you age and you decide you want to close it, orthodontic appliances like braces can do the job. Sometimes, a too-big gap can make it more difficult to eat and to pronounce some words. In other situations, it’s simply a question of aesthetics—some like it; others would prefer to live without it.

There’s a flip side to this issue as well. When teeth need to be replaced, many people opt to have their smile restored just the way it was, rather than in some “ideal” manner. That could mean that their dentures are specially fabricated with a space between the front teeth, or the crowns of their dental implants are spaced farther apart than they normally would be. For these folks, the “imperfection” is so much a part of their unique identity that changing it just seems wrong.

So if you’re satisfied with the way your smile looks, all you need to do is keep up with daily brushing and flossing, and come in for regular checkups and cleanings to keep it healthy and bright. If you’re unsatisfied, ask us how we could help make it better. And if you need tooth replacement, be sure to talk to us about all of your options—teeth that are regular and “Hollywood white;” teeth that are natural-looking, with minor variations in color and spacing; and teeth that look just like the smile you’ve always had.

Because when it comes to your smile, we couldn’t agree more with what Lonnie Chaviz said at the end of his video: “Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. Do you. Be you. Believe in yourself.”

If you have questions about cosmetic dentistry, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

By Upper East Smiles
July 24, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics   Adult Braces  

It’s never too late to have a perfectly straight braces

Getting braces might seem like something children and teens often have to go through to get the smiles they want, but if you never had braces growing up then you may be dealing with a misaligned smile as an adult. Don’t worry; our Upper East Side, NY, orthodontists and dental team have been providing orthodontic treatment to countless adults to help them finally have a smile with which they can feel confident.

There are many adults who can benefit from getting braces. If you have a crooked or misaligned smile then orthodontic treatment is the way to go to get the straighter smile you’ve always wanted. You are never too old to get braces. In fact, there are many treatment options at your disposal when you get braces from our Upper East Side, NY, orthodontic specialist.

Braces can do more than straighten your smile. They can also realign the jaws to provide a better bite, close up gaps between teeth or make teeth less crowded. Of course, things to think about before you get braces include:

Regular checkups: You’ll visit your dentist about every 4 to 6 weeks to make sure your treatment is progressing the way it should. We know that lives can get hectic, but you need to make sure that you can follow through with these appointments.

Your diet might change: Depending on the type of braces you get, you may need to nix certain foods from your diet. For example, brackets and wires can be prone to damage if you eat foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy. Of course, clear orthodontic aligners are also removable, so you won’t have any dietary restrictions.

Your oral routine may take longer: Brushing around brackets and wires can be challenging. While you will get used to it, it will take some time in the beginning. You’ll want to spend extra time on your smile to prevent decay and bacteria from building up on teeth and gums.

What are my orthodontic options?

The type of braces that are right for you will depend on several factors including the type and severity of the dental issues you want to treat, your lifestyle and financial situation. The most common orthodontic options include:

  • Traditional metal braces: standard metal-and-bracket system
  • Tooth-colored braces: brackets and wires are tooth-colored instead of metal
  • Damon braces: similar to traditional braces but without the elastic ties
  • Lingual braces: brackets and wires are bonded to the back surface of your teeth
  • Invisible braces: clear, thermoplastic custom-made aligners that cover teeth

If you are an adult living in the Upper East Side of New York, NY, who is currently weighing the pros and cons of getting braces, then let us help make the decision easier. Call Upper East Smiles and let’s schedule your free consultation with us.


If you’ve ever looked at younger photos of yourself, you’re sure to notice differences with your present appearance. Of course, your basic features might appear much the same. But maybe your lips seemed a little thicker back then, or your nose a bit less prominent.

This is because your facial features don’t stop growing when you reach adulthood—they continue to change throughout your life. For example, lips reach their maximum thickness by around age 14 for girls or age 16 for boys; they’ll remain at that level of thickness for a few years before gradually thinning throughout adulthood. The nose will also continue to grow, becoming more prominent especially as changes in the lower part of the face can make the chin appear shorter.

Although each of us ages at different rates and in different ways, these general physical trends are somewhat predictable. That’s why we can use the knowledge of how our facial physiology changes with age to fine tune orthodontic or other cosmetic dental treatments. The most optimum approach is to consider treatment in the early stages of bite development during childhood or early adolescence.

This means we’re doing more than correcting a patient’s current bite: we’re also taking into account how tooth movement now might affect the jaw and facial structures later in life. By incorporating our understanding of age-related changes into our treatment we might be able to provide some hedge against the effects of aging.

This approach starts with early comprehensive dental care, preferably before a child’s first birthday, and an orthodontic evaluation at around age 6 to assess bite development. It may also be necessary to initiate interceptive treatment at an early age to lessen or even eliminate a growing bite problem to help ease the extent of future treatment. And if a bite requires correction, early evaluation can help create a timetable for effective treatment in later years.

Taking this approach can correct problems now affecting both dental health and appearance. But by acknowledging the aging process in our treatments, we can build the foundation for a beautiful smile well into the future.

If you would like more information on keeping an attractive smile throughout your life, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


Your teenager is about to take a big step toward better health and a more attractive appearance — orthodontic treatment. You both know the benefits: better chewing function, lower risk of dental disease, and, of course, a straighter and more beautiful smile.

But your teen might also dread the next couple of years of wearing braces. And it's hard to blame them: although they're effective, wearing braces restricts eating certain snacks and foods, they require extra time and effort for brushing and flossing, and they're often uncomfortable to wear. And of high importance to a teenager, they may feel embarrassed to wear them.

But over the last couple of decades a braces alternative has emerged: clear aligners. This form of bite correction requires fewer food restrictions, allows greater ease in hygiene, and is considered more attractive than braces. In fact, most observers won't notice them when a wearer smiles.

Clear aligners are a series of clear plastic trays created by computer that are worn in a certain sequence. During wear each tray exerts pressure on the teeth to gradually move them in the desired direction. The patient wears a single tray for two weeks and then changes to the next tray in the sequence, which will be slightly different than the previous tray. At the end of the process, the teeth will have been moved to their new positions.

Clear aligners aren't appropriate for all bite problems. When they are, though, they offer a couple of advantages over braces. Unlike braces, a wearer can remove the aligner to brush and floss their teeth or for rare, special or important social occasions. And, of course, their appearance makes them less likely to cause embarrassment while wearing them.

In recent years, design improvements have increased the kinds of bites aligners can be used to correct. For example, they now often include “power ridges,” tiny features that precisely control the amount and direction of pressure applied to the teeth. They've also become thinner and more comfortable to wear.

If you're interested in clear aligners as a treatment option, talk with your orthodontist about whether your teen is a good candidate. If so, they could make orthodontic treatment for achieving a more attractive and healthy smile less of an ordeal.

If you would like more information on clear aligners as an orthodontic option, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners for Teens.”

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.