The Pink + Project

Lifetime Orthodontics Presents The Pink + Project

The vision for Lifetime Orthodontics has always reached much further than just straight teeth. There are many ways to work in the field of orthodontics straightening teeth without taking on the hardships of running a business. Without these hardships, however, I would not be able to fulfill my higher missions. The mission to inspire and be inspired every single day. The mission to be a part of a community and be a platform in which we all can come together to reach higher. The mission to do as much possible good in the short amount of time that we all have. This ‘Going Beyond the Smile’ is what Lifetime Orthodontics is all about. So, what is the Pink+ Project? Pink has become synonymous with breast cancer. We chose to use this as the primary color in our project but the ‘+’ is to really signify all the other classifications of cancer that we are representing. It is a project that aligned with our mission. There are many projects that we do and could have done but this one resonated with us for two reasons. The first was a scare that one of our team members had when they fought a short and victorious battle with cancer. The second was from the high prevalence that I, Dr Wesley, have in my own family. Cancer has touched us all through either ourselves or our loved ones. We did not work on the Pink+ Project to raise awareness necessarily. There is not a soul out there that is not already aware of how awful cancer is. The Pink+ project was to honor those that are fighting or have fought the battle, yes. To cherish all of those that have transitioned and always live on for through us. It is however, a reminder to celebrate life every single day. To wake up to be inspired and inspire others. To love unconditionally. This is the message that I shared with the audience as we gathered for a toast at our ‘Reveal Party’ on August 15, 2019. I share that and this final message with you readers as well….. “Do these things, and you too will never perish.”

The Pink + Photoshoot

The Pink+ Photoshoot was held on July 27, 2019. You would not have recognized the office as an orthodontic office! The team did an outstanding job of transforming it into a professional and artistic photography studio. The entire office was lined in pink streamers and balloons. The reception had an incredible spread of food and drinks that all had a pink theme to them. We had invited neighboring dental offices, our patients and their families, as well as our entire community. Some were cancer survivors, and some were fighting the battle. Some just wanted to show support or honor for those that were lost to cancer or currently fighting. There were 68 guest that showed up that day! We had photographer and project originator, Tony Demetri Peniche, fly in from Portland to unleash his creative magic on our guest. Laughter, creativity, and inspiration flooded the office for 8 hours straight. We had an absolute blast!

The Pink + Reveal Party

Three weeks after the photoshoot we had planned an open house event called the Pink+ Reveal Party. This was an art gala style event where we had printed off all the photos and showcased them around the office for our guest to enjoy. It nearly brought me to tears at moments when I saw how much hard work and heart that my team put into this. They truly are the best! We wanted to go beyond the art and make some interactive and engaging art projects as well. Here are the highlights from the Reveal Party.

The Photos

This was the center piece of the party. We had 68 guests attend the photoshoot. Some had brought a large group of friends or their family. Some were small groups of two or three. Some were solo and some were even dogs! We ended up with hundreds and hundreds of photos taken. Of those hundreds of photos, 81 were selected and edited. We had printed these out in high resolution and spread them throughout the office for our guest to peruse through. They were very creative. Some very the cutest dang thing you had ever seen, and some made you laugh hysterically. As a gift, we asked all the attendees from the photoshoot to take their photos from the walls. In October, we plan to release several more of the digital copies to be shared. We will also include many of the photos that were not printed as well.

The Food and Beverage

This food was incredible! We had chosen Holiday Market of Royal Oak to cater our event. Although I did not eat until the very end, they could not keep my hands off the salmon and beef skewers! There was much more than this that we could hardly keep replenished. We also had two bars that served beverages for all ages. The gentleman that came to bartend and serve the event were a pleasure to have and did a fantastic job. I could not say enough about the outstanding job that Holiday market did!

Team Supersam

At the photoshoot we had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people! Amongst those was Becky Jones. Becky shared her story about her son, Sam. Same was just shy of 6 years of age when he lost his battle to cancer. While his story had a very sad ending, the things that Becky is doing now had been incredibly inspiring to me and my team. She shared how the people at St Jude had made the tough times for Sam and his family the best it possibly could be. She also helps to spread awareness and in doing so has helped many pediatric cancer survivors live on. “Over 50 years ago the survival rate for children with cancer was 20%. Today the survival rate is over 80%.” This is all in thanks to people like Becky, St Judes, and everyone else that has helped raised awareness/funding for cancer research. To honor Sam, we surprised TeamSuperSam with our super hero selfie station that included a guest appearance from Batman himself! The station had superhero masks, a donation box, and Lifetime Orthodontics donated $10 for every photo that was taken with Batman. We raised $200 and hope to contribute more to this great cause as we continue to partner with TeamSuperSam at our office. Hear more about their story by visiting them at Team-Supersam

Tree of Honor

The Tree of Honor was a tree were the guest could write the name of someone that they wish to honor on a tree leaf. From the leaves, we added them to a tree branch and created a tree of this. The idea originated from a wall of honor idea that we had. When the team went to Hobby Lobby, they returned with this tree branch and leaves. It was an outstanding idea. The tree will continue to be showcased in our office. When you visit, please check it out and feel free to add a leaf of your own.

The Support Ribbon Wings

This project absolutely blew me away and was the creative genius of our clinical manager, Kat. We played around with the idea of a selfie station, but I had no idea that she had this planned and my jaw just dropped when I returned to the office before the party. On the windows outside our office she created wings made of not only the pink cancer support ribbons, but she colored the rest of the feathers with colors that represent the other classifications of cancer that are out there. This livened up the exterior of our sometimes vanilla medical/dental complex. Guest stood in line throughout the night to have their pictures taken in front of this masterpiece. I imagine that this is very much against our condo by-laws, but we plan to keep it up as long as they will allow us to. Please come by and capture your own photo before it is gone!

The Donations and Entertainment

We wanted to make sure there was enough for all ages, so we asked local businesses to join us in our cause. They delivered!

Fairytale Entertainment generously provided face painting for the entire party. Kids and adults alike stood in line to get their faces painted. It was amazing! They also donated Batman’s time for our party and for our TeamSuperSam installation. This was the best Batman I had ever seen. From the way he spoke, to his grand entrance, to his gestures. As far as I am concerned that was Bruce Wayne under that mask the entire evening! Please visit to see all the incredible things that they can do for your next party.

We want to thank ‘Nothing Bundt Cake’ for donating a delicious cake to our party. We raffled off two other prizes that were donated. One was a $50 Fun Card from C.J. Barrymores and the other was a ‘Lux Wine Tasting’ from Cooper’s Hawk.

The Toast

At the end of the night, we gathered everyone for a toast. With my MTV microphone in hand, I lead the group in a toast to life. It was beautiful standing amongst everyone who joined us that night. After my toast, I asked if anyone else would like to come up and share their stories. I cannot thank enough, everyone who joined in that moment. There were tears and laughter alike. It was the perfect way to end a truly magical evening.

Gerald W. Wesley, DDS, MS

Dr Wesley’s Invisalign Journey Episode 9: Refinements

Refinements are a natural part of aligner therapy. I think that people often see the number of aligners and assume that they are done when they reach the last aligner. Orthodontist are well trained at assessing the types of movements that required to achieve your ideal results. When you are in a consultation, listen closely! They will often give you an estimated length of treatment. I find too often that I will estimate 18-24 months but the patient will think that they are done in 36 weeks (9 months)because they have 36 aligners (you change an aligner each week on average).

Moving teeth on a computer screen is much different then moving them in a human body. As you know, there no two humans that are alike. Keeping this in mind, you can imagine that there are several variables that effect the way your body responds to orthodontics. We make every attempt possible to predict and accommodate for this but there will always be a degree of variability. There is also the compliance factor where the patients ability to wear the aligners according to the orthodontist recommendations effect the results as well. For all of these reasons, we say that you should never expect to be done after the first set of aligners. Finishing treatment in one set of aligners is like a hole in one in golf. It happens sometimes when the stars are aligned, the patient is diligent about their aligner wear, and their body is just suited for the tooth movements but it is not the norm. You should always expect at least 2-3 refinements. This means you may have 3 or more sets of aligners. For example, you may have 39 aligners on your first set that get you close to your result. On your second set you may have 26. Then you may only have 5-10 on your next few sets. The number of aligners in successive sets typically is less but not always.

What to expect during your refinement

When we do a refinement; we will take a new intraoral scan, new photos, and often times a new x-ray. We send these in, it usually takes 4-5 weeks to have your new set of aligners returned. Just like the initial set-up, I spend a lot of time assessing every tooth movement and designing your aligners. Once they are designed and shipped we will see you for your refinement delivery. At the refinement delivery you can expect that a few attachments will be removed and a few new ones will be bonded to your teeth. I work to minimize the amount of attachments that we need to replace by careful planning. I will not however, compromise any desired outcome at the expense of laziness. This is why we may have to remove and add several attachments at this visit.

Final Thought

Think about braces. You come in every 6-8 weeks and your wire is changed out or an adjustment is made to your wire. When your body does not respond to the desired tooth movements, it is easy to adjust your wire at your next visit and redirect the course of your treatment. In contrast, we try to plan your entire treatment from start to finish when we design your aligners. When your teeth do not move the way that they move on the computer then an adjustment needs to be made. Therefore, you can think of your refinements as a wire adjustment. There are many advantages to aligner therapy. One is that you can go 12 weeks or more without having to come see your orthodontist. The drawback is that when an adjustment it needed, it is more involved and takes a little more time to shift gears when you have aligners than it does with braces. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Just understand that refinements are a normal part of aligners.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions or make a comment on the YouTube video int his link. I hope you’re enjoying this journey!

Gerald W. Wesley, DDS, MS

Dr Wesley’s Invisalign Journey Episode 8: Chewies!

Each aligner has a specific prescribed tooth movement for each individual tooth. To fully express the prescribed tooth movement, it is important that the teeth seat fully into the plastic aligners. Chewies can assist with this full expression and are fantastic for supplementing our desired tooth movements. In this video, Dr Wesley discusses Chewies and how to use them.

Tips to remember:

* Keep a Chewie in your aligner case at all times.
* Use the Chewies to seat your aligners each time you place the aligners back into your mouth. This will ensure you are seating them all the way and getting the most out of each aligner.
* Chewies can be washed with dish soap and reused throughout the entirety of your treatment.
* Exercise your Chewies by “walking them around the arch”. Clench on each tooth for about 5 seconds each.
* If you experience jaw or msucle pain from clenching too much on the Chewies then STOP! This would be a good reason to not use your Chewies.
* Check every tooth daily to ensure that the tooth is completely filling the aligner. If it is not then call your orthodontist and say Que pasa?

Gerald W. Wesley, DDS, MS

Dr Wesley’s Invisalign Journey Episode 7: Wearing aligners in a social setting

Perhaps the most challenging part of wearing your aligners the minimum 22 hours each day is wearing them in a social setting. Very few engagements that you will attend are less than 30 minutes and I doubt that you are saving up your 2 hours allotted per day until your event. These are the adaptations that Dr Wesley has made. Check them out and perhaps you can mold this to fit your lifestyle.

Takeaways from the video:

* Feel confident wearing a fanny pack. This is great advice whether you are wearing aligners or not. A purse or murse may work as well but are not nearly as convenient or cool 😉
* Hand sanitizer because you will not always have a sink nearby to wash your hands after you take your aligners in and out
* A travel toothbrush is a must. I really dig this one called ‘Toob’! It unscrews and you can put your toothpaste on the other end.
* Floss. Any type you like!
* Travel size mouth wash. I like this when you cannot get over to brush right away. At least rinsing minimizes the bacteria that will begin to grow on your teeth and aligners.
* Your Invisalign case with your chewies. This is so you do not have to put them in a napkin! If it’s not in your face it is in your case.

Dr Wesley’s protocol

1. Take out aligners and rinse in the sink if restroom is available. Rinsing the saliva off right away makes for a cleaner aligner when you go to put it back in. Place them in your case immediately.
2. Wash your hands if at a sink or use your travel size hand sanitizer
3. Enjoy yourself!
4. Are you able to excuse yourself and go to a sink? If yes, then get out your floss and begin by flossing. Then brush your teeth and your aligners. Pro tip: brush your teeth first and then use you mouth wash to rinse while you are brushing your aligners.
5. If not to the sink, you can still floss if you are like me and have no shame. Minimally, use your mouth wash to rinse before inserting your aligners. This minimizes the bacteria and food in your mouth. Note: you will still want to go brush as soon as you can! This just buys you more time.
6. Insert your aligners and use your chewies to seat all the way.
7. Wash your hands in the sink or use your hand sanitizer if a sink is not available.
8. Zip up your fanny pack and get back to the party!

Reminder! You can only drink water with your aligners in. You will get cavities or destroy your aligners if you do not.

Let me know if you have any tips that you would like to add by texting/calling 586-286-5520 or emailing us at [email protected]

Put these tips to use this summer….enjoy!

Gerald W. Wesley, DDS, MS

Dr Wesley’s Invisalign Journey Episode 6: A Healthy Diet

This episode is a bit goofy yet fun! Dr Wesley takes you on a trip to the grocery store and discusses some foods to avoid while wearing your aligners. He also reveals one of the major overlooked benefits of aligner therapy. If you are having any challenges with your aligner routine and diet please reach out to discuss in the comments below or at [email protected]

Here are some important points regarding your Invisalign diet:

* Do not eat with your aligners in!
* Only drink water with the aligners in
* Not soda water or anything carbonated. Carbonated drinks are acidic and will damage the aligners as well as your teeth
* Avoid hard foods such as nuts as they may damage your attachments
* Cut up foods such as apples as biting into a large, crunchy fruit like that may damage your attachments
* Maintain a low sugar diet: sugar can get underneath the aligners. Your tongue and saliva act as natural cleaners. When the aligners are in, the tongue and saliva as they normally do. This allows the bacteria to feed on that sugar completely unharmed.
* Rinse your aligners and brush your teeth after each meal
* Wear them to the grocery store to avoid snacking too much!
* Eat healthy! This is just good advice for anyone 😉

‘Retainers For Life’

Have you ever wondered what retainers think about when you lay them down to rest in their case at day? It is not pleasant! Think about the most chilling night terrors that you have ever had. Like the one where you were just laying there in your case. You hear the case pop open and think that its off to work I go! Until….”why is this tongue extra slobbery today? It’s a dog! (Crunch, crack)… leg!”

Or the one where your human takes you out and puts you to rest but then you realize that this isn’t the nice hard bed that you are used to. It’s the soft, fluffy bed that you can’t get a wink of rest in. The one your human calls a napkin! You think to yourself, “this will all be over soon. Think happy thoughts.” But then your happy thoughts run dry and you never see the light of day again.

Terrifying, I know! This is the harsh reality that many retainers out their face on a daily basis. Here are the top 5 reasons we hear that our retainers need to be replaced.

  1. My dog ate it
  2. I wrapped it in a napkin and accidently through it in the trash
  3. I was playing with it or chewing on it and it broke
  4. I lost it while on vacation
  5. I didn’t wear it for a while (likely on vacation) and now it does not fit
  6. Bonus one we heard yesterday that was quite interesting: My mom ran it over with the car

With anything in life, I always seek to understand. Placing myself in this mindset has helped me to identify and adapt to a lot of the challenges that come with getting an adolescent to cooperate during orthodontic treatment. I can even recall my own adolescent years and will admit that with sports, school, girls, and the rest of the high school happenings; proper retainer care was not a priority for me. I said it! I’ve lost retainers. Plural! I remember the fear that sunk into my heart when I had to tell my dad. Then the hours of chores that I had to do to pay it off (yes, my dad is an orthodontist as well). And let’s not act like we as adults have not had slip ups and lost or broke our retainers. What I’m trying to say is, I understand. We worked hard to get you that beautiful smile. We, meaning the LTO team but mostly YOU! I know the discipline and sacrifice that goes into successful orthodontic treatment. I want your teeth to stay straight as much you (or your parents) want them to. Pointing my finger at you, the patient, would be the easy thing to do but I know we can do better. This is why we created our ‘Retainers For Life’ program.

‘Retainers For Life’ is like an insurance plan for retainers. When you have your braces removed, we deliver you one set of retainers that are included in your comprehensive fee. With proper care, these retainers should last you at least 3 years. I often see people back that have the same retainer 10 or more years later. However, things happen, and the retainer may become lost or broken. In the event that they do, you would normally have to come in and pay to have new ones made. To have a single retainer made would cost between $200-$300 depending on the type that is needed and if any minor tooth movement corrections are needed. If you need both upper and lower retainers replaced, then this would put you at $400-$600 for a new set of retainers. To enroll to our ‘Retainers For Life’ program cost only $680! With enrollment, you are able to replace broken or missing retainers up to four times each year and at a copay of only $20. This becomes a no-brainer as it nearly pays for itself in the first replacement.

Why do we love ‘Retainer For Life’?

This is not a money maker for us. We take a lot of pride in the work we do here. We want nothing more than to have you bring your children here 20 years later and see that your smile is still as pristine as we left it. With ‘Retainers For Life’

  • We can avoid WWIII in your household as retainer replacement is not such a big deal anymore.
  • Since retainer replacement is not as big of a deal, your child will not be afraid to tell you that the retainer is broke or lost and you will be able to get them in to see us promptly.
  • Now that you are able to get in to see us right away, your teeth will not shift because we can quickly make you a new retainer to preserve your smile.
    • Note that ‘Retainers For Life’ does not cover any tooth movements that may have occurred if you do not wear your retainer or if you wait too long to get back into our office
    • Also note; feel free to make your child feel as guilty as you wish. You can tell them it cost $1000 if you like. Chores are also optional and recommended 😉

  • We get to see you again and hear about all the great places that you have taken your smile.

There is tremendous value in this program, and we are excited to extend this opportunity to all of our LTO family. If you have more questions regarding ‘Retainers For Life’ please contact us here or call/text us at 586-286-5520.

Gerald W. Wesley, DDS,MS

Dr Wesley’s Invisalign Journey Episode 5: Week 1 Testimonial

The first week was undoubtedly the toughest! It was tough getting use to my new routine which consist of taking the aligners out for each meal and cleaning them before placing them back into my mouth. Instead of my phone, wallet, keys checklist it went phone, wallet, keys, aligner case. No big deal but I certainly did forget the case a few times in the first week. The other note worthy adjustment was the attachments during eating. The attachments can have sharp edges. When your trays are on this is not an issue. When they are off during eating, those edges rub on your cheek. After a while, some sores occurred. Like anything new in your mouth, there is an adjustment period and my mouth took only 2 days to get use to this. By day 4 the sores were gone too. No big deal!

Watch this video to hear about my experiences with my first week of aligners.

Gerald W. Wesley, DDS, MS

Are Do-It-Yourself Aligners Dangerous?

Yes! The answer is yes, they are dangerous to the health and well being of your teeth.

DIY aligners have grown in popularity over the past several years and today we even see them popping up in malls and our local drugstores.  The allure is that you can have straight teeth in a lot less time, without leaving the comfort of your home, and for a significantly reduced cost. I get it! If I were interested in straightening my teeth, I would want all of that too. It’s exciting and convenient.

Before we dive deeper into DIY aligners, I want to share one of my first experiences with DIY orthodontics. I was in my 3rd year of dental school when I was assigned to be the student-dentist of a 31-year-old African American female. We hit it off from the moment we met at her initial exam. She was an attractive woman and very charismatic. She had wanted to be seen for a cleaning. No problem! As I began the exam, I noticed hard chunks around several of her teeth. It did not occur to me right away what it was, but I knew it was not calculus. It was also odd that this woman had every tooth in her mouth but every single one of them was mobile. Far beyond the amount of mobility than any 31-year-old should have. When we looked at the radiographs, the bone levels were significantly reduced beyond half of the root in most areas. It took a while for my newly developing dental mind to piece it all together, but it occurred to me that this woman had someone place braces on her in the basement of their home. She was embarrassed but she finally told me what she had done and how she just wants it fixed. The chunks I noticed were the remnants of the adhesive they used to keep the orthodontic brackets on her teeth. The irreversible bone loss that was made worse with the “basement” orthodontics had set us up for a conversation that I hope that I never have to have with another 31-year-old female again in my life. What started off as a friendly meeting, ended in a tear-filled realization that this beautiful young woman was going to lose over half of her teeth due to the unregulated orthodontic care that she had received. This was an experience that I will never forget, and I share it here because this is exactly the type of unmonitored dangers that you risk when you sign on with DIY aligners.         

Note the significant bone loss on this x-ray. These teeth need to be closely monitored by a specialist.

What are DIY Aligners?

There are several companies out there now and due to the litigious nature of these companies, I will not mention any names here. These companies provide a putty like material and impression trays and have you make impressions of your teeth. They also teach you how to take photos of your teeth. They have you send the photos and impressions into the company which then digitizes them and creates a series of aligners that you wear to straighten your teeth. Some of the companies even have “scan centers” where they take 3D imaging for you and then fabricate your plan. This plan is then, allegedly, checked by a dentist (not necessarily an orthodontic specialist) that is at a computer somewhere in another state. They either approve the plan or they may say that your case is too difficult to be corrected with their system. I will admit that it is a very cool model. In the next section I am going to talk a little bit about what goes into my treatment planning and you will see that there is quite a bit missing here.

The standards that professionals are held to.

When an orthodontic specialist, such as I, sees a patient there is an incredibly in-depth exam process that we go through. I will highlight some of the areas that we cover.

  • The Orthodontic Records: In order to have a good plan of direction, you need to know your starting point. This is why orthodontic records are so critical. Having inaccurate records is like driving to a destination that you have never been to before and starting in a state that you have never been to before. Ask any assistant that works at Lifetime Orthodontics and they will tell you about the hell that they go through in their first few weeks trying to learn how to take proper x-rays, photographs and bite registrations on patients. There are many trained dentists that have difficulties taking a proper bite on a patient. The DIY aligners do not even require x-rays and then they assume that a quick video can teach anyone off the street how to take accurate photos and bite registration. I think not. 
  • Medical History: Are there any medications or conditions that may affect bone metabolism? What about the growth of your face and jaws?
  • Oral Habits/Systemic issues: Why are the teeth crooked in the first place? Is there an underlying cause that needs to be addressed? If not, how long will my straight teeth last?
  • Temporomandibular joints: The stability of your jaw joints is critical in determining the success of your bite. If you have issues with your TMJ then you will not be able to pick up an accurate bite with the help of a professional. This is something that can only be evaluated in person as the dental professional needs to see and feel your jaw in motion.
  • Skeletal discrepancies: This can only be determined by a radiograph called a cephalogram. These help us to determine if the upper and lower jaws line up. They also help us to determine if the teeth have enough bony support to be moved forward or backward in the bone.
  • Dental Evaluation: Midlines, molar relationships, crowding, wear of the teeth and size of the teeth can be evaluated with accurate photos and impressions. Things such as the mobility of the teeth cannot!
  • Periodontal (gums) evaluation: Bone levels are evaluated with x-rays and probing depths. Neither of which can be evaluated with the records that are provided to DIY aligner companies. This is where most of the significant damage is done. The process of moving teeth is a balanced inflammatory one in which bone is broken down and regenerated as the teeth move.   

Are DIY aligners the same as an orthodontist doing Invisalign?

I have chosen to perform aligner therapy on myself. I began this therapy for two major reasons. 1) I wanted to improve the alignment of my teeth and my bite. 2) I wanted to place myself in the patient seat and experience it all for myself. I can tell you already that it has made me a significantly better provider and has changed the way I approach aligner therapy. This section of this blog asks about DIY vs an orthodontist performing Invisalign (aligner therapy). You can visit our YouTube channel and check out Dr Wesley’s Invisalign Journey to gain an understanding of how much really goes into the work up of a case. I think it will be self-evident that there is no comparison. The ironic part is that most orthodontist will do what these DIY companies are doing at a similar price. They will certainly do it at a much larger value!

Articles to review

Article 1

As I was typing out this blog, I came across some awesome articles that I wanted to share. I wish I had discovered these earlier as Spring Hartfield, a registered dental hygienist, could not have said this any better in her article ‘Dear CVS: I Have Concerns About Your Do-It-Yourself Orthodontics Partnership

By Spring Hatfield, RDH – May 6, 2019’. In particular, she does a fantastic job of describing how this is legal.:

“I have been asked by multiple concerned colleagues about how this process is legal. Honestly, I didn’t understand it myself. I investigated the legality of treating patients without physically seeing a patient; it turns out SDC is conducting this under the guise of teledentistry. Teledentistry is primarily used for consultation, treatment planning, and referral to the appropriate licensed dental professional to achieve optimal dental health. Teledentistry has the potential to improve access to care for the underserved population. What disappoints me the most is that this company can help improve oral health and overall health by simply using teledentistry in the manner it was intended. Or an even better option would be to have a licensed dental professional on site to screen for possible dental disease. This would not only improve the patient’s health, but it could also improve treatment outcomes. It would be a win-win situation.”

She also highlights the harms of moving teeth without the continuous supervision of a dental professional:

“The American Dental Association “strongly discourages” do-it-yourself orthodontics. After conducting a survey, the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) reported that “nearly 13% of its members are seeing patients that have tried do-it-yourself teeth straightening, with some of those attempts causing irreparable damage.” In response to these results, the AAO issued a “consumer alert,” it states, “The American Association of Orthodontics is urging consumers to beware of Internet videos and websites which encourage people to try and straighten their own teeth. Moving teeth is a medical procedure and needs personal supervision by an orthodontist. Please be wary of any suggestions to move teeth with rubber bands, dental floss or other objects ordered on the Internet. Moving teeth without a thorough examination of the overall health of the teeth and gums could result in the permanent loss of teeth, which may result in expensive and lifelong dental problems. Orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school and are specialists in straightening teeth and aligning the bite.”

Article 2

At-home invisible teeth aligners could come back to bite you By Erin Quinlan April 29, 2019 | 8:22pm

I was reluctant to share this second article and I think it significantly understates the harm of DIY aligners. It also shares some experiences from some orthodontist that are seeing the same things that I am seeing right here in Macomb, Michigan.

“I’ve had a lot of patients — particularly millennials — who jumped on board with the do-it-yourself aligners and now are coming to my practice because they aren’t happy with the results at all,” says Dr. Janet Stoess-Allen, founder of Park Avenue Orthodontics on the Upper East Side.

Dr. Brent Larson, director of the orthodontics division at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, says that he, too, is increasingly called upon to correct unintended consequences of DIY aligners. “One of the common complaints is, ‘Well, my teeth might be a little bit straighter, but I can’t bite well anymore.’ ”

It is great to shed light on these experiences. Unfortunately, I felt that the overall tone of the article was in favor of the DIY aligner company. I am glad that it is because it has created an opportunity for me to also shed light on the dangers of what you read on the internet. They introduce the representative for the DIY aligner company as an orthodontic specialist when he is in fact no such thing. He is a dentist that has not gone through the advanced specialty training that every orthodontist has gone through. He is a general dentist who found a sweet and lucrative job at this DIY company. Therefore, it was a bit concerning when I read the statements that are made in this article.    


I hope this article assisted you with many of the questions that you may have had regarding Do-it-yourself aligners. With the increasing trend in the DIY aligners, I felt it was my professional obligation to provide our LTO and Macomb County community with a professional’s opinion. I hope you enjoyed this article in the slightest. I hope that you at least enjoyed the irony of:

  1. Me telling you how dangerous the internet can be and then creating this post for the internet.
  2. Me telling you the dangers of DIY aligners and then telling you to go watch a video of me treating myself with aligners.  (lol)

I suppose they are my teeth and I can choose to do as I please to them. Just as you are free to do as you choose with yours. Don’t let this blog alone persuade or dissuade you! Do your research and do what you feel is right for you. If after all your research you are still not sure, then schedule your complimentary (fancy way of saying FREE) consultation with Lifetime Orthodontics by clicking here. We can assess your individual needs and you can hear out our professional opinion before you decide what is right for you and your smile.

Gerald W. Wesley, DDS, MS
Orthodontic Specialist
Orthodontic Obsessed

Dr Wesley’s Invisalign Journey Episode 4: Placing the Attachments

Attachments are a critical part of successful tooth movement with aligners. It it easy to imagine how the bracket from traditional braces serve as a “handle” to move a tooth in any desired direction. With aligners, the plastic alone is not able to facilitate every type of tooth movement. It is especially difficult to move smaller teeth like incisors unless they have attachments to assist the movement. Placement of the attachment and delivery of your aligners if the first force application and therefore the start of your treatment.

In this video you will see Helen place attachments on my own teeth. I had never worn a NOLA device. These are used to help keep the mouth open and the teeth dry. It was surprisingly comfortable. As expected, my mouth did become quite dry. I suppose that means the NOLA did its job. We captured the highlights of the video but the entire procedure typically takes 20-30 mins. We schedule 50 minutes so that we have time to go over all of the instructions and to answer any questions. Some of you will need to wear elastics. We would also cover this in this visit as well. My orthodontic needs do not require me to wear elastics so you will not see it in this video.

Helen did an amazing job! I did not have to clean up any excess from the adhesive that makes up the attachment. I am typing this several weeks later and everyone is still attached to my teeth. Success!

At the end of this video we give some brief instructions that include the following

* The aligners are to be worn 30 hours each day!
* You must only take them out to eat and brush
* You can only drink water with them in. For any liquid beyond water, the aligners need to be removed.
* Do not rinse in hot water! This will deform the plastic and it will therefore lose its strength. This means it is not moving the teeth and the next aligner will be much more difficult to transition to.
* We already covered this but hot tea or coffee should not be drank with the aligners in. It will stain your teeth and that is your choice if you wish to to deal with that. I however will be disappointed since the hot liquid will deform your tray and we wont get our desired tooth movements.
* Keep your trays away from pets! They love you and your saliva.
* If it’s not in your face, it’s in your case.
* Brush your aligners and your teeth after each meal and before placing the aligners back into your mouth.
* Trays are to be changed every 7 days unless directed otherwise.
* Check each and every tooth to make sure that is it seating. If it is not then there is no sense in moving forward. This tooth will be left in the dust.
* Remove the trays from the back inside and pull it forward to release it.

There are a lot more tips that I may have forgot. I will dive into each of these tips in more detail in future Vlogs.

I hope you are enjoying my journey so far! Please do not hesitate to ask any questions that you may have [email protected] or text/call 586-286-5520.

Gerald W. Wesley, DDS, MS

My Teacher Rocks!

Lifetime Orthodontics is about community! As part of our commitment to going “beyond the smile”, we are continuously trying to find ways to support our schools, our educators, and our children that are the future of our communities. This was the inspiration for ‘My Teacher Rocks!’

My Teacher Rocks! is a contest that we held at our office. To enter, the patient’s of our office nominated their favorite teacher by telling us why they rock. We had some incredible nominations that reflected the amazing educators that we have in the school districts of Macomb County.

The winner was to receive a $50 Visa gift card. They also won a $50 Visa gift card for their teacher and a pizza party for their class. Finally, they earned a $300 donation from Lifetime Orthodontics towards their school’s Parent-Teacher Association!
Gianna, from Duncan Elementary School in Shelby Township had nominated her teacher Jill Erfourth. And guess what?! She won!

Watch the YouTube video that captured our visit to Duncan elementary and the surprise pizza party for Mrs Erfourth and Gianna’s class.

Thank you to all of our educators! Enjoy!