Article by Dr. Leaver & Dr. Gardner
Whatever goals you set for 2020, they probably didn’t include self-isolating through a global pandemic! In line with recent guidelines and recommendations, Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics is currently closed except for emergencies. If you’re a current patient, you may be worried that all these unforeseen changes will have an affect on your treatment plan. Similarly, if you’d been considering taking the leap towards improving your oral health with orthodontics, you might be wondering if that’s even a possibility at this point.
Fortunately, we’re still able to meet all your needs thanks to virtual visits and consultations! In these uncertain times, our team is embracing new and innovative ways of staying connected to our patients, including virtual technology. By conducting visits and consultations completely online, we’re able to meet you wherever you are on your orthodontic journey while still doing our part to flatten the curve! Keep reading below to learn more about how we’re implementing these virtual services.
HOW VIRTUAL APPOINTMENTS WORK
Telemedicine is still a relatively new way to access healthcare in many areas. If it’s not something you’re familiar with, you may not be sure what to expect from a virtual visit with the orthodontist. The good news is, the process is very simple and straightforward even for someone who’s never used it before!
You’ll want to start from our official website, which you can find at https://leavergardner.com/. Find the red banner at the bottom and click on the “Read More” button. This will lead you to our COVID-19 page, where there are prompts for both current and new patients. Choose the appropriate option, then follow the instructions listed in the page that opens. Once you’ve submitted the photos and personal information asked for, one of our doctors will review them along with any notes you’ve included. Dr. Leaver or Dr. Gardner will then get in touch with you to discuss their recommendations and input.
TIPS FOR TAKING THE BEST PHOTOS
It’s important to take clear photos of your mouth so our doctors can get a good look, but that can seem a little daunting if you’ve never done anything like it before. No worries! You can use your fingers or spoons to get the shots we need. A family member can actually take the photos for you, but you can also use a timer and do it yourself. To help you out, we’ve posted examples of all the angles on the virtual visits page. There’s a short video included as well, which will give you all the information you need to take the best photos possible!
If you’re currently wearing elastics, it’s important to remember that they’re an essential part of your treatment plan. When you take the photos of each side of your mouth, have your elastics on so we can check that you’re wearing them properly. This lets us provide you with any feedback if needed.
WHY LEAVER & GARDNER ORTHODONTICS IS EMBRACING VIRTUAL TECHNOLOGY
As mandated closures and stay-at-home orders began to alter the landscape of our daily lives, we knew we would have to find new ways to connect with patients. By switching over to a virtual system, we can meet the orthodontic needs of our community and practice social distancing at the same time. With virtual technology, we can conduct check-in “visits” to keep your treatment plan on track while our office is closed. If you’re looking to take the first steps towards a new smile, we’re also able to do virtual consultations!
Virtual visits also come in handy for patients worried about experiencing an orthodontic emergency while our offices are closed. Not everyone is clear on what qualifies as a true orthodontic emergency, and a virtual appointment can take the guesswork out of it! You’ll be able to relay your concerns to our doctors and share photos of any problems you’re having with your teeth or appliance. Dr. Leaver or Dr. Gardner will then be able to give you expert guidance on whether you need to come in or if it’s something that can be treated safely at home.
A video conference can also be helpful if you’re experiencing minor discomfort or have any concerns about your treatment plan. Many times, we’ll be able to assess any damage and make suggestions through nothing more than a virtual visit. Many non-emergencies can be treated from home, and our doctors will be happy to walk you through the available remedies. Don’t worry, though—if you do have a genuine emergency, we’ll schedule a visit for you in our Summerlin or Las Vegas office.
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR SMILE TO MINIMIZE YOUR RISK FACTORS
While we’re on the subject of orthodontic emergencies, it’s worth noting that while many are unavoidable, there are still a number of things you can do to minimize your overall risk factors. For current orthodontic patients, that means following all recommendations. You can take good care of your smile and your appliance during this time by:
- avoiding sticky or crunchy foods if you’re in braces, since they can damage the brackets and wires
- brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoridated toothpaste
- flossing every night before bed
- using tools like ortho picks, interdental brushes, and water flossers if you need extra help cleaning hard to reach areas
- wearing a mouthguard if you’re still practicing sports at home
- informing our office of any loose or broken wires or brackets so we can advise you on the next steps you need to take
- keeping all Invisalign aligners clean and safe by brushing them gently and putting them in a case when they’re not in your mouth
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY SMILE FROM HOME WITH LEAVER & GARDNER ORTHODONTICS
This is a time of adjustment for all of us, but we’re committed to providing you with the best possible care, even if it is from afar. Virtual visits and consultations mean you can still work towards a beautiful smile without ever having to leave home! Wherever you are in your orthodontic journey, our goal is to remain accessible while keeping you healthy and safe. Virtual technology is one of the best ways for us to accomplish this, and we’re excited to get started with you!