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Happy, Smiling Patients
August 2017

by Liz Hunter

 DR. ALEX COLALLILO HAS MORE THAN TWO DECADES OF EXPERIENCE IN DELIVERING THE LATEST ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT TO CHILDREN, TEENS AND EVEN ADULTS. You might even say he was raised in the practice of orthodontia, as he followed in his father’s footsteps. “I have had a passion for my career since I was young,” says Dr. Colallilo. “My father was an orthodontist and from an early age, I was able to see the difference he could make in a person’s life.”

Suburban Family recently spoke with Dr. Colallilo about how a beautiful smile can be a boost of confidence for a person, no matter what age.

Many parents wonder when to bring their children to see an orthodontist. What is the best time?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children first see an orthodontist at age 7. At this age, children have a mix of baby (primary) teeth and their adult (permanent) teeth. Early treatment for some patients may avoid the possibility of tooth extractions and more serious complications. Each individual child’s jaw growth and other factors will determine the ideal time for braces.

What are the different types of treatments available?
Treatment options have come a long way in recent years, which is another reason seeing an experienced and qualified practitioner is so important. Good communication about treatment options is essential as new technology offers the patient a variety of choices including early treatment, clear plastic retainers (commonly known as Invisalign) and more traditional braces which are available in ceramic (tooth colored) and traditional metal finishes.

We offer all of the traditional treatments, as well as some of the more advanced options. We provide all options including clear aligners, traditional braces, self-ligating, ceramic braces and metal braces. Each option has pros and cons depending on the patient’s needs, so it is important for the patient to discuss the details with his or her doctor.

Do patients get one-on-one time with you during their visits?
I pride myself on the patient-centered atmosphere and provide personal attention to every patient. I see every patient on every visit. Patients receive a detailed treatment plan explaining their dental problem and recommended treatment. We want our patients to succeed. At the initiation of treatment with braces, all patients are provided with a complimentary electric Sonicare toothbrush and cleaning aids to assist in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Working together, gaining the confidence of the patient helps to produce beautiful, healthy smiles.

Can orthodontic care benefit other health issues aside from teeth?
It can, particularly for adults. Problems reflected in a person’s mouth are often related to allergies, conductive hearing problems, earaches, sleeping and breathing disorders. These problems develop and increase in life and are manifest in adults. Some of these problems can be reduced or perhaps eliminated through orthodontic treatment. Recently these issues, such as airway management, have come to the forefront in orthodontic discussions. In my orthodontic residency, I was able to do research that indicated to me that orthodontic problems represent symptoms of larger health concerns; I have continued this focus on the larger picture throughout my career. Patients who suffer from these issues may consider treatment options like snoring or sleep apnea appliances.

What are some ways to promote oral health in your office and the community?
No matter what treatment you are receiving, I believe in recognizing each patient’s efforts as part of the plan I’ve set them on, since there is a lot of responsibility placed on patients in between visits. We regularly recognize a patient of the month. It gives us a chance to make someone feel special in the way that they are participating in the treatment plan. Recognition in the form of gift certificates to the patient is always well received.

We also visit local schools for educational outreach. We have enjoyed meeting students, parents and teachers, sharing our expertise and helping others to understand the importance of making good healthy choices throughout life through our program ‘Thumbs Up for Good Dental Health.’ Being part of the community helps to demystify ‘what happens when you need braces’ and helps patients become more comfortable with the process.

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
The impact that good dental health and a beautiful smile can have for a person is priceless. The best part of my day is seeing the satisfaction and pride that my patients have when they have finished treatment.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 6 (August, 2017). 

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