Tweakz for Braces and Tweakz for Aligners are two new self-care tools patients can use to handle the most common orthodontic emergencies between visits.

OrthoNu recently rolled out two oral self-care tools for orthodontic patients treated with braces or aligners. Created by orthodontist Sima Yakoby Epstein, DMD, the company’s founder and CEO, Tweakz for Braces and Tweakz for Aligners are designed to address the most common orthodontic emergencies in between visits. The idea: Handle manageable discomforts at home until the next scheduled appointment to minimize the number of disruptions to the orthodontic practice’s schedule and the patient/parent’s day. Orthodontic Products spoke to Yakoby Epstein to find out more about these two tools.

Tweakz for Braces 4-in-1 tool and travel case

Orthodontic Products: Let’s start with Tweakz for Braces. It’s a 4-in-1 self-care tool that includes a flush distal end cutter, dental pick, rubber band applicator, and diamond dental file. How did you decide on what to include?

Sima Yakoby Epstein, DMD: Tweakz for Braces was designed specifically to enable the patient to independently manage each common pain point that can occur during treatment in between office visits. Each function was purposefully chosen to enable the patient to manage the distress, while allowing for the orthodontist to have a systematic approach to solving the disruptions in treatment. I did extensive research and tested the best way to easily handle the most common orthodontic emergencies for patients in fixed appliances. Pokey wires and broken brackets make up 99% of the braces emergencies, so Tweakz for Braces includes a flush distal end cutter to safely cut and hold a poking wire, including 014″ NiTi to 019″ x 025″ stainless steel. Such a product did not previously exist in the self-care market. In addition, patients with Tweakz for Braces can properly remove a loose twin or self-ligating bracket that can be troublesome when it is turning around on the wire. There also is an elastic tool that makes placing intraoral elastics much easier and a professionally designed diamond file to deal with any sharp edges that may occur to help prevent ulcerations.

Tweakz for Aligners tool and travel case

Orthodontic Products: Now Tweakz for Aligners is also a 4-in-1 tool; and while it shares a couple of the same tools as Tweakz for Braces (a dental pick, rubber band applicator, and diamond dental file), it features an aligner remover tool which is specific to the needs of aligner patients. Why did you decide to include these tools in this product?

Yakoby Epstein: Tweakz for Aligners came about when patients would express the daily frustrations of wearing and caring for their aligners. For instance, patients would complain about removing food interproximally when out for lunch or dinner and before they can re-insert their aligner trays. Women were dissatisfied with breaking their nails when removing retentive aligners. Many adults expressed that it was challenging to place intraoral elastics, and that they needed a better solution than a plastic tool that would repeatedly distort after one use. And patients would get ulcerations from rough spots on aligner trays. In fact, 92% of emergency appointments for aligner patients stem from the inability to easily remove aligners and discomfort from rough edges on their aligners. I wanted to manage all these pain points and remove disposables.

Orthodontic Products: How can these two tools create efficiencies in the practice?

Yakoby Epstein: The surveys we have conducted with orthodontists in the United States at 11,000 offices revealed that the average practice experiences eight to 10 costly emergency visits every day, with each visit costing the office on average $100. We are creating a systematic approach for decreasing office emergencies thus creating more time for productive appointments and expansion.

Orthodontic Products: Do you think these types of self-care solutions can help with treatment compliance for aligner patients?

Yakoby Epstein: For aligner patients, making tray removal, elastics application, and debris removal easier ensures that the patient wears their aligner for the recommended 22 out of 24 hours. Essentially, we are implementing a system that creates compliance with the procurement of effective solutions.

Orthodontic Products: What kind of patient education do you recommend?

Yakoby Epstein: I believe with each new patient start, the hygienist or dental assistant, as they typically review patient care, can incorporate the “how to questions” for each inevitable emergency. In addition, a “how to video” is available on the OrthoNu website, which shows a patient demonstration for each function. Easy-to-follow manual instructions are available there as well. Patients can access these additional resources with a QR code on the Tweakz box.

Orthodontics Products: How should the Tweakz for Braces and Tweakz for Aligners tools be cleaned?

Yakoby Epstein: The tool can be sufficiently cleaned with soap and water or alcohol wipes. OP