A Guide to Orthodontics
For many adults, the prospect of seeking orthodontic treatment to improve the alignment of their teeth is both worrying and unfeasible, due to the stigma surrounding the wearing of braces or other corrective fixtures in later life.
It may be surprising to many that the emergence – and ongoing accessibility – of cosmetic dentistry has resulted in thousands of people who have lived a poorer quality of life as a result of their confidence issues seeking such treatment and transforming they way they live and how they approach social situations.
The constantly evolving nature of technology means there are now a number of procedures available that could help members of the public enjoy drastically-improved self-esteem, depending on their needs and issues as a patient.
Here, we will discuss just some of the options available for prospective cosmetic dentistry users to allow individuals to gain an idea of the potential timeframe of such treatments, as well as the effect they will have on their everyday lives.
What are braces?
This type of installation can come in either fixed or removable for and is used to correct the alignment of teeth and bite through fixtures on the upper, lower or both sets of pearly whites – depending on the type of work that is required.
By applying continuous pressure to move the pearly whites in a specific direction, this course of action – which usually takes between six weeks and three years – is largely dependant on the level of movement needed and the form of brace that is fitted.
What is the ideal age?
While individuals of any age can make use of this procedure, the process is usually better-suited to those between seven and 14 years old, as the majority of adults do not like the idea of wearing visible wires in their mouths for a long period of time.
What is the procedure?
Initially, X-rays, moulds and impressions of the pearly whites are taken to determine the underlying problem, while allowing a dental professional to establish the correct course of action to take.
Following this, an etchant is applied to the teeth that is braced to help the cement stick to the surface of each pearly white, before a bracket is added using dental grade cement, which is then cured with a light until it has completely hardened.
The arch wire is then threaded between the brackets and attached with coloured elastic or metal bands to help close open bites, shift the midline or pull teeth or jaws in the desired direction.
What happens next?
The braces are adjusted at regular intervals to help the pearly whites reach their intended position and the rubber bands are removed after a certain period of time. Following this the arch wire is taken out, before being replaced or changed and placed back into the mouth.
New bands are then fixed to the metal brackets, with some orthodontists allowing younger patients to choose from a variety of colours so their installations look cool and attractive throughout the healing process.
While this may be the ideal course of action for younger patients, adults often believe wearing traditional braces will interfere with their careers or limit their confidence in social situations.
This is why the emergence of invisible options could mean those individuals who have suffered from low self-esteem for several years as a result of the appearance of their smile may find the option ideal.
What is Invisalign?
This course of action uses a revolutionary system to straighten and close gaps between pearly whites, while alleviating the requirement for the installation of traditional methods using the latest in computerised technology and 3D modelling to create a series of clear, see-through aligners.
With this process, patients are provided with a set of custom-made braces that are designed to fit the individual’s pearly whites exactly and move them into a position that creates a natural looking, straight smile.
If individuals wear the braces for up to 22 hours every day, it is likely the recovery time will be much shorter than that required with old forms of orthodontics, but it does require high levels of dedication and regular visits to the dentist.
Is this system better than traditional methods?
Although metal braces are usually a more effective and cheaper alternative for younger patients, there are a number of reasons Invisalign has gained substantial popularity among the more image-conscious adults.
Comfort - Innovative new products are much easier to wear than metal wire braces, which can often cause pain and discomfort, particularly when they have recently been adjusted. Although new wearers may find that Invisalign aligners feel a little unusual at first, they will almost certainly get used to them in no time.
Discreet - The fact that the braces are virtually invisible to anyone unless they are examining the pearly whites is one of the main selling points for this type of orthodontics. Dental professionals would argue this is the main reason so many people are opting for this type of solution.
Convenience - Invisalign products can be removed during meal consumption and cleaning, which allows patients to maintain their oral health throughout the alignment process. Brushing pearly whites becomes more difficult when a patient is wearing traditional braces, so some patients neglect this part of their everyday life and increase the risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.
What about Simpli5?
This course of action is used to treat minor issues with tooth alignment and uses five specially-designed pads that are worn over the most visible areas of the mouth to improve the appearance of the smile over a shorter space of time.
What can it be used for?
It is important for patients to realise that this process is only suited to those who do not require a lot of work carried out on their teeth, such as small rotations that need to be performed or minor gaps that would look better if they were closed.
Additionally, individuals who have recently undergone more extensive straightening procedures – including traditional wire braces – could also benefit. Similarly, people who are preparing to undergo cosmetic dentistry to improve the aesthetics of their smile could enjoy the benefits of this course of action.
What does the procedure entail?
Following an initial consultation with a dental professional, patients will undergo tests and examinations that will see impressions of the teeth taken and sent to the specialist Simpli5 laboratory and they will be used as a template to manufacture the clear braces.
Members of the public are urged to wear their fixtures for between three and four weeks for around 20 hours every day to achieve the best results, while regular trips to the dentist to switch aligners will help to guide the pearly whites into place effectively.
Those people who have previously been put off orthodontics due to the amount of time required to carry out the processes may find their perfect option with Six-month smiles, which can be utilised to assist with a number of oral issues including: crowding, spacing, overbite, underbite, open bite, crossbite and a misplaced midline.
What are the key benefits?
The discreet nature of the wires used during this course of action means individuals are able to go on with their everyday lives without the fear of being ridiculed for wearing braces in later life.
A shorter treatment time could see them enjoy a straighter, more attractive smile in up to 75 per cent less time than other orthodontic options.
The cost of a Six-month smile is almost half that of traditional braces or Invisalign solutions.