Getting A “Perfect 10” Smile Is Easier Than You Think
This post originally appeared in the Albany Times Union.
Do you cover your mouth when you laugh? Do you avoid smiling in photographs because you’re embarrassed about the way you look? Do you avoid smiling most of the time?
Anyone who has misaligned teeth knows the deep psychological and social impact it can have. You feel unattractive, which damages your self-esteem. Some people even avoid parties and other social events because they’re self-conscious about the way they look.
With orthodontic treatment, it’s possible to turn this situation around. And despite common assumptions, it’s not a lengthy process. And it’s more affordable than you think.
No matter your age, here’s how you can have a perfectly straight set of pearly whites that you can show off for a lifetime.
The metal mouth myth
You don’t have to get a mouthful of metal brackets to straighten your teeth. This misconception often keeps people from pursuing the beautiful smile they want.
Technology has improved dramatically over the years, allowing for faster, more efficient treatment and a wider range of braces. During your first orthodontic visit, the doctor will ask about your goals, your concerns, and your lifestyle. From there, he can recommend an appliance that best suits your needs.
If you decide to go the traditional route, know that metal braces have become sleeker and more comfortable. Orthodontists also have the option of using clear ceramic braces and products such as Invisalign.
If you’ve had braces or other dental work in the past, you may remember the orthodontist packing your mouth full of goop to get an impression of your mouth and bite. Today, orthodontists use digital scanners to get an accurate impression. No more goop!
Adirondack Orthodontics, for example, uses iTero Scanners to take 3D images of your teeth and bite. The technology provides improved diagnostic information and eliminates molds (e.g., goop). The procedure more comfortable and you and your dentist can see your teeth in 3D.
Perfect smile options
What’s the best time to correct your smile? As early as possible.
Even if your child still has baby teeth, she can still start treatment for a perfect smile. Not all children need early treatment, but an orthodontist can determine whether your child’s dental environment is developing normally.
If your child does need treatment, it can begin as early as age six or seven. At this age, the jaw is still growing, which makes it easier to address issues such as crowding.
Two of the most important issues to address early are crossbites (tooth or teeth point inward) and protruding front teeth. Crossbites can cause jawbones to grow unevenly while protruding front teeth risk fracture or injury.
An orthodontist can correct these and other issues relatively easily with the following treatments:
- Dental modification – to regain lost space from premature tooth loss or maintain space from premature baby tooth loss.
- Elimination of habits – tongue thrusting and thumb-sucking, for example.
- Skeletal modification – crossbite correction, underbite correction, and excessive overjet correction.
Teenagers and adults can receive comprehensive treatment, which often means some type of braces. Metal braces are the most common type of braces because they correct a wide range of issues, including:
- Crooked teeth
- Improperly aligned teeth
- Gapped teeth
During the installation procedure, an orthodontist applies brackets to your teeth’s surface. Metal wires connect the brackets. Over time, continuous pressure from the tightened wires moves teeth into position.
The metal braces of today are smaller and lighter than before. Teens can even get colored ties to suit their fun personality.
Clear braces work much like metal braces. Instead of metal brackets, however, the orthodontist uses clear porcelain or ceramic.
Adults and teens alike appreciate the discrete nature of clear braces. They’re not invisible, but they’re less obvious than metal.
Clear aligners have become a popular perfect-smile option for teens and adults alike. Invisalign is the most common and recognized brand, currently treating more than 2.5 million patients worldwide.
Instead of brackets and wires, Invisalign uses a sequence of clear retainer-like aligners that fit over the teeth. Over time, the appliances move teeth to their optimal positions.
You need to wear the aligner 22 hours a day, taking them out only for meals and to brush your teeth. Teen aligners have blue compliance indicators to make sure they’re wearing them enough.
Like regular braces, you’ll schedule checkups every six to eight weeks. The average treatment time is only one year.
How Adirondack Orthodontics can help
Ready to start smiling again? Visit Adirondack Orthodontics, with offices in Albany, Clifton Park, East Greenbush, Glens Falls, and Latham, New York.
Adirondack Orthodontics offers a wide range of treatment options for kids, teens, and adults. Led by Dr. Sergey Berenshteyn, Adirondack Orthodontics combines advanced technology with friendly service to create healthy smiles daily.