Have You Had Your Smile Designed?
By David Alpan, DDS, MSD
Published on July 21, 2006
What would a magnificent smile do for you? Would it give you more self-confidence if others smiled back at you upon seeing your beautiful smile? Would you smile more, knowing you had a smile that made others glow because you smiled at them? Do you think you would have more friends because your smile made a fantastic first impression? Would you be more willing to be outgoing and fun-loving if others kept telling you, ‘Gee, you sure have a beautiful smile!'
For many people, the answer to all of these questions is yes. Along with healthier teeth and gums, they are the most important reasons for having orthodontic treatment to correct dental-facial and cranial-facial irregularities. Following is a list of important questions and answers.
What does the American Association of Orthodontics say about orthodontic treatment?
Between the ages of 5 to 7, an orthodontist should examine every child. Taking advantage of growth from ages 7 to 12 can prevent the following: future tooth decay; inflamed gums (gingivitis); a bad bite, which causes chewing difficulty; jaw joint pain; chronic headaches; and many other symptoms. In addition, permanent teeth may be lost in an attempt to straighten teeth after age 12.
But regardless of age, everyone with teeth can have orthodontic treatment. And when you think of braces today, with tiny brackets, space-age wires and trendy rubber bands in a rainbow of colors, it's hard to imagine how braces use to be.
What is Orthodontic Treatment Like Today?
In the past, braces meant a mouth full of shiny metal. Today, clear brackets – which don't turn yellow, break or slow down treatment – combined with tooth-colored wires make braces almost unnoticeable. We now have new wires made of materials (nickel and titanium, which were first used by NASA) that move teeth quickly, with less pain, because they apply less force.
What are Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders (TMD)?
If you or someone you know has headaches, neck stiffness, ringing in the ears, dizziness, pain and clicking in the jaw joints TMD may be the culprit. After TMD therapy, orthodontic treatment is often the best way to improve the bite and alleviate symptoms.
What Are the Latest Advances?
Invisalign® is today's leading alternative to braces. Invisalign® is a thin, clear, plastic, removable appliance that fits snuggly over the teeth. More and more adult patients – high-profile people in the entertainment industry, in sales, in executive positions, or those who just want to go wireless – are selecting Invisalign® to help them create the smile of their dreams when they have minor tooth crowding or spaces to close.
How does Invisalign® work?
The dentist first takes an impression of the upper and lower teeth, which is sent to Invisalign®. Using 3-D imaging technology, Invisalign® creates aligners that are used to straighten the crooked teeth or close spaces between them. A series of appointments are scheduled with the orthodontist to make sure the treatment stays on course. Sometimes mid-course corrections are required. The patient uses the first aligners for two weeks, then puts in the second aligners, and so forth.
What Are the Advantages of Using Invisalign®?
There are several advantages to using Invisalign® – fewer appointments, the ability to remove the aligner while eating, and the ability to eat hard and sticky foods are just a few. After eating, the teeth are brushed, flossed and rinsed with water, and then the aligner is reinserted. The aligner is nearly invisible, so few will realize that you are having your teeth straightened. It is worn 22-24 hours a day – the whole day, except when one eats, brushes and flosses. Invisalign® treatment usually takes 12 months; however, time and cost varies according to the severity of a patient's irregularities and his or her discipline in wearing the aligner. The average cost is $5,000.
The author, Dr. David Alpan, DDS, MSD has practices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Beverly Hills. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the author, please visit www.aestheticorthodontics.com