Do you care about your smile? That was a rhetorical question, of course, you do! Everyone cares about their appearance. Yet, for some reason, there is an idea floating around in many people’s heads that having medical procedures done for purely cosmetic reasons is somehow selfish and vain. But the truth is that everyone cares about the way they look, and not everyone is dealt the best hand in terms of appearance. This is especially true with teeth. For many, who were not given early orthodontic treatment when they needed it, they have had to grow up with a serious case of malocclusion, which is a medical term for misaligned teeth. This is much more than a minor dental issue only shallow people would care about but is usually a major problem for people’s well-being.
If you’re someone who’s grown up with malocclusion, then you know it’s hard. Every time you feel happy, every time you want to smile, that good feeling is accompanied by the embarrassment that comes from knowing you’re exposing a major physical flaw that you don’t feel good about. That’s an unfortunate situation, but luckily one that modern orthodontics can remedy.
While most people receive orthodontic care when they’re young, which is when it’s easiest, many do not, so you aren’t alone. The reason it’s so much easier to treat kids is that they don’t care as much about their appearance, and so don’t mind wearing the traditional braces, which are the cheapest and easiest way to resolve malocclusion. But the good news is that there are now several adult solutions to the problem, which don’t involve wearing tiny metal train tracks on the fronts of your teeth, which is fantastic. It feels good to know that a problem you have can be solved, and that, best of all, most dental plans will pay for it.
So what do orthodontists have to offer adults? The solutions that are geared toward adult care in orthodontics today are either some variation on the concept of braces or a newer alternative that parts ways with the braces approach. Remember, braces are basically metal brackets glued to the teeth, and wires connecting them, being used to pull them apart or closer together. It’s essentially a way of creating pressure on the teeth, to very slowly pull them apart, or push them together.
Some of the adult solutions don’t stray too far from the traditional idea of braces but simply use different materials. Clear braces, as well as ceramic, simply use brackets that are made of either clear plastic, of color-matched ceramics, to blend in better with your teeth. They still have a single wire running across each row of teeth, so they aren’t a completely invisible solution, but they are surprisingly less obvious to personal appearance than fully metal braces are. Still, these may not be enough for many people.
Lingual braces are a great option, that is actually pretty close to being invisible. This is because, although they are fully metal, their brackets are attached to the backs of the teeth, rather than the fronts. This means that they “hide” behind the teeth themselves, and so are virtually unnoticeable. The one drawback to this type of braces is that they can’t be used on all cases of malocclusion.
However, there is one other option, and the most technologically advanced. Invisalign takes a totally novel approach to smile correction, and in fact is not a type of braces, at all. Invisalign uses a totally different technology from braces, which is called aligners. Aligners are transparent plastic casings that fit over your teeth, in just such a way that they are comfortable to wear, yet doing so applies pressure to your teeth to conform to a new, more aesthetically pleasing alignment. They are created this way using laser scans of your teeth, which will be taken by your orthodontist, and then they are machine-printed to fit perfectly over them. They also are removable, which is a major advantage for eating, since other types of braces tend to get food stuck in them. The only drawback to Invisalign is that you must visit your orthodontist more often, to have new aligners created.
Clearly, orthodontists are making their best effort to have as many options available to adults as possible. Nobody wants to live with crooked teeth, and with all of the treatments at your disposal, you don’t have to. Do yourself a favor, and schedule an appointment with your local orthodontic office, today.