How important is a great smile to you? If you are reading about orthodontic treatment, then chances are that they are indeed very important to you. It’s hard not to see why – all of our advertisements, shows and movies are filled with actors and models that have beautiful, straight teeth. And that in itself is easy to see why – orthodontic practice is very far advanced in technology and very well researched, and because of that, it’s very accessible to many people. It makes it seem that everyone has beautiful teeth, and you may end up feeling left out because you haven’t gotten the chance to start on orthodontic treatment. The first thing to realize is that most orthodontic treatment is administered through the use of braces – although the orthodontist will have several options for you in terms of braces. Second, you do not need a referral from a dentist to see an orthodontist. You can visit the orthodontist purely on cosmetic purposes, but his or her end goal is the same – to make sure your tooth and jaw alignment is done right and that it’s all for the good of your health. The initial consultation is all about making a proper assessment of your jawline and your tooth alignment, and then the orthodontist will talk about your many options, four of which are the most popular: the lingual braces, the invisible braces, the traditional braces and the clear braces.
When you first meet your orthodontist, he or she will make an assessment of your mouth and how your teeth are aligned, and listen to the desires that you want for a better smile. If your case falls more on the mild side, the orthodontist will opt to use retainers for treatment at first, which is a good way to go since they are somewhat discreet (just in case you were also feeling self-conscious about the idea of wearing braces that other people can clearly see). As stated before, these are for mild cases, and if it turns out that retainers are not doing much for you treatment-wise, the orthodontist will suggest to use braces as a form of treatment instead.
Metal braces: We all know what braces look like, and the first image that pops into our heads are the traditional braces. These are made of steel, and they have brackets that are glued to the front of each tooth that needs adjustment. There are wires attached to each bracket, and the orthodontist uses them to tighten the brackets, which end up manipulating the teeth into adjustment. There are concerns with wearing these braces, mostly for appearance reasons. Many kids and teens go through ridicule because of these braces. These types of braces left a strong stigma against them when worn by adults, because of association with childhood. Wearing braces like this can jeopardize your job or hinder your private life.
There are actually options out there for adults who really need discretion in their treatment, especially if they have to maintain a professional appearance for work, for clients or for bosses. First of these types of options are clear braces, which work exactly like traditional braces except that they are made of clear materials. These are almost invisible. They are still noticeable, but it may take some attention to get peers and colleagues to notice them. These are extremely effective in treatment, and are the more cost-friendly option in comparison to the other treatment options available.
If you were hoping for something that was far more discreet, there is the option of using lingual braces. These are glued to the back of the mouth, and they are completely unnoticeable to peers. The drawback to these kinds of braces however is that they can be pretty uncomfortable in use. The application procedure is difficult, and you will need careful attention from the orthodontist during application – he has to be very careful. Furthermore, not everyone is eligible for them, so it’s something that you will have to discuss with the orthodontist.
Another good option would be the use of Invisalign. These are clear, plastic aligners that are created by a computer program and printed through the 3-D printer. They are especially designed for each individual person, as the computer measures out the structure of the teeth from a mold of your mouth, then the orthodontist designs the right aligner depending on the patient’s needs. Every few weeks, you will need a new aligner (that would make sense, much like over time, braces need to be tightened more as the tooth alignment improves). You can imagine that this will be a more expensive option in comparison to the others, but if it’s the right option for you, you will be able to make it work hopefully.