Quick, think of your favorite movie star. Now picture their smile or just grab the latest edition of a celebrity gossip magazine. Chances are their teeth look straight. Most of the people gracing the magazines have porcelain veneers to get that straight, super bright smile, while some have had either braces or Invisalign. Veneers don’t actually straighten your teeth; they just appear that way. While I love treating patients with veneers, there is no substitute to actually straightening your teeth. If you’re looking in the mirror right now and you see crooked teeth, read on, it may just save your smile!
Contrary to popular belief, dentists want healthy teeth and good check-ups for all our patients. Crowded, rotated or misaligned teeth are the bane of a healthy mouth’s existence. These conditions lead to the following:
– Increased plaque and tartar build-up. Crowded areas are hard to clean leading to an increase in bacteria causing bad breath.
– More dangerous strains of bacteria. Our mouth always contains bacteria but it becomes more virulent in crowded areas. Studies have shown once crowded, rotated or misaligned teeth are straightened, a more healthy strain of bacteria returns as the dangerous strain disappears.
– Increase in tooth decay. With all that plaque forming in crowded areas and the challenge present in cleaning crowded teeth, decay rates increase and cavities form.
– Increase in gingivitis. Our gums are susceptible to the bacteria in crowded areas as well. Gingivitis is an inflammation in the gum tissue and a precursor to periodontal disease. If you look at your crowded or rotated teeth and see red, puffy gums that bleed easily, guess what? You have gingivitis.
– Teeth chipping or wearing down. When teeth are misaligned they wear down abnormally. Cracks and fractures are more likely to happen with an abnormal wear pattern. Aligning the teeth properly will help ensure your next visit to the dentist won’t be for a crown on a fractured tooth.
Whew, that’s a lot of stuff to consider! Don’t worry; help is available! There are two options to correct your teeth and get a healthy, beautiful smile.
Braces: The traditional bracket and wire method works well in any situation. With colorful elastics to hold the wires in place, kids will have tons of choices to get creative during treatment. For the discerning adult, ceramic brackets are available to blend in with the teeth, making treatment less visible to the casual observer. Average treatment time is 24 months.
Invisalign: For twelve years this aligner system has been straightening teeth. The best part about Invisalign: No Brackets or Wires! Clear aligners (similar to whitening trays) move your teeth into their desired position. They are designed by a computer to precisely fit just your teeth. Aligners are worn 24/7 except for meals and every two weeks you get a new aligner. Patients are seen in the office every six weeks and given three trays until their next appointment. Another great thing about Invisalign: You can eat what you want! Just remove the trays and indulge yourself with some delicious caramels or popcorn, while your friend in braces sits frustrated next to you. Invisalign works well but does have some limitations. It is very popular among adults since the trays are almost invisible. Average treatment time is 12 months.
Time to put that mirror down and give us a call to set up a Free Consultation. With interest free financing available, having straight, healthy teeth is attainable. You too can have that movie star smile!
Dr. Todd Weber