Braces at 40 or 80?
Do you remember what your teeth looked like as a teenager? Many of us had braces resulting in perfect smiles as we graduated high school. Others were lucky enough to have naturally straight teeth. Some would have benefitted from orthodontia but were unable to afford or chose not to correct their teeth.
Teeth shift over time. Regardless of which category you fell into as a teen, after decades all smiles will look different than they did when you were younger.
Dental problems are most frequently the result of misalignment of the teeth. Common problems include gum recession, bruxism (grinding teeth), clenching, chipping front teeth, breaking teeth, jaw pain, and gum disease.
Typically people consider their smile in terms of whether they are happy with the way that it looks. In most cases, the decision to consider any alterations is based solely on cosmetic reasons. Does the crowded look of my teeth bother me? Do I mind the gap between two teeth?
In my practice, I focus on CORRECTIVE dentistry. What is the underlying problem that is causing the visual results (crowding, gum recession, etc.) that you are seeing?
Gum Recession can be caused by the misalignment of teeth that result in a premature tooth contact. Over time the amount of gum supporting the teeth recedes to the point where eventually none is left to hold the teeth in place. The only option then is to do a graft which removes tissue from the roof of the mouth and relocates it to the site of the diminished gum. Not only is this procedure costly, but it is painful and the site of the graft doesn’t look normal for at least six months after the procedure. On the other hand, by realigning the teeth, not only does the recession stop, but in many cases some of the gum tissue will come back. If a graft is indicated its success will be more predictable because of proper tooth alignment.
Dental Grinding is the result of two teeth constantly rubbing against each other in an unnatural way. Perfectly aligned teeth do not have the tops of the teeth flat against each other and they do not look chipped or worn. Just as the brakes to your car wear down after continued contact your teeth can also wear down. Correcting a bite is the first step to creating a beautiful and healthy smile. Once teeth are in correct alignment they can be gently reshaped to look more youthful or even.
The only way to permanently correct these problems is by realigning the teeth. It is nice to know that there are several options available today.
Worried about being called “metal mouth” while you’re running the board meeting or on an important sales call? The most economical option continues to be the metal braces that we remember from our childhood. Options that utilize metal braces must be done under the direction of an orthodontist.
Invisalign is the newest option in orthodontia and is most ideally suited for adults. Not only can it correct the problem in less time, but it doesn’t look (or feel) like you are wearing braces. And, because Invisalign uses removable aligners, you are able to take them out to eat, brush, or for times when you want to look and feel your best. Plus, you will enjoy the incremental changes in your smile, even before treatment is fully complete.
Unlike metal braces, some dentists can treat patients using Invisalign®. This enables them to better coordinate all aspects of a dental treatment plan.
The first step is to speak with a dentist. Be sure that you come away with a clear understanding of what the visible problems are, as well as the underlying causes, the repercussions of not doing anything, as well as available options. If Invisalign is an option, visit www.invisalign.com to learn more and to find a Preferred Provider in your area.