Orthodontists are frequently thought of as ‘smile doctors’ and this is a pretty accurate description of what they do. Yes, orthodontists work to improve your smile, so you can display straight, attractive teeth when you smile. Additionally, orthodontists are smile doctors because as they correct the appearance of your teeth, they also correct dental misalignment that may be causing pain or discomfort. Certainly people smile more readily when their mouths don’t hurt!
Orthodontics combines Art and Science
Your orthodontist is an educated professional, a master of the structure of the jaw, placement of oral nerves, and how to correctly realign teeth; he is constantly keeping informed of new methods and materials that can benefit patients.
Beyond this science is his judgement and his ‘art’. Which braces (metal, ceramic, invisalign etc.) to use, how long to use them, when to employ additional tools – these are decisions based on both science and art because his goals combine correcting adverse medical conditions and the final appearance of your smile.
Where Dental Spaces Come From: Life and Genetics
Our image of the perfect smile includes bright, straight teeth, standing like soldiers next to each other without substantial spaces between them. However, many people we see do not have teeth without spaces. Why not?
There are simple and complex reasons this. We do not live our lives sitting still on sofas eating only the softest foods to preserve out teeth. We run and jump and fall out of trees and bump into each other and play games and sports. We eat hard foods and soft. Activity can result in tooth loss, twisting, discoloration and even jaw challenges; the activities of our life contribute to the variety of spaces we see between teeth.
As we inherit eye color from our parents, we can inherit distinctive smiles. Some families have teeth placed farther apart than that ideal model smile; families have smaller or larger teeth than the average; and there are families that share dental distinctions for overcrowded jaws, impacted teeth or tooth loss.
Does Orthodontic Treatment Create Spaces?
We often think that one of the fundamental goals of orthodontia is creating that perfect smile; why, then, do orthodontists create spaces between teeth?
All teeth are not created equal. Some teeth are so decayed or damaged that they are not useful. Some teeth are impacted, too malaligned for correction or are crowding the mouth. For all these reasons and a host of others, orthodontists remove teeth to allow space for the tooth movement associated with correction.
Before your doctor creates any spaces, weather through tooth removal or rearrangement, he has a plan. He knows how much space he needs to support the movement of your teeth to correct issues and create your new smile; there is nothing haphazard about the way in which your orthodontist creates space in your mouth.
Cooperative Change: Work with your Doctor
If you require dental correction, your orthodontist draws on his experience, your specific circumstances and your budget in his recommendations. For young patients who may have require two phases to complete the correction, he may suggest metal as being hardier and more economical. For adult patients, he may suggest invisalign or any of many other less obvious braces, as adults in professional positions require superior presentation.
Remember that this process is cooperative; there are options your doctor may only mention with more detailed knowledge of your situation. Share any concerns about the suggested approach and tools with your doctor. He is happy to explain in as much detail as you need to become comfortable with the treatment.
Customer Satisfaction supported by Medicine: Addressing Spaces
When you have come to the end of your treatment, you may be completely satisfied with the results. In that case, follow the maintenance instructions of your doctor and sail off into the sunset. However, if you observe substantial spaces between teeth, engage your doctor in conversation about next steps. Now that your teeth are straight and you have no pain in your mouth, what are your options for filling the spaces you dislike?
We are fortunate in that there are more options than ever before to close or conceal dental spaces, though this may not be necessary. Perhaps your doctor intentionally left spaces because, though your treatment is officially done, he anticipates more shifting and made allowances for it. He may advise you to wait a while before considering additional work.
After a time, if you still dislike the spaces in your smile, he has many options for correcting the issue. He may suggest dental implants for substantial spaces, or ceramic fillers for smaller spaces; he may fill small spaces with composite resin or suggest partial dentures, crowns or caps for larger openings. Be direct with your doctor; he has many avenues of treatment available and wants you satisfied with the result.
Find out What Dr. Gluck can do for You
50 years ago when teens wore prominent metal braces, often anchored around and behind the head, there were limited options for correcting misaligned teeth. Dental technology has advanced in giant steps since then. It is almost impossible for you to know all the options currently available to give you the smile of your dreams. Schedule an appointment today.
Gluck Orthodontics – Nashville Orthodontist
2002 Richard Jones Road, Suite A-200 Nashville, TN 37215
Do you replace missing teeth if there are remaining spaces after treatment?