A great smile enhances your appearance and smile. Orthodontic treatment can work miracles with crooked teeth. Even more important, full orthodontic treatment can correct structural problems that may cause pain. Untreated bite and tooth problems can also contribute to tooth decay and gum disease as you get older. One disadvantage – conventional orthodontics takes time, sometimes two years or even more. Six Month Smiles is an orthodontic treatment that helps tackle that problem.
Orthodontics is a dental specialty that requires additional training beyond the basics. The function of your mouth affects your digestion and overall health, as well as your appearance. Although some dentists offer orthodontia services, many have limited training and experience, which can affect patient outcomes. Orthodontia can help correct problems like crooked or overlapping teeth or teeth that are too close or too widely spaced. Overbites, crossbites, and underbites cause uneven tooth wear over time. Crowded teeth make it more difficult to keep them clean, while widely spaced teeth trap food in pockets. For many people, however, orthodontia is considered primarily from the cosmetic point of view.
At one time, orthodontic treatment was considered primarily in the teenage years, and conventional metal braces were the only option. Today, both adults and teens have multiple options for orthodontic care. Among these are:
- Conventional metal braces with brackets and wires, usually made of stainless steel. These may also be available with colored wires and brackets. Rubber bands are also used with these braces. They are fitted to the outside of the teeth.
- Lingual braces are essentially the same as conventional braces but are attached to the inside of the teeth. Lingual braces are less visible.
- Clear plastic aligners that are removable. Fitted over the teeth, these aligners – Invisalign is probably the best-known brand – are designed in a series. Every two or three weeks you change to another aligner.
- Self-adjusting braces require fewer orthodontic visits, as they have a slide mechanism connecting the wires. Damon is a typical system of this type.
- Other appliances such as headgear, Forsus appliances, and palate expanders are used to treat serious overbite conditions or to help expand the jaw to provide more room.
- Clear ceramic brackets and wires make braces less visible during treatment. The six-month treatment system is one of these types.
Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smiles is a trademark brand of clear braces. The system is designed to straighten crooked front teeth. The treatment is focused on cosmetic issues and often takes much less time compared to conventional braces. Since the treatment time is shorter, Six Month Smiles often costs less than conventional orthodontic treatment. Six Month Smiles is also a treatment that general dentists can use. Although the Six Month Smiles system does require some specific additional training, it is not the same amount or type of training an orthodontist receives. In most cases, a general dentist can become certified for Six Month Smiles by attending a two-day seminar.
Six Month Smiles Advantages
For the right patient, the Six Month Smiles system can be very advantageous. Adults often prefer orthodontic treatment that is discreet and less visible than the classic full metal of traditional braces. Older adolescents may also be concerned about their appearance during orthodontic treatment. Six-month treatment means fewer orthodontic appointments in a busy schedule. Cost is always a consideration and Six Month Smiles may be less expensive than traditional orthodontia in many cases. Some people prefer a regular dentist with whom they have an established relationship or may not have access to an orthodontist.
Who Is a Candidate for Six Month Smiles?
The Six Month Smiles system is designed to correct crowded or misaligned teeth in the front of the mouth. These teeth are the most visible and have the greatest impact on your appearance. People with mild to moderate crowding are the best candidates for Six Month Smiles treatment. The focus of this system is on cosmetics, not function. Good candidates will not have serious problems like severe overbites or alignment issues with the molars – teeth in the back of the mouth. All of your permanent teeth must have fully grown in – good candidates are usually about 15 or 16 and older. This system may be helpful for those who had treatment with conventional braces but now have some shifting in the front teeth and need a touch-up.
Six Month Smiles and the Orthodontist
Almost any orthodontic treatment is more beneficial in the hands of an orthodontist and that includes the Six Month Smiles system. Since the focus of this system is on cosmetics, it will not correct more serious problems, such as crooked or crowded molars. An orthodontist is trained to identify problems with all of your teeth and jaw. When your orthodontist recommends a particular treatment, that recommendation is based on a thorough assessment and his or her experience in treating orthodontic problems over the long term. For example, if you have an overbite, underbite or crossbite in addition to crooked front teeth, your orthodontist will recognize those conditions. In those cases, other treatment options may be better choices for your long-term oral health.
Systems Vs. Expertise
It’s easy to get caught up in the selection process of various orthodontic treatment options. However, one critically important factor to remember is that the system is only as good as the dental professional who is using it. A fully-trained, board-certified orthodontist is not the same as a general dentist. While both have the same basic training, the orthodontist has also completed a two- or three-year residency in orthodontia. This additional training includes the biomechanics of the mouth and jaw, the stresses involved in orthodontic appliances, the care of the teeth during orthodontic treatment and aesthetic training for cosmetic aspects of orthodontia. Experienced orthodontists also know just how certain treatments work with individual conditions.
If you are considering the Six Month Smiles system or any form of smile orthodontic treatment, please contact us. If you’re a good candidate, Six Months Smiles can work for you. A careful assessment will help determine whether that’s the case. If another form of treatment is a better choice, we can help you there as well. No matter what you chose, never forget that basic preventive dental care is crucial to your long-term oral health.
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2002 Richard Jones Road
Suite A-200 Nashville
Six Month Smiles Orthodontic Treatment – Does It Work?
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.