LAST UPDATED: FEBRUARY 28, 2017
Offering a smile is a way to express happiness, joy, and a feel that you are glad to meet someone. It can also cause great discomfort when you feel your smile is just not up to par. It can affect our daily interactions with everyone in life. It might be time to search for a solution if you feel your smile needs some serious work.
How do I know if I need braces?
A bright, straight, and white smile is often the first thing people notice when they greet you. For many, it is a sign of overall vitality and health. If you are embarrassed to smile due to malocclusion or crowded teeth it may be time to look for a solution. Crooked, twisted or uneven teeth is a definite sign of malocclusion. There are other more serious problems with an uneven bite that point to the need for orthodontic care.
Where can I seek professional advice?
An orthodontist is the one dental professional that can offer the diagnosis and solution to a smile that you feel is not as great as it could be. Malocclusion can be more than a cosmetic issue. It can make it difficult for you and dental professionals to keep your teeth clean and bacteria free. This can set you up for early tooth decay and gum disease.It is always best to get professional advice if you feel that your smile is a problem. They may recommend braces, even in adults.
What can I expect on my first visit?
The first visit to the orthodontist will be a matter of assessment. They will ask you what you feel is the problem, take bite tests and x-ray to search for malocclusion. A detailed oral inspection will help determine what course of action needs to be taken to provide the results you desire. Other appointments will be set up, depending on what the doctor determines the course of action needs to be. Set aside enough time for your first visit to include:
- Extensive discussion with the doctor
- Oral examination of teeth
- Bite testing and analysis
Is a Perfect Smile Possible?
The type of corrective device used will determine exactly how perfect your smile can be. Metal braces are the most effective, but clear ceramic is a close second. Invisalign is the least effective but provides a good remedy for simple malocclusion problems. The determining factors will be the type of problem, budget, and time commitment since some of the correction takes quite a few months.
Traditional Braces or Clear Liners
Invisalign clear liners are not designed to be worn by children, but they are a viable option to any adult. The benefits are that they are nearly invisible to wear. The drawbacks are that the crowding can return, especially in the back teeth. The sheer number of different alignment sizes makes this process long and somewhat expensive. The alternatives of traditional bracing mean that it will be apparent that you are trying to straighten your teeth. The main deciding factors should be your comfort level in wearing the various items.
How Long Does It Take to Straighten Teeth?
The length of time it takes to straighten teeth varies by individual and method used. It also depends greatly on how extensive the problems are. You can plan on anywhere from a year to two years or more in severe cases. If the thought of waiting that long for a perfect smile is intimidating you may want to reconsider. Spending the initial money to get the process started and stopping before the solution is realised is a waste of hard-earned money and time. Take time to talk with other friends that have been through the process to see if it is something you will be comfortable with.
Extra Oral Hygiene Care
You will have to spend extra time each day on oral hygiene care so that your teeth do not become permanently stained and that the mouth is as clean as possible. Clear liners are easier since they can be removed, but the other types of devices will have to be cleaned carefully and regularly any time you eat during the day. They seem to be literal magnets for food particles and you should always make sure it is removed soon after a meal or snack. You will have to:
- Brush teeth more
- Floss more extensively
- Periodic picking out of food particles
- Increase water intake and mouth rinsing
Does It Really Work?
The effectiveness does vary, but most patients are pleased with the results. Even mild changes can make a difference in your personal self-image and esteem. This means that the notion of whether the process is worth it rests with the patient. Beyond the expense and time commitment, it is an easy way to try and get the beautiful smile you have always wanted.
How Costly Is the Perfect Smile?
The cheapest route to go is with traditional metal. They are less desired, but the most useful in correcting a myriad of mouth and teeth problems. Ceramic is slightly more expensive due to the ability to hide them easier. These two types will cost in the range of $5.000 to $6,000 dollars. This does not include the cost of the orthodontist. Invisalign is slightly more expensive due to the sheer number of liners that have to be made and used. Some health insurance plans will pay for some of the work, but many companies will not. You will have to call your carrier to find out.
Showing Off the Perfect Smile
Nothing feels better than undergoing the process and having a brilliant perfect smile to show off at the end. You will wonder why you never checked into the solution before. You may be required to wear a retainer for some time afterwards, but it will be much more comfortable than what you have already been through. You will be able to start seeing the results clearly. The great part is that so will all your friends, family, and co-workers.
2002 Richard Jones Road
Suite A-200 Nashville
Phone: 615 269 5903
I Want a Perfect Smile when My Braces Come off!
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.