Straighten Teeth Faster with the Latest Orthodontic Innovations for Kids and Adults
Due to new technology available, attaining a beautiful straight smile is now available for both children and adults. No longer do you have to worry about long treatment plans or braces that are too noticeable. Straightening your smile is now easier than ever.
One of the most common questions we get about orthodontic treatments in our office is, “What’s the fastest way to get straighter teeth?” There are many variables to consider before we can answer this question because every patient’s situation requires a customized treatment plan. But, with a mixture of certain actions you can take to ensure your treatment is as short as possible and new orthodontic technology available, achieving a straight beautiful smile has never been so affordable and quick. Whether you’re looking to get braces for your child or a smile-realignment for yourself, check out all you need to know.
Who Should Consider Braces?
Orthodontic treatments are not only for teenagers or for straightening your teeth. In fact, one in five patients who get orthodontic care are over the age of 18, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, and the number of adults receiving orthodontic treatment has increased over 40% since 1990.
If you have crooked teeth or suffer from problems with your bite, it’s important to be aware that these can cause more problems than just a blow to your self-confidence. Jaw misalignment can lead to a variety of more serious health concerns, including:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Sleep apnea caused by snoring (or mouth breathing)
- Grinding teeth
- Speech impediments
- Chewing challenges
- Jaw pain
Many patients experiencing these issues are surprised to learn that the root cause is actually related to their misaligned teeth, and they are better off treating the malocclusion (imperfect positioning of the teeth when the jaw is closed) rather than just treating the symptom.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should have their first orthodontic consultation no later than by the age of 7. This allows the orthodontist the opportunity to detect what potential orthodontic issues are developing, consider preventative measures, or even correct issues before braces are needed. Adults can also schedule an orthodontist evaluation at any time or when the dentist identifies conditions that should be resolved with orthodontic treatment.
During our free orthodontic consultations, our orthodontists will visually examine your teeth and facial structure. They may also review digital X-rays or 3D dental imaging to get a more detailed look at your jaw or take impressions if needed.
How Do Braces Work to Straighten Teeth?
In essence, orthodontics works by applying consistent pressure to the teeth in order to change their position. Orthodontists are in charge of applying these devices to the teeth so that the treatment can begin. When a tooth is pressured from the device it will cause the root of the tooth to apply tension on the alveolar bone. Eventually, this pressure causes a portion of the bone to dissolve which then allows the tooth to move into the desired position. New bone builds up in the space vacated on the other side of the root.
Braces are still the most widely used orthodontic device for a variety of reasons, they are: versatile, they enable treatment on multiple teeth at once, and they can move your teeth in a variety of directions as well. Traditional metal braces and ceramic clear braces use brackets that are cemented onto the tooth surfaces. Then an archwire that’s anchored to the molars is threaded through the brackets. This helps direct the pressure that’s applied to the teeth. Braces are often the best choice for children because of their ability to be cemented down, eliminating the chances of the child removing and losing them. However, many adults are looking for faster, less noticeable options to achieve a straighter smile. Much of the explosion in adult orthodontics has been driven by the availability of alternative treatments, some of which can dramatically shorten treatment time.
Types of Orthodontic Treatment
Luckily, today’s orthodontic treatments are a lot more comfortable (and less noticeable) than they were in the past years. Most treatment plans have a duration of 1 to 3 years, but every individual’s treatment plan is customized based on their needs. Once the treatment is complete, patients need to wear a retainer to make sure their smile stays in great shape.
Here are the types of braces your orthodontist will consider:
Metal braces: These are traditional orthodontic braces that have metal brackets glued to each of your teeth. An archwire along with elastic bands apply pressure to your teeth. It’s the archwire that’s adjusted at your orthodontist visits to keep your teeth moving into the desired position. These are the most economical and sturdy option, they are therefore the most recommended for kids.
Ceramic braces: These are also called clear braces because they are less noticeable compared to metal braces. They are made of clear or tooth-colored crystalline composite or glass brackets, and they operate just like traditional metal braces. Thanks to advancements in technology, ceramic braces have become a lot more durable compared to ceramic braces a couple of years ago.
Self-ligating: These orthodontic devices are gaining popularity. They are placed just like traditional metal braces but no rubber bands are placed because they are not needed. Instead, a special clip is used to help the archwire move into position. In some cases, this treatment has shown to; save time, be easier on your teeth, less uncomfortable, and require fewer visits to the orthodontist.
Lingual braces: These are braces that are attached behind the teeth to make them less noticeable. Talk to your orthodontist about less visible options that might work for your particular treatment needs if having visible braces is a big concern.
Clear Aligners: While traditional braces remain a good option for many, the market for alternative orthodontic treatments is growing at over 20% a year according to MarketWatch. Clear aligners have driven the majority of that growth, while hybrid treatment technologies are also emerging.
Also called aligner trays, Invisalign® is the leading provider of clear aligner technology. When using aligners, your teeth are gradually shifted into position as you progress through a series of different clear plastic trays. The aligners are virtually invisible and can be used for both mild and more severe cases. Depending on the number of trays required, treatment can range from just six months to over two years. New materials and techniques have made aligner therapy much more effective in recent years cutting Invisalign treatment times by up to 50 percent.
Sagittal First: This is an emergent multi-phase orthodontic treatment technique that employs a specialized correction device to resolve the most difficult part of the treatment upfront before placing brackets or clear aligners. This combination approach reduces overall treatment length by up to six months. Sagittal First treatment can be used on all types of malocclusion to both simplify treatment and minimize the need for extractions.
Control your Orthodontic Timetable
While not everything is in your control when it comes to your orthodontic timetable, there are certain actions you can take to stay on track and not sabotage your progress. Here are four tips:
- Don’t eat foods that could harm your braces – Some foods, notably chewy or hard foods, can damage or loosen your brackets or bend wires. If your brackets aren’t properly adhered to, they can’t do their job adequately. So, follow the guidelines recommended by your orthodontist and avoid: chewing ice and gum, crunching on popcorn, nuts, hard pretzels, caramel, taffy, and other sticky foods. Try to also cut difficult to eat foods such as apples and corn on the cob before digging in.
- Keep all scheduled ortho appointments – Most orthodontic patients need to visit our office every 5 to 10 weeks to get their braces adjusted. If you miss appointments, you might extend your treatment time.
- Not following instructions – If part of your treatment is to wear rubber bands or use other tools to get your teeth to move and you don’t follow instructions, you can expect treatment time to be extended. This is especially important in the case of clear aligners. Aligners should be worn between 20 and 22 hours a day for maximum impact but should be temporarily removed when eating as well as when you brush and floss your teeth.
- Good oral hygiene – It is a little more challenging to brush to and floss your teeth properly when you have braces on, making it more difficult to maintain your oral health; however, it’s more important than ever to avoid tooth decay or infections. In some cases, your orthodontic care could be stalled while other issues caused by bad oral hygiene need to get resolved. Be sure to keep your regular dental cleanings and exams every six months even when you have braces.
Today’s Orthodontics: Better than Ever
Straight teeth and a properly aligned jaw not only create a beautiful smile but can be important for your overall health. You’re never too old and it’s never too late to start orthodontic treatment. With today’s technology, both children and adults have more ways than ever to achieve a healthy smile. Schedule your free consultation with a Bright Now! Dental orthodontist today, to find out which type of treatment would be best for you.