-Dr. Douglas Ng of Nipomo Family Dentistry reports that these days, there are many more options for straightening teeth than the dreaded metal braces. Kids and adults can benefit from the choices that include invisible aligners, lingual braces that are hidden behind the teeth, braces with ceramic parts, as well as the traditional metal braces.
Every method has its place depending on the condition of the teeth and jaw and the family dentist is the best professional to help determine when it is time to start teeth straightening treatments. Conditions such as crooked teeth, gaps between teeth, crowded teeth and more can contribute to increased risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease, speech problems and even jaw pain.
Sometimes, surgery to realign the jaws is needed along with an appropriate alignment method.
The options include:
- Invisible aligners are clear, removable devices made of clear plastic trays that slip over the teeth and move them slightly towards their correct positions. The patient receives a new aligner approximately every two weeks and wears each new set for at least 22 hours a day. The devices are easy to remove, making it easier to stick to good brushing and flossing practices. Invisible aligners are gaining popularity with tweens and teens because they are nearly invisible and don’t subject the wearer to the embarrassment of a mouth full of “train tracks. Invisible aligners are also a less expensive option that braces, although children have been known to lose them because they are so easy to remove.
- In 2015, around a million people in America were wearing braces. Today, over 4 million are wearing metal braces making them the most commonly used method for straightening teeth, especially severe problems and are the most inexpensive option. However, they can cause speech problems, irritate the mouth, and adjusting them can cause headaches. Plus, some foods are not recommended while wearing braces because they can bend or break the wires. Brushing and flossing take special attention.
- Ceramic, tooth colored or clear versions of metal brackets, with tooth colored wires are also available. They are certainly less noticeable than wire braces and move teeth much faster than invisible aligners. However, they are much more expensive than metal braces and can stain if not properly cared for.
- Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth and are less visible than the traditional metal braces. They can be quite uncomfortable and require a longer adjustment period. Speech can be affected and they can make the tongue sore form rubbing against the brackets and wires.
- Surgery may be recommended when the jaw is not formed properly and may be causing a severe overbite, under bite, or crowding and may include an orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth after the jaw has healed.
Based on examinations and recommendations by the family dentist and orthodontist children can usually start orthodontic treatments between 8 and 10. In fact, age is rarely a limit to straightening teeth. Even senior citizens can benefit from the appropriate option.
The key is to continue good dental health practices and see the family dentist on a regular basis. Discuss concerns about straighten teeth with your dentist and its never too early to open the discussion about your child’s teeth.
Dr. Ng’s services at Nipomo Family Dentistry include all aspects of general dentistry and pediatric dentistry, teeth whitening, veneers, and the popular Invisalign® clear aligner method. Dr. Ng has been providing California’s Central Coast families with quality dental care since 2008.
Nipomo Family Dentistry
195 N Thompson Ave Suite #3
Nipomo, CA 93444