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Short of having a fairy godmother who could wave a magic wand and produce perfectly straight teeth, the best option to straighten teeth is still with conventional orthodontic treatment. With advances in dental and orthodontic science, there are a lot more options: metal brackets, clear plastic brackets, and ceramic brackets. The disadvantage to all of these, however, is that they’re attached to the teeth for the duration of treatment. Enter a completely new system – an option to traditional metal orthodontic treatment offered by orthodontists.
Do I Need My Teeth Straightened?
Straight teeth can certainly offer smile improvement. However, the function of your mouth and your oral health are the real issues here. When teeth are jammed closely together, it’s much harder to floss. Brushing may not be able to get into all the crevices, which increases the risk of tooth decay. On the other hand, teeth with big gaps leave pockets where food debris can collect. Teeth that are crooked often tend to wear unevenly and may cause problems like jaw pain or affect your bite. An assessment by an orthodontist is the best way to decide if treatment is really necessary.
Invisalign Aligners vs. Traditional Braces
Both the traditional and aligner systems will produce straight teeth. Traditional treatments (whether metal, plastic or ceramic), all consist of some form of the bracket that is attached to the tooth and connected with wires or rubber bands. These types of fittings may not be glaringly obvious, but they are still quite visible, and they can’t be removed. The new system, however, is made from a single piece of clear plastic that fits over the teeth. Many people may not even realize you’re wearing it. Even better, the aligner can be removed for eating or oral hygiene.
Traditional Treatment Has Some Disadvantages
Anyone who has ever worn traditional orthodontic appliances can probably give a quick recitation of the disadvantages. Wires can rub on gums or the inside of the cheeks. Playing sports can mean a cut in the mouth if you get hit in the face. Your diet is limited because foods like corn on the cob, apples, popcorn and potato chips can break a wire or get stuck in the brackets. Extra care with brushing and flossing is critical, as the tiny crevices, nooks, and corners of the brackets and wire tend to trap food particles, increasing the risk of tooth decay. In most cases, wearing traditional brackets, wires and rubber bands also means going into the orthodontic office every two or three weeks for an adjustment.
Aligners – Some Distinct Advantages
One of the biggest differences between aligners and conventional treatment is that the plastic aligner is removable. It can be quickly popped off the teeth, which means you can eat any kind of food. Since they’re removable, keeping those pearly whites clean becomes much easier. You can floss and brush just as you always have. The aligner (it’s just a clear plastic cover that fits over the teeth) is completely smooth – no wires to poke – and the aligner can be removed for sports or special occasions like senior pictures or prom night. Orthodontist appointments are a breeze. You’ll go in about every four to six weeks for a check-up to see how you’re progressing, and instead of tightening wires or moving rubber bands, you just pop in a new plastic aligner when it’s time to move on to the next stage.
How Do Invisalign Aligners Work?
Conventional braces are “hand built.” They must be applied and cemented into place one tooth at a time, while the plastic aligners are made from a computer-generated design. The orthodontist will take digital pictures of your mouth, jaw, and teeth. These pictures are downloaded into the special software and can be adjusted as necessary to identify just what shape the plastic aligner should be. The software models are used to create a series of aligners. Each aligner is slightly different so that they gradually move your teeth into the correct position. You wear the aligner about 20 hours a day, removing it for meals and oral hygiene. In most cases, you’ll switch to a new aligner every two to three weeks.
Isn’t Orthodontic Treatment just for Adolescents?
Adolescence is considered the ideal time for orthodontia by many parents, but adults can be treated, too. There really is no age limit. There’s no question, however, that adults who go the traditional route may come in for some odd looks are even a bit of teasing. In certain occupations where appearance is critical, conventional orthodontic appliances can really cause problems. The relative invisibility is one of the great benefits of the new system.
Schedule an Appointment at McDermott Orthodontics
If you live in Minnesota, then you can schedule an appointment at McDermott Orthodontics. Dr. Michael McDermott has been offering personalized orthodontic treatments to children, teenagers, and adults for over 15 years. Patients who visit McDermott Orthodontics receive a free consultation to discuss their treatment options that might include:
• Metallic braces
• Invisalign aligners for teenagers or adults
• Ceramic brackets and clear wires
Invisalign aligners are appropriate for teenage or adult patients who have mild malocclusions. McDermott Orthodontics offers treatments to patients in four locations:
• Brainerd – 218-829-1630
• Pequot Lakes – 218 -568-5600
• Delano – 763-972-4444
• Baxter -218-829-1630
Call McDermott Orthodontics today to schedule your first appointment.
708 Elm Ave. E.
If You Don’t Want Traditional Metal Braces, What Are The Other Options?
Dr. Michael McDermott earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Chemistry and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He followed his undergraduate degrees with a doctorate in dental surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with highest distinction.
Dr. Mike then furthered his dental education by earning a masters and certificate in Orthodontics at the University of St. Louis in Missouri.