Orthodontic treatment involving the use of corrective appliances is one of the fastest evolving areas of dentistry. Whether it is recommended for an unsatisfactory bite, correcting crowded teeth, realigning the jaw, or straightening one or more crooked teeth, new treatments are helping patients of all ages with a variety of dental issues.
With the introduction of clear or “invisible” braces, orthodontic treatment no longer has to be an unsightly solution reserved for primarily children and teenagers. Many adults are now seeking treatment with these newer options and are dramatically improving the look of their smile both quickly and discreetly. In fact, nearly 30 percent of all orthodontic patients in the United States are adults.
The best place to start is by finding out the best treatment options for your particular situation. Clear, porcelain or invisible braces are all highly effective. And in the case of a few crooked teeth or gaps between teeth, porcelain veneers can offer a solution that is commonly referred to as “instant orthodontics”. Using wafer-thin porcelain that is custom made to fit the shape of your teeth, porcelain veneers can fix crooked teeth and fill gaps in just a few visits.
Consisting of brackets that are bonded to the teeth and wires that thread through the brackets, braces are a proven solution for aligning teeth. Besides the very familiar metal braces, there are now other less visible options such as ceramic “tooth colored” and clear plastic braces. However, the most economical method continues to be the traditional metal brackets, and these are also the best option if extensive realignment is required.
Once braces are removed, orthodontic retainers made from plastic and stainless steel wires are typically required to keep teeth in place. A retainer will hold teeth in their new position as gums and bone adjust to the repositioning of the teeth. Most orthodontists require teenagers to wear retainers until they are in their early 20s.
Selecting an Orthodontist
Orthodontists are trained specifically to diagnose and treat misaligned bites, jaw disorders, and correct crooked or crowded teeth. Some general dentists also offer orthodontic treatments. When you have an initial consultation regarding orthodontic treatment, you will want to take the time to find out the following:
- Level of experience
- Types of treatments offered
- You specific diagnosis and plan of action
- The size of the practice
Then, you should also ask to see before and after photos of patients, as well as meet the staff. Since orthodontic treatment takes on average two years, you will want to make sure that you are absolutely comfortable with whomever you choose as your provider.
Finally, you will want to find out about financing options. In some cases, insurance will cover a portion of orthodontic treatments. Many orthodontists and dentists also offer payment plans through dental loan providers.
Whether you are considering orthodontic treatment for yourself or someone you love, there have never been better, faster, or more effective options for creating a beautiful, well-aligned smile than what is currently available. Now is the time to consider orthodontic treatment and to explore your options. You’ll be glad that you did!