Type of Surgery

Teeth Straightening – Debunking Myths

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Last updated: 11/04/2009

Every time you talk to someone or smile, your teeth are open to the world for instant scrutiny. Regardless of different fashions and styles, nothing compares to having two perfect rows of straight teeth. Unfortunately not everyone grows perfectly straight teeth. In fact, most of us have asymmetries and irregularities in our smile. While a few of us chalk it up to our uniqueness, a misaligned smile can interfere with normal chewing and speech, not to mention our level of physical attractiveness. There are many myths and misconceptions about teeth straightening and we hope to resolve some of them in this article.
Myth #1 – Braces are for kids
Braces are for everyone and can help people of all ages. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists states that one of every five patients with braces is an adult. Some people believe that you still need to be young enough for braces to have an effect. The truth is, braces work well in adults, too. Many people who were not able to have braces as children return as adults for teeth straightening. Since adult bones are no longer growing, teeth straightening treatment with braces usually takes a little longer than it would in a child.
Myth #2 – Braces are painful
While there is some aching discomfort after an adjustment to braces, this teeth straightening method does not need to be painful. Recent devices apply a gentler, constant pressure and require fewer adjustments than earlier versions.
Myth #3 – Teeth straightening requires a permanent device over a period of years
There are actually two types of braces, fixed and removable. Most people think of fixed braces when they consider teeth straightening devices. These are the devices that are cemented to the teeth and use wires to constantly change the shape and alignment of the teeth. There are also removable orthodontics devices that can straighten teeth. The most common example is a retainer. For certain minor misalignments, a retainer may be the only teeth straightening device required.
Myth #4 – Braces are clunky and wildly unattractive
Newer technology in orthodontics has changed the look and feel of braces. While older teeth straightening devices were less than attractive, newer braces have greatly improved their cosmetic appearance. They are sleeker require less metal, if any at all.
Newer, clear orthodontics products are able to straighten teeth without metal at all. For example, the invisalign product offers some degree of teeth straightening without traditional metallic or porcelain braces. The removable devices are custom fit to a person’s mouth and pull (or push) teeth and bring them into alignment. Every two weeks the clear, plastic, removable aligner is switched out for another custom device. Each switch of aligner pulls the teeth closer to ideal alignment.
Myth #5 – All teeth straightening procedures require braces or a retainer
Actually, for minor tooth misalignments, dental veneers may work just as well as braces but much more quickly. For teeth that are not perfectly parallel with one another, dental veneers can be applied to change the very outer edges of the tooth. By adding just a little tooth colored substance here and there, a previously crooked tooth can be made to appear straight. For severe misalignment, dental veneers or even crowns (caps) may not be sufficient to effect complete teeth straightening, however. Your dentist should be able to determine if dental veneers will work for you.

Last Updated: 11/04/2009

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