“Whenever I see your smiling face, I have to smile myself, “says that old James Taylor ditty. And it did get you smiling as well, did you?
We all love seeing people flashing their bright, perfect smiles. Are you confident enough to flash yours to brighten up a room?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), patients of all ages, whether children, teens, and adults, need to know and understand the importance of life-changing benefits of orthodontics, which includes having those perfect smiles.
“Whether you are considering clear aligners or traditional braces, orthodontists have the training, the experience, and the treatment options to make sure you get your best smile. We are gifted and highly educated specialists who diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align teeth and jaws,” says AAO.
With oral health being a window to our overall health, orthodontic treatment helps ensure the proper function of teeth to create healthy smiles. With a good bite, it’s easy for you to bite, chew and speak. Misaligned teeth, however, are harder to brush, and can even cause abnormal wearing of tooth enamel, leading to extensive and expensive dental procedures.
The dental experts warn against do-it-yourself orthodontics, and that orthodontic treatment is not a quick fix.
According to the association, consumers need to beware of videos on social media and websites encouraging people to try and straighten their teeth, saying that moving teeth is a medical procedure and needs personal supervision by an orthodontist.
“Please be wary of any suggestions to move teeth with rubber bands, dental floss, or other objects ordered on the Internet. Moving teeth without a thorough examination of the overall health of the teeth and gums could result in the permanent loss of teeth, which may result in expensive and lifelong dental problems. Orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school and are specialists in straightening teeth and aligning the bite,” the experts explained.
DIY orthodontics may have initial potential benefits, yet it can also lead to long-term (and more costly) consequences. With proponents of this practice of doing it themselves, as confident as they might feel with straightened teeth, they can be up for unwelcome surprises in the future, with bigger dental complications.
Orthodontic treatment, experts pointed out, is not a quick fix.
People who undergo orthodontic treatment for their teeth to correct misalignment, spacing, crowding, or other dental problems are saying goodbye to their old smile and hello to a new one. Corrective orthodontics involves the use of braces and sometimes minor dental surgery that can help patients correct crooked teeth, protruding or crowded teeth, underbites, or overbites.
The association further adds that working together with your orthodontist can yield life-enhancing results, and better functions in biting, chewing, and speaking.
“Our advice for you is to keep your scheduled appointments, advise your orthodontist of problems that may pop up between appointments, watch what you eat and drink, avoid sugary drinks, and brush and floss as instructed by your orthodontist. It’s worth the effort to reach the goal you and your orthodontist share – giving you a healthy smile that will last a lifetime,” the orthodontic experts further said.
Are braces becoming a regular “rite of passage” in the United States?
Recent studies by the AAO show that an estimated 4.5 million Americans — mostly children and teenagers — wear braces on their teeth, with about 80 percent of those undergoing orthodontic treatment ranging in age from 6 to 18 years old.
University of Michigan’s orthodontics and pediatric dentistry department head Lyle Johnston Jr. meanwhile pointed out that orthodontics treatment runs as much as $6 billion annually — on average about $4000 per patient — and it is not covered by most dental plans.
“That makes braces one of the … major out-of-pocket expenses that families face, “he explains.
Yet there are few scientific studies that have tested the use of braces and their long-term efficacy. “After all, this is not cancer, AIDS, or heart disease,” Johnston said. “It’s an elective procedure.”
Over at Summerville, South Carolina, Palmetto Kids Dentistry (PKD) Head Dr. Kimberly Duffy makes sure that her patients get the best quality treatment and care for their dental health. I suggest checking them out if you want to get your kids braces in Summerville.
Dr. Duffy is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and is credentialed at Trident Surgery Center to perform dental treatments.
“I’ve treated many dental patients over the years-students, special needs adults, even soldiers. In my years of practicing general dentistry, I was always drawn to children and teenagers. That’s why I decided to open a Summerville practice especially for them. Palmetto Kids Dentistry is designed to be a fun, pleasant experience for both you and your children,” she says.
She explains that as a mom, she knows first-hand all these challenges to get toddlers comfortable with toothbrushes, and kids ok with dental exams. “I’m here to help so that together we can ensure your child will enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and beautiful smiles.”
With orthodontic technology continuously advancing with more options for patients, the way to better dental health gets wider for its market. Apart from the traditional metal braces, there are now clear braces made of ceramic, also available at PKD which is gaining popularity.
The PKD head also revealed that another popular alternative is Envisaging, those removable clear aligners wore at least 22 hours each day and can be taken out to eat, drink and brush teeth.
“We will take impressions of your child’s teeth during their first appointment and then give them a sequence of aligner trays to wear throughout the extent of your child’s treatment on their way to a new smile. Each set of aligners will be worn for a week or two, as directed by the orthodontist, and then they’ll graduate to the next set,” says Dr. Duffy.
“With its cutting-edge technology, Envisaging has become an easy and effective way to improve the appearance of your child’s teeth and maintain their confidence while you do it; most people will hardly notice that they have braces!”
Flashing that beautiful, perfect smile is important for many reasons, and this also comes with a myriad of health benefits as well.
Dr. Duffy emphasizes that kids need to have a good experience in going to the dentist, making the dental trip a fun experience. “From reading nooks and play spaces in the waiting area to special seating so you can accompany your child, our entire kid-friendly space is designed to make your young ones comfortable with the dental experience.”