Braces is a word for decades that meant you were a young teenager with crooked teeth. Your parents would take you to the orthodontist, put braces on your teeth for 2-4 years and give you a retainer that hopefully would wear forever. Fortunately, times of changed.
In this column, we will discuss how adults at any age can benefit from Clear Aligners to create straight and healthy teeth without the use of metal brackets.
Studies have shown that 75% of adults have a malocclusion, or a bad bite. This means 3 out of 4 of the adult population have a bite that is detrimental to their health. A bad bite can lead to several problems in the future. The first is poor oral hygiene. It is extremely difficult to take care of your teeth when they are crooked. Bacteria tend to accumulate in difficult areas or nooks and crannies. Some of these bacteria smell bad causing bad breath. Some of these bacteria also can move from your mouth to other areas of your body causing several illnesses.
A bad bite can also cause severe wear and trauma to your teeth. Your teeth are made to fit like a glove evenly. The upper teeth should overlap the lower teeth a small bit. The whole system of teeth is made to gently guide your jaw when chewing, but teeth that are not straight create extra stress and pressure on your teeth. If the system does not work correctly the result is chipped teeth, notches in your teeth, premature wear, shaky teeth and bone loss.
So, what are Clear Aligners and how are they different from metal braces?
Clear Aligners are a series of clear plastic trays that you wear most of the time, except when you eat or drink anything besides water. Digital impressions and photographs are taken and in a matter of weeks treatment begins. The great thing about taking digital impressions is that the software can show you images of what your teeth could look like at the end of treatment.
Each set of trays are worn for about two weeks. Then you move on to the next set of trays, gradually moving your teeth in the correct direction. You will see your dental provider approximately every four to six weeks to assess the progress.
The main challenge with this treatment is that any removable teeth straightening system means that the patient compliance is critical to success. You choose when to wear the trays since they are removable. You need to wear then at least 21 hours a day for the system to work. Anything else, will cause significant delays.
Many adult patients have benefitted from Clear Aligners. They are discrete, not unattractive and they work. Some patients suffer from sore gums, food impaction, bad breath, gingivitis; all likely associated with crooked teeth. After treatment with clear aligners the health of their mouth improves and their smile can make a difference of a life time.
Dr. Kendal V. O. Major is Founder and CEO of Center for Specialized Dentistry which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in Nassau and Freeport. He is the first Bahamian Specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He also is a certified Fastbraces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, Nassau at (242)325-5165 or [email protected].