Today’s blog is for anyone who thinks straight teeth make a smile look nicer.
You know this to be the case from your own life experience. It’s one of the features of a “Hollywood” smile, and teeth are one of the first things many people notice after meeting someone for the first time.
This is a big part of the reason teenagers have been wearing braces for decades … and it’s why 1 in 5 orthodontic patients today is an adult.
Having teeth that are straight and properly aligned makes our smiles more attractive, and that can have a number of benefits for you physically and mentally.
We’ll be discussing those issues in today’s post.
If you are interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself or one of your children, Dr. Jerry Farrell would be happy to talk to you. Just call 607-304-3993 today to schedule a consultation at our office in Johnson City, NY.
Smiles & Self-Esteem
Fair or not, we are judged by our teeth — and many people are their own worst critics. We have seen the way this kind of self-criticism also can affect someone’s self-esteem.
We meet patients all the time who seem hesitant to speak because they feel ashamed of their smiles. When they do talk, they feel compelled to hold their hands in front of their mouths to hide their teeth from view.
This makes conversations a little awkward (even if we’ve seen this behavior before). This also can’t be a good way to introduce yourself to a new customer, co-worker, or neighbor.
We want you to hold your head high and to feel comfortable looking people in the eye. We want you to feel confident in your smile, but more importantly, we want you to feel comfortable being yourself.
Orthodontic care with braces or Invisalign® can give you the kind of confidence to apply for a new job or for a promotion, to make a sales pitch, or to just introduce yourself to the new couple who moved in down the block.
A nice smile can open doors, but it also might help you take down walls you’ve been using to hold yourself back.
Smiles & Oral Health
We know that most people are interested in orthodontic care because of how it improves the appearance of their smiles. As dental professionals, however, we are equally interested in the health benefits of straight teeth.
When you get up you brush your teeth, and you brush again every night before going to bed (right?). You also floss between your teeth daily (right?).
Why do dentists recommend doing those things? They help remove bacteria and plaque, which cause tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing and flossing also remove food particles, which can become fuel for those harmful bacteria.
If your teeth aren’t straight, you could brush and floss after every meal and every snack and still not get rid of all the food particles and plaque. If your teeth are crooked or crowded, you may have overlapping areas that a toothbrush can’t reach and that floss can fit into. Those are perfect hiding places for bacteria to start making cavities and irritating gums.
If you have bite issues — overbites, underbites, etc. — then your teeth may be enduring more wear and tear than necessary. This can wear down the enamel of the affected teeth, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth infections.
In other words, straightening your teeth can make it easier for you to clean them. This makes it more likely that you will remove bacteria and plaque before cavities and gum disease can take hold. It also makes your professional dental cleanings at Dr. Farrell’s office more effective, too.
When to Start Orthodontic Care
When should someone come to the dentist for orthodontic care? Twelve years old? Thirteen?
It’s actually much earlier than that.
Orthodontic experts recommend that children should have an orthodontic exam around age 7. By this time, a child has lost some primary teeth and some permanent teeth have erupted. It may be possible to identify potential problems at this age.
This does not necessarily mean your child should begin orthodontic care right away.
Yet for some patients, we may recommend dentofacial orthopedics. (This is sometimes called “interceptive orthodontics.”) These are treatments that can begin before a child’s permanent teeth have fully erupted. Through this process, it’s possible to guide how his or her remaining adult teeth erupt.
This can reduce the severity of potential alignment problems. In some cases, it may eliminate the need for braces when the child is a little older.
With that said, it’s also never too late to begin orthodontic treatment. Many adults who never had braces as teens worry that they are too old to fix their alignment problems. That’s simply not the case.
Whether you are 18 or 80, it’s still possible to straighten your teeth.
Ways to Change Your Smile
How you choose to make those changes will vary from person to person. What treatments are available to you also may depend on the severity of your particular problems.
Thankfully, Dr. Farrell offers a variety of orthodontic services at our Johnson City office. They include:
- Metal braces — This is often the first thing people think of when they think of orthodontic care. Brackets and wires have a long and successful track record of fixing practically any alignment problem you may have, no matter how severe.
- Ceramic braces — As effective as metal braces are, many people would prefer something else. You may not like the look of metal. You may be among the people who have a metal allergy. Ceramic braces can give you the same benefits in a less noticeable way.
- Invisalign — This is a new approach to orthodontics, but it has helped millions of people straighten their teeth over the past few decades. This is the most discreet option — making it very popular among our adult orthodontic patients. The clear aligners are custom-made for your teeth, which is why they seem to disappear when you put them on.