Everybody wants straight white teeth. Every time you switch on the TV or read a popular magazine, you will see celebrities with beautiful straight white teeth. Not everyone is blessed with a bright white beaming smile. Here in the UK, our teeth and smiles are often made fun of by people from other countries, as up until recently, having straight white teeth was not seen as a priority for the British population. Thankfully, this is changing. The younger generation are being educated better in looking after their teeth, and more and more people are keeping their own teeth for longer.
The trend in having a “smile makeover” became popular in this country in the early 2000’s. Many American dentists came over to the UK and taught our dentists the concepts of smile design using dental veneers. This was a great treatment, but now, further down the line we have realised that veneers, crowns and bridges need replacing. Currently, we as dentists try to be as conservative as possible. I personally don’t feel that it is acceptable to cut a tooth down to 50% of its size so that that a ceramic crown or veneer can be placed over it to make it more aesthetically pleasing unless I really have too. Although crowns and veneers look great, they come with a cost – the destruction of the underlying tooth enamel. For dentists, tooth enamel is priceless. We want you to keep as much enamel for as long as possible as it allows as this will ensure the best possible long term prognosis for your teeth.
So how do we solve the problem, how do we give our patients straight white teeth? Simple, we can now provide adult orthodontics, or braces for grown-ups to straighten the teeth. Most of the time, when I mention this option to patients they instantly say “No chance, I had train tracks as a child, and I’m not having them again!!!”. However, upon explaining that now braces are different, soon, our patients begin to listen. Once patients realise the physiological destruction of teeth with other treatments to provide straight white teeth, they begin to understand the benefits of braces. The whitening bit is relatively easy once the teeth are straight.
Why patients don’t want braces
• Commonly, patient’s main objections to adult orthodontics are:
• I don’t want train tracks
• I don’t want braces for 2 years
• I don’t want to have any teeth extracted for the brace to work.
• I don’t want people to see that I have braces
• Braces hurt
These objections, although valid are overcome by the newer techniques and procedures that are available. Newer products are barely visible, and come in tooth coloured, or completely invisible options. The treatment times are much quicker; many treatments can be completed in as little as six months! Also, these days we try to practice extraction free orthodontics – we don’t want to take any teeth out if we can avoid it.
What are the problems that adult orthodontics/braces can treat?
• Crowded Teeth – Teeth which are twisted or overlapping
• Spaces - Spaces between teeth
• Teeth that stick out
• Fang like Canines
• Open Bites - Teeth do not meet when you bite, especially at the front
• Deep Bites - You cannot see your lower teeth when you bite
• Cross Bites – Teeth that overlap in the wrong way.
What are the options?
Now the braces are tooth coloured. These can only be seen when you are standing very close to the person. You will be shocked at how many people have this type of appliance in their mouths and you will not have known! Clear aligners (a removable brace that looks a little like a gum shield or whitening tray) can be made to be almost invisible. This device is only removed when you eat and causes your teeth to move into a straighter position. This type of brace was made famous by the Invisalign company. More recently the trend has been toward having “lingual orthodontics”. This is the most invisible type of brace, and it is placed on the inside of your teeth.
If I am honest, this type of brace has actually fooled me, a practising dentist. I have seen people who even I couldn’t tell were wearing a lingual brace!
I have had braces – 3 times!
Although a dentist, I am also a dental patient. I can totally empathise with my patients, as I have been through orthodontics, not once, but three times. Similarly, to many of my patients, I had a brace as a child, but not knowing what my future vocation would be, I was a bad patient and wear my retainers. My lower teeth relapsed, and I was left with slightly crooked lower teeth. When I qualified, some newer options for orthodontics were released, and I opted to have some removable braces provided. I like many of my patients had objections to having fixed braces.
How would it look, a dentist with braces! Unfortunately, this process didn’t quite work out for me, mainly because I didn’t wear them correctly, and I grew tired of the treatment. I didn’t complete the full treatment course and consequently, my teeth didn’t get as straight as I wanted. My teeth always bothered me. I felt it difficult to be taken seriously as a cosmetic dentist, when my own teeth were not perfect. – I finally made the decision to go and see my specialist orthodontist who placed ceramic braces on my top teeth and metal braces on my lower teeth. These were fantastic for me and in no time my teeth were perfectly straight. Nobody ever thought that the braces were unsightly, they didn’t hurt a bit, and the proves was over in a total of 8 months. Most importantly, my goals were achieved at the end, and I ended up wishing I’d done it sooner. I genuinely gained more confidence after having my teeth straightened.
Which dentist do I go to?
We are biased and would say come and see us here at Rock House Dental Practice in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton! Dr Dehal is highly qualified and experienced in the field of dental orthodontic dentistry, and will ensure that the solution provided is the right one for you. He has all the various orthodontic options available to him. I can vouch (from first-hand experience) for him, that the experience and outcome you will receive will be first class!
If you cannot come and see us, then talk to your normal dentist. You may find that they provide orthodontic treatments.
Whoever you choose, ensure that the they have the correct training and experience. Find out what training they have done, and where. Ask them how long they have been providing braces/ orthodontics, and for how long.