Have you ever considered… your smile?
Your smile has a huge impact on your overall appearance and the first impression you give. It turns out that it’s also crucial for self confidence and quality of life. Sadly, not everyone is born with the perfect smile – but that doesn't mean that it's untreatable, and now it is possible without anyone even noticing you're having a dental procedure. We all know the well tried but old-fashioned system using metal braces. But is there an alternative if you're already way after junior high? What if you're already an active adult and want to improve your smile? When you are considering having your teeth straightened, it's important to know the many effective and discrete techniques available today thanks to advancements in dental medicine. To find out everything about getting a straight and symmetrical smile without using chunky metal braces, we talked to Dr. Ilan Preiss, owner of the Udental clinic in Herzliya, who has vast experience with oral and dental aesthetics and won numerous international awards at oral rehabilitation events.
Advanced, braces free teeth straightening treatments – Who's a candidate?
First, we should clarify that in order to undergo these innovative procedures to straighten your teeth without traditional metal braces, the clinic needs to make sure that your dental and overall health allows for the procedures. Yes, yes! You actually need to be "accepted" to get the treatment… ☺ If you suffer from one of the following conditions, chances are it'll be possible to straighten your teeth without using braces or a retainer:
- Dental crowding: if your teeth are crooked or misaligned due to a mild dental crowding issue (i.e. the teeth are too close to one another), it can usually be fixed without using braces or a retainer but instead with newer more discrete solutions.
- Excess Spacing: If your orthodontic problem is caused by extra spacing between your teeth, then there are many techniques of tooth straightening ,as well as porcelain veneer or non drilling composite veneers.
- Teeth that stick out : Generally speaking for teeth that stick out and not caused by massive issues with the underlying jaw bone, well these can all be corrected with the newer techniques.
Are you in one of these categories? Schedule an appointment today with your dentist. "Your dentist will ask questions about your health", says Dr. Preiss, "he'll perform a clinical examination, have X-ray images of the face and teeth taken and then build an appropriate treatment plan, based on an analysis and crosschecking of your personal and medical data ", Preiss continues. "The dentist can then assess the probability of success for treatment that does not involve conventional braces". So, if you are suitable for the treatment, what exactly are these new teeth straightening technologies?
Inman Aligner – a removable teeth straightener: How does it work?
First, we should mention that, with this method, the device used is not completely transparent, but rather it has a single thin metal wire running across the teeth – inside the body of the aligner device. But it is so super fast and effective that patients are so happy with the result that they forget about it being slightly visible and can slightly effect speech with some people whilst it is in place. So, everybody will think I'm wearing a traditional retainer? No, no, there's no need for panic… As it's a fully removable orthodontic device,which takes seconds to place and remove you can decide when to remove it and when to wear it, usually for a combined time of 16 out of every 24 hours. So if you have any events or meetings that you want to take it out, then this is done in a second. "About once every three weeks, you'll have to see your dentist who will assess the treatment's progress and make required adjustments to make sure your teeth are responding correctly."
Pros and Cons for the Inman Aligner – One of the fastest teeth straightening methods
One of the major advantages of the Inman Aligner method, is it’s the speed with which effects are felt, and seen: Within 6-18 weeks of wearing the device for a minimum of 16 hours daily, the process is completed, and you can show off your new perfect smile. Some people ask; Can I wear the device for less hours daily? The answer is yes, but naturally, the more you leave it in place, the shorter the treatment time. But, even if you sometimes decided to take the aligner out, thus limiting the hours it’s in place, you can still achieve fast results. Of course if it is not being worn it will not work. This is achieved by gentle nickel titanium spring pressure applied by the appliance , the inner arch pushes out and the outer arch pulls back. So in effect it is working from two directions at the same time. Another advantage of the Inman is its price, which is friendlier to your wallet than a standard retainer or braces. Unfortunately, there is one major disadvantage to this approach - it's only applicable for the front teeth. If you have problems with the back teeth as well, you should try other, advanced methods to straighten your teeth without metal braces.
Lingual Braces – a brace you can't see
Lingual braces, also called inner braces, work similarly to regular braces installed in front of the teeth, but there’s one major difference: this device is installed behind the teeth. This makes it totally discrete and means, that in most cases, nobody will know that you are wearing braces. The metal "cubes" of a lingual brace are smaller, which helps reduce unwanted friction. The brace is custom made for you, to match your individual and unique teeth structure. However, some people do feel slight discomfort wearing inner / lingual braces. They can cause friction with the tongue or other oral discomfort. But, fear not, if that’s the case or even if you're worried that it will "annoy" you too much, we can recommend alternative methods that provide a better fitting, discrete teeth straightening method. However, if you have decided to go for the lingual brace it will be crafted based a thorough process of measurements and tests carried out by your dentist. Each metal cube is installed on the rear, hidden part of each tooth using a gentle procedure and then the metal wire is fixed to the cubes to create the needed pressure. In terms of the time it takes to complete the treatment, it should take about the same time as standard front braces, which could be anywhere between a year to 3 years. Throughout this time, you can pretty much live normally, but we would suggest avoiding chewing gum, munching away at popcorn or snacking on particularly hard foods (so forget about nuts for a while…). An advantage (medically) of lingual braces is that they are fixed to the teeth and non-removable. So, the patient doesn't need to worry about losing them and the alignment process is constant. The fact that it's practically invisible is yet another advantage of lingual braces.
Teeth straightening using the INVISALIGN method
The Invisalign teeth straightening method is one of the most innovative and most aesthetically discrete ways to achieve the perfect smile and is totally different from the old-fashioned braces or retainer system. Invisalign patented aligners are completely transparent and thus invisible. To add to this major advantage, Invisalign aligners are also easily removable, so you can put them in or take them out whenever you want to and easy to enjoy your food and brush your teeth as they are removed for both.
Invisalign pros and cons
Some patients might find it a disadvantage that, if you want the Invisalign aligner to have the best effect, you should wear them for at least 22 hours every day. It's also worth mentioning that the Invisalign method doesn't come cheap, but it is a very high quality solution that guarantees a perfect smile without anyone knowing about the treatment and without the inconvenience of metal braces. Moving on to other advantages of the Invisalign system. There are no annoying and un-comfortable "metal brackets" to deal with and this innovative device is extremely user friendly! When the teeth gradually start to adjust and move into their correct position, some patients may feel slight discomfort, caused mainly by the pressure on the teeth. But hey, isn't that what we're here for? "Another noteworthy aspect about Invisalign", Dr. Preiss tells us, "is that this transparent teeth aligner is also custom made for you, according to individual data and measurements taken by your dentist. At the clinic, we take teeth molds and run a computer simulation to create the aligners and see the result we're looking for. Then this is approved with the patient for timing and desired aesthetic results. So both the patient and the dentist knows what the end result will look like BEFORE even starting, so expectations and treatment goals can all be met.Patients are required to come to the clinic every 6-8 weeks, for a checkup of the treatment's progress. This way we guarantee we actually achieve the end-result that was planned initially."
To summarize: Not everyone knows it, but well aligned and straight teeth are not only important for aesthetic reasons but also for self-confidence, correct dental functionality and overall good health. It turns out that crooked and misaligned teeth are a fertile ground for a host of health problems, from bad breath to gum disease or tooth decay and even chronic headaches. So, it's good there's a solution! A smart, personally planned and professional orthodontic treatment can straighten the teeth and at the same time reduce the risks for tooth decay and other health issues.