Just mention the word "braces" to someone, and you're likely to get a cringe. The orthodontic tool most dreaded by young people and most commonly used by orthodontists has earned a pretty bad reputation for being one of the most painful aspects of dental care, but that's all changing. Thanks to new technology and a better understanding of how teeth react to force, orthodontic treatments are becoming less painful, more attractive, and more convenient than ever before. Here are just a few ways that orthodontic treatments are changing the way your orthodontist treats your teeth.
It's all about discretion
At one time, braces and other tooth alignment techniques were seen as primarily for teens and older children. The bulky metal and wires used in braces were seen as "unseemly" for adults, leading many people to simply live with crooked teeth or poor tooth alignment. Now, there are a number of options that allow orthodontists to correct problems with your teeth without the entire world knowing about it.
Clear aligners allow orthodontists to position teeth without the need for wires and brackets. These plastic molds fit over your teeth to discreetly move them over a course of time, just like traditional braces. Unlike traditional metal braces, these invisible aligners are changed out every 2-3 weeks to change the position of your teeth. The aligners can be removed when eating and brushing your teeth, making it easy to maintain proper dental hygiene. Best of all, it's nearly impossible for others to tell that you are wearing them, so teens and adults can receive orthodontic treatment confidently, without worrying about how their mouth looks while undergoing treatment.
Less painful treatments
One of the biggest problems patients once faced with traditional braces has now been addressed. Pain associated with the shifting of teeth into their new positions while wearing wire braces can be lessened with the use of heat-activated archwires, which move teeth more easily and less-painfully. Another way that orthodontists are reducing the pain of braces is by embracing digital technology to scan their patients' teeth, so the smallest braces possible can be fitted.
Invisible aligners are also a relatively pain-free option for those seeking orthodontic treatments. Reducing the pain associated with orthodontic care has big benefits for dental patients. Less pain means more gain for patients, who will be more likely to maintain proper dental hygiene and continue orthodontic treatments until the teeth are successfully repositioned.
Removable devices make it more convenient for patients to receive great orthodontic care on their own terms. Aligners can be removed for special events or public speaking, making them an ideal choice for busy professionals who want to improve their smile. Removable space maintainers and removable jaw repositioning devices can do the same thing as their fixed counterparts, but can be removed for easy cleaning and to allow for eating or public speaking.
When used correctly, removable orthodontic appliances have been shown to be nearly as effective as fixed ones for treating various orthodontic problems in teens and adults. Because the devices can be removed as needed for cleaning or just for convenience, they are a much more attractive option than fixed devices, making them more appealing to busy adults and teens who want to have their dental problems corrected, but who hate the thought of dealing with the inconvenience of fixed braces.
Today's orthodontic technology has opened up many options for people of all ages who want a healthier, more attractive smile. You have your teeth for a lifetime, so it makes sense to keep them healthy, no matter what age you are. Speak to your orthodontist or dentist to see if one of these orthodontic devices is right for you, and enjoy a new smile that's pain-free and convenient.