If not treated immediately, a cracked tooth can cause several problems, like pain, swelling, and infection. If you ever experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist right away to prevent further damage to your teeth or gums. That said, if you’re currently in pain and need immediate care for a cracked…
Orthodontic Options For Smile Makeovers
Individuals who are ready for a smile makeover often suffer from crooked teeth or improper bite alignment. These situations can lead to an unsightly smile and pain or discomfort in the teeth, gums and jaw. Fortunately, there are options for those seeking orthodontic treatment to improve tooth appearance and function for more confidence and an improved quality of life. While traditional braces are still the most common treatment route, there are alternative options that can be discussed with a professional orthodontist.
The two major types of orthodontic treatment
In general, most patients in need of a smile makeover will wear braces or use clear aligner trays to straighten the teeth. Both options are safe and effective but come with a different set of requirements for use and care. Regardless of which choice is made, both typically require the follow-up use of a retainer to prevent the teeth from shifting again.
Clear aligner trays
Individuals who are looking for a more discreet option, such as older teens and adults, may prefer to use clear aligner trays to improve a crooked smile. A dentist or orthodontist will take impressions of the teeth and order a custom set of removable trays that are replaced as treatment progresses. This option is a bit more economical than braces and typically takes one year or less to complete. However, clear trays are only appropriate for those with less severe alignment issues who are able to responsibly use and care for them. The devices must be worn at least 22 hours a day and should only be removed for eating and cleaning. It is critical to handle every tray with care to prevent damage and thorough cleaning is required to avoid staining and tooth decay.
For younger patients and individuals with more severe cases of crooked teeth and malocclusion, traditional braces are the more appropriate option. Most orthodontists offer metal and clear ceramic brackets for a more customizable look. The average treatment time lasts between 16 months and two years, depending on the case. Patients who require braces may also need to receive supplementary treatment with devices like palatal expanders. It is important to clean around brackets and under wires thoroughly to prevent stains on the teeth and gum irritation.
Early preventative treatment in children
In general, most orthodontic treatments cannot begin until all baby teeth have fallen out. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children with an orthodontic problem be seen for evaluation by age 7. In some cases, special devices can be used to help influence the proper formation of the jaw, which can make corrective treatment easier once the permanent teeth are in place.
The correct method for straightening crooked teeth is dependent upon the individual patient's needs. Age and preexisting conditions can help determine the proper course of action for every patient. Individuals who seek professional care and properly maintain their teeth and aligner trays or braces often enjoy a smile makeover with positive results.
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