Cosmetic dentistry is an area that has enjoyed explosive growth in recent years. Today, braces, fixed orthodontic devices, are known to be the most effective corrective orthodontic appliances. They are used to treat almost every type of malocclusion (teeth alignment) and space between teeth (diastema).
Orthodontics can make rehabilitation treatments more aesthetic, durable and less expensive. By aligning teeth in their proper position and in the right axis, dentists can minimize crowns, extensive bridges and fillings requirements.
Despite these advances, unfortunate myths that distort the perception on orthodontics still exist, including the following.
Myth # 1
“A dentist can’t align teeth as well as an orthodontist.”
Currently in Quebec, of all the cases treated with orthodontics, there are as many cases performed by general dentists as those done by specialists. Therefore, yes a dentist can provide full orthodontics treatments and perform all its procedures.
Dr. David Côté has taken dentistry training dealing with the prevention and correction of malocclusions. He has the professional skills to adequately develop treatment plans, the fabrication, implementation and control of dental and orthopedic corrective appliances for correcting malocclusions, jaws and soft tissues that contribute to dentofacial harmony.
Myth # 2
“I’m too old. Orthodontics are for teenagers!”
The reality is that age does not matter; patient health is decisive. The dentist makes a diagnosis on the patient’s teeth and periodontal, then provides a treatment that will ensure dental health and anticipated teeth movement, regardless of age. In our clinic, we treat patients aged between 40 and 70 years regularly and successfully. The basic biological process allowing teeth movement is the same in all individuals. In adults, with the absence of teeth growth, it’s necessary to use different approaches or different treatment objectives to allow for best results.
According to the Quebec Order of Dentists, adults now account for over 25% of orthodontics clients, and this number is on the rise. As a matter of fact, braces have evolved to allow even more efficient, accessible and stress-free interventions than ever before for the adult population. As people live longer, adults of all ages are interested in preserving their teeth. Senior citizens are becoming even more common in our practice.
Myth # 3
“Orthodontics take much too long.”
At our clinic, the average orthodontics treatment period for adults is between 10-18 months. Children wear corrective braces between 1 year and a half for the lucky ones, and 2 years for the less fortunate. However, each case is unique.
We identify problems and set goals we can accomplish in a set period of time. Of course, these objectives will also ensure that the patient’s health and the stability of the treatment not be compromised. In short, we don’t treat adults as we do teenagers, they are different case types!
Duration of treatment depends on the complexity of dental malpositions. Nevertheless, there are effective ways to fast-track orthodontics treatments, such as more frequent appointments, 2-3 weeks between visits, enabling more sustained and gradual alignment of the teeth. Processing time can then be shorten and greater attention can be given to details.
Myth # 4
“I cannot stand pain!”
In the past, rigid steel wires were used, and orthodontics appliances exerted greater forces on the teeth creating discomfort and pain for patients. Today, newer technologies such as self-ligating braces and flexible copper-nickel-titanium alloy wires are used allowing teeth to straighten with minimal discomfort.
In the early stage of treatment, as when installing appliances and subsequent wire changes, it is normal to feel a certain discomfort that may last a few days. If significant pain should persist, you should call your dentist.
Let’s remember that the pain threshold varies from one person to the next and the same procedure can be very sensitive to a person while someone else might hardly feel it.
Myth # 5
“Only braces can fix my teeth.”
While fixed braces are standard in orthodontics because they are versatile and efficient, today other devices and technologies to correct malocclusions are available in many forms and in different materials: metal, ceramic, plastic and transparent. There is now a choice of coloured or clear brackets that are much more aesthetic.
Another option is to install lingual braces on the inside of the teeth. Although these braces can cause a temporary lisp because in contact with the tongue, they remain unseen. Difficult to clean and more expensive, they are not appropriate for severe cases.
It is also conceivable to align teeth without braces using transparent plastic aligners called Invisalign. These are almost invisible mouthguard-like clear plastic aligners, surely a more comfortable option with which patients can eat and drink whatever they want. However, it should be understood that this alternative technology will not correct all types of malocclusion, let alone complex ones.
Myth # 6
“The tighter the braces, the quicker the treatment.”
Fact Many believe that the more tension in the braces, the quicker the teeth will move. Some patients even require tightening the devices to speed up the process.
Inversely, we must ask the teeth to respond to optimum, not maximum strength. If the forces are too strong, they can destroy the tissue around the teeth, such as bone, gingiva, periodontal ligament, which must be regenerated before the teeth move. Orthodontics is a delicate balance of power; too much force can cause tooth movement in the wrong direction.
If the force is ideal, tissues respond optimally and the teeth move faster. With orthodontics, it’s an established principle that the dentist must constantly assess the forces applied to the teeth to be adequate regarding wires, elastics, coil springs, power chains, and others.
Orthodontic treatment is the naturally beautiful cosmetic procedure that is suitable for patients of all ages. It can be accomplished with minimal discomfort, in a reasonable time period with lasting results that is conservative to tooth structure.
It is never too late to improve your smile! At our clinic, Dentist David Côté is best qualified to advise you in choosing the most appropriate orthodontic device.
Your feedback, concerns, questions are welcomed at any time. Should you like an examination at our clinic for a malocclusion problem, please contact Vanessa or phone (819) 770-3636 to set up a quick appointment.