How to get your teeth straightened


The advantages of straighter teeth go well beyond loving your smile. A beautiful and well-aligned smile not only looks good but has health benefits too. Research shows that straighter teeth are healthier teeth.

Not everyone, however, is born with a perfect smile. Common problems include spacing between teeth, crowding, forwardly placed teeth, etc. When left untreated, such problems may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease as well as issues with speech, biting or chewing. Fortunately, with modern orthodontics or dental braces, these discrepancies in the alignment of teeth can be corrected.

What are the health benefits of straight teeth?

-Easier to clean: Crowded or crooked teeth are much harder to brush and floss, which can cause plaque build-up and subsequently lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

-Prevents abnormal tooth wear: Misaligned teeth can lead to inefficient chewing function and cause undue wear of tooth enamel.

-Prevents Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) problems:  Many experience frequent headaches or pain in their jaws related to the TMJ due to the misalignment of teeth. Straightening teeth may aid in alleviating this problem.

What are the options for the straightening of teeth?

If you have misaligned teeth or an abnormal bite, your dentist may recommend appliances called braces to straighten out your smile. Your dentist will more likely refer you to an orthodontist, a dentist who specialises in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

There are different types of braces available today. By applying steady and gentle force, braces move the teeth slowly in their correct position. Selecting the right type depends on a variety of factors such as aesthetics, costs, and allergy.

-Metal braces: These are the most common and conventional types of braces. They usually are made of high-end stainless steel. Metal brackets are attached to the teeth and a wire is secured with elastic rubber ties to move teeth.

-Ceramic braces: These braces provide a cosmetic alternative to conventional metal braces. The brackets are made of ceramic to match the shade of the teeth. Clear elastic ties are used. The straightening process is the same as that of metal braces.

-Lingual braces: These are braces that are placed on the inner side of your teeth facing the tongue and are not visible. This is done for cosmetic purposes and uses custom made metal brackets and wires to move the teeth.  

-Invisible aligners: These are the new alternative to conventional braces. They are a set of clear plastic appliances made to custom fit your mouth. There are no brackets, wires or rubber ties as seen in conventional braces and hence much more discreet. These plastic trays can be completely removed when eating, offering you a lot more choice in food.

Regardless of the type of braces, your orthodontist may want you to wear a retainer upon completion of the treatment for the results to remain stable.

Can teeth be straightened at any age?

Simply put, there’s no age limit for someone to get braces, provided that you have a healthy set of teeth and normal jaw bone. Adults should consult their orthodontists for additional requirements and alternatives to traditional metal braces. For children, the American Academy of Orthodontics recommends scheduling a check-up with an orthodontist no later than 7 years of age. The orthodontist may discover an issue that may benefit from early treatment.

Crooked teeth are a common problem experienced by many children, adolescents, and adults. Braces are usually very successful in realigning crooked teeth and helping to create a nice smile and a healthy mouth. While the best age for braces tends to be during childhood years when teeth develop, it’s never too late to have a healthier smile.

Dr. Paresh Lotlekar is a leading dental practitioner specialising in Periodontology & Oral implantology and the founder of STUDIO32 (studio32india.com), a chain of super speciality dental clinics in Goa.

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