A beautiful smile is important to many. For many adults with misaligned teeth there are easy excuses to avoid orthodontic treatment. Typical response for many is….”I am too old” or “Orthodontics take too long”. With recent advances, cosmetic orthodontics can become a reality for many who put it off. Below you will find some common questions about cosmetic orthodontics.
Cosmetic dentistry is a dentistry subfield that focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) surveys, improving appearance was a deciding factor in over 85% of all dental patients. Dr. Perrone focuses on restoring and enhancing a smile at the same time. This can include simple dental bonding, teeth whitening, or even more extensive work like porcelain veneers.
You should seek a cosmetic dentist if you are looking to whiten your smile and improve your overall smile esthetics.
All cosmetic dentists have the required training and experience to provide general dentistry, but some combine the two disciplines to bring art and science together.
The goal of Cosmetic Dentists
The goal of cosmetic dentists is to improve the way your smile looks while maintaining function. Typically, beautiful teeth and good oral health go perfectly together.
Example Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Cosmetic dentistry includes treatments such as:
- Dental implants can replace missing or lost teeth to restore and enhance a natural smile. Dental implants can also be used in a dental implant supported bridge.
- Teeth whitening
- Porcelain Crowns will improve the appearance of your smile along with providing structural restoration.
- Porcelain Veneers
- Dental bonding is used to improve the smile by using a tooth-colored dental material to enhance the shape and color.
It is important to note that not every general dentist will offer all of these dental services. Some will offer more advanced dental materials and techniques, such as the latest in implants and veneers and high-tech methods for whitening teeth.
Orthodontics is the part of dentistry that offers invasive, comprehensive treatments to handle more difficult misalignment issues. Orthodontic treatment aims to re-align the upper and lower jaw to encourage proper speaking, chewing, and overall aesthetics.
All orthodontists hold a general dentistry license. What separates them from a general dentist is that they have additional training in the realignment of teeth.
The goal of Orthodontic Treatment
The main goal of orthodontics is to ensure your teeth are aligned properly in a functional smile. While that may seem simple, the process of straightening and aligning teeth is very complex for many patients and requires more advanced treatment options.
Example Orthodontics Treatments
- Traditional Braces: To align teeth, orthodontics is focused on adjusting the positioning of the teeth.
- Fixed Dental Appliances: In some situations, a fixed appliance is needed, which your dentist can use in the prevention of thumb sucking or reducing a tongue thrust habit.
- Space Maintainers: These dental appliances are designed to hold a space open when a tooth is lost. It is generally used when a primary tooth falls out early.
- Clear Aligners (Invisalign): Invisalign is a popular aligner for adults and teens due to its near invisibility.
- Jaw Repositioning Appliances: Jaw repositioning appliances work well for those who need to realign the jaw and bite, often to treat or prevent TMJ.
- Palatal Expander: This is a treatment option used to widen the upper jaw’s arch. It works by being placed on the roof of the mouth, and movement occurs with directed force over time.
- Removable Retainers: Removable retainers are a type of appliance to hold teeth in their new positions following treatment to prevent relapse.
- Headgear: Some people need more advanced care. This type of device can help slow the growth of the upper jaw while pulling the front teeth back.
Orthodontic care specializes in teeth and jaw function to ensure proper alignment, bone health, and tissue health. You will find that these services also improve overall oral hygiene.
Combining Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics
There is considerable overlap between orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. Combining the two disciplines can often deliver the best results. Orthodontics can typically provide a solid foundation to any cosmetic dentistry work by leaving a healthy smile foundation.
For example, a patient with crowded and crooked teeth could desire dental veneers to make them appear straighter. But with the underlying misaligned teeth issue not addressed first, the veneers on misaligned teeth are likely to break with the bite still off. A better solution would be first to undergo orthodontic treatment to correct alignment and then fabricate the porcelain veneers to create the perfect smile.
This scenario would be orthodontics helping out a cosmetic dentist.
Now consider the opposite, cosmetic dentistry lending a hand to orthodontics.
A patient can have both misaligned and smaller teeth. Orthodontics would straighten the teeth but expose the gaps between the small teeth. Suddenly, orthodontics has created an issue that a cosmetic dentist can fix. The teeth are no longer misaligned, but they are naturally too small for the mouth. A patient like this would likely choose dental veneers to close the gaps.
A well-trained orthodontist will lean on an experienced cosmetic dentist and vice versa to do what is best for the patient’s smile!
Common Questions About Cosmetic Orthodontics
“I am just too old for braces. Braces are for children.”
An important note to remembet is that you are never too old to feel better about yourself. Improving your smile with orhtodontics will make you feel better about your appearance. There is no age limit for adults with a healthy periodontal condition to undergo orthodontic treatment. Cosmetic orthodontics lets you have the perfect smile you have always wanted without putting your life on hold. FACT: One out of every five orthodontic patients is an adult.
“I have previously had braces. Will they just move again?”
The key to aftercare is retention. A fixed retainer is necessary to be worn for a period following treatment to allow the bone to remodel properly. A good way to think of this is that retention is a protection of your investment.
“Orthdontics take too much time to complete.”
For many adults, cosmetic orthodontics can be completed in as few as six months. Depending upon the appliances used and the amount of movement required, treatment can be quite short in length. Six months can totally transform your smile.
“Orthodontic treatment can be painful.”
There should be no pain during orthodontics but there will be some amount of discomfort as your teeth move and you adjust to the brackets and retainers. Most of the discomfort is only for a few days at a time after an appointment. If the brackets or wires pinch or feel uncomfortable a small application of wax will alleviate the issue. A good tip is to take tylenol or alleve right before your appointment to ensure that discomfort is limited.
“Cosmetic orthodontics makes it more difficult to maintain your dental hygiene. Will this cause tooth decay?”
Good oral hygiene will take a bit more attention than it did before the orthodontic appliances were in place, but is very manageable with the right information and tools. Waterpiks, electric toothbrushes, fluoride rinses, and threader floss can make it much easier to keep everything clean and cavity-free.
“Cosmetic Orthodontics is too expensive.”
It is actually a cheaper alternative than a complete smile makeover. It is also much more conservative treatment as no tooth reduction is necessary. Also, for many smiles orthdontics are the only option to get the smile you want. Cost can be overcome using payment plans like CareCredit. This type of credit is offered by most dentists and can make any and all treatment easier to attain.
Cosmetic Orthodontics Conclusion
Using orthodontics can make a huge difference in a smile. For many it will actually be an easier way to achieve the smile of your dreams. Talk to your dentist about orthodontic options and see if they are right for you.
If you are ready for a smile makeover, contact Marielaina Perrone DDS at (702) 458-2929 to schedule a no cost cosmetic consultation appointment. We cannot wait to help you with your smile makeover to create the smile of your dreams.