If you have crooked or crowded teeth, or suffer with a misaligned jaw, your regular dentist may have referred you to an orthodontist to have braces put on. Luckily, things have changed over the years and you no longer have to have metal bands placed around each tooth or wear uncomfortable headgear. Go ahead and make an appointment with the orthodontist to sit and discuss the different options you have for straightening your teeth. Here are a few things you may wish to bring up at the meeting.
Even traditional braces have changed considerably over the years. Instead of bands placed around each tooth, a simple bracket is glued to the front of your teeth. A thin wire is attached to the brackets with tiny rubber bands to help move your teeth into position.
If the idea of having metal brackets on your teeth that everyone can see is going to be a problem, you can ask for ceramic braces instead. The brackets are made of a clear ceramic, so they are not as visible on your teeth. In addition, the wire that is used to move the teeth into place is coated with a white elastic, so it is not as visible either. However, you will need to be extra vigilant about brushing and flossing, or the brackets and elastic may stain.
Self-ligating braces use a special slide mechanism that allows the wire to move and adjust by itself. If you have this type of orthodontia, you will not need to visit the office as frequently as you would if you had other types. It will also correct the problems with your teeth faster so you won't need to wear them for as long. In addition, brackets and wires are available in a clear version if you do not want to have them seen on your teeth.
If your teeth are not badly crooked and your jaw alignment is fine, you may be able to wear removable retainers to straighten them. As your teeth move due to the retainers, you will need to see the orthodontist for a new set. How long you need them will be determined by how much you wear them.
Having straight teeth is not only important to your self-esteem; it is also a health issue. If your teeth are crowded, food particles and bacteria can become trapped. This can result in tooth decay and infections in your gums. If you are concerned about crooked teeth and your dentist hasn't mentioned braces to you, ask to be referred to an orthodontist at an office like Orthodontic Smilemaker. Braces aren't as bad as they used to be, and it won't be long before you have a nice, healthy smile.