By Dr. John H. Huang
“Am I too old for braces?” That’s a question I’m frequently asked by adults seeking orthodontic treatment. It seems that in today’s appearance conscious society, people are always looking for ways to improve their smile. A beautiful smile has been positively linked to increased self confidence, self esteem and improved oral health. The truth of the matter is that patients who have teeth and healthy supporting structures are never too old for orthodontic therapy.
Many adults are now receiving orthodontic care that was not available to them as children. Even adults in their 50s and 60s are getting braces to help enhance their appearance and improve their oral health. Advanced technology has produced small clear cosmetic brackets that are barely noticeable, new permanent retainers can be placed where they do not show, and new specially alloyed archwires can move teeth with minimal discomfort.
Did you know that you can now even straighten your teeth without having to wear traditional braces? By simply utilizing a series of clear plastic aligners, you can finally achieve that beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. If you’re ready for a smile that transforms your appearance without interfering with your day-to-day life, Invisalign is your answer. This specialized technology was developed using computer scanners and virtual reality to move teeth gradually utilizing the construction of clear overlay retainer type appliances. After creating molds of your teeth, the orthodontist will personally design and customize your aligners on the computer prior to fitting them in your mouth. As they are worn, the aligners will put gentle pressure on your teeth moving them into place based on the previously prescribed tooth movement.
Each individual aligner is designed to be worn nearly 24 hours a day, with the exception of eating and brushing. After approximately two weeks of continuous wear, the old aligners are switched out for a newer set. Since the aligners are virtually invisible, you can go about your normal routine with no one even knowing that you’re correcting your smile. You don’t even have to stifle your smile while you’re going through treatment. You can have your picture taken or even remove your aligners to enjoy that special occasion or nail down that new job interview. Need a snack? No problem. Remove your aligners to eat or drink whenever you want.
The total number of aligners required to complete the entire treatment varies according to the severity of the patient’s crowded mouth and bite. Occasionally, the orthodontist may also prescribe additional attachments or rubber bands to be worn together with the aligners. In this manner, crooked teeth, widely spaced teeth, crossbites, overbites and underbites can all be treated effectively. Before you know it, your teeth are straight and you’re smiling like never before!
With the recent development of Invisalign Teen, even teenagers can now take advantage of this “braces free” way to perfect their smile. The teen aligners are slightly modified to allow normal eruption of permanent teeth. A compliance indicator also helps monitor the amount of time the aligners are worn. Otherwise, the same advantages and flexibility apply as with the regular Invisalign appliances. So whether you’re fourteen or forty, why not give your orthodontic specialist a call and see if Invisalign is right for you.
The costs for orthodontic treatment may be much more affordable than you may realize. Although there may be additional laboratory charges for Invisalign, practices that treat a lot of patients may be able to offer volume type discounts. Most large orthodontic offices offer flexible payment plans which together with insurance coverage can make straightening your teeth a lot less costly than you might imagine. The physical and psychological benefits of orthodontic treatment usually last a lifetime, which makes orthodontics a very wise healthcare investment.
Image from: http://www.maitlandsmiles.com
Dr. John Huang has been creating beautiful smiles in Kentucky as an orthodontic specialist since 1995. Prior to that time, he served as a general dentist in the United States Army. His group practice, The Kentucky Center for Orthodontics, is one of the largest specialty practices in the state and has currently treated over 20,000 satisfied patients. The Kentucky Center for Orthodontics was one of the first orthodontic specialty practices to be certified using Invisalign technology and the doctors and staff continue to be leaders in this rapidly advancing field. Dr. Huang and his partners (Dr. Douglas Durbin and Dr. Tom Garner) are currently welcoming both children and adult patients into their practice.