I am proud to announce that I recently completed my orthodontic treatment. As a child, I didn’t have the option of fixed braces and due to the nature of my malocclusion (teeth misalignment) the removable appliance (plate) treatment I had was not enough to make my teeth straight. Luckily, as an adult and a dental professional, I knew just the right person to turn to when I decided that I wanted to ‘take the plunge’ and get my teeth straightened.
As a dentist, I see a lot of clients who choose to have their teeth straightened because they are conscious of their appearance or they may have had braces in the past, but their teeth reverted back to their old position. I also see a few clients per year who are at risk of periodontal disease as they are unable to clean their crowded teeth properly and recommend straightening their teeth to lower this risk and enable them to look after their teeth better. Lastly, there are a small number of my clients who need braces for much more serious reasons than just aesthetics or future maintenance. Some of these people have seriously impaired function, speech and even severe wear of their teeth as a consequence of poor alignment. Over the long term, they develop muscle and joint dysfunction and the years of restorative treatment aimed at masking the wear and the appearance of their teeth eventually catch up with them and the teeth become severely compromised.
I have always had crowded teeth: my dad, my sister, my brother and I all had almost identical arrangement of our teeth and same bite. My appearance never bothered me and I survived the teenage years relatively unscathed. Plus, it was kind of cute when the whole family were all posing for photos together (I know, you are picturing something from the Awkward Family Photos gallery, but I’m sure it wasn’t that bad). However, over the past few years, I felt like a bit of a fraud, recommending orthodontic treatment to clients and having less than ideal teeth arrangement, like a hairdresser with bad hair!
In December 2010, I finally decided to see my good friend Dr Andrew Pitsis (http://ajpitsis.com.au/) and see what he had to say about my orthodontic problem.
Dr Pitsis and his staff were absolutely amazing. They are truly a customer-centered orthodontic practice, who understand the needs and concerns of an adult client. They guided me through the whole diagnosis with utmost respect and care and explained all the options.
We decided that the best treatment for my malocclusion were fixed braces. At first, I expected the stainless steel train tracks (think: Ugly Betty), but when Dr Pitsis pulled out a demonstration model of clear ceramic brackets, white coloured wires and clear silicone modules, I had no doubt that this braces business was going to be a lot less obvious than I ever imagined.
The braces went on a couple of weeks later and although it took a while to get used to the feel of having something glued to your teeth day and night, people hardly noticed them. I had to point out to my clients that I was wearing braces, even they could not tell.
In April this year, I finally had my braces removed, the thinnest little wire retainers bonded to the inside of my top and bottom front teeth and my perfectly straight teeth are now on proud display!
18 months flew by for me. Even though it initially sounded like the treatment time was really long, I was never truly concerned about the time it would take, I was more concerned with the end result and really wanted it to be perfect. However, a lot of my clients do feel that the length of treatment is an issue for them, be it for the number of orthodontist visits they need, the feeling of brackets permanently attached to their teeth or the frustration with slow progress. For them, I have some fantastic news.
Last time I saw Dr Pitsis, he showed me this great little gadget that is taking the world of braces by storm. It is called ACCELEDENT and it is proven to reduce treatment time by 30-50%. Through vibration, Acceledent stimulates faster bone remodelling and speeds up movement of teeth, plus it feels great on those ‘freshly pressed together’ teeth.
He also showed me the new generation of clear brackets, even smaller and thinner than the ones I had…I am jealous!
So, if you have ever thought about having your teeth straightened, see Dr Pitsis. This truly is a very exciting time for orthodontics and the new technology seems to be improving treatment duration, comfort and aesthetics to the point where none of these three ‘concerns’ should be a concern to you any more! Wear them with pride!