Smile. Do you see unwanted stains, gaps, or other blemishes? Want to zap those embarrassing flaws? New dental technology has surfaced in recent years allowing patients to receive painless and cost-effective procedures. Now a celebrity smile can be easy as saying “Cheese.”
In sixth grade, I had to take my first trip to the orthodontist. My front two teeth were very crooked and displaced. Not to mention the gaps that were in between each tooth. Of course the cure for both my dental issues was the good ole fashion metal style braces. It wasn’t that big of deal, since everyone else going through puberty was wearing them too.
Getting food stuck in between the wires was annoying. So was that special tool to string dental floss through to clean real good in between the teeth. If that didn’t work, a water pick was supposed to be the next best thing, but it was hardly useful.
With metal style braces, you could jazz up the brackets with a variety of colored bans. The colored bans would fit over the brackets and would give decoration to the braces. I would usually get colors that either represented my school or dance studio. It was the only fun thing about having braces.
But what if you are an adult and don’t want a mouth full of flaring metal? Well, there are some new appliances that work like traditional braces without the unappealing look.
OrthoClear is a new product that allows patients to wear clear aligners made up of medical grade polymers that straighten the teeth. A professional orthodontist will take impressions of the teeth and then send them off to OrthoClear to actually make the personalized aligners. The aligners are worn between 9 to 18 months depending on the severity of treatment. The aligners can be removed to eat and also for brushing a flossing; something traditional braces don’t allow. Once the orthodontist feels like your ready to quit wearing them, you just take them out. It’s that simple no removing brackets from teeth.
Another product similar to OrthoClear is Invisalign. It is the same set up with the patient changing aligners approximately every 2 weeks. The clear like design is so clear you can’t tell that a person is wearing them. They cost just as much as regular braces, but without the hassle. Both these treatments are not for everyone. It depends on what kind of work needs to be done. Both OrthoClear and Invisalign correct crowding, spacing, overbite, under bite, cross bite, and other orthodontic problems.
After I had my traditional braces taken off, I ended up having to get my teeth whitened. My teeth were moderately stained from the brackets. It was noticeable. I went to my dentist and he suggested that I do this safe whitening system. My dentist gave me theins and outs of whitening. The whitening products over the counter only whiten stains that are not that noticeable. They also have a higher level of concentrate in them that could be harmful to the gums. Plus there is no telling how long the product has been sitting on the shelf. It could be out of date and not very effective.
The whitening system I used contained placing a gel type substance in personalized aligners that I put in every night. I used the product for about 30 days. After the 30 days were up, my stains were still visible. The white around the stains got whiter and it made the stains more noticeable. It cost around $300 for this treatment. For those who have minor stains, this whitening system probably would have been effective.
For more stubborn stains, laser tooth whitening is probably the answer. In laser tooth whitening a gel type substance is applied to each tooth and a laser is then positioned over the tooth to initiate the whitening process. It takes approximately and hour to an hour and a half compared to the 30 or longer gel-type treatments. It is more expensive as it ranges anywhere from $500-$1,000 and something dollars.
After I tried tooth whitening, I had another blemish I needed to repair. I had a tooth that was smaller than the rest of my teeth. In a case such as this tooth bonding is the answer. Bonding is a type of resin that is put over the tooth. The tooth is first prepped with an etching solution that allows the resin bonding to stick to the tooth. Once the tooth is placed with resin, a laser type light is placed over to harden the surface. After a few coats, the tooth is now ready to be molded and shaped.
My dentist used a little buffer device to mold the resin bonding in the shape of my tooth. He went back over the surface with a polisher to make it shine. Resin bonding comes in a variety of shades to match your tooth color. It took about an hour to do. It was painless and now my little tooth looks normal. I am very happy with the results.
I am still unhappy with the discoloration of my teeth. When I get the money, I am going to have this new procedure done that is out on the market called Lumineers.
With traditional veneers, the tooth structure had to be grinded down into a point and then porcelain was overlaid on the tooth. It sounds painful, but with Lumineers the process is painless. Lumineers provides patented Cerinate porcelain that is placed directly over the tooth to correct permanently stained, chipped, discolored, or misaligned teeth. They are as small and thin as a contact lens. They are supposed to last up to twenty years. I want to receive this treatment, since I believe my discoloration is permanent.
If you have heard a hip-hop or pop station lately, you probably have heard Nelly’s newest hit called Grillz. This song is an homage to the dental appliances made famous by hip-hop artist. These appliances are made up of gold or silver and encrusted with diamonds or some other type of jewels. My favorite line in this song is “Call me George Forman, cause I’m selling everybody Grillz.” It is a great dance song. Grillz range in price from a hundred to tens of thousand of dollars. Dental procedures have come along way in the past decade. A more variety of less painful procedures are out there that cost just the same or sometimes even less than traditional methods. Some dentist and orthodontist offer payment plans. Ask your dentist first what treatment is best for you. He or she will know what’s right for your particular situation.