Life

Ask the Dentist: Clear braces could pave the way to a brighter smile

If wonky teeth inhibit your smile there is an alternative that doesn't involve equally unsightly braces, says Lucy Stock, dentist at Gentle Dental Care in Belfast

There are no brackets and wires to potentially irritate your lips or cheeks with the latest clear braces
Lucy Stock

WHEN you are unhappy with your snuggle tooth smile it can feel like the whole world is staring at your wonky teeth when you speak. This can leave someone feeling shameful and embarrassed and having to resort to all sorts of ingenious methods to try and hide their teeth. Advances in dentistry mean that you just don't have to shut up and put up with a smile that you deem less than presentable.

With out-of-position teeth there are the metal braces which work very well, especially for the most difficult of problems. However, there are people who want a more discreet brace. Clear braces have recently undergone a breakthrough in the materials used and the manufacturing process. This means that more people can be treated with clear braces and in a more timely fashion.

The Invisalign company has developed a plastic that is slimmer, more comfortable and more effective than previous designs. They are BPA-free plastic aligners that slip over your teeth like flexible, thin, see-through mouth-guards.

There are no brackets and wires to potentially irritate your lips or cheeks and you don't have to worry about cutting your mouth while playing sports or an instrument. Since they are smooth they are very useful for people who are more sensitive to touch, like people on the autistic spectrum and children.

If you wanted to see if your teeth could be treated with clear braces, the dentist would first take some photos and then either scan your teeth or take impressions to make 3d models. You would then be able to see a predictive photo of what could potentially be achieved at the end of treatment before starting. You can even see your own before and after with the SmileView technology on your phone before going to the dentist; bearing in mind that this is a very rough guide.

For the braces to work you actually need to wear them for 22 hours a day so if you are of an undisciplined disposition then you are most probably best on the metal brace route.

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