The psychosocial benefits of appearance improvement
An increasing number of men and women, not merely the famous, are choosing to have their teeth straightened purely for cosmetic reasons. These are known as the psychosocial benefits of appearance improvement. It has become socially acceptable, if not desirable, to do so.
A new protocol was developed — aligning, bleaching and bonding
Britons, and particularly adults, are spending ever-increasing amounts to achieve a more attractive smile with orthodontics. A decade or so ago, the main way to achieve the Hollywood smile was through veneers, which have to be replaced every five to ten years and are destructive to the teeth. In 2000, a new protocol was developed — aligning, bleaching and bonding. It uses braces or aligners to straighten teeth and then if required whitens them with whiteners.
The main Alignment options
There are three main alignment options: a lingual brace, which is fitted to the inside of the teeth and therefore is invisible (a lingual brace);
The Lingual Brace
A white ceramic and plastic brace attached to the front of the teeth but well camouflaged (a labial brace);
Cosmetic Labial Brace
and a removable clear plastic aligner that looks like a boxer’s gum guard (an aligner).
A one solution fits all scenarios
There are several aligner systems available. The main problem with aligners is that the decision, as to where to place the teeth position in respect to the patient’s facial and dental relations, is left to a laboratory. It has generally never seen or spoken with the patient. So there tends to be a one solution fits all scenario. This is mainly straightening teeth into an expanded arch form, which on removal of the appliance, relapses back to its original position and thus to the return of the crowding. This is unless patients are prepared to wear fixed wire retainers for life.
Consult a trained Orthodontic Specialist
It is clearly much better to consult a trained Orthodontic Specialist, who will assess the problem in detail. Who, with knowledge gained over several exclusive post graduate years of training in Orthodontics, will make the decision, as to where to place the teeth, for the best facial and dental improvement and also preserve the changes into a stable long term position. Fixed lingual or labial braces, or a combination of both, are usually always the best and most long lasting solution.
Exponential rise in Adult Orthodontics
Adult orthodontics has thus experienced an exponential rise because of the increasing sophistication of these discrete treatments, which make it acceptable for adults to have their teeth straightened without anyone knowing. The highly visible metal train tracks worn by the children have been replaced.
Television makeover shows have helped, with their portrayal of lives transformed and confidence returned, supposedly all from having an improved facial appearance. The Orthodontic supply industry also markets directly to consumers, with adverts for a “six-month smile” and Invisalign, in magazines and on public transport. Simon Cowell’s pearly whites, beaming on Saturday night television, must be an additional motivating factor.
Technological improvements have also claimed to shorten the time it takes to achieve a more beautiful smile, such as the Inman Aligner, claimed to work in only six weeks, as well as “the six month smile.” — These are not for everybody, again these simply produce an expanded dental arch form , which will relapse on removal, unless retained for life.
Many adults would like to improve their appearance
Mintel found that “one third of adults express concern about the state of their teeth” and that “nearly one fifth of the population feels they need to conceal their teeth in photographs”. It also found that the majority believed that a warm smile was an important social asset and that people were judged on their smile. This suggests there are still many adults who would like to take the first steps to improve their appearance.
As adults resolve to become leaner, fitter, more youthful and attractive, there will thus be some who choose their teeth as a place to start the battle.