“We don’t know what we don’t know.” You’ve probably heard that before. For me, I know nothing about electrical wirings, which is why I rely on a qualified electrician to hang a new light fixture in my home or add more voltage to an outlet.
Every once in a while I see a TV commercial that probably sounds great to viewers, yet is greatly concerning to me. As a Macomb County dentist for nearly 25 years, I’ve combined advanced skill sets of general, cosmetic, implant, and neuromuscular dentistry to provide our patients with a complete care dental office. This also the proper alignment of teeth.
This training and experience has allowed me to essentially ‘predict’ what can go wrong when proper measures are not taken. I’ll give you an example: When a tooth has a large cavity (or has an existing filling already), I advise crowning the tooth. This protects the remaining tooth structure so the natural tooth – particularly its precious root base – is preserved. When a patient resists the crown and wants only another filling, the tooth is at significant risk to eventually break off. When a tooth breaks below the gum line, it requires removal, and thus, replacement. This leads to far more expenses than crowning the tooth would have required.
So, when I see a smiling person talking on TV about how their straight teeth were achieved through a system that was mailed to their home, what I see in my dental crystal ball is this: This person will initially have what appears to be straight teeth. Yet, their bite alignment has not been truly verified through a customized and supervised process. The result can be teeth that ‘meet’ incorrectly while biting and chewing. This can lead to breaks, chips, or fractures. It can also cause stress or strain on jaw joints. This can eventually create an urge to grind or clench teeth during sleep. From this, headaches, sore jaw joints, ear ringing, aching facial muscles, and worn teeth can occur.
Although teeth may look as though they are properly aligned, a neuromuscular dentist knows it takes very little disparity in bite alignment to trigger a domino effect of problems. I’ve seen patients who have endured headaches and migraines for years, only to discover that one or two crowns were placed at an incorrect height. Or, I’ve had some patients who arrive with a mouthful of worn and/or chipped teeth, never having been told that their bite was misaligned.
The American Association of Orthodontists estimates that 27 percent of orthodontic patients are adults, which has increased more than 16 percent over the past two years. They also estimate that the 2016 percentage of orthodontic patients who are under the age of 17 has risen by 66 percent since 1989. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/well/family/no-more-brace-face-teens-increasingly-use-clear-aligners.html)
There are excellent reasons for having a smile of straight teeth that are properly aligned; advantages that go far beyond having a more appealing smile. Orthodontic treatment ensures a natural balance in your mouth that supports all other structures. Proper alignment of teeth helps jaw joints and facial muscles move harmoniously during chewing, speaking and even yawning. As mentioned prior, the repercussions of teeth that do not function in complete harmony are far reaching – even sore neck muscles or tingling fingers.
In our Shelby Township dental office, we provide advanced technology that accurately diagnosis alignment disparities, some systems even verify bite forces and contact during various functions. This technology can enhance treatment outcomes and help our patients avoid future problems that can emerge from oversights or unseen factors.
The smile that shows wires-&-brackets braces is no longer seen as a negative. Especially for adults, today’s braces are much more comfortable and seen as a sign of a health-conscious individual. Having (or the pursuit of) an attractive smile and healthy bite alignment is a positive reflection on any age. Keeping natural teeth in proper alignment not only provides a more appealing smile, with proper care, can last your lifetime. Additionally, straightening natural teeth is typically less expensive than recreating a smile through porcelain veneers and/or crowns.
For those who want straight teeth but not the look or feel of brackets or wires, Dr. Barbat and orthodontist Dr. Jessica Delgado are Certified in Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. This realignment system uses clear molds to gradually move teeth into proper position, often at a faster pace than traditional braces. Too, the molds are removable for eating and brushing and generally undetectable in a smile.
However, Invisalign treatment is more expensive than traditional braces (in the majority of cases). For this reason, adults can weigh the advantages of both options and determine which is most appropriate. Dr. Delgado is an orthodontic specialist and provides all options for realigning teeth for an optimal bite along with an attractive smile. Plus, we offer several easy payment plans to make this treatment affordable for most any budget.
If you are contemplating orthodontic treatment (whether Invisalign or traditional braces), ask for a complimentary consultation and exam with Dr. Barbat or Dr. Delgado. Call 586-739-2155 or tap here to schedule. During this time, your questions will be answered and recommendations will be made that are best for your needs and goals.
When something advertised on TV sounds too good to be true, chances are, there will be disappointment somewhere along the way. Don’t let your smile pay the price for what seems to be a quick and easy way to accomplish the smile you desire!