In years gone by, crooked, gappy or overcrowded teeth were either left alone or corrected with braces which looked uncomfortable and unattractive. In those days if parents did not take their children to the dentist in their pre-teenage years, their teeth were left to develop on their own. Many adults were left with misaligned teeth and had to cope with problems trying to chew their food, suffering stomach disorders and an aesthetically disadvantaged smile. How dental science and technology have changed things over the years! Now these dental conditions can be corrected by using a variety of different appliances.
Efficient virtual consultation
Not only has technology given us the internet, but also tremendously effective ways of allowing dentists to conduct preliminary consultations with patients virtually. Using mobile phones patients can send pictures of their mouths to their dentist who can make suggestions prior to a full examination of how they can help to correct the relevant condition.
Braces and aligners
The dental developments that have taken place over the past decades have resulted in dental equipment and techniques that can correct virtually any condition. The old-fashioned metal brace has been remodelled into a modern comfortable appliance hardly recognisable from its predecessor. In addition there are braces that can be fitted behind the teeth so that they are less conspicuous. By far one of the most radical, teeth-straightening appliances is the invention of the invisible aligner and as the name implies it aligns the teeth, correcting crooked or ill-spaced teeth and overcrowded mouths.
Invisalign Macleod is a particular branded aligner which works by gently easing a patient’s teeth into the desired locations in the mouth. A very comprehensive examination is first carried out at which a variety of the latest equipment is used. A special scanner is used to allow the dentist to create a 3D image of the interior of the patient’s mouth. This allows for an assessment to be made of the suitability of the treatment. Once this has been established the dentist can commence with the creation of a treatment plan. No two people are the same and it is important to get this stage absolutely perfect. Another software program carefully calibrates the movements required by each tooth to achieve the straightened result required. Once completed the dentist can show the patient a virtual view of what their teeth will look like once treatment has been completed. The treatment plan is then sent off to thelaboratory for the aligners, referred to as trays, to be made.
Fitting and treatment
When received the dentist will check that the aligners are correct and the first will be fitted. There are a series of these trays each with a slightly different orientation to achieve the correct result. Each tray is worn for about 2 weeks before the next tray is fitted. Trays must be worn for at least twenty hours per day to achieve the best results. They may be removed for eating and for brushing and flossing.
End of treatment
The duration of the treatment is dependent on the condition being treated, but generally up to twelve months is the norm. At the end of the treatment a final retainer aligner is fitted which can be removed more regularly, but should be worn at night. This aligner needs to be worn while the teeth are settling. Now the patient can face the world with a confident radiant smile.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.