Adult orthodontics are ever more increasingly on the rise. Adults are looking to alternatives to orthodontic braces, and as hollywood smiles are gleaming back at us from the screens of tellies and cinemas, folks are looking into whatever methods they can into getting their teeth straightened.
Why An Alternative Is Needed
Adults now feel greater need to have their teeth straightened, because straight teeth are an ever increasing social norm in the West. We find it attractive, even irresistible, and push all sorts of positive associations onto it, including beauty, trustworthiness, and even hygiene. The catch is this; we also associate the means to getting this treatment, orthodontic braces, with childishness and unprofessional behavior. So a professional who wants to get ahead, and wants to straighten their teeth are stuck at an impasse - how do I straighten my teeth without looking ‘ridiculous’ to others?
One of the great alternatives that dentistry can provide is the use of clear aligners. In order to explain why they are so great and how they can be used, let me first explain what they are.
Aligners look like tooth guards and are made of plastic. They go on your teeth much like braces but are removable, and can be cleaned, as can the teeth underneath them. The aligners are reinforced dental plastics, they are of the kind that are widely used in medicine. These aligners work in the same way that orthodontic braces work - by constantly exerting pressure on the teeth they cause an inflammation of the periodontium, through which the teeth can be shifted and pushed or pulled into a non pathological position.
Aligner therapies work by giving you a different aligner every month. First the dentist has to make an impression of your teeth. The idea is that the first aligner you receive is almost the same as your teeth, and each aligner is more and more like a healthily aligned row of teeth, thus exerting pressure on your teeth over time to guide them into a healthy position.
The aligners are clear, so they are not visible unless you are up close and personal, and they can also be removed. But beware! The aligners need to be worn for at least 22 hours a day in order to reach their maximal potential, and if you spend too long without them you will not be able to receive the next aligner, as your teeth will not have shifted into the right position to be ready for the next step in the progression.