While others sometimes judge us by the way we look, there are other more compelling reasons for considering orthodontic treatment. Your dental health has an effect on your overall health and comfort. And how you feel about how you look also plays a role in your quality of life. When you feel unattractive because of crooked teeth or jaws that don’t meet properly, you may become self-conscious and preoccupied with your appearance. You may cover your mouth when speaking or laughing, hesitate to smile, or attempt to hide your facial appearance.
Orthodontic treatment can improve your dental health and change your facial appearance for the better, and it can boost your self-esteem. It can provide you with the chance to participate in improving the way you look. Patients often feel more self-confident even before treatment is completed.
As you see yourself looking better, you may find yourself feeling better and enjoying a better quality of life. With an attractive smile, you can face your career and your personal relationships with confidence.
While you may first think of teenagers when you think of braces, orthodontic treatment can benefit all people, regardless of their ages. Today, more and more adults are wearing braces to correct a bothersome smile. Modern orthodontic advances such as less visible braces, as well as affordable payment plans, have made treatment an attractive option for adults.
At the same time, some young children may greatly benefit from early detection of problem bites, and, in some cases, early treatment of those problems. We can help guide tooth and jaw development as a child grows and adult teeth come in. Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing, and may make treatment at a later age shorter or less complicated. For these reasons, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get an orthodontic screening no later than age 7.
Since adolescence, Juliet had automatically covered her mouth whenever she talked to someone. At age 47, she finally made up her mind to see an orthodontist. Her self-esteem was so low that she was afraid to waste the doctor’s time.
“It’s a miracle,”, she says. “Today, I don’t mind walking up to people and saying, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ And I look them straight in the eye!”
Arthur, a lawyer in his mid 40’s, realized that he wasn’t as effective with his clients as he would have wished. “I’m a public person, and people were looking at my mouth. Once, I heard some comments made behind my back.” After braces, that’s not an obstacle anymore. “It doesn’t bother me if people don’t notice my teeth. That means they’re normal.”
Orthodontic treatment can improve dental health as it improves your looks. Straight, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and maintain. Correcting orthodontic problems can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. With a smile that’s truly healthy, you feel better about yourself and your interactions with others.
Dr. Gittess is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. All orthodontists are dentists, but only about six percent of dentists are orthodontists. Admission to orthodontic programs is extremely competitive and selective.
It takes many years to become an orthodontist and the educational requirements are demanding.
An orthodontist must complete college requirements before starting a three- to five-year graduate program at a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). After dental school, at least two or three academic years of advanced specialty education in an ADA-accredited orthodontic program are required to be an orthodontist. The program includes advanced education in biomedical, behavioral and basic sciences. The orthodontic student learns the complex skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).
Only dentists who have successfully completed these advanced specialty education programs may call themselves orthodontists.