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The 21st Century Smile

I thought I would kick of 2013 with a trend that has become more and more common in adults of the 21st century, the tried and true method of ensuring a straight smile!!

The field of orthodontics is ever increasing its offerings and witnessing a broader patient age range. No longer thought to be a milestone for teenagers alone, orthodontic treatments and appliances are frequently being seen from a very early age, right through to the elderly. I have witnessed several of my friends and family members opting for braces this decade at a 'ripe old age'. I remember back in the 70‘s when I had braces, this would have been completely unheard of. This is surely proof of a trend towards an increase in attention to improved dental health and cosmetic appearance.

The technology has changed so much during that time and although I am not qualified to comment on orthodontics, I have had the good fortune in my business to witness the work of one of Sydney's leading Orthodontist’s. Dr Derek Mahoney has some amazing eye opening presentations on our website that really got me thinking about my own orthodontic treatment and how much is had progressed in the last 3 decades. He is one passionate practitioner who offers a wealth of information on the topic.

In my day when getting fitted for braces, the orthodontist extracted 4 good healthy teeth to fit the teeth into the room you had in your mouth. This maintained a narrowing of the arch and an almost ‘inward’ setting of the teeth. If you pay close attention to anyone you know who had the good old ‘silver train tracks’ of the 70’s and 80's, you might just see what I mean. My sister Jen and I are prime examples of that era

These days it is completely unheard of to practice this method and I would be very wary of anyone who wanted to extract healthy teeth from your mouth. We only get one set in our life and we want to hold on to them if we can. Unfortunately if you were a young teenager in the late 70’s and 80’s as I was and you were marched of to the orthodontist for your mandatory straight smile, today you are likely to be cursed with 4 less teeth than your post 80's successors and a not so ‘Hollywood’ smile. Actually I'm not exactly sure when advancements came into play, I just know it was way after my time

Today, many adults are visiting the Orthodontist alongside their kids for the new advanced method of broadening the arch to make room for the unaligned teeth, giving a fuller more symmetrical appearance. Of course it’s not as simple as my humble explanations, as many factors come into play when assessing orthodontic cases. This is a subject best left to Dr Mahoney or similar professionals in the field.

According to many skeptics, the argument against orthodontics includes an argument of cosmetics. Once you understand the health benefits for orthodontic treatment explained by Dr Mahoney, this argument is fast diminishing. Good orthodontic treatment is a means to get the facial structure back to how it is designed to be at birth. I often think of it in a different context.... incorrect jaw or teeth alignment is like being born with a broken arm. It needs to be ‘reset’ to have the best level of functioning. There are several health benefits to a nicely aligned set of teeth including improved breathing and reduced tension or migraines among others. I can understand why more adults are opting for the modern day ‘train tracks’

Often, dentists recommend that youngsters are assessed for orthodontic procedures by the age of 7 for an accurate evaluation of future dental alignment problems. Parents understand these same kids are going to face one common obstacle for most teenagers of today - braces in high school photographs. With more available options in orthodontics, clear braces, as well as colors are now readily available to make the process more enjoyable. Nowadays, you can find thousands of articles on Dentist’s education.

As briefly mentioned above, history has proven that few adults embraced options in orthodontics, preferring those more age-appropriate treatments like porcelain veneers, porcelain bridges and crowns. Adults today are keeping pace with teenagers, feeling the elation as their braces are finally removed. Private Health Insurance options and coverage today, permit orthodontics to be considered within much the same way as regular dental treatments.

The benefits and appeal of orthodontics in the 21st century are all positive: straightened teeth for simpler flossing and brushing, improved self-esteem and self-confidence, enhanced well-being, improved breathing and optimum medical/dental health. The reality is, no matter if a person is 6 or sixty, and opts for metal, ceramic or clear, braces, aligners or Invisalign, today's orthodontic field provides patients the chance at a healthier and happier lifetime of smiling.