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Embrace your smile

Published:Monday | October 8, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Dr Anna Law, orthodontist.

Latoya Grindley, Staff Reporter

Investing in your smile is investing in your overall health and appearance. Gone are the days when metal grins were associated with children to correct their smiles. Grown-ups are now embracing this corrective method too.

In a recent interview with orthodontist, Dr Anna Law, she pointed to the growth of her adult clients which now constitutes 50 per cent of her client base.

"You are never too old to wear braces. All you really need are healthy teeth and gums", she noted.

According to her, the delay in wearing braces until adulthood is normally due to a number of common factors.

"I would say that some adults didn't have the options back then. Some just really didn't have the finances to do it, while some have sent their children off to school and are just now investing in themselves".

The setback as it relates to wearing braces in the adult years, though, is that the cases become more complex. According to Law, the average defects of a teenager are easier to treat as opposed to an adult whose problems become more complicated over time.

But, despite how difficult the problem is, it can be rectified starting at the minimum average treatment period of two years.

In an attempt to move away from the metal smiles, popular choices for adults tend to sway to the option of wearing clear braces.

These tend to be more discreet in terms of appearance, but Law highlighted that while they are effective, clients may have to spend more dollars and may have to endure a more prolonged treatment time.

Varying types

"You have different types like the Invisalign and the ceramic braces. But while they can be effective, they have their disadvantages as well. Certainly for the Invisalign, it is more suited for very mild cases. For the ceramics, which is closer to the colour of the teeth, they can treat more cases but can be very fragile'.

The best method of treatment though, is left to the orthodontist, who will analyse each individual case in a consultation session.

"You will have persons coming in who will tell you which braces they want, but after the consultation with the orthodontist, are ultimately left to decide".

While the discreet option to wearing braces has won popular approval, another option is the lingual braces - which is a little more expensive, but just as effective.

"This is worn behind the teeth unlike traditional ones. Therefore, it is not seen at all on the outside," explained the orthodontist.

New developments have also given birth to the six-month smile concept. But Law said that great caution should be taken when considering this option.

"Wearing braces for six months will only correct what can be readily seen by the eyes," Law said, adding that this new method is mostly done by general dentists, and can cause a number of other dental problems.

"Short courses cannot adequately prepare you for changes that can occur when the teeth start to move. What happens when things like the brackets start to fall off or the teeth start moving in a way you never expected or intended?"

She said that research has shown that the problems these new corrective methods are used to correct can be treated with the use of a dental retainer. These are sometimes prescribed to correct minor orthodontic problems instead of braces.

For persons who are daunted by the prospect of wearing braces for a number of years, Law recommends Wilckodontics - a form of dental surgery instead which she has been offering since 2002.

Wilckodontics, she noted, is the surgical option used to get the teeth moving faster, which will condense the treatment period.

It is a minor surgical procedure and is considered by many brides who would want to get their teeth fixed before their big day.

Dr Anna Law is located at 4 Hillcrest Avenue, Kingston 6. Telephone: