For a lot of people in the United States, their smile is the first thing that they’re judged on. It’s something that you see in the professional world, in dating, and even in academics. It’s something you’ll notice if you ever have to go in front of a judge for having broken a law, no matter how minor. And because of this, we, as Americans, spend a lot of time and money improving our smiles.
There are various places one can go in order to make themselves more aesthetically pleasing, but when you’re talking about fixing your teeth, you’re either going to an orthodontist or a cosmetic dentist’s office. Using cosmetic dentistry for smile correction isn’t a new idea, not by a long shot; even in the times of Aristotle, they were talking about (and attempting) various ways to straighten and improve the look of the teeth, using crude materials like various gold alloys and catgut (yes, people used to put the intestines of cats in their mouths in order to straighten teeth).
Tooth realignment technology has gone through a few noticeable updates since then, to the point that today, what we use doesn’t look similar at all to what was used in the past. Where the old methods involved crude headgear with the aforementioned cat intestine, today’s methods are much more sterile. Today, we commonly use standard metal braces to fix misaligned teeth.
Standard metal braces are a very simple concept, but it’s proven time and time again to be extremely effective in straightening the teeth. They consist of a series of brackets, made from metals, originally dental gold, but now more commonly stainless steel or aircraft-grade titanium, which are affixed to the front of teeth with the use of dental adhesive. Over the top of the brackets, in a groove, is run a metal wire, which is then hooked onto the ends of the brackets in order to create tension that will slowly realign the teeth into a more optimal position. Throughout the course of treatment, this wire will be inspected and adjusted as needed in order to get the desired result.
Perhaps your teeth don’t need straightening, maybe they’ve just become cracked and otherwise damaged over the years as a result of the wear and tear that we’re all exposing our mouths to every time we take a bit or do something ridiculous like open a bottle with our teeth (I’ve done this. Don’t do it. This is how you chip your teeth and look foolish, believe me). The answer to this particular issue is the use of veneers.
Veneers, like so many cosmetic treatments to improve the aesthetic look of a person, were first used in Hollywood, way back in the late 20s, to improve the look of teeth during films. They were only in the mouth for about five to six hours, which is all that the primitive dental adhesive of the day would allow for.
Today, however, they’re a much more permanent solution. Today, veneers are commonly made of various porcelain, or a mixture of porcelain with a metal frame, and are shaped specifically to complete the look of the tooth. They’re still held in place with dental adhesive. However, today’s dental adhesive lasts for somewhere between ten and thirty years, rather than a fourth of a day, and is more closely related to rubber cement, structurally speaking.
Finally, if you’ve outright lost a tooth, for whatever reason, like having rolled over a motorcycle or maybe just knocked one out falling down the stairs, the answer to your smile issues (and the gap in your teeth) is the use of a dental implant. A dental implant is basically a new, fake tooth that can be put into the place of the missing tooth. It’s made to look like your natural tooth, and is designed so that it will be held in place with an ‘anchor’, which basically is drilled into your jaw line (and yes, they’ll give you something to numb that feeling). The implant undergoes (hopefully) a process called ‘osseointegration’, by which it comes to fuse to the bone around it, and to act as if it were a natural part of the mouth, and it will be held in place by the same forces that hold your natural teeth in place.
So, if you think your smile needs some work, whether it’s something minor like a veneer or braces, or something requiring dental surgery like a dental implant, give your local cosmetic dentist a call and see what they can do for you today.