Everyone wants to look their best and in the dental office it is very common for patients to ask Dr. Nadeau and Dr. Krause what they can do to improve their smile. Sometimes this question is a result of having teeth that are chipped, worn or discolored. Other times this question comes from someone who either has crooked/crowded teeth or someone who has spaces or gaps between their teeth.
Teeth that are chipped, worn or discolored are best improved with veneers or crowns. Sometimes, however, patients with crowding or spacing also ask about improving their smile with crowns and veneers. If there’s nothing wrong with the shape of the teeth, we believe that the best way to fix crowded or spaced teeth is with orthodontics. We feel this is much more conservative because once you remove that enamel you never get it back!
Types of orthodontic treatment
There are two types of orthodontic treatment. The first is called Comprehensive Orthodontics and the second is called Short Term Orthodontics.
Comprehensive Orthodontics takes longer to complete and is often times performed on children. This type of work is really two phases of treatment. In younger children, these two phases are frequently broken up into two separate rounds of treatment with a space of time between them. In older children and adults the two phases are essentially unnoticeable to the patient and are seen as a smooth continuum of time. The first phase of Comprehensive Orthodontics is when the teeth are leveled, aligned and de-rotated into position. The second phase is when the bite is perfected and all the hills and valleys of the teeth are lined up to a certain theory or standard. As a result of the two phases, Comprehensive Orthodontics takes longer to complete and the estimated treatment time averages at 2-3 years.
Many adults do not want to spend years in braces and that’s where “Short Term Orthodontics” (STO) comes in. Adults and teenagers with a generally good bite often notice that their bite feels comfortable and don’t see a need to focus their orthodontic treatment on their bite. They’re simply not interested in perfecting something they don’t perceive to be a problem. If there really are no bite concerns, as determined by Dr. Nadeau or Dr. Krause, that’s where Short Term Orthodontics comes in. STO has many trade names (including the two most familiar brands of Powerprox Six Month Braces® and Six Month Smiles®) and both of these brands or systems are really just the first phase of Comprehensive Orthodontics (leveling, aligning, and de-rotating the front teeth). When you only focus on the first phase of orthodontics, the treatment is completed much faster, and six months is the average treatment time of a Short Term Orthodontic Case.
There are two concerns which often arise when someone hears they can straighten their teeth in six months.
The first thing that people worry about is that STO is going to hurt. They worry about this because there is a misconception that STO is accelerating the movement of teeth by getting the teeth into position with strong wires and heavy forces. The opposite is actually true. Only light wires and light intermittent forces are used.
The second thing that people worry about is when we tell them that during the course of treatment their teeth will be “slenderized”. This process of slenderizing (also called interproximal reduction or IPR) does not do any harm to the teeth at all because the teeth are only minimally reshaped. The enamel remains intact and does not damage or harm the teeth. IPR is a technique that is widely used in orthodontics and is common in treatment with clear aligners like Invisalign® and is also even sometimes used in Comprehensive Orthodontics.
At Farmington Village Dental we believe that everyone deserves a great smile that they can be proud of. Besides improving appearance, we also know that straight teeth with proper alignment are easier to clean and are therefore easier to keep healthy and free of cavities and/or periodontal (gum) disease.
It’s never too late to get the smile you’ve always dreamed of. In fact, we have had patients improve their smile well into their retirement years!
Dr. Nadeau is the dentist in our office who performs all of the orthodontic treatment. As a general dentist she has always had a special interest in orthodontics. She began taking orthodontic courses on Short Term Ortho in 2007 with Powerprox Six Month Bracces® and Six Month Smiles®. After completing both of their introduction and advanced trainings, Dr. Nadeau wanted to dig deeper and obtain a more thorough knowledge of orthodontics. She then completed two years of Comprehensive Ortho training with the New England Chapter of the International Association For Orthodontics and she has been a board member of the IAO New England for the past five years. She takes approximately 60 hours in Orthodontic training each year in addition to the general dentistry courses she attends. Dr. Nadeau believes that the more she knows the better your teeth will look. You will be hard pressed to find a dentist who provides Short Term Ortho with the experience and knowledge she has obtained.
Are you interested in Short Term Ortho? Are you looking for a dentist in Farmington, CT? If so, we are accepting new patients and would love to meet you. Please call us at 860-676-2288 or reach out via our contact us page. We look forward to hearing from you!
Yours in continuing dental health, Dr. Monique Nadeau, your Family Dentist in Farmington, CT