How can I straighten my teeth at home?

We have been asked a lot, lately, about services, such as SmileDirectClub® and Invisalign®.  There seems to be an increasing demand for convenient, esthetic, and efficient ways of straightening one’s teeth.

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Do I have to see a dentist or an orthodontist?

The answer is, yes.  At some point in your treatment you will have to see a dental professional.   This is for good cause:

  1. You are investing a lot in your smile
  2. Your smile (your teeth) is a part of your body and overall health
  3. Your teeth need to be evaluated periodically to monitor how your treatment is progressing
  4. There are steps dentists or orthodontists can take to to ensure your treatment is successful, and your smile is beautiful and healthy

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What is SmileDirectClub®?

According to their website, SmileDirectClub® “is for anyone who wants a smile they’ll absolutely love. We straighten and brighten most smiles gently, remotely, and in an average of 6 months for quick, clear confidence.”

They summarize the process in 3 steps:

  1. Obtain a 3D image of your teeth by booking a 3D scan at one of their SmileShops or get an at-home impression kit sent to you

    What is a SmileShop®?  A location where a 3D scan is taken of your current smile.  3D scans eliminate the need for traditional molds and are a fast, accurate way of capturing a 3D image of your teeth.  Our intra-oral Scanner is a complete digital imaging system that takes impressions of our patients mouths with extreme accuracy. The high quality images that the system provides will help us to diagnose issues more accurately and create a personalized treatment plan for you

  2. After your 3D smile is reviewed by a dental professional, your treatment plan (on average, 6 months) is created, and your invisible aligners (and whitening materials) are sent directly to you
  3. At the completion of treatment, you can order retainers to help maintain your results

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What is the difference between Invisalign® and SmileDirectClub®?

The truth is, they’re essentially the same form of orthodontic treatment: instead of metal brackets and wires, they use a series of clear, removable aligners to straighten the teeth, close gaps, and improve your bite. These aligners are almost invisible when worn and can be taken out to eat, drink, brush, and floss, providing a number of conveniences and benefits.

Invisalign® and SmileDirectClub® are both name-brand products.  Our office uses clear aligners to provide a similar orthodontic treatment method without the branding.  Read more at What is Invisalign?

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How do I choose between Invisalign®, SmileDirectClub®, or other clear aligners?

Treatment with our clear aligners is often cheaper, faster, and even more convenient than treatment with Invisalign® itself! Here are a few of the benefits of our clear aligners as compared to Invisalign®:

  • Customized Treatment: With Invisalign, we send your treatment plan to the Invisalign company, which then manufactures your aligners. Clear aligners allow us more control in the treatment process, allowing us to use our own manufacturer and control your treatment more directly.
  • Speed: Because of this increased control, we can often perform your treatment more quickly.
  • Quick Turnaround: We use a local lab for manufacturing clear aligners, which means you’ll get your aligners and start your treatment faster. Turnaround time for clear aligners is roughly 2 to 3 weeks, as opposed to 4 or 5 weeks with Invisalign.
  • Fewer Aligners: Because we control the process directly, we can often treat patients with fewer aligners using clear aligner treatment.
  • Cost: Clear aligners don’t have the same branding as Invisalign, so you’re paying less for a virtually identical form of treatment!

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Schedule a Consultation with Your San Jose, CA Orthodontist

While both are excellent options for orthodontic treatment, clear aligners offer a number of advantages over both braces and Invisalign – and because it’s such a discreet form of treatment, it’s hugely popular with our adult orthodontic treatment patients. If you’re interested in learning more about how our clear aligners can revolutionize your own smile, we’d be thrilled to help. Call us today at (408) 266-8820 to learn more about clear aligners and orthodontic treatment in general, and if you’d like to get started on the path towards a brand new smile, just request an appointment online at our San Jose office. We can’t wait to hear from you!

*some information courtesy of https://smiledirectclub.com

Do wisdom teeth cause your teeth to become crowded?

What we often hear from our adult patients is, “I had braces as a kid, and my teeth were straight.  My wisdom teeth came in, and, now, they are crooked.”  The belief that wisdom teeth cause the front teeth to become crowded by “pushing” them forward is a common one.

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Many patients are encouraged by their dental professionals to have their wisdom teeth (third molars) extracted to prevent future crowding.

Is there any validity to this theory?

In short, current research does not support the belief that wisdom teeth, alone, cause crowding of the teeth in front of them, or “push” on them enough to cause movement, nor that they contribute to the relapse after orthodontic treatment. The majority of peer reviewed research shows that even if people have their wisdom teeth removed, teeth (especially the lower front teeth) continue to crowd as we age. This is the case whether a person has had braces or not. Research has shown that teeth tend to drift forward throughout life, even in the absence of posterior teeth or molars.

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The age that people stop wearing their retainers, many times, coincides with when the wisdom teeth first start to erupt.  Many adults report that they wore their retainers for only a year or so after they had their braces removed, but once the wisdom teeth became impacted (stuck below the gums), their teeth started to crowd. We have learned that without retention, teeth that were previously crowded will start to revert back towards their previous position.  Often wisdom tooth issues that arise at this age are correlated with the crowding that occurs during these years after retention is stopped. A long term use of your retainers is the only way to guarantee you will keep your teeth straight.  

If the wisdom teeth are not major contributors to increased dental crowding as we age, where does it come from?

Factors that may affect lower incisor crowding include dental (crown size, dental arch length loss, poor periodontal status and primary teeth loss), skeletal (growth of the jaws and malocclusion), and general (age and gender).

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The take home message, and current standard of care, is that chances of future crowding, alone, does not warrant wisdom teeth be extracted.

There are a number of other reasons that may indicate the need for extracting these teeth, including the inability to properly clean these teeth, tooth decay, pericoronitis (inflammation of the gingiva around partially erupted third molars), and impacted positions that may cause damage to the surrounding jaw structures. Each person is an individual, and the decision to extract the third molars should be discussed with your dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon.

How do I fix the crowding without getting braces again?

Braces are still the most popular orthodontic treatment we offer – but they’re far from the only option. Invisalign (clear aligners) is an exciting alternative to braces that transforms your smile using clear, removable plastic aligners to straighten teeth instead of metal wires and brackets.  Clear aligners are discreet, convenient, and effective for orthodontic patients.  Read What’s the Difference Between Invisalign & Clear Aligners?  and read more about Invisalign at our website.

*https://www.meadowsorthodontics.com/do-wisdom-teeth-cause-your-teeth-to-become-crowded/

*https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/do-wisdom-teeth-make-your-crowded-gina-de-los-santos-terc/