Posts for tag: orthodontics
Sometimes it seems that appearances count for everything—especially in Hollywood. But just recently, Lonnie Chaviz, the 10-year-old actor who plays young Randall on the hit TV show This Is Us, delivered a powerful message about accepting differences in body image. And the whole issue was triggered by negative social media comments about his smile.
Lonnie has a noticeable diastema—that is, a gap between his two front teeth; this condition is commonly seen in children, but is less common in adults. There are plenty of celebrities who aren’t bothered by the excess space between their front teeth, such as Michael Strahan, Lauren Hutton and Vanessa Paradis. However, there are also many people who choose to close the gap for cosmetic or functional reasons.
Unfortunately, Lonnie had been on the receiving end of unkind comments about the appearance of his smile. But instead of getting angry, the young actor posted a thoughtful reply via Instagram video, in which he said: “I could get my gap fixed. Braces can fix this, but like, can you fix your heart, though?”
Lonnie is raising an important point: Making fun of how someone looks shows a terrible lack of compassion. Besides, each person’s smile is uniquely their own, and getting it “fixed” is a matter of personal choice. It’s true that in most circumstances, if the gap between the front teeth doesn’t shrink as you age and you decide you want to close it, orthodontic appliances like braces can do the job. Sometimes, a too-big gap can make it more difficult to eat and to pronounce some words. In other situations, it’s simply a question of aesthetics—some like it; others would prefer to live without it.
There’s a flip side to this issue as well. When teeth need to be replaced, many people opt to have their smile restored just the way it was, rather than in some “ideal” manner. That could mean that their dentures are specially fabricated with a space between the front teeth, or the crowns of their dental implants are spaced farther apart than they normally would be. For these folks, the “imperfection” is so much a part of their unique identity that changing it just seems wrong.
So if you’re satisfied with the way your smile looks, all you need to do is keep up with daily brushing and flossing, and come in for regular checkups and cleanings to keep it healthy and bright. If you’re unsatisfied, ask us how we could help make it better. And if you need tooth replacement, be sure to talk to us about all of your options—teeth that are regular and “Hollywood white;” teeth that are natural-looking, with minor variations in color and spacing; and teeth that look just like the smile you’ve always had.
Because when it comes to your smile, we couldn’t agree more with what Lonnie Chaviz said at the end of his video: “Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. Do you. Be you. Believe in yourself.”
If you have questions about cosmetic dentistry, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
You can straighten your smile without braces through a discreet alternative called Invisalign. While braces involve the use of hard brackets and wires to straighten your teeth, Invisalign uses soft plastic trays called aligners to move your teeth into the desired position. The aligner trays are custom made to comfortably fit your mouth and are removable, unlike braces. The aligners are also clear so they are barely noticeable to others. At Jax Beach Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, Dr. Rick Harrison is your dentist for Invisalign in Jacksonville Beach, FL.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an alternative to braces for straightening teeth discreetly. Invisalign utilizes a series of removable aligner trays to gently move the teeth into the proper position. The trays fit over the top and bottom rows of teeth and are custom made for a perfect fit. Each set of trays is worn for a few weeks before being replaced with the next set. With each new set of trays, the positioning of the teeth changes slightly, which helps the teeth move toward the desired position. The trays are made from a soft plastic material that is comfortable to wear.
Advantages of Invisalign
There are several advantages to choosing Invisalign for straightening your smile. The trays are soft and comfortable and do not irritate the mouth and gums the way the hard brackets and wires associated with braces can. The trays are also removable, which makes maintaining good oral hygiene easier. Your dentist can help you decide if Invisalign is the right teeth straightening option for you. In Jacksonville Beach, Invisalign offers the following advantages:
- Discreet — The clear trays are barely noticeable to others.
- Comfortable — The trays are made from a soft plastic material that is comfortable to wear.
- Removable — The trays can be taken out to eat, brush, and floss.
- Protection — The trays protect teeth from being worn down due to frequent grinding or clenching.
Invisalign makes it possible to straighten your smile discreetly. The trays are clear, removable, soft, and comfortable. For Invisalign in Jacksonville Beach, FL, schedule a consolation with Dr. Harrison by calling Jax Beach Cosmetic & Family Dentistry (904) 241-4237.
Moving your teeth to a more functional and attractive alignment is a big undertaking. You can invest months — even years — and a lot of expense to correct a bad bite. But all that effort could be for nothing if your teeth return to their original positions.
The very aspect of dental physiology that makes orthodontics possible can work against you in reverse. Your teeth are not actually rigidly fixed in the bone: they're held in place by an elastic gum tissue known as the periodontal ligament. The ligament lies between the tooth and the bone and attaches to both with tiny fibers.
While this mechanism holds the teeth firmly in place, it also allows the teeth to move in response to changes in the mouth. As we age, for example, and the teeth wear, the ligament allows movement of the teeth to accommodate for the loss of tooth surface that might have been created by the wear.
When we employ braces we're changing the mouth environment by applying pressure to the teeth in a certain direction. The teeth move in response to this pressure. But when the pressure is no longer there after removing the braces or other orthodontic devices, the ligament mechanism may then respond with a kind of “muscle memory” to pull the teeth back to where they were before.
To prevent this, we need to help the teeth maintain their new position, at least until they've become firmly set. We do this with an oral appliance known as a retainer. Just as its name implies it helps the teeth “retain” their new position.
We require most patients to initially wear their retainer around the clock. After a while we can scale back to just a few hours a day, usually at nighttime. Younger patients may only need to wear a retainer for eighteen months or so. Adults, though, may need to wear one for much longer or in some cases permanently to maintain their new bite.
Although having to wear a retainer can be tedious at times, it's a crucial part of your orthodontic treatment. By wearing one you'll have a better chance of permanently keeping your new smile.
If you would like more information on caring for your teeth after braces, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”