It seems like these days there are some alternative options to having braces to fix your teeth. When I was growing up everyone I knew had braces. In fact, if you didn’t have braces you were the odd one out. I remember that my orthodontist was on the fence about whether or not I should get braces, and I begged him to give them to me so that I could be just like the rest of my friends. We would all coordinate the colors of our rubber bands so that we could match, or we would choose colors based on upcoming holidays. Alternating red and green rubber bands were always popular around Christmas time, and you had to have red and pink rubber bands for Valentine’s Day. For the first year or so that I had braces I viewed them as a fashion accessory; after the first year I started to hate them. Once everyone started to get their braces removed, all I wanted was to get mine off. My mom used to laugh at me because I had begged for braces at first, and once I had them I couldn’t wait to get them off.
I had braces for three and a half years before I got them removed. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I had my appointment early in the morning before school, but not too early that I wouldn’t at least miss my first class. I remember thinking that the only thing I would miss about my braces was that I wouldn’t be able to get out of school anymore with the excuse of having an orthodontist appointment. The removal of my braces was relatively painless, and if it caused me any pain at all I don’t think I cared because I was so excited to see what I looked like without my braces. All of my friends who had already had their braces removed had warned me about how strange and slimy my teeth would feel after having them removed. The strange, slimy feeling only lasted for a day but I remember it very well.
After I had my braces removed I was given a clear retainer to wear on my top teeth to stop them from shifting back to their original place. I also had a permanent metal wire implanted behind my bottom teeth. About two years after having my braces removed the bottom retainer popped off my teeth while I was eating a carmel apple in the parking lot of my high school. I had the retainer replaced but then it popped off again about three years later. I didn’t have another put in but my teeth haven’t shifted at all. I am glad that I had braces, even though I grew to hate them over time. I have been very happy with the end results and am now proud of my smile. Braces may be a pain in the rear end, but they are well worth the time and effort.
Dental health is important not just because society puts a lot of stock in a beautiful smile. Orthodontics does grant one a beautiful smile, and you are bound to impress when you find a skilled orthodontist in Charleston. But there are health reasons to invest in orthodontics as well. Orthodontics paves the way for a healthy, strong smile for the future. It is unlike routine maintenance because of the scale of the procedure. Compare basic dental hygiene, like brushing your teeth or flossing, and getting braces. The basic, routine maintenance keeps your teeth in good condition for a long period of time by performing small but sustained measures. Orthodontics, on the other hand, it a bit of an overhaul for your mouth. It is more intrusive than just brushing your teeth, but it results in a kind of “result to default manufacturer settings” for your mouth. This resetting of your teeth, the gums of your teeth, and the jaw line set you in the right direction for a future of strong and healthy teeth. For all of these reasons, it is very important to make sure that your children have the proper dental care at a young age. First of all, the sooner that you catch a problem, the sooner that you are able to get it fixed. Orthodontics is all about catching a problem early so that it does not turn into a bigger issue. It is a gradual process. Braces work by gently pulling the teeth into place slowly and imperceptibly. The name of the game is gradualism when it comes to pulling your teeth into the right location. And wouldn’t you want to pull your teeth a shorter distance if you were able to? You can do so if you catch the teeth before they drift too far out of place. The easiest way to catch this is by getting your kids into the orthodontist earlier than later. Another reason that it is important to get your kids into the orthodontist early is so that they have a good impression of dental health. I talk to my friends about positive association with kids, and sometimes they think I’m crazy. I do not, however, think that I am overstating this issue. Although we are not always conscious of it, the experiences of your youth stick with us and make an impression. Are we forever stuck with these experiences, as a Freudian might suggest? I’m not so sure, but I would guess not. We can change and make adjustments in our attitudes but it takes a lot of work. If your children come to associate negativity with dental care and the orthodontist, it is going to take far more work to undo those attitudes and predispositions. You want your kids to be more inclined to maintain good hygiene measures for dental health. Finding a kid-friendly orthodontist can be a huge way of ensuring that. Team up with the orthodontist to make a combined effort in making your kids more inclined to take ownership of their dental health.
I never thought I would see the day that my husband went ahead and had the braces put on his teeth. He has been avoiding it for most of his life, but now that our two children need them, he has finally decided to take the plunge and do it with them. They don’t know that he already needed them, they just think that he is doing it so that they don’t have to do it alone. Which really is a wonderful thing for him to do for them. Both of the children really didn’t want to get the braces, and they really fought us on it. They were afraid that no one would like them any more, that people would laugh at them and they would not be able to smile in class from here on out. They just thought that they would be bullied at school because they thought that braces weren’t for the cool kids. But dad and I did our best to convince them that wasn’t the case, and that most people have to get braces, and that it makes their teeth much more perfect and they will thank us later and be happy about doing it when they have straight teeth. But when we were at our whits end and had run out of arguments, my husband realized that if he did it, then the kids would do it too. They were looking to him for a reaction on braces, and they knew that he had always avoided them. Of course, none of those things they were afraid of were in any way true, and braces aren’t painful and they are hardly even noticed by other people. It was just a fear that they had. So, my husband went in to the orthodontist office and had the braces put on his teeth, and he told him that it should be the same schedule as the kids. They were so surprised, they didn’t know how to react. Really their only option was to go ahead and do what the orthodontist suggested and get braces. So now they all have them, and they are all realizing that it really isn’t any different with them than it was without them. Life is the same, and their teeth are being fixed in the process. They will no longer have to deal with crooked front teeth, and the roots of their teeth are going to grow in straight so they won’t have to worry about any ill effects from that either. In a year or two, their peers at school will still be getting braces put on and they will be done with it forever, they will have fixed teeth. And my husband will finally have a straight smile as well, one that he has avoided for all these years. But it was so great that he did, because now he can share this with his kids and they have something that has really bonded them together, their aversion to and their need for braces.
I had a phase in high school in which I was all about getting back to what I thought were “simpler times”. I would look back at whatever the pioneers or cowboys did, and thought that this was a model for simpler living. I became a little disillusioned with this when my father asked me what the cowboys would have done about braces. It certainly seems a little unappealing, to say the least. Technology is a wonderful thing that allows us to (eventually) use fewer resources to do better things by constructing smart machines. And orthodontics has been a recipient of these innovations. The technology used in orthodontics has made the process cheaper, more comfortable, and shortened the duration of the process. Braces are now more accessible to other people that could not previously access them. As the systems that we use in orthodontics improve, we have to use fewer resources throughout the process. This means that it is ultimately cheaper. If it is cheaper for the doctors and staff, then they can afford to sell their services at a cheaper price. The result of this is that more people are able to access braces than ever before. This means that more children have the opportunity to have straight, healthy teeth later in life. It also means that more adults that did not have the opportunity as a child are able to get braces put on in their later years. They still have the opportunity to have neat, symmetric teeth. Adults wearing braces is a pretty common procedure nowadays. Gone are the days of only teens wearing braces. Another way that technology has improved (and will continue to improve) orthodontics is by making it more comfortable. Invisalign braces is a great example of an innovation that has made braces more comfortable socially and physically. Invisalign is a form of braces that are transparent and set across the face of the teeth not unlike a mouth guard would. This means, first, that people can hardly notice them. While everyone should have stoic resolve and not give a single care about what others think about the appearance of their teeth, we live in the real world. And these are great for those of us that do care that we have a large, metallic contraption in our mouths. For us, invisalign is great. But it is also more comfortable. Think about about the gap between the comfortable of invisalign braces and whatever was used back in the pioneer days. I think that this underscores the point that different technologies work together in creating the machinery of modernity. And this machinery ultimately makes our lives more comfortable and easier. But it also lightens the demand put upon resources that we used to do our activities. By creating smart machines that increase efficiency, we can find new and creative ways to do more with less. And in an age of economic strain and environmental crisis, we can use all of the technological innovations that we can get our hands on, even in orthodontics.