I want to share an interesting fact with you, did you know that a patient’s face shape and profile can be seriously affected by the decision to extract teeth in your lifetime? It’s true, your face shape now and in the future is partially influenced by how your teeth make up your facial structure. To compound matters, this issues becomes more prominent during the ageing process.
Thankfully now, extraction is not the preferred way to clear crowding issues. As we are all aware, a beautiful broad smile is viewed as much more attractive to the eye. So if it has been decided facially that non-extraction treatment is preferable, how can a big smile be achieved in patients that appear to have severely crowded teeth and no room? How and where will the space be created?
It’s actually very simple, the wider the diameter of the dental arches, the more room to fit teeth. There are several ways to achieve this result. The most common is to attach an appliance to the roof of the mouth containing an expansion screw that is turned open over the course of several days. This is used more commonly in pre-teen patients who are still growing. The opening of the screw can become quite uncomfortable and may lead to gum problems on the involved teeth. For adult patients, additional surgical assistance is often needed.
Good news, with the introduction of more modern orthodontic technology that use light forces to stimulate “ novel bone modeling”, we can now change the shape and size of the bone area in which the teeth reside. This now replaces the heavy uncomfortable forces of the palatal expander with light biologically friendly forces of certain varieties of orthodontic braces. Facial and lip muscles can now be involved to encourage the development of width of the dental arches to help achieve the desired effect.
I wish more adults knew of the anti-aging benefits orthodontic treatment can provide. Being an Orthodontist, perhaps I’m a bit biased, I would like to think bigger smiles, taught face profiles and an overall polished healthy look rank higher on the list than mini facelifts, injectables or spa treatments. Other obvious advantages include improved chewing and better digestion.
These types of treatments mentioned, as well as the incorporation of other “Face First” orthodontic methods, open up the vistas of increasingly beautiful orthodontic smilies which were previously rarely achieved.