Wondering whether or not to straighten your teeth – or your children’s teeth – with braces or Invisalign? Here’s why aligning your teeth can benefit both your smile and your overall health. Plus where to go for teeth straightening in Singapore.
Straight teeth means healthier, cleaner gums
When teeth are too widely spaced or crowded, they often become inflamed and red – signs of periodontal disease, an infection of the structures around the teeth, including the gums. Aligning your teeth helps the gums fit properly around them, and therefore creates the strongest possible protection against periodontal problems, which can range from mild redness, swelling of the gums (gingivitis) and bleeding when you brush to complete damage to the support structure of a tooth, and eventual tooth loss.
Of course, straight teeth means better cleaning and flossing, too.
“With better oral hygiene and less food trapping, your gum health will improve. A beautiful and fresh smile will then follow,” says Dr Daphne Chua of Aesthete Smilestudio. This means better breath, too!
A cleaner mouth benefits your overall health
The ability to practice effective dental hygiene means you can remove bacteria before it becomes problematic not just for your oral health but your overall health, too; after all, an infection in your mouth can pass through your blood stream. So, what goes on in your mouth can affect the rest of your body – and, what goes on in your body can also affect your mouth!
“Poorly controlled gum disease is known to make it harder to manage diabetes mellitus and, conversely, poorly controlled diabetes can lead to worsening of gum disease,” says Dr Clara Gibson of Expat Dental. “There is also increasing evidence that gum disease can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease. The inflammation in the gums allows bacteria to enter into the bloodstream, causing other cardiac issues.”
What’s more, having straight teeth reduces bacteria accumulation, thus reducing the onset of gum disease.
Straight teeth can improve your mental health, too
A crucial component of your overall health is, of course, your mental health. Studies have shown that having a better smile not only increases how much you smile, but also improves your confidence and lowers your stress levels.
Proper alignment can help prevent abnormal tooth wear
Properly aligned teeth can also relieve the problems that stem from improper bite, speech or chewing difficulties, jaw problems and increased wear on the tooth enamel.
“Having straight teeth gives you more even distribution of biting forces,” says Dr Thean Tsin Piao of Aesthete Smilestudio. “The teeth will wear out more evenly. This prevents excessive wear of some teeth when the teeth are crooked.”
Straightening your teeth at any age
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, as teeth can continue to be straightened in adulthood. And, with more aesthetically pleasing options like Invisalign, clear ceramic braces and lingual braces available, more and more adults are deciding to correct their smiles.
Dr Cindy Ho of Aesthete Smilestudio says Invisalign is especially popular among her patients. The clear, removable aligners are comfortable, discreet and predictable, and can be taken out before every meal.
“With Invisalign, teeth straightening can be comfortable and aesthetic. People can now straighten their teeth while enjoying all the foods they love with minimal fuss or pain,” she says.
Dr Gibson agrees, saying, “I am definitely seeing more patients interested in Invisalign clear aligners. It is removable and more discreet, so it fits in with their lifestyle more easily.”
As for effectiveness, Dr Gibson says Invisalign can be equally effective as traditional braces. “In fact, there are one or two bite conditions where Invisalign is my preferred option.”
However, many patients prefer fixed braces, too. “There is still a strong market for traditional braces, especially white fixed braces. Because they’re not removable, the brace works 24/7; for some patients, this is the preferred choice,” she says. “My own preference is actually lingual braces, which are metal braces attached behind the teeth. These combine the precision of metal braces with a completely invisible appliance, which doesn’t have to be removed for the duration of treatment. So, for adults who prioritise a hidden appliance, this is optimal.”
Children and teens
So, what’s most popular among children and teens? It’s really a 50-50 split between braces and Invisalign, says Dr Eide.
“The choice of type of appliance has to be according to the nature of the problem and the best way to manage it. There are some clinical problems that are better suited to being treated with Invisalign, while others would benefit most from traditional braces.”
For example, in cases involving impacted canine teeth or having to bring teeth in significantly, braces can often do the job more efficiently and in less time. However, for patients with lower jaws growing more slowly than upper jaws, one of the latest design innovations from Invisalign has the capability to correct the bite while simultaneously. And, while she says many young patients who come for an orthodontic consultation are keen to explore Invisalign, there are many pros and cons to consider for both types of appliance. Compliance, for instance, is a major consideration with Invisalign; a child or teen will need to remember to put it back in after eating.
“Invisalign treatment requires a lot of discipline and motivation,” says Dr Eide. “Some children are more forgetful and may lose their aligners more easily compared to others. Some also forget to put the aligners back in after lunchtime. This affects the total number of hours of daily wear, which, in turn, affects tooth movement.”
So, not only can this result in increased treatment time but it can also create increased frustration for both the parent and the child.
Choosing between Invisalign and braces
Usually, she says the main factors affecting the final choice of appliance are:
- The suitability of the case;
- the child’s preferences (and the parent’s opinion!); and
“Your orthodontist will be the best person to advise you as to what the pros and cons are of each appliance, as these choices can affect total treatment time, patient comfort, and the fees involved in the treatment.”
#02-04 Clifford Centre, 24 Raffles Place
6438 3811 | aesthetesmilestudio.com