If you are considering teeth straightening treatments for your teeth or your children’s teeth, did you know that having straight teeth benefits not just your smile but also your overall health? Here are the benefits of straight teeth and where to go for Invisalign and braces in Singapore.
Straight teeth means healthier, cleaner gums
When teeth are too widely spaced or crowded, they often become inflamed and red. This is a sign 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 health, 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!
Not only is poorly controlled gum disease known to make it harder to manage diabetes mellitus but poorly controlled diabetes can also lead to worsening of gum disease. There is even increasing evidence that gum disease can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease.
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.
“While people most often associate orthodontic treatment with teenagers, orthodontists treat all ages,” says Dr Thushala Ubaya of Smilefocus. “There is no age limit for starting orthodontic treatment. Today’s orthodontic technologies ensure the most efficient and effective paths for orthodontic correction.”
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 with Invisalign and braces in Singapore. Here’s what to know about the different types of straightening solutions.
There are also many patients who prefer fixed braces, too, says Dr Chong Hui Theng of My Braces Clinic.
“Traditional fixed, colourful braces are popular due to their relatively lower cost as compared to Invisalign and ceramic braces.”
Also, because fixed braces are not removable, the braces work around the clock. For some patients, this is the preferred choice, especially for teens, kids and anyone who may not be as disciplined with removable aligners.
She says that ceramic braces are also popular when it comes to fixed braces. “The discreet colour of ceramic mimics the appearance of natural teeth, even though they’re fixed on the outside surface of teeth.”
Ceramic braces work using the same mechanics as traditional or self-ligating metal braces, in which brackets have spring-loaded gates to hold the archwire and encourage the teeth to shift more naturally into place. However, as ceramic brackets are clear or tooth-coloured, ceramic braces offer an invisible advantage compared to metal braces.
My Braces Clinic even offers Damon ceramic braces, which have the benefits of blending easily with teeth, and shifting teeth into place more naturally, requiring fewer adjustments at the clinic throughout your treatment.
“At the end of the day, though your orthodontist will recommend the most suitable solution for you, you are the one getting the treatment and aware of what you’re most comfortable with. Therefore, it”s important to understand these different alternatives,” says Dr Chong.
If you want the precision of fixed metal braces, minus the rubber bands, you might want to consider Damon braces, explains Dr Poon Kee Hwang, dental specialist of orthodontics at My Braces Clinic.
“Braces use brackets to move teeth. But, while traditional fixed braces use colorful rubber ‘ties’ to hold the wires tightly in place, Damon brackets have a small, in-built gate that clicks closed to passively hold the wire in. This greatly reduces friction and binding, allowing for a more comfortable and faster way to move teeth,” she says.
Dr Poon’s pick for the ultimate straightening solution? Lingual braces, which are metal braces affixed behind the teeth. This makes them invisible unless the mouth is opened wide.
Dr Poon is a practicing lingual orthodontist with more than 15 years’ experience, and has trained under some of the most distinguished teachers of the Lingual Technique, including Dr Dirk Wiechmann, creator of the Incognito Lingual System. Lingual braces, she says, are the “crème de la crème of orthodontic systems” because they combine the efficiency of fixed braces with the aesthetics of a hidden appliance.
What’s more, wearing lingual braces removes the hassle of taking aligners in and out on a daily basis, making compliance a piece of cake.
The only downside is that these braces are can be more expensive that others, and can be more difficult to clean. Adjustments in lingual braces can also take longer or be more challenging, as the braces pull the teeth in instead of pushing them back.
“Clear aligners are a good alternative to wearing fixed braces. They are clear, removable appliances that sit over the teeth, like a mouthguard – but they’re specially engineered for each patient,” says Dr Ubaya. “Additionally, aligners are easy to wear and easy to keep clean, and are simple to replace if you lose them.”
Dr Thean Tsin Piao of Aesthete Smilestudio says Invisalign is especially popular among his patients. The clear, removable aligners are comfortable and predictable, and can be taken out before every meal. What’s more, Invisalign is discreet and invisible to the naked eye at arm’s length, he says. For these reasons, more and more of his adult and teen patients are favouring the clear aligners over traditional braces. In fact, Dr Thean says he finds that his Invisalign patients are more willing to be socially active, since their peers, colleagues, friends, clients and supervisors don’t know they’re having orthodontic treatment.
Even kids are experiencing the benefits of Invisalign, particularly the added confidence it brings. According to Dr Thean, a child can start as soon as most of their baby teeth have come out. He does caution, however, that starting the treatment too early can cause “treatment fatigue and a loss of motivation that can result from a too-long treatment process.” So, it’s best to consult your dentist to choose the solution that’s right for the individual child.
Invisalign treatment: What to expect
For these reasons, Invisalign has become the most popular alternative solution to braces, says the team at G Plus Dental Center, a full-service dental clinic that offers cosmetic, surgical and general oral health dentistry across two locations, including Camden Medical Centre. “Invisalign is comfortable and virtually invisible, and suitable for both teens and adults,” they say.
If you have thought about getting braces and think that Invisalign might be a good option for you, the first step is reaching out to your dentist for an assessment. “During your first visit, we will introduce the concept of Invisalign, and answer any questions you may have. We will also have an in-depth talk with you about Invisalign, the benefits of the treatment, and what you can expect. We’ll need to examine your teeth to ensure that this treatment is suitable for your current dentition.”
Next, the G Plus Dental team will use utero Digital Scanner technology to take a 3D digital scan of your teeth. It only takes a few minutes and helps the team understand what exactly needs to be done to your teeth. You’ll even get to see what your teeth will look like after treatment is complete!
A before-and-after outcome simulation is also one of the special feature of this digital scanner, says the G Plus Dental team.
“With this innovative iTero digital scanner, we can take a 3D digital scan of your teeth within minutes and present you with computer simulation of how your teeth may look like after Invisalign treatment! This is definitely more comfortable than the use of traditional impressions.”
Invisalign vs braces for adults
There are pros and cons to both aligner systems and traditional fixed braces, explains Dr Graeme Burlinson of Burlinson Dental Surgery. The dental clinic provides metal braces, ceramic braces and the Invisalign clear aligner system. And, for very minor teeth corrections, he says that Burlinson Dental Surgery uses a local technician that can fabricate clear aligners.
“Braces have been around since the 1900s and are therefore tried and tested. Though clear aligner systems are very popular nowadays, there are certain teeth movements that are better achieved through braces. Sometimes, we may even combine the two treatments, finishing off with braces should the aligner system not give the desired result,” he says.
“Because aligner systems require a lot of discipline, the patient must be willing to wear the aligner 22 hours a day. Otherwise, the teeth may not move as per the prescribed plan. Braces, however, are fixed on the patients’ teeth, thus moving them without the need for patient compliance.”
What’s more, Dr Graeme says that the cost difference between braces and clear aligners can be significant. Therefore, patients need to factor in the cost when deciding on which system to use to straighten their teeth.
Children and teens: Invisalign or traditional braces?
So, what’s most popular among children and teens when it comes to Invisalign and braces in Singapore? It’s really a 50-50 split between braces and Invisalign, says Dr May Eide, a dentist with specialty training in orthodontics from the UK. At Skye Dental, she sees young patients will all kinds of jaw problems. And, the choice of type of appliance, she says, really depends on the nature of the problem and the best possible 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.”
Things to consider when choosing between Invisalign and braces in Singapore
While many of her young patients who come for an orthodontic consultation are keen to explore Invisalign, Dr Eide says 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.”
Not only can this result in increased treatment time, but it can also create increased frustration for both the parent and the child.
Comfort, of course, is another consideration. Invisalign may be more comfortable than fixed braces as no wires or sharp braces are bonded to the teeth.
Ultimately, Dr Eide says that the three main factors affecting the final choice of appliance tend to be:
- 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.”
After orthodontic treatment
No matter which type of braces you choose, wearing a retainer after orthodontic treatment is necessary, says the team at G Plus Dental Center.
“Typically, you need to wear it day and night, except when you’re eating and drinking, for the first year. After that, you can choose to wear it only at night when you sleep. If you don’t wear your retainers after your orthodontic treatment, your teeth may slowly drift and move back to their original position. Luckily, wearing retainers requires very low maintenance!”
#02-04 Clifford Centre, 24 Raffles Place
6438 3811 | aesthetesmilestudio.com
G Plus Dental Center
#02-01 Camden Medical Centre, 1 Orchard Boulevard
8180 4740 | gplusdental.com.sg
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