INVISIBLE BRACES: AVOIDING THE METALMOUTH AESTHETIC

Nobody likes looking like a dork. So, even if we’ve all seen at least one of our friends wearing braces (preferably while still in high school), chances are that the metalmouth aesthetic and all its geek/nerd connotations are still pretty much stuck in our minds. To be honest, with all the stereotyping of nerds as brace-wearing, backpack-toting, glasses-using individuals, it’s pretty hard to get rid of that bias against wearing braces. Sadly, we all can’t have movie-star genes that make us have perfect skin, luscious hair, or – most importantly – a killer smile. So the need for braces still remains. Malocclusions that we don’t have any way of anticipating can be worn down with time and care thanks to the miniscule pressure that braces exert on our teeth. Straighter teeth won’t land you the leading role in the next action-packed movie, but it would at least stop people from staring at those crooked front teeth you’ve had since kindergarten.

Some people might debate on the need for correctional braces. They might state that it’s more of a vanity issue rather than a health issue. In most cases, they might even be right. Dental malocclusions are generally minor in nature, with symptoms usually being a slight overbite. But we need to remember that there are still existing major cases where the malocclusions are so severe that the person has difficulty speaking clearly. Arguments aside, what is unarguable is the fact that this treatment is pretty expensive for most people. It’s not just something that can be done with just a quick visit to the local dentist. There are tests to run, downpayments to settle, and the actual procedure to endure.

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Going through with getting braces is not the end of it, at least not in the long-term. Having metal and wire fencing your teeth actually cuts down on your ability to do things that were once effortless and automatic. The biggest complaints surrounding dental braces would be the patient’s difficulty to chew their food. Adjusting the tightness of the braces usually leave you literally drinking out of a straw for the next couple of days.

As much as we want our dental corrections to be quick and painless, it is still currently not possible with the present orthodontic technology that we have. The smallest possible timeframe that we would have to endure braces and their myriad waves of minor adjustments would be two years. Two years of being a metalmouth doesn’t really sound that appealing, but there’s no other choice. Or is there?

Invalisign, a product of the UK based company Sensu, offers a workaround to the usual inconveniences of traditional dental braces. Aligners made of a clear plastic material replace the conventional apparatus of steel and wire. It still serves the purpose of straightening crooked teeth, but in a manner that is discreet and avoids having to get used to a basic motor function such as eating. What’s more, these aligners are removable, which helps eliminate the trouble of getting used to having food and other undesirables stuck in a hard to reach place in your mouth.

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