One of the most important hygiene routines to establish at a young age is proper tooth cleaning and care: finding a family dentist is essential for families with young children and also for adults of any age. Taking the time to properly care for teeth can help prevent cavities and the need for cosmetic dentistry; of course, even children with a perfect record of tooth care may eventually need to get braces.
Before going to get braces, children should understand that if they do not take excellent care of their teeth while the braces are on, they could cause damage to their teeth. Dental services for misaligned teeth can help teens gain confidence, and there some options in addition to traditional metal braces.
Newer teeth straightening technology relies upon “aligners,” which are similar to traditional clear plastic retainers. Slowly, teeth are realigned through a progression of clear aligners, and every two weeks patients begin to wear a new aligner. Talking to a family dentist is important to determine if children, teens, or adults could benefit from this method of tooth realignment.
What dental patients may not realize is that even small gaps between teeth could increase their risk of gum disease, and that inflamed gums could either be a signal that teeth are too close together or spaced too far apart. Either way, consulting with a family dentist about gum health and other general dentistry issues in advance of getting metal braces or plastic tooth alignment is recommended.
Children may do better with alternatives to traditional metal braces: although most older teens are ready to take care of their braces themselves, younger children may not realize that they need to brush more frequently and with much more care. Food can easily get stuck in metal braces, and children may not understand that as food sits on their teeth, it can rot, causing significant damage over time. Parents do not want their children to spend years wearing metal braces on their teeth, only to remove them and realize that their children are candidates for cosmetic dentistry due to poor tooth care.
Adults consistently report that they think having an attractive smile can help them, both socially and at work. About nine out of every 10 women who responded to a recent survey indicated that they did not like the look of their smile in their wedding photos and that they wanted to make their teeth brighter and straighter. Americans spend more than $1 billion every year on products designed to whiten their teeth, but may find that their family dentist would like them to come in for a professional tooth cleaning session before they begin the whitening process.
Does a white smile really make a difference at work? Having the confidence that comes from an attractive smile can allow people to be more productive and creative at work. About 20% of all American adults report that they try to hide their smiles when they are asked to be in a photograph, and while employers may not specifically be looking for workers with perfect teeth, they may notice a difference in job seekers who are friendly and willing to smile during interviews.
A family dentist should be able to talk to parents about what is best for their children’s tooth straightening and cleaning needs. Sometimes, in advance of braces or newer clear “aligners,” children need to have cavities repaired or damaged teeth removed. Being prepared to take proper care of their teeth can help parents rest assured that they are making a positive investment in their children’s health, and perhaps even giving them the tools they need to be successful in their relationships and at work in the future.