Earlier this week, we received a media release about a series of “webinars” (a silly excuse for a word if ever there was one) being offered by a pair of partnering dental companies, CariFree, purveyor of dental hygiene products, and Six Month Smiles, purveyor of braces. Not being familiar with Six Month Smiles – and having written before about super speedy ortho procedures – we decided to check out the company’s website, curious to know what kind of procedure they use to straighten teeth so quickly.
According to their FAQ,
The Six Month Smiles technique employs the latest technology and techniques in dentistry to move your teeth quickly and safely. The key components of the treatment are the use of special nickel titanium wires and a primary focus of moving the teeth that show when you smile.
But what about the rest of your teeth? What happens to them? We don’t know. Aesthetics is all that seems to count here. As they go on to explain,
Six Month Smiles braces use low force to move teeth more comfortably. Many people think that the accelerated treatment means simply “tightening” regular braces to get the teeth moving, but that is not true. Six Month Smiles utilizes standard orthodontic mechanics, but with an emphasis on the cosmetic appearance of your teeth rather than the position of your bite. (emphasis added)
Now, sure, you want your teeth to look good. Who doesn’t want an attractive smile? Trouble is, if you don’t consider the bite – how the teeth are aligned and come together – you’re potentially creating conditions for pain and dysfunction down the road. When the teeth don’t come together properly, the long term result is often headaches, neck and shoulder pain, which in some cases can be practically debilitating. That’s nothing to smile about.
What’s more, the aesthetics are apt to be less than ideal if the bite isn’t taken into consideration. Crooked or crowded teeth are just one element in the big picture.
Here’s a partial list of the measures of success that Dr. Verigin strives for in every ortho case we do in our office, melding optimum aesthetics and functionality:
- The roots of each tooth are parallel with the long axis of the tooth itself, as well as adjacent teeth.
- The condyles of the lower jaw are in the Gelb 4/7 position in the tempro-mandibular fossa (i.e., properly aligned, so there is no undue stress on the TM joint)
- The midline between the two front teeth is aligned with the middle of the upper lip and face.
- The vertical dimension of the jaws is such that when the person speaks sibilant-containing words (e.g., church, house, hiss, zebra, Mississippi), the upper front teeth indent the lower lip and the sounds are crisp.
- The vertical thirds of the face – forehead to eyebrows, eyebrows to the ala of the nose (i.e., the surface that flares into the bulbed areas around each nostril) and the ala to the bottom of the chin – are in line with the Golden Ratio.
- When the patient smiles, the curve of the upper teeth parallels the curve of the lower lip.
- When the lip is relaxed and at rest, about 1 to 2 mm. of teeth show.
Top quality orthodontic treatment will address these aspects and more, bringing the teeth together in not just a cosmetically attractive way but a harmonic way, as well. This does take some time, but we find that the results are always better in the long run. For as we wrote earlier, the ideal is to
just gently nudge the teeth into place so the neuromuscular system and the bone get used to the teeth being in a new position – just as a gardener would never force a tree or shrub to bend in a certain direction but gently train it to grow in the preferred direction over time. You let nature then take its course.