Hi, I’m Dr Judith, and I’m one of the Principal Dentists here at Elevate Dental.
A few days ago, I was honoured to meet Olivia from Southbank. She saw our previous video blog about Invisalign and decided to pay our clinic a visit. She really wanted to improve her smile and she couldn’t stop worrying about how crooked and uneven her smile was. So, we spoke about a few options. One question she asked was: I’ve been seeing those DIY aligner trays ads on Instagram, where you can do everything yourself at home. Why is it important to have a dentist monitor the teeth straightening process?
This is a very interesting topic and I think it’d be very helpful to share my thoughts. So I thought I’d make a video to share how important dental monitoring is when you have an ongoing orthodontic treatment.
1. You get better outcomes.
How? Usually, having a dentist looking after you for the whole duration of your treatment means that, firstly, the design process is more specific and tailored towards you. We check the health of your teeth and your gums, and everything in your mouth before proceeding so that there are no underlying issues and infections that may cause bigger problems when you straighten your teeth. And secondly, when we plan to straighten your teeth, we make sure that they fit in with the best smile principle. So we make sure that it actually fits your face, that the teeth are in the right spot, to give you the straight smile that you’re after.
Now, dentists actually have a few tools to be able to do this that involve not only taking really good quality photos to assess where we want the final position of the teeth to be, but also during treatment.
For example with Invisalign, which is a tooth straightening option, which is fully monitored by a dental professional. There are two two tools that we use to make sure that the teeth fit in nicely with your face, and also to make sure that we can move teeth accurately.
The first tool we use are attachments which are little tooth-coloured buttons that we place on your teeth when you first start Invisalign treatment. Teeth are round and slippery and these buttons act like handles that allow us to move your teeth accurately and quickly.
The second tool we have is IPR, which is another name for interproximal reduction. What that means is we can actually reshape some of the teeth and also create space where needed.
For example, sometimes front teeth may be slightly more triangular in shape. When we straighten teeth that have this shape, black triangles may appear between the teeth where the gum should be. By reshaping the teeth, we can shrink the size of these black triangles to make them less obvious.
Sometimes, we use interproximal reduction to provide a little bit of space so that teeth don’t get too protruded and look like buck teeth. That’s a very handy tool and it’s really great for cases where there are a lot of crowded teeth. With these two tools, we can make sure that we don’t protrude your teeth too much and really focus on getting the best bite.
2. To avoid damage to the teeth.
Each person is unique, and there are things that dentists can watch out for to make sure that the teeth remain healthy both before, during and after the treatment.
Every single person is unique and sometimes teeth don’t move as planned which can result in teeth that won’t look straight after your treatment.
When teeth don’t move as planned and aligners stop fitting, this can result in irreversible damage to the teeth if this isn’t noticed. This can include gum shrinkage if the tooth has not moved where we’ve wanted it to, and the tray is actually pushing it into the wrong position. In severe cases, sometimes ill-fitting aligners can result in nerve death or loose teeth.
So sometimes people may feel that they are saving money by not having a dental professional monitor their treatment. However, they may actually end up spending more on trying to repair damaged teeth as a result, not to mention the pain and inconvenience that comes with damaged teeth and gum.
3. Treatment, in general, is faster and more predictable.
By having your teeth monitored regularly, dentists can identify and remove any potential issues to help achieve your smile faster and predictably.
I hope you found this video useful. Orthodontic treatment is a team effort. We need to work together to achieve your best smile and get it at the perfect time. If you are interested in straightening your teeth and looking for options, you are welcome to visit us at our clinics in Hawthorn and Richmond, both with onsite free parking.