If you have extremely crooked teeth and a small mouth, then you may be able to invest in the use of clear retainers or aligners to straighten the teeth properly. Sometimes, aligners can be used on their own to shift the teeth around. However, this might not be true if you do not have a lot of space in the mouth or if you do not want to use aligners for an extended period of time. In these cases, your cosmetic dentist may complete some procedures in addition to providing you with aligners. Some of these procedures are outlined below.
Interproximal reduction (IPR), enamel stripping, or tooth slenderizing is an orthodontic approach that has been used since the 1940s to increase the space in the mouth a small amount so the teeth can sit next to one another without touching or crowding one another. Extra space is often needed if you do not want to have teeth pulled or if teeth have already been removed and several extra millimeters of space are needed. The reduction technique will not only make your teeth look better when the clear aligner straightening is completed, but it will allow you to clean between the teeth properly with dental floss. Also, if the teeth do not sit as close to one another, they are likely to be stable and remain in a good position after you are done using the aligners.
IPR is often completed after the teeth are fully aligned so your cosmetic professional can identify the teeth that touch after they are positioned correctly. Once these teeth are identified, the dentist will shave a small amount of dental enamel from both sides of the tooth. Typically, the front teeth will be the ones that are contoured. Lidocaine will not be needed during the procedure, because it is not likely to cause any pain. However, a small amount of numbing gel may be placed across the gums to reduce pressure sensations.
Either manual removal is completed or a pneumatic tool will be used. Manual removal will occur with a handled device where a thin wire-mesh strip will sit. The strip will be moved between the teeth to remove enamel much like a piece of sandpaper. A thin metal stripping disc will be placed on a pneumatic tool if your dentist decides that manual removal is not desirable.
If you have extremely crooked teeth, then you may need to go through dental straightening over a longer period of time than you expect. The average person will be given 20 to 30 aligners that must be worn for about two weeks each. This will mean that you need to wear the aligners for close to a year. However, as many as 50 aligners may need to be worn and result in about a two year wear period. If your teeth are stubborn, then some of these aligners may need to be worn for three or four weeks, and this can extend the wear period to well over two years. If this is not ideal for you, then you can ask your cosmetic dentist to use bone stimulation techniques in conjunction with your aligners to quicken the process.
Bone stimulation or alveocentesis involves the placement of small holes in the jawbone to quicken the process of bone remodeling. Basically, when the teeth are moved during the orthodontic process, the bone in the tooth socket wears away to allow the tooth to move over. Once the tooth has moved, new bone cells build around the tooth. This is called remodeling, and the holes placed during alveocentesis help to stimulate the breakdown and building of bone cells in the region so the teeth can shift more quickly. These holes are extremely small and placed with sharp steel pins that protrude from a handheld device. The holes do not hurt when they are placed. This means bone stimulation can take place during your regular orthodontic checkups.
For more information about your options for straightening your teeth more quickly, contact an experienced dentist like Samuel D Knight, DDS.Read More