Thanks to celebrity culture and dazzling "Hollywood smiles" we see every day in magazines and on television, more and more people are requesting "Cheryl Cole" or "Tom Cruise" smiles when they visit their Dentist.
Because traditional orthodontics are unsightly and can take years to achieve optimum results, more and more people are opting for Short Term Orthodontics to get their dream smile. STO can improve the appearance of teeth dramatically and also improve function to a point.
It is important to mention that not every patient would be eligible for STO- some patients with more complex problems, such as severe open-bites/cross-bites, may have no choice but to have traditional orthodontics to achieve satisfactory function as well as aesthetics.
Pros and Cons of STO:
More conservative than other cosmetic treatments such as veneers, due to minimal tooth invasion.
Overall cheaper as you only need to pay a one-off fee unlike veneers, which need replacing on average every 8-10 years.
More aesthetically pleasing during treatment than traditional orthodontics.
Can produce quicker results than traditional orthodontics.
Treatment can vary between a few weeks and a couple of years
Some treatments involve wearing fixed wires and brackets, which can be difficult to clean around and not satisfactory to patients who are self-conscious or have to do a lot of public speaking.
May not get as perfect a result as with traditional orthodontics, certainly with regards to function.
A look at some of the popular STO's:
Very popular at the moment due to the "invisible" clear aligners. Patients wear a series of clear aligners and have to change them every couple of weeks until they reach the last set. The aligners gradually move the teeth to the desired position. Invisalign also comes with a unique Clincheck for each patient, which is a digital representation of the patient's mouth. The Dentist and the Patient get to see an accurate image of how the teeth are to start and get to see how they will look once the treatment is finished. This way, the patient can see the end results for themselves which is exciting and reassuring. Invisalign can take between 6 and 24 months, and the patient has an option of a "case refinement" at the end of treatment, should there be any tweaks or adjustments that need to be made. Prices range quite dramatically for Invisalign, particularly now there are more Dentists offering it and also because there are other quicker and cheaper treatments available. Either or both arches can be treated. There is also an Invisalign system for children.
Six Month Smiles/
Also popular, mainly due to the quick results, is Six Month Smiles. This treatment is for adult patients and involves the patient wearing tooth coloured wires and brackets over a period of 6-8 months. This treatment is ideal for patients who aren't particularly bothered about people noticing that they are wearing braces and want fairly quick results. Prices range between £1500 and £3000, give or take, and either one or both arches can be treated.
The Inman Aligner is a great way of straightening the front teeth. It is a custom-made orthodontic removable appliance which aims to straighten the upper or lower anterior teeth. The Inman Aligner tends to be cheaper than the above treatments as it takes less time and only treats the anterior teeth rather than the whole mouth.