Anyone who had braces in the 90s will remember it as a painful process – both physically and socially. These days, teeth straightening is a different experience, thanks of course to new technologies. So, what’s new in the orthodontist’s chair?
Tech runs through the whole experience these days. For new treatments like Invisalign, mouths are simply scanned to create 3D imaging (no more gagging plaster impressions!). Teens are also engaged with apps to monitor their progress and keep them on track utilising tools they want to use – like their phones!
Treatment is starting earlier than when we were kids, follow dentists’ recommendations for a timely orthodontic consult. In some cases, teeth straightening can be completed within 12 months. Invisalign now offers a “light” option, too, that can be relevant for those who require work done later in their schooling years. For these newer treatments, teenagers need to be responsible, motivated and compliant; they also need to be trustworthy to ensure they follow hygiene protocol.
Today’s treatment options include some much less “metallic” options for teens. “This isn’t purely about the social impact of braces, but also great news for those active teens who play sports,” says Hong Kong dentist DR SANDEEP JAIN. “Nonmetal teeth-straightening options are kinder on the mouths of active teens, especially those who play high-impact sports.”
Treatments are much more convenient these days. Thanks to 3D imaging and technology, there’s less visits to the Orthodontist’s office. The days of tightening and adjusting every second week aren’t relevant for every case. This means less time off school and work for parents.
Get saving: teeth straightening still isn’t cheap! Treatments will cost anywhere from HK$30K to $70K and up, depending on how complex the case is.
Some things never change
Maintaining your regular dental maintenance remains important during any orthodontic treatment. If good oral hygiene isn’t maintained, teens can develop issues with gums and teeth that can become serious. Dr Jain advises parents to continue monitoring their child’s oral hygiene. “This means ensuring they are brushing frequently, flossing if they can, and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleaning.
See more in our teens section
This article first appeared in the April/May 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.