SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Wearing braces is a rite of passage for many kids and teens, but now it’s becoming a popular beauty trend for adults, and for some, a necessary “do over” to achieve a perfect smile.
“I felt very, very uncomfortable with my teeth,” said Marcy Rutherford, who only wishes she would’ve had braces as a kid, but finally has them now.
For too many years it was closed mouth smiles for Rutherford.
“It did a number on my self-esteem I would say,” she said.
Waiting until she was an adult to fix her teeth is a big regret and she’s not alone. Other boomers and beyond already went through having braces as kids and now they have to do it all over again.
“Patients were not wearing the retainer and their teeth move right back to where they started,” said Dr. Charlene Rocha, an orthodontist at Dr. Walters Orthodontics in Natomas.
She said either not wearing your retainer or never having braces as a kid is now the price many adults are paying.
More than 1 million Americans 19 and older now have braces, making it 1 out of every 5 orthodontic patients an adult.
“I had braces as a child and had a retainer and about 8 years ago I said the heck with it and I gave up,” said Dr. Kal Rasheed, periodontist for Capitol Periodontal Group.
He said wearing your retainer is a tried and true practice, but is there another solution?
“There’s always a plan B and this could be a pretty reasonable plan B,” he said.
It’s called a fiberotomy. It’s a minor surgical procedure that severs the fibers around the tooth, so the tendency for teeth to move back to their original position is reduced— by changing the muscle memory.
“The tissues are reattaching to the tooth when the tooth is in its new position as opposed to the position prior to the orthodontic therapy,” he said.
Dr. Rasheed says a fiberotomy is not a new procedure. It’s just not as widely talked about.
“It’s done, but not as prominent,” he said.
Speaking of which, did you know there are new methods to fixing your teeth without ever having to leave the house?
Online companies are making it possible. It’s a quarter of the cost of getting braces in a dental office and the users are praising the results.
Neal Fine said his smile was fixed by the online company Smile Direct Club. He had impressions of his teeth done at a dentist because he has a harsh gag reflex, but most people can do it from the comfort of their own home.
After that, every two weeks Fine would receive plastic trays similar to Invisalign, but he didn’t have to go to a specialist as you would with Invisalign.
For Fine, The total cost for just the top teeth was $900. According to the Smile Direct website, straightening the whole mouth costs $1,700.
That’s compared to Invisalign that according to the company website, costs is anywhere from $3,000-$8,000.
Lots of people are using the mail-order plastic liners, but is it safe?
Dr. Rocha said it’s not a risk she’d be willing to take. She says orthodontist look at more than just your teeth.
“Making sure their gums are healthy, they don’t have cavities, that there aren’t extra teeth that are sitting in the bone and if we start moving teeth around they may bang up against them,” she said.
Which she believes would cause more trouble in the long run.
“My concern is you put all the treatment into the hands of a patient with a really attractive price, they’re not going to know to be aware of these types of concerns and possibly do more damage their teeth,” she said.
So whether it’s your first time or hopefully last time, achieving the perfect smile comes at a cost, but at least you have more options.