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Straight teeth and a beautiful smile are pleasing to the eye and make us feel more confident. But the OSI (Orthodontic Society of Ireland) needs to warn people, again, about the long-term harm of ‘quick fix’, supposedly ‘cosmetic’ dentistry treatments.
Patients who have undergone these heavily promoted, ‘smile make-over procedures’ have told OSI members that they were given incomplete, misleading or biased information prior to and during treatment.
Unfortunately, patients undergoing these ‘quick-fix treatments’ are also often unaware that they are being treated by dentists inexperienced in orthodontics, which is a highly specialised branch of dentistry. Some of these dentists have only a few extra hours of training in straightening teeth. Quick-fix treatments can leave teeth unstable, with the potential to relapse back to their original position. If a patient then attends for re-treatment, this can cause back-and-forth tipping of the roots that hold the teeth in place, which can put the long-term retention of these teeth in danger.
Quick fix treatments can exacerbate pre-existing gum disease, thereby worsening the prognosis or resulting in loss of teeth.These consequences are, of course, on top of the distress and additional expenses caused by failed ‘quick fix’ treatment and need for re-treatment.
OSI advice is that if you are considering getting your own, or your children’s, teeth straightened, check the qualifications of the dentist, ask how much training they have had in orthodontics and what type of brace they are proposing to fit. Orthodontists are trained as general dentists (by completing five years of undergraduate training) and have then studied for a further three years to qualify as orthodontic specialists.
Any specialist orthodontist will discuss all the possible types of brace that can be used to correct your teeth.
You should be wary if you are only offered one option or one type of brace. Finally, we advise people not to expect a ‘quick- It usually takes at least over a year to get the teeth fully corrected, biting correctly, and in harmony with the jaws and lips.
Dr Sinead O’Hanrahan
BA.B.Dent.Sc. FDS ( RCSI) MFDS ( RCSEdin) M.DENT.SC President, Orthodontic Society of Ireland
Upper Baggot Street
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