Straight and aligned teeth give you more than an aesthetic edge. For one, straight teeth are easier to clean than misaligned and crooked teeth, which can lead to dental problems such as tooth decay.
Crooked teeth can also affect speech, affecting the pronunciation of certain syllables, letters and words. Some problems, such a gum (periodontal) diseases can cause the back teeth to loosen, making it hard chew.
Conventional braces work well for both children and adults, though some adults may consider ‘tin-grins’ an ugly sight even though Hollywood actors such as Tom cruise, Gwen Stefani and Nicholas Cage have appeared wearing them publicly.
Those who don't want visible or fixed braces can opt for the more expensive Computer Aided Aesthetic Aligners (CAD-CAM), which are invisible and allow precision straightening of crooked teeth aided by computers.
CAD-CAM Aligners are a series of dental appliances that cover the teeth to bring about tooth movement in a gradual and sequential manner. The treatment plan is determined and prepared by virtual simulation on computers.
Aligners are removable, transparent and comfortable and allow you to clean your teeth well. Unlike for braces, there are also no food restrictions or irritation to the gums or cheeks. What really works in favour of professionals is that aligners do not cover the palate at all and produce minimal speech problems, if at all.
What's more, aligners can be removed for a short time, which makes them ideal for social occasions. The accuracy of teeth movement allow for more accurate alignment and fewer visits to the dentist.
CAD-CAM Aligners are used for for four to 18 months, depending on the crookedness of the teeth.
The final depends on the number of aligners needed for an individual case and may vary between Rs 75,000 and R 1.5 lakh.
Dr Kakar is a senior consultant dental surgeon at the Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.