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My inner twelve year old may not be the best guide here 
16th-Jan-2014 10:49 am
So, my dentist is encouraging me to do Invisalign to straighten my lower front teeth. I have a bit of crowding in my lower jaw, and one of my incisors slightly overlaps its neighbor. While I don't doubt that having straight, uncrowded teeth would improve the ease of keeping them clean and tartar-free, I'm reluctant for two reasons.

The sensible reason is that by far the biggest improvements in my oral health have come from just being more consistent about brushing properly, flossing, and using antiseptic mouthwash. While I've come a long way on all these habits, I think that maybe I'd be better off investing more time and energy in getting even better at that, rather than spending money on orthodontics.

The unsensible but far more powerful reason is that I spent a goodly chunk of my young life wearing braces and a headgear to correct an overbite. And the thing that got me through the worst parts of the experience was the promise that "when you grow up you won't have to do this any more." (And when I turned 18, I ceremoniously packed up my retainer and stuck it in a drawer and never wore it again. I was a horribly literal child.) And even though the rational part of my brain knows that Invisalign would not be nearly as dreadful for a whole host of reasons, just the thought makes my inner twelve year old howl, "Nooo! You promised I wouldn't have to!"

Normally, I have great respect for my inner twelve year old, but in this case, I think her judgement may be suspect.

On the other hand, I also think my dentist's judgement may be influenced by the prospect of getting to sell me expensive orthodontic treatments.

It's probably too much to hope that someone's actually done a good study to look at whether people who get modest tooth-crookedness corrected actually experience better dental health outcomes in the long term, but I'll have to hie me over to PubMed and have a look.
16th-Jan-2014 08:54 pm (UTC)
An unrelated point which may nonetheless be helpful. I have become a huge fan of Dr. Ellie and her Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye system. Because it does not involve flossing, it may well reduce the negatives of crooked teeth.

I only do it once a day, as opposed to her recommended two, and I have had substantial success. Friends who do it twice a day are having very significant success (including one whose cleanings have reduced from over an hour to 20 minutes).

Your inner 12-year-old might like it, because it's fun with chemistry.
16th-Jan-2014 09:21 pm (UTC)
Intriguing. I've already found that brushing followed by listerine mouthwash makes a huge difference, and adding the other things seems quite do-able. And the xylitol sounds promising - I haven't had a cavity in years, but unless I'm extremely diligent in my brushing and flossing, I get tartar buildup on my front teeth that causes gum irritation and bleeding. Sounds like the xylitol might help with that. Thanks!
17th-Jan-2014 01:33 am (UTC)
Same issue here for the same reason. My excellent dentist admitted it was an entirely cosmetic issue
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