View original articleThis article first appeared in the July 2013 issue of  The Straits Times. We have reproduced it for the information of those of you who missed it when it was published.

'Invisible' or ceramic aligners can fix dental irregularities quickly with more comfort

Visiting your neighbourhood dentist is no longer scary. Now more Singaporeans are headed to dentists with a smile.

"Growing numbers are conscious of their teeth and frequent dentists to get whitening, correction or cosmetic jobs," says dr Wong Dai Chong, head of orthodontics department at Q&M Dental Group (Singapore).

"More people are aware of the benefits of braces and they want their smiles beautified. Corporate people, lawyers, doctors and even housewives and teenagers are more than eager to improgve their smile."

Invisible braces

Dr Eugene Chan of Specialist Dental Group's Orthodontics Team says the introduction of Invisalign has distinctly revolutionised this field of dentistry.

"Patients who are aesthetically conscious and do not want the 'Ugly Betty' look can now be treated with 'invisible' aligners and start smiling with more confidence. Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that move the teeth over a period of time," he says.

Dr Chan is one of the top Invisalign Platinum Elite providers in Australia and Singapore, and he trains dentists and orthodontists in Singapore and Asia in Insalign.

He adds: "These aligners are best described as being similar to contact lenses for the teeth. When Invisalign treatment is provided by experienced dentsits, outstanding results can often be achieved predictably. These aligners can be removed during eating and cleaning - you can have your favourite foods during treatment and oral hygiene will not be compromised."

More choices available

His colleague, Dr May Ling Eide, notes that in recent years, there has been a surge in the availability of different types of braces that are much more aesthetic and offer shortened treatment times.

"The ceramic braces that we provide at Specialist Dental Group are the latest design and offer patients a more aesthetic option and are much more comfortable than some other ceramic braces available," says Dr Eide, an orthodontist who is a clinical tutor at the National University of Singapore.

"We also provide self-ligating braces, which allow us to achieve straighter teeth in a shorter time. The increased use of mini-screws can help achieve ideal results within a shorter time frame, and this has allowed orthodotists more effectively treat certain conditions which are more technically demanding."

Improved overall oral health

According to Dr Tan Shuh Chern, clinical director of White Dental Group, peer pressure is a growing reason for the younger generation opting for braces.

He says: "As dental awareness improves, more parents are being educated about the importance of having good dental health. Also, as society progresses, more parents are able to afford braces treatment for their children.

"Dentists are also better trained and able to pick up jaw and teeth problems that might need early interventions."

But Dr Tan warns that although braces treatment can improve smiles greatly, it goes beyong just aesthetic dentistry.

"Improving the position and alignment of the teeth not only makes brushing easier, but also improves speech and chewing efficiency for the patient. by making brushing easier, we can reduce build up of plaque and tartar and hence prevent gum disease," he adds.

"Correcting deep-bite cases of malocclusion can prevent damage to the soft tissue of the palate. By correcting cross bite and to much overlapped teeth wear, and reduce chipped and fractured teeth in the long run."

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