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Cosmetic Dental Procedures Sometimes Cover Up the Problem

Orthodontists to Discuss the Potential Problems with Cosmetic Procedures and Team Approaches to Improve Patient Results at the American Association of Orthodontists' 106th Annual Session

(press release from American Association of Orthodontists)

ST. LOUIS, May 8 -- It looks easy on television. Cosmetic surgery quickly fixes wrinkles and reshapes the body. But, in reality things aren't always that simple and the public can easily develop the misperception that cosmetic procedures are the quick fix. The same is true for some of the dental makeover procedures made popular by reality television. While many people recognize the benefits of orthodontic care, this proven and effective treatment often has been overlooked during cosmetic procedures, causing problems for some patients.

The role of orthodontics in cosmetic improvements is a topic of discussion at the 106th Annual Session of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) in Las Vegas, May 5 - 9. An attendance of 20,000 is expected. During the meeting, orthodontists from the U.S., Canada and around the world will be on hand to discuss initiatives to help educate people about healthy ways to achieve a picture-perfect smile that's good for life.

"We want the public to be aware that for adults considering cosmetic dental procedures, it's often a good idea to take a team approach to improve oral health and appearance by consulting the patient's dentist, the orthodontist and other dental specialists as needed," says B. Melvin DeSoto, D.D.S., M.S., an orthodontist and president of the AAO. "Cosmetic procedures don't always address underlying orthodontic problems, and that may compromise a patient's health down the line."

Today adults are keeping their teeth longer, but teeth and their supporting structures can change throughout life. It's important for people who are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth or the state of their oral health to get to the root of the problem and correct it rather than simply seek a "quick fix."

"Public attention has been drawn lately to 'makeover' television shows. These 'makeovers' are fast and thus are appealing. But the reality is that some of these 'rapid results' may not be in the patient's long-term best interest even though in the short-term they change the appearance of unsightly teeth," says orthodontist Donald R. Joondeph, D.D.S., M.S., and president- elect of the AAO.

Veneers, for example, require permanent removal of enamel, thus changing the fundamental tooth structure. While veneer procedures may be appropriate for broken down or misshapen teeth, when teeth are out of alignment, most often, significant tooth structure has to be removed. These non-reversible changes to the enamel do not correct an underlying orthodontic problem, which could lead to increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease.

Adults who are considering procedures to cover-up unsightly teeth should consult an orthodontist, who can work with the patient's general dentist and other dental specialists toward the overall goal of good oral health. Through the common goal, patients ultimately achieve a healthy bite, properly aligned jaws and good function -- all of which are components of a healthy, beautiful smile.

Patients may be pleasantly surprised to learn when consulting an orthodontist that their unattractive teeth are generally healthy, just misaligned. Although orthodontic treatment does not produce results in one or two visits, some patients may require only limited treatment.

"Orthodontic treatment is very affordable. Many employers offer dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits, and most orthodontists offer a variety of payment plans," says orthodontist Lee Graber, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., and Board of Trustees member of the AAO. "If an individual is interested in learning more, they should contact an AAO-member orthodontist who can diagnose their orthodontic problem, recommend how best to correct it, and discuss the payment plans available."

To find AAO members, visit the online Orthodontist Locator service at www.braces.org , or call the AAO's toll-free information line, 1-800-STRAIGHT (1-800-787-2444). You may also ask your family dentist for a referral to an AAO member. About the American Association of Orthodontists The AAO is comprised of 15,000 members in the United States, Canada and abroad. Founded in 1900, the AAO supports research and education leading to quality patient care and promotes increased public awareness of the need for and benefits of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified dental specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat improperly aligned teeth and jaws. Orthodontists must complete college requirements, graduate from dental school and then successfully complete a minimum of two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program. Only those who have completed this education may call themselves "orthodontists" and only orthodontists may be members of the AAO. Susanne Reimer, 314-552-6754
sreimer@webershandwick.com
Pam Paladin, 314-993-1700, ext. 224
ppaladin@aaortho.org

SOURCE American Association of Orthodontists
Web Site: www.braces.org


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