The selfie – love it or hate it, there’s no denying it has had a major impact on the dental world. It has become a go-to form of expression for many people, almost as socially acceptable as a handshake! People will snap dozens of shots, cherry pick the one they like the best, and share it with the world. In the course of taking multiple selfies you get to see your smile up close and zoom right in. In the industry, this is referred to as “Photographic self-assessment”.
As a direct result of selfies we see many patients come to our door with specific concerns or requests about how to align their teeth just right for that perfect look! That is great from my perspective, since the more specific patients are about their concerns, the better I am able to tailor a specific treatment plan to address them.
And this type of specific planning is where our new software for Invisalign treatment really shines. First, we create an individualized smile-plan by taking a 3-dimensional scan with our state-of-the-art ITero Element scanner. We then create a computerized simulation (called a “Clincheck”) of how the teeth will move from the start to the end of treatment, taking care that the final result addresses all of the patient’s concerns. The Clincheck simulation also includes views of how the teeth should look at each week of the treatment, allowing us to monitor how well the teeth are responding to treatment and whether things are proceeding on schedule. And, for patients who love to take selfies along the way, they can compare their selfies to the simulation to reassure themselves that everything is on-track.
Now, one final note about selfies – we definitely want to create a plan that addresses all of our patient’s esthetic concerns. But we also have to keep in mind the health of the teeth, gums, and jaws. This is why we always create plans that not only address the appearance of the front teeth, but also the back teeth and the bite, which you can’t see on the selfie. Without doing so, the teeth may straighten but may develop gum disease, jaw aches, and may not be stable in their new position.
So take a selfie and make a list of your goals….and realize that as your orthodontist, I will likely have important input to modify that list to get you a smile that is not only dazzling, but also will last for the long-term. And realize that obtaining that perfect smile will likely take some time, but short-cuts often end up costing more time and money in the long-run. As the old expression goes, “There are no short-cuts to anywhere worth going.”