This article was originally titled “5 WAYS TO KNOW IF YOU NEED ORTHODONTICS,” but I made a last-minute decision to share something that had a significant impact on me at the beginning of my career as an orthodontist.
I will always remember the Friday afternoon in July 2018 when the tears of a patient moved me like never before. It was the first patient I completed an entire orthodontic procedure with – my very first orthodontic patient.
For privacy reasons, I will refer to her as Diana. She gave me permission to share her story, but not her real name. As I brought a mirror closer to her face so she could see the results of the procedure, tears immediately began streaming down her cheeks. She didn’t say anything or move, leaving me feeling paralyzed with my legs shaking and a heavy feeling in my neck.
I thought that she might not have liked something, and with every tear that fell on her light blue blouse, it became darker and darker. I finally mustered up the courage to ask her if there was a problem. She looked up, and with a broken voice, said to me, “God pay you doctor.” Then, she looked at herself again, this time revealing a big smile.
Even as I write this story, it brings a lump to my throat. I am currently sitting in the Clínica Viena office, looking out the window at everything that has transpired since that moment until this sunny day in the city of Medellín.
After that emotional moment, which thankfully ended happily, I spoke with Diana for about 15 minutes, discussing her treatment and other things in her life. Her story touched me deeply. When she first came in, she only revealed her teeth when we began the evaluation, and otherwise made an effort to hide them by pressing her lips. I eventually learned the reason for this, and much more, which I will share with you in case you can relate.
Diana is a middle-class girl from the city who attended a private and renowned school where she experienced some challenging times. She later attended a well-known university, but because her parents couldn’t cover all the tuition and other expenses, she had to work during the day and study at night. She started working at a call center, but the job was too stressful, and dealing with rude customers drained her energy, leading her to quit.
For a couple of months, Diana searched for a new job and found one as a bank teller. Although the pay was higher than her previous job, her stress worsened as people stared at her teeth when they approached her. Diana suffered from “Bruxism”, a habit she had acquired during childhood, causing her teeth to become further apart. Her dental disparity was too noticeable, and she hadn’t smiled in photos since the age of 14. She felt frustrated by how people looked at her during job interviews, romantic dates, and other situations. Diana decided to save money for orthodontic treatment and took fewer courses to do so. After finishing the semester, she was able to afford treatment, and I was fortunate enough to assist her in this personal transformation. Diana’s injuries were serious, so the treatment lasted several months.
How do you know if you need orthodontics?
As an orthodontist, I have found that patients come to me for various reasons, and among them, there are five common ones. Some patients have teeth that are not aligned correctly, causing issues with their bite and appearance. Others, like Diana, have developed bad habits since childhood that affect their teeth’s correct positioning, such as bruxism or finger sucking. There are also those whose upper and lower teeth do not meet correctly, leading to primary or secondary occlusal trauma and negative tooth movement.
When patients come to me for orthodontic treatment, there are five possible reasons. Some have misaligned teeth, which affects their occlusion and aesthetics. Others, like Diana, have bad habits such as grinding their teeth when sleeping, which can worsen their teeth position. Patients with irregular contact between their upper and lower teeth suffer from primary or secondary occlusal trauma that can lead to harmful tooth movement. There are also those who experience pain in their temporomandibular joint (TMJ) due to a functional issue caused by poor contact between teeth. Finally, some health professionals may refer their patients to me for interdisciplinary treatment.
5 ways to know if you need orthodontics.
No matter what your specific case may be, we are here to help. Diana’s story may not be your own, but it serves as a reminder that orthodontic treatment can lead to life-changing results. While some patients seek treatment for misaligned teeth, like Diana, others may suffer from temporomandibular disorders or seek interdisciplinary treatment with other health professionals.
The good news is that whatever the reason, orthodontic treatment can improve your oral health, self-confidence, and overall quality of life. In fact, Diana herself is a testament to the transformative power of orthodontics. She now works in a more executive position in a different bank, smiles more frequently, and exudes more confidence than ever before.
So don’t hesitate to seek orthodontic treatment if you believe it could benefit you. Your journey to a healthier, happier smile starts with a simple consultation. Remember, there are many reasons to consider orthodontic treatment beyond what we have discussed here.
It’s worth noting that orthodontic evaluation involves a comprehensive clinical examination, including panoramic and lateral skull X-rays, intra-extraoral photos, and plaster models of the mouth. These records help the orthodontist determine the best treatment for each patient.
Fortunately, there’s no age limit for orthodontic treatment, and the orthodontist will decide whether the treatment is necessary for optimal oral health.
At Clínica Viena, we are committed to improving your quality of life, so don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance. You can reach us via WhatsApp at 322 477 6418. Take the first step towards a healthier, happier smile, and we’ll be there every step of the way.