Anyone looking at ways to feel better about their teeth will no doubt have come across the option for a ‘Six Month Smile’. Understandably, the idea of improving the straightness of your teeth in the short space of just six months sounds almost too good to be true – so, is it?
We’re going to take a quick look at what ‘Six Month Smiles’ are all about, and whether they could give you something to grin about.
What is a Six Month Smile?
Six Month Smiles is a type of fixed brace, designed to be worn short-term for cosmetic straightening. They might remind you of the “train tracks” worn by adolescents, but the brackets and wires are coloured to match the shade of your teeth, so they are much more discreet.
As the name might suggest, you can expect a ‘Six Month Smiles’ procedure to be relatively fast compared to other orthodontic options, with the majority of clients being satisfied with their new smile within 6-9 months. This is partly due to the fact that the braces focus only on the teeth you see when you smile – so the front 6 or 8 teeth for most people.
What’s involved in the Six Month Smiles process?
You’ll first need to book a consultation with a certified provider to determine whether a Six-Month Smile is the best option for improving your smile. It’s worth finding a practitioner that is close to your home or work as, if you decide to go ahead with the treatment, you can expect to visit them for several appointments throughout the process.
In this initial consultation, your dentist will take photographs or even x-rays of the current position of your teeth, which is common for all teeth-straightening procedures. This is your opportunity to discuss how you would like to see your smile improved, with a chance to talk about the likely outcomes, timelines and cost of the bespoke treatment you need. Once you are happy to go ahead with the procedure, your dentist will take a mould of your teeth to be sent to the Six Month Smiles laboratory, where they will create a custom template for your braces.
Once your template is ready (typically 2-4 weeks), you will need to go back to your dentist so that your brace can be fitted. The brackets will be fastened to your front 6 or 8 teeth using a nearly invisible dental glue, and the tooth-coloured fixtures will be barely noticeable. It’s common to feel some irritation for the first week or so as your mouth becomes accustomed to the braces, and your practitioner can provide some dental wax to minimise this.
Over the next few weeks, the position of your teeth will begin to change. You will need to visit your clinic every 5 or 6 weeks to have your brace adjusted to the optimal position and ensure that your teeth are forming the proper alignment.
When is Six Month Smiles most effective?
If your teeth and jaw are in generally good alignment and you simply want to improve their cosmetic appearance, Six Month Smiles may well be the best option for you. Six Month Smiles can work much faster than a conventional dental brace (which usually takes a minimum of 18 months), meaning that a gap, mis-centred smile or snaggle teeth can be corrected relatively quickly and easily.
Alternative teeth-straightening products may need to be taken out before every meal or have to be worn for several years. With Six Month Smiles, you simply have them fitted, adjusted every so often and cleanly removed a few months later at the end of the treatment.
Is there anything Six Month Smiles can’t fix?
While they can correct a large number of cosmetic issues, Six Month Smiles cannot fix severe orthodontic problems in the same way that a full fixed brace can. If you are concerned about the alignment of teeth further back in your mouth, you should speak to your dentist about a more comprehensive solution.
Although the brackets and wires will be very discreet, people will be able to tell that you are wearing braces when they are very close up. Given that this is only a concern for a matter of months, Six Month Smiles clients are usually comfortable with this trade-off. However, if you feel particularly self-conscious at the thought of wearing a noticeable brace, an invisible retainer (such as Invisalign) may be a better choice for you.
As with any changes to your healthcare, the most important thing is to talk to a professional about your options. They will be able to provide realistic advice that is tailored to your situation, helping you to put a happy, healthy, confident smile back on your face.