There’s never been a better time to be an orthodontic patient. Today’s treatment options offer affordable, comfortable, and capable of creating beautifully aligned smiles. This is impressive enough, but here at The Smile Patio, we also utilize a treatment philosophy known as Smile Arc Protection (SAP)! But what does that mean? How does it differ from traditional treatment? To learn more about this exciting technique, keep reading below.
What is a smile arc?
Our goal is to help every patient achieve a smile that’s not only perfectly aligned but fits their face in a flattering way. We’re able to do this by providing the proper smile arc. But what is a smile arc, anyway? It’s officially defined as “the relationship between the curvature of the incisal edges of the upper six front teeth to the curvature of the lower lip in a full smile.” To put it in simpler terms, an amazing smile doesn’t depend solely on the teeth—the relationship of the lips to the teeth also plays an important role.
What is Smile Arc Protection?
When you schedule a consultation with us, Dr. Albaugh will evaluate your unique smile, taking the smile arc into consideration. He’ll look at the number of incisors and the amount of gum tissue that can be seen. He’ll also check that your smile appears full and curved rather than flat. Ideally, we like to see the bottom edges of the top teeth curving in a line that parallels the curvature of the lower lip when smiling. We’re also looking for a 100% vertical display of the upper incisors, with anywhere from 10-12 teeth visible.
As an orthodontic patient, we want to give you a smile that is healthy, functional, and attractive. By creating a personalized treatment plan for you using the Smile Arc Protection philosophy, Dr. Albaugh will be able to preserve the natural curvature of your smile or create an aesthetic smile arc where one is not already present.
How does Smile Arc Protection work?
With traditional braces treatment, the bracket is affixed to the front surface of the tooth, usually right in the center. This is a fantastic way to align the teeth, but it can have the unfortunate side effect of flattening the smile arc. This may occur for a few reasons, including:
- an attempt to correct an overbite or gummy smile without also considering the at-rest relationship between the incisors and lips
- extra-oral forces that have moved the maxillary occlusal plane upward, which in turn moves the upper incisal edges away from the lower lip
- incorrect bracket positioning that doesn’t take into consideration the current smile arc of each patient
When the Smile Arc Protection technique is being used, brackets are often placed higher up on the teeth, close to the gum line. This creates a more aesthetically appealing result by extruding the anterior teeth, broadening the teeth, and increasing teeth visibility.
What is the Smile Arc Protection treatment process like?
When we use Smile Arc Protection, the process is basically the same as it is for treatment with traditional braces. The biggest difference is the placement of the brackets, as explained above. Our team will clean and polish your teeth, then the brackets will be affixed to the front surface of the teeth with an adhesive. We’ll then use a specialized LED light to cure that adhesive so the brackets can’t move. Finally, a wire is placed inside the brackets and secured in place.
Once your braces are on, you may experience some minor discomfort in your mouth. This is only temporary and will subside as you get used to the brackets and wire. You should continue to care for your teeth at home by maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine and following the guidelines we give you. You can expect follow-up visits in our Vista office every 6-8 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Albaugh will adjust your braces and may change your wire as well. We’ll also check that your treatment is progressing as planned.
Use of the Smile Arc Protection method means we’ll place the brackets slightly higher than normal in most cases. However, every smile is unique. Achieving the ideal smile arc means we can’t use the exact same bracket positioning with every patient, just as we wouldn’t use the same treatment plan for every patient. Dr. Albaugh’s goal is to preserve or create a natural smile arc that is framed beautifully by the patient’s face. That means the overall bracket positioning may be altered depending on your current smile and the results we’re trying to achieve!
Find your perfect smile with Dr. Albaugh and The Smile Patio
In the most attractive smiles, the edges of the top teeth follow the curve of the lower lip. This is what we’re looking to accomplish with every patient we see. We’re able to do this by using Smile Arc Protection to create the perfect smile for you! You’ll never receive cookie-cutter treatment from our team—your treatment plan will be built around your specific smile, needs, and goals. This guarantees exceptional results in the shortest amount of time possible.
When you choose The Smile Patio for your orthodontic care, you’ll be working with an expert team. Dr. Albaugh is a board-certified orthodontist with years of experience providing personalized treatment and solutions for patients of all ages. We offer a rewarding and stress-free orthodontic experience, from your first visit to your last. If you’re in the Vista area and want to learn more about how Smile Arc Protection can transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Albaugh!