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Our smile is our calling card, our welcome to the world and the key to our interactions with others. But crooked, protruding, teeth, left untreated, can erase that smile, causing embarrassment, a lack of confidence and ultimately, some serious long-term dental problems. “Crooked teeth impact us on many levels,” says Dr. Tony Tyan of Sweet Smiles Orthodontics in Plainsboro. “Not only do they affect us physically and emotionally, but socially, taking away our self-esteem and ability to relate in social and business situations.”

But new game-changing technology, sophisticated new processes and greater cooperation between orthodontists, dentists and other dental specialists are transforming orthodontics – and bringing new life and beautiful smiles to both children and adults.

Like all medical and dental procedures, orthodontics now relies on advanced technology. Dr. Tyan uses a digital x-ray that emits lower levels of radiation. A digital scanner eliminates the need for patients to bite down on gummy impression material.

Although between the ages of 11 to 15 is the best time to start the straightening process, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends taking the first orthodontic screening by age 7. Early screening can help to identify some problems that may require prompt orthodontic treatment. Dr. Tyan works closely with pediatric dentists and general dentists to ensure a holistic approach to care. Straightening usually takes two to two-and-a-half years for children and adolescents and may be longer for adults, since the teeth are more difficult to move.

Dr. Tyan is a certified provider with the ground-breaking Invisalign System that has revolutionized orthodontics with clear aligners which are almost invisible.

Orthodontic treatment does more than create a perfect smile. Timely screening is important in the long-term success of the procedure and can uncover a variety of potential problems if teeth are not properly straightened. Crowded teeth are difficult to brush, resulting in tooth decay and gum disease. Protruding teeth are prone to chipping. Crossbites can cause uneven tooth wear and open bites may lead to tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

“Orthodontics are much more than a cosmetic transformation,” says Dr. Tyan. “These procedures are preventative and lay the groundwork for a lifetime of good oral health.”

Dr. Tyan has deliberately kept his practice small, personalized and very much hands-on. “I do most of the work myself and we see fewer patients per day in order to avoid over-scheduling and to provide the customized care each person deserves.”

He received bachelor of science degrees from the University of California, Irvine in of biological sciences and mechanical engineering. He credits this initial training in physics as giving him a more in-depth understanding of the physics principles in orthodontics and to provide more efficient treatment for his patients. Dr. Tyan holds a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an Orthodontic Specialty Certificate from the St. Barnabas Hospital affiliated with Weill Medical College of Cornell.

Sweet Smile Orthodontics. 666 Plainsboro Rd. #1181, Plainsboro Township. (609) 750-9500.