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Seeking Prettier Smiles – Business Daily





Some Kenyans think that having crooked teeth or a chipped tooth as an adult is somewhat ‘normal’. However, seeking prettier smile knows no age and more adults are turning to orthodontists to get braces or other teeth-straightening treatments.

Dr Wandia Mwangi-Evans, an orthodontist who aligns teeth, bites and jaws, says contrary to popular belief, crooked teeth cannot just be fixed while one is young and that her oldest patient is in her 70s.

“People are empowered now. And if you have an opportunity to fix something that is bothering you then why not,” she says.

Dr Wandia adds that teeth fixing is also not just a cosmetic procedure since it also affects someone’s overall health. The treatment improves not just looks, but also outlooks.

Bad bites can damage the teeth and gums or can affect someone’s breathing and even cause chewing difficulties, the orthodontist says.

“Teeth fixing has psychological benefits like improved self-confidence,” she adds.

Misaligned jaws can affect the facial profile. In addition, an orthodontist can also help in the diagnosis and management of obstructive sleep apnoea and manage thumb and finger-sucking habits in children.

Some people also grind their teeth while sleeping and this is a condition that is caused by stress and anxiety.

“Gnashing of the teeth which is known as bruxism is caused by many factors like lifestyle and too much pressure in life. It can also be fixed by doing relaxation exercises and getting appliances to prevent from grinding the teeth,” Dr Wandia says.

Whether you are considering aligning your teeth or fixing a chipped tooth, the orthodontist can use retainers, braces, or expanders. Moreover, while older people prefer not to walk around with braces, Dr Wandia says, that the options are limitless.

“There are the less visible options such as the hidden braces which are fixed on the back of the teeth. They work just like braces,” she says.

For those who are sceptical about braces, Dr Wandia says that clear orthodontic devices or aligners, which are removable and can be changed in two weeks, are also a good option.

“They are however not as versatile as fixed braces. They go for around 4,000 pounds in the UK {Sh520,000} but there are less expensive versions available locally. I would however advise patients to stick to the trusted brands,” she says.

Even as more Kenyans become aware of the need to fix their teeth in times when people fuss over enviable smiles, there are few doctors to cater for them. Most are turning to dentists who are not trained to do the job. While orthodontics is a branch of dentistry, it is a specialised field, which is not offered locally. Orthodontists are specialists who are trained to align teeth and straighten bites, so that someone gets a great smile that feels great, too. Dr Wandia adds that people with crooked teeth often need more than just adjustments, which is why a dentist would to be in a position to handle the cases.

“Orthodontics is a continuous process and regular adjustments is quite an involving process. We become reliant on our patients’ and them on us,” says Dr Wandia.

Dr Beatrice Kiptanui, is one of the seven orthodontists in the country, who trained with Dr Wandia in the UK. The two opened a clinic at the New Muthaiga Mall in Nairobi.

“There are not a lot of black females in the field and so when you spot one from a mile who also happens to be your friend it’s even better. We both knew that whichever way it would pan out we would always end up working together,” says Dr Kiptanui.