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Tom Cruise hasn’t always had perfect teeth

Tom Cruise hasn’t always had perfect teeth 1024 587 Turner Lim Orthodontists, New Lynn, Auckland

More than 35 years since the release of the iconic movie Top Gun, Tom Cruise is poised to star in its sequel — Top Gun: Maverick. How has he maintained his superstar status for so long? Well, of course, Tom is a fantastic actor. Another factor, though, is his movie-star good looks, helped, in no small part, by his great smile.

You needn’t be a star to have great teeth

It may surprise you to learn that Tom Cruise wasn’t born with a perfect smile. In fact, with an oddly prominent incisor and off-kilter dental midline, his teeth were extremely misaligned.

Some dental terms

Incisors: The four upper and four lower front teeth.

Dental midline: The line between your two upper and lower incisors.

Initially, Tom used various Hollywood tricks to make his teeth appear better. However, it wasn’t until 2002 that he began to wear braces, which goes to show that age is no obstacle to achieving a wonderful smile.

Apparently, Tom chose ceramic braces, which were great for him because they are less visible than metal braces. These days, there are also other discrete types of orthodontic treatments available, such as Invisalign, which consists of almost invisible aligners.

Why strive for great teeth?

As superficial as it sounds, if you have good teeth, you’re more likely to be successful in your personal and professional life. Why? Well, like moviegoers, society judges us on our looks. It’s human nature. For example, if you have a gap between your top front teeth, some people may think you’re not too smart (remember Jim Carey in the comedy Dumb and Dumber?). And, if your lower teeth protrude, you may be perceived as aggressive.

Of course, self-confidence plays a large part in how successful we are, and when we project confidence — even with flawed teeth — others are likely to have confidence in us.

Types of braces

These days, there are several options available to fix your smile — even more than when Tom Cruise started his treatment 20 years ago.

Metal Braces

Made of high-grade stainless steel, these are the most common braces. Rubber ties, which are available in a wide variety of colours, attach a wire to the braces. Metal braces are now smaller, more comfortable and less obtrusive than they used to be.

Ceramic Braces

Made of translucent material, these are popular with adult patients (and movie stars) because of their cosmetic appeal. They are a good option if you don’t want to feel self-conscious about wearing braces. They are more fragile than metal braces, though.

Self-ligating braces using the Damon System

Metal braces have brackets attached to a patient’s teeth. An archwire is threaded through the brackets using rubber bands to fix it in place.  Self-ligating brackets, however, have a small gate at the front that secures the archwire when closed. Self-ligating braces are more comfortable than metal braces, and because teeth can move more freely, treatment is faster.

Invisalign®

The Invisalign system uses a series of almost-invisible computer-generated aligners. You wear the aligners (with rubber bands if prescribed) for 22 hours per day and change them every one to two weeks. Invisalign looks good, you can eat what you want and is easy to clean.

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