Remember going to the dentist? I don’t think anyone would call it fun, but for children who grew up wearing braces, it could be downright painful.
Khallida Hopkins, a hair stylist and mother, remembers the pain of tightening day.
“Every month you would get them tightened down and like one hour after that you would get so sore, you didn’t want to eat anything, at least not chew it. The teeth would be moving and your teeth would be so sore”, Khallida says.
Now, fast forward 20 years and Khallida’s own daughter, 11-year-old Shanice, is having her teeth straightened in a whole new way, without braces. Instead, Shanice is having her teeth straightened through something called The Healthy Start System, using a series of soft, removable oral appliances that may be worn at night instead of all the time.
The devices are meant to slowly guide the teeth, rather than push or pull them into a healthy position.
“It’s not straightening the teeth as much as it is guiding them to where they are supposed to be in the first place, guiding the jaw to the right position and the teeth to the right position”, says Grant Sadler, CEO of GMS Dental Centers of Excellence in Houston.
Inventors of Healthy Start say there is no pain, no ugly wires or rubber bands, no need to pull out or remove teeth and no need to wear an appliance 24/7.
And then there is the cost.
“To have traditional braces you are talking about $6,000 for roughly 24 months in bands, but the Healthy Start System is $3,750, so there is a substantial savings here," says Sadler.
Shanice has been using the Healthy Start System for one year, and she says her teeth are straighter.
She says her face is also more slender.
But what Shanice likes best is that she can take the device out of her mouth when she goes to school and to parties.
“I also love the fact that I can get my picture taken, and not have to hide a mouth full of braces," Shanice says
The Healthy Start System is available at GMS Dental Centers, as well as other dental facilities.