Is it For Adults?
Orthodontics, like braces and other procedures to address the misalignment of the teeth, are normally associated with children and teenagers. However, orthodontia for adults has grown in popularity and has proven just as successful as a treatment for a variety of orthodontic issues.
Most commonly, braces are recommended to straighten crooked teeth in adults. This can be due to misalignment causing pain in the mouth and jaw. Also as a corrective measure to prepare the teeth for other procedures such inserting a bridge, crown or even dental implants to replace missing teeth.
The type of braces used today is also not the same as were in use in the past. No more unsightly and uncomfortable metal wires or even head gear. Today, braces are nearly invisible, making them far more attractive for orthodontia for adults.
Types of braces that are available include:
- Lingual Brackets are placed on the inside of the teeth (facing the tongue rather than the cheeks or lips) which are attached to wires that pull the teeth into the ideal position. Not only does this make them invisible but it is far more comfortable for the patient.
- Ceramic Braces are similar to traditional braces except that they are white and therefore more difficult to spot. The ceramic material also makes them much more comfortable than the traditional metal braces.
- Clear Plastic Aligners are similar to mouth guards and are custom-made to fit over the teeth. These are ideal for adjusting an incorrect bite and are normally worn at night but can also be worn during the day.
You can discuss these and other options available with your orthodontist. The type of braces that will be used is largely dependent on the type of misalignment that needs to be addressed.
Braces are not a quick fix and you can expect to wear them for a minimum of 1 year or up to a maximum of 4 years. Shifting teeth in adults is more difficult and can, therefore, take longer to adjust to the ideal alignment. The period is also dependent on the extent of the misalignment as well as the individual.
Your orthodontist will provide you with special care and maintenance instructions for your braces and your teeth. You will need to brush carefully, paying special attention to the wires and brackets that are attached to the teeth after every meal and before going to bed at night.
You may also be provided with specialized tools to remove trapped food particles, plaque, and other debris from the braces. Oral hygiene is very important while wearing braces to prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues. It is also important to use mouth wash and use a specialized technique to floss your teeth regularly. Many people I know with braces have learned these mothods from amazing dentists.
Even if you wore braces as a child, this does not mean that you may not need them later in life. Teeth may shift as we age requiring adjustment. Having the misalignment or bite corrected can also contribute to better overall oral hygiene.