Adult Orthodontic Options Explained

 Emma Kalman
  Jul 20, 2018

Many adults cherish a dream of one day sporting a beautifully straight row of gleaming white teeth, and it’s hard to argue with this vision. We know that people’s self-esteem and self-confidence is closely related to appearance, and knowing your smile looks good can make all the difference in having a successful career and personal life. The good news is it’s never been easier to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile, and these days you’re just as likely to see adults wearing braces as children.

What’s even better is that sometimes adult orthodontic treatment can help improve dental health, so that treatment could be a fantastic investment. There are lots of different options to help straighten your teeth including fixed and removable braces. The great thing about adult orthodontics is that treatment can be extremely discreet, which is ideal if you prefer not to tell anyone you are undergoing treatment.

Fixed Adult Braces

Perhaps the thought of fixed braces conjures up an image of heavy metal brackets and wires? Don’t worry, as although metal brackets and wires are still widely used, adult orthodontics is completely different. The reason for using fixed braces is that often they can provide extremely precise results, which can be ideal if you have more complicated orthodontic problems requiring correction. Also, fixed braces may work extremely quickly, sometimes within a matter of just a few months.

Fixed adult braces can use clear brackets which are attached to very thin and nearly invisible wires. Sometimes the wires are tooth colored. The advantage of choosing fixed braces is that the braces will be working all the time, and often the brackets used to reposition teeth can be extremely sophisticated, sometimes moving both the tooth and the tooth root at the same time. Another type of adult braces is fitted onto the inside surfaces of the teeth, so the brackets and wires cannot be seen.

Removable Braces

Removable braces are a very popular choice, and one system called Invisalign is straightforward to use and can rectify many orthodontic problems. Systems such as Invisalign use clear removable aligners made from thin BPA-free plastic. These custom-made aligners fit tightly over teeth and are designed to move their positions gradually. Generally, each set of aligners is worn for two weeks, and ideally, they are only removed for meals, and for brushing and flossing. It’s a system that is very appealing to adults and some older teenagers because it is minimally disruptive to everyday life and can produce an excellent treatment outcome.

Another very appealing aspect of Invisalign is the ability to see virtual images showing how your teeth will move during treatment. These images are created using sophisticated software that builds 3D virtual models of your teeth. Your dentist can pre-plan each tooth movement, and it’s quite exciting to see how your smile will become gradually straighter, potentially healthier and more attractive.

Cosmetic Braces

Cosmetic braces are fixed or removable but are only designed to straighten the teeth visible when smiling, so typically just your front six or front eight teeth. Because only these teeth are straightened, and the braces will not correct any significant orthodontic problems, treatment is relatively quick, and this is reflected in the cost. Sometimes cosmetic braces may only take a few months to work, and this treatment can be a better and more conservative choice to create a more cosmetically perfect smile.

Often dentists will recommend cosmetic braces instead of more invasive treatments such as porcelain veneers. Alternatively, they may suggest using cosmetic braces to straighten your teeth before only placing one or two veneers on teeth that will most benefit, as opposed to veneering all your front teeth.

Using Adult Orthodontics to Improve Your Dental Health

Just in case you need any further persuasion to investigate the possibility of adult orthodontics, listed below are a few of the ways it could help improve your dental health. These problems could apply to you if your teeth are significantly crooked and out of place.

Making It Easier for You to Brush and Floss

Do you find it hard to use dental floss, perhaps because your teeth are very tightly packed or overlapping? Maybe you have gaps in between your teeth that trap food? Now imagine how much easier it will be to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly when they are straighter and evenly aligned. When you can brush and floss properly, it helps to reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Reducing Wear and Tear on Your Teeth

If your teeth are significantly out of place and do not bite together correctly, then it can cause excessive wear on some teeth, increasing the risk of these teeth becoming fractured or chipped. With adult orthodontics, your bite can be properly adjusted, so your teeth bite evenly and correctly, reducing excessive wear and tear.

Protecting Your Jaw Joints

Do you wake up with headaches or an earache, or perhaps your jaw feels sore and uncomfortable? It’s possible you could be grinding your teeth at night, and this is a problem that can be caused when your teeth don’t bite or occlude properly, and you have what’s called a bad bite.

Clenching and grinding your teeth can cause tremendous damage to your teeth and your jaw joints (temporomandibular joints), and it’s a condition called temporomandibular disorder or TMD for short. Often people with TMD will wake up with an aching jaw, and they may even find it difficult to chew food comfortably or to open and close their mouth because the pressure caused by clenching and grinding has created inflammation in the jaw joints.

Orthodontics at Any Age

Adult orthodontics can be used to straighten your teeth at any age, and an increasing number of seniors are seeking this treatment. Provided your teeth are strong and healthy, you’re probably suitable for some form of adult braces. It’s never too late to achieve the smile of your dreams and to enjoy all the potential benefits of a straighter and more beautiful smile. If you’re interested, it’s best to contact a local orthodontist who can provide you with the latest and most appropriate treatments for your dental needs.

Adult Orthodontic Options Explained

Emma Kalman

Emma is a passionate writer with a love for health, research, and writing. Therefore, she strives to provide people with educational information for a healthier life.

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