Just hearing the word “braces” can take many of us back to junior high — that painful era when we wore unattractive glasses, endured unflattering haircuts, and carried a mouthful of braces to complete the awkward adolescent look. Despite the common assumption that braces are for kids, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontics to make their mouths healthy and smiles even more beautiful.
Braces for Adults
Perhaps you never had braces as a kid and you are embarrassed by your crooked teeth. Or you went through a round of braces a decade ago and stopped wearing your retainer, which allowed your teeth to shift. Braces are recommended not only for esthetic reasons, when the teeth are rotated or crowded maintaining them becomes more difficult, straight aligned teeth are much easier to brush and floss. Additionally, when teeth are in a position that is not in harmony with the function of your jaw joints and jaw closing muscles the joints could be damaged, muscles can become sore causing face pain and headaches or the teeth can be worn down. Orthodontics can move teeth to a better, more harmonious place in your mouth. Whatever your personal history, wearing braces in adulthood is an excellent way to create the straight, beautiful smile you deserve.
What are my options?
With recent advances in orthodontic medicine, there are numerous options for adults who need braces. The basic option is traditional metal braces. These are best for individuals who have severely crooked teeth or a significant bite problem, or require other major orthodontic changes. Metal braces are typically the least expensive option. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is aesthetics. Many people find them unattractive and distracting.
If you are worried about your personal appearance, clear ceramic or plastic braces may be a better choice. Clear braces are capable of handling very crooked teeth and complicated bite issues. Clear braces do not bond as well to the tooth and cost more than metal braces. You also have to be careful about smoking or drinking red wine, soda, and other dark beverages while wearing clear braces. These items may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth.
Another popular option for adults who need braces is a clear aligner treatment, such as Clear Correct. This system works in a different way from traditional braces by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners. The series is custom made for your teeth, which makes this option more expensive than either metal or ceramic braces. In general, the Clear Correct process takes anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Clear Correct is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems, teeth that are lower or higher than others, or severely overcrowded teeth.
Although you may be nervous about the prospect of getting braces as an adult, you should not let your fears stop you from talking with Dr. Gardner A consultation at our office will address your concerns and provide information about the best course of treatment for you. No matter what your personal situation, adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and create the smile you’ve always dreamed of.