Orthodontic braces were historically associated with teenagers. Today, an increasing number of adults are choosing to wear braces to straighten their teeth and correct malocclusions (bad bites). In fact, it is now estimated that almost one third of all current orthodontic patients are adults.
Orthodontic braces are predictable, versatile and incredibly successful at realigning the teeth. Braces work in the same way regardless of the age of the patient, but the treatment time is greatly reduced in patients who are still experiencing jaw growth and have not been affected by gum disease.
Can adults benefit from orthodontic braces?
Absolutely! Crooked or misaligned teeth look unsightly, which in many cases leads to poor self esteem and a lack of self confidence. Aside from poor aesthetics, improperly aligned teeth can also cause difficulties biting, chewing and articulating clearly. Orthodontists agree that straight teeth tlead to healthier teeth with less waer and with healthier gums and supporting bone.
Straight teeth offer a multitude of health and dental benefits including:
Reduction in general tooth decay
Decreased likelihood of developing periodontal disease
Decreased likelihood of tooth injury or abnormal wear
Reduction in digestive disorders
Fortunately, orthodontic braces have been adapted and modified to make them more convenient for adults. There are now a wide range of fixed and removable orthodontic devices available, depending on the precise classification of the malocclusion.
The most common types of malocclusion are underbite (lower teeth protrude further than upper teeth), overbite (upper teeth protrude further than lower teeth) and overcrowding, where there is insufficient space on the arches to accommodate the full complement of adult teeth.
Prior to recommending specific orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist will recommend treatment of any pre-existing dental conditions such as gum disease, excess plaque and tooth decay. Orthodontic braces work much more effectively if these conditions are resolved prior to treatment
What are the main types of orthodontic braces?
The following are some of the most popular orthodontic braces:
Traditional braces – These braces are strong and tend not to stain the teeth. They are comprised of individual brackets which are cemented to each tooth and accompanied by an archwire which constantly asserts gentle pressure on the teeth. Traditional braces are generally metal but are also available in a clear synthetic material and “tooth colored” ceramic. The ceramic brackets do not stain but elastic ties holding the archwire generally stain if exposed to excessive smoke, coffee, red wine, or mustard. Discolored ties can be changed between adjustment appointments in about two minutes at no extra charge.
Clear Correct/Invisalign® – Clear aligners are favored by many adults because they are both removable and invisible to onlookers. The aligners are clear trays, and should be worn for the recommended amount of time each day for the quickest results. Aligners are more comfortable and less obtrusive than traditional braces, but also tend to be more costly. Not all patients are candidates for aligner treatment. Some cases may require conventional braces to properly finish after aligners done maximum alignment.
- If you have any questions about orthodontic braces, please contact our office.