Recent developments in orthodontic technology and treatment options have motivated more adults to seek treatment for their orthodontic issues. Today, our orthodontists explain the ins and outs of adult braces and other treatment options.
Why do adults need orthodontic treatment?
A number of oral health problems can be caused by teeth that are improperly positioned or crowded in your mouth.
This can affect jaw function and speech. It may also lead to uneven wear on your teeth. Misaligned teeth can also impact oral hygiene, since properly aligned teeth are fairly easily to clean with normal brushing and flossing.
But a misalignment may cause the teeth to overlap, causing debris from food and bacteria to get stuck in places that your toothbrush and floss can’t easily reach. This can result in tooth decay and eventual gum disease.
Aesthetically, misaligned teeth may cause cosmetic issues and feelings of insecurity in appearance – causing some people to avoid activities such as public speaking or smiling for family pictures, or even eating in public.
As you might imagine, these issues can affect the quality of your life, and so orthodontic treatment may be highly beneficial.
Low Profile Orthodontic Options for Adults
One reason adults often give for not seeking orthodontic treatment is that they are concerned about the aesthetics or appearance of braces. Fortunately, dental and orthodontic technology has come a long way.
Many convenient and discreet orthodontic treatment options are available for adult patients to choose from, depending on their needs. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages.
Some patients may be candidates for clear aligners – clear, custom-made plastic aligners that are difficult for the average observer to tell that you’re wearing. They gradually move the teeth into prescribed positions with gentle, continual pressure over the course of treatment - without the need for metal brackets or wires.
One big plus with clear aligners is that they’re removable, allowing you to drink, eat, brush and floss as you normally would. And whether you wear them to work, at events or out on the town, their combined transparency and convenience makes them an attractive treatment option. For many people, they fit comfortably into everyday lifestyle.
However, you’ll have to make sure to wear the aligners for 22 hours per day for treatment to be successful – and that requires a significant amount of self-discipline. You must also remember to switch aligner sets when appropriate, and schedule meal and eating times.
Thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology, adult braces have become a more viable option for those who may not be candidates for clear aligners, or who may prefer braces.
Metal braces are now less obtrusive and much more comfortable than they once were due to improvements in design. Consisting of brackets, wires and elastic bands, the parts work together to apply calibrated force to your teeth, gradually shifting them over time.
Braces can be used to treat either complex or simple malocclusion and misalignment issues. They are fixed appliances, so while you can’t take them out to brush, floss, eat or drink, you also won’t have to worry about timing your meals and snack times, or forgetting to switch your aligners or put them back in.
If you are concerned about the cost of adult braces, clear aligners or other orthodontic treatment, talk to your orthodontist. They may have financing options or payment plans available.