Has your dentist recommended braces for healthier teeth or a better bite? Is there something you’ve always wanted to improve about the appearance of your smile? Then you should know that braces and orthodontic care aren’t just for kids. At Howard Family Dental, more adults than ever before are choosing them. In fact, 20% of all orthodontic patients today are adults. Healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age.
Why an Adult may need Orthodontic Care
There are many reasons orthodontic care may be recommended for adults. Crowded teeth, missing teeth or jaws that are out of alignment – a condition called malocclusion or “bad bite” – can cause excessive wear on teeth. They may cause jaw pain or difficulty chewing. And they can make teeth harder to keep clean, which may lead to cavities or worse.
Cosmetic considerations are important as well. An attractive smile is a real confidence booster. And since people are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever, it can make a difference at any age.
Options for Adults
When you think of braces, you may think of big metal appliances on the teeth. But there are other options available that may be right for you:
- Invisalign® – These aligners are clear trays that fit snugly over the teeth. Many adults prefer them because they are virtually invisible when worn. Each aligner is designed to shift your teeth slightly. During treatment, you go through several sets. With each one, your teeth move according to the treatment plan mapped out by your orthodontist until they are in the proper position. These aligners are removable for eating and brushing, but should be worn 22 hours a day.
- Braces – Wearing braces no longer means having a mouth full of metal brackets. Braces are smaller and lighter. Clear brackets and ceramic brackets that match your teeth can make them a much more attractive option for adults.
Advances in the design of these options can also make the course of treatment faster than before. At Howard Family Dental, you and your orthodontist can evaluate your particular orthodontic needs, cost considerations and personal preferences to help you make the right choice.
Amber’s Experience with Adult Braces
Amber had issues with her teeth crowding each other. For cosmetic purposes, she was eager to have them treated. Braces were the best option for her. Her orthodontist used clear brackets, which were much less noticeable than metal ones.
What was your experience like as an adult with braces?
It was great! I had clear brackets so they were not super noticeable. I had so many other adults comment on how they were considering getting orthodontics after seeing me do it.
How long did your total treatment take?
Only about eight months. I just had a few teeth I wanted to shift.
Did you experience any unusual reactions from friends and family while undergoing treatment?
Just positive comments. I was surprised how many people commented that they wanted to explore braces as well.
How did you modify your diet while wearing braces?
I stayed away from really sticky and crunchy food that could have broken my brackets. But if I really wanted something that fell into that category, I was very careful and did not bite into anything directly. I only had one broken bracket throughout my entire treatment.
Are you pleased with your results?
Absolutely! If you are an adult and you are interested in braces, go for it. It is well worth the time and financial investment to be happy and confident with your smile. You will not regret it!
Ben’s Experience with Invisalign
Ben was experiencing jaw pain because of his bite. His dentist recommended braces to treat the problem. At his orthodontic checkup, he learned he’d be a good candidate for Invisalign, so that’s the option he chose.
What was it like being an adult wearing Invisalign?
At first, it was definitely an adjustment. It was tough not to keep poking at my aligners with my tongue and to remember to do the things I needed to do to take care of them. After about a month, though, it all just became second nature. It was great. People didn’t even realize I was wearing them until I pointed it out.
How long did your total treatment last?
From first impressions to final removal, about 14 months.
How often did you have to go for treatment?
I went every six weeks or so, to get my set of trays adjusted or replaced. I came in maybe a half-dozen times during the course of treatment. I was always in and out very quickly, in about 20 to 30 minutes.
How many hours a day did you wear your aligners?
I was really good until the last few trays. Probably 20 hours a day or so.
Was it difficult to keep up with cleaning your aligners?
Well, to help me remember to brush after each meal, I hid toothbrushes and toothpaste everywhere – in the kitchen, all bathrooms, office, car, briefcase – because otherwise I wouldn’t remember. I still find them in odd places as I clean the house.
Are you pleased with the results?
I’m thrilled. My jaw doesn’t hurt when I eat anymore, and my smile looks great. I went and got whitening afterwards, just to top off the whole experience! People notice it. I didn’t think my teeth were that bad before. But when people come up to you and say, “Wow, your teeth look great,” you just know you made the right choice.
If you’re an adult interested in exploring the possibilities of orthodontic care, contact Howard Family Dental today.