Braces aren’t just for teenagers. No matter your age, it’s never too late to improve your dental health and beautify your smile. About 1 million Americans and Canadians over the age of 18 wear braces. As a result, general dentists today are more familiar with potential concerns and special needs of their adult patients. Some general dentists have the training to diagnose and treat orthodontic problems.
Why do adults need braces?
Some adults never received orthodontic treatment as children to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites and underbites, incorrect jaw position or jaw joint disorders. If left untreated, these problems can result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.
Is orthodontic treatment different for adults?
Like children, adults can receive the same benefit of an improved smile and oral health from wearing braces. However, since adults are no longer growing, treatment may take longer than it does for teenagers. The average adult wears braces for 18 months to three years. After braces are removed, you may need to wear a retainer to maintain the results of your treatment.
How do I adjust to life with braces?
You probably will experience some discomfort or difficulty speaking or eating at first. While wearing braces, keep your teeth and brackets clean. If you wear cemented, non-removable braces, food and plaque can get trapped between teeth and gums. To reduce your risk of cavities, follow a regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing, and reduce your consumption of sweets and carbohydrates. Plaque and sugar combine to make acid, which can cause decalcification (white spots) on teeth and tooth decay if left behind.
What types of braces are available at Station Square Dental?
- Metal braces, made of high-grade stainless steel and attached to the front of teeth, are the most common. Some patients may complain about discomfort from metal brackets rubbing against the skin. If you experience any pain or discomfort, ask your dentist or orthodontist for some dental wax to place over the brackets.
- Clear ceramic braces are worn on the front of the teeth just like traditional steel braces. Unlike metal braces, they blend with the color of the teeth for a much less noticeable appearance. They may look better but also may break more easily than metal braces.
- Invisible braces (Invisalign) are a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. Not only are these braces invisible, but they also are removable so they won’t trap food and plaque between your teeth like metal braces. You’ll wear each aligner for about two weeks and only remove it for eating, brushing and flossing. This may be an option for individuals with mild spacing problems.