Braces Are For Everyone, Not Just Kids!
If you are an adult in need of orthodontic help, it is important to know that it is never too late to get braces. Yes, many people go through the process of braces as children or teens, but there are many valid reasons to wear braces as an adult too. Though braces certainly are an investment, they lead to much higher self-esteem and confidence. They can also alleviate many health problems that people sometimes endure for years before taking action to treat.
Are Braces An Option For Me?
Most people are candidates for braces. They can be used for cosmetic purposes to fix crooked teeth and boost confidence, and they can fix many health issues caused by jaw misalignment. Problems such as chronic jaw pain, TMJ, earaches, difficulty chewing, and bone erosion can all be managed by braces.
The benefits endowed by braces are endless. By fixing your teeth and jaw you can avoid many common health problems that occur down the road. This will ultimately save you time and money from treating these issues later on in life. Braces also perfectly straighten your teeth, making it easier to clean all parts of the tooth and maintain good dental hygiene. This can cut down on plaque buildup in hard-to-reach areas, which lowers the risk of cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Last but not least, braces offer a huge confidence boost! Instead of smiling with your mouth closed, or covering your mouth when you laugh, braces leave you with a nice straight smile that you will never feel self-conscious showing off.
Which Type of Braces Should I Get?
There are a few choices for adults when it comes to which type of braces you will wear. Based on your orthodontic issues that need to be fixed, as well as your preferences, you and your doctor can discuss which type is best for you.
Clear or Ceramic Braces
Clear or ceramic braces are most similar to the metal braces you see on children. They use brackets and wires to apply pressure to the teeth and jaw, slowly moving them into the proper position. With these types of braces, you will need to visit the orthodontist periodically for tightenings. Instead of using metal brackets, clear braces use ceramic material that matches the natural color of the tooth. This makes the braces less noticeable to others, though they work just as effectively as traditional metal braces.
Self-ligating braces are also called frictionless braces, look very similar to traditional braces. They use a specialized type of bracket to maintain pressure on the wire and teeth and do not require manual tightening by your orthodontist. The elastics used on traditional braces tend to accumulate plaque and other buildups on your teeth, but since self-ligating braces do not use elastics whatsoever, they are thought to be a more hygienic alternative.
Lingual braces use brackets that are attached to the backside of teeth, making them invisible to others. They work the same as traditional braces in that they use metal wires to move the teeth and jaw. Since the brackets and other hardware are placed on the inside face of the teeth, lingual braces tend to irritate different areas than traditional braces. Patients using lingual braces may experience tenderness on their tongue from rubbing against the metal, but this can be alleviated using dental wax to form a smooth surface over the brackets.
How Long Do I Have to Wear Braces?
The duration of treatment varies from person to person depending on what specific issues you are trying to fix, the pace at which your teeth move, and how well you follow your orthodontist’s instructions. Typically, braces are worn for about two years, but again this period can be shortened or lengthened due to any of the above-mentioned reasons.
How Much Do Braces Cost?
Just as the length of treatment time varies by patient, the cost of braces does too. If your braces are only needed to straighten out a few teeth, they may be cheaper than braces used to fix serious health issues. To more accurately determine the cost of your braces, you should visit your local orthodontist for an examination and price estimate.
How Do I Take Care of My Braces?
Taking care of your braces is very important to make sure they work properly and quickly. The better you care for your braces, the better your results will be. The most common change people make once getting braces is avoiding certain foods. Any food that is hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky has the potential to damage or break your braces. This can lead to painful metal poking you, brackets falling off the tooth, and an emergency visit to your orthodontist—not fun for anyone!
Another thing to keep in mind is that braces can be like magnets for plaque and other nasty buildups. Make sure to take time and attention when brushing, and to use the special flossers provided by your orthodontist. Try to clean out every nook and cranny regularly, this way you will not only reveal a perfectly straight smile after your braces are removed, but also sparkling healthy white teeth!