As an adult, when you think of orthodontic braces, you probably think of the acne-covered 13-year-olds with metal brackets in their mouth back when you were younger. But are braces really limited to teens? Can you be too old for braces?
Luckily, the answer is no. In fact, one in four orthodontic patients in the United States each year are adults looking to correct misaligned teeth and improve oral health. At Image Dental, we realize you may have questions regarding cosmetic dentistry and adult orthodontics. We are here to help you navigate your possible orthodontic treatment options.
Whether you opt for traditional braces or clear aligners, orthodontic appliances work by placing gentle, controlled forces on your teeth. This force gently presses on the tooth root, causing the underlying alveolar bone to dissolve, allowing teeth to move into their new position. As the tooth moves, new bone begins growing to prevent the tooth from moving back into its previous position. Once your teeth are in a new position, your dentist will have you wear a retainer to hold the teeth in place and allow for the completion of new bone growth, locking your teeth into their new position.
Braces and other orthodontic appliances aren’t just for kids and teens anymore. Orthodontic treatment can move teeth at any time and age, making it a popular treatment option many adults are now turning to. But why would adults need braces? You have lived with misaligned teeth for years, so are braces necessary?
The truth is there are many different reasons to opt for braces and orthodontic care as an adult. These reasons can include:
While most people think the main benefit of getting braces or other orthodontic appliances is an improved smile, the truth is that cosmetic change is just the beginning. There are many beneficial reasons to get braces as an adult, including:
While you can still get braces as an adult, it does not come without challenges. As a child or teen, your jaw was still growing, and chances are you didn’t have much dental work. As an adult, you have had a lifetime of previous dental work, and your jaw has stopped growing. When it comes to braces, this can mean complications when trying to move teeth. Previous dental work, such as root canals, can make it difficult. Oral surgery may be necessary to achieve your desired results. In addition, movement can often be slower in adults because of maturity and bone density, taking more time to achieve your desired outcome.
When you decide to straighten your smile with orthodontic treatments, you will need to talk with your orthodontist about which treatment option is best for you. While many adults often want to go with clear aligners, they are not always an option. Which treatment will work best for you will depend on your dental concerns.
Traditional braces have brackets that adhere to the surface of your teeth and are connected with thin wires. In order to move your teeth, your orthodontist tightens the wires slowly. Traditional brackets are metal, but you can also opt for ceramic braces or lingual braces that connect on the back of the teeth. Traditional braces work for just about any dental concern, while lingual braces will not treat conditions such as a deep overbite. Because the brackets are fixed to your teeth, you will need to use caution with certain foods. Treatment for adults can take up to three years, with the brackets staying in place for that time.
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are removable braces that slip over your teeth. Every few weeks, you receive new aligners designed to slowly shift your teeth into their new position. In addition to being nearly invisible, these aligners can be removed when you eat, allowing you to avoid any food restrictions. Unfortunately, clear aligners are not a good option for severe overbites or teeth that are too rotated or too short.
Braces, whether traditional or clear aligners, are beneficial at any age. While treatment as an adult can take a little longer, your overall oral health will benefit from properly aligned teeth. If you would like to learn more about cosmetic dentistry and how braces can give you the smile you have always wanted, contact Image Dental online or call our office at (209) 955-1500 today to schedule a consultation.