When you think of braces, you might automatically picture a gangly teenager with a mouth full of metal. After all, many of us went through that experience when we were children.
But today’s orthodontic practices are so much more improved. In many cases, cosmetic remedies for crooked teeth, a poorly-aligned bite or a crowded smile can be offered in much more pleasing ways—with excellent results.
Orthodontics involves the use of mechanical devised attached to the teeth to gently guide them into desired directions. As the teeth move, the supporting bone, the alveolar bone, begins to dissolve on the side where pressure from the moving tooth’s root is applied. Then as the tooth migrates into position, new bone forms on the other side, filling in the gap. This will support the tooth in its new location and ensure its stability.
Types of Braces
Most commonly used are traditional braces that are installed onto a patient’s teeth using brackets that are cemented (bonded) to tooth surfaces. The brackets hold archwires that are threaded through, and that supply the pressure that is needed to invoke the change. As wires are tightened and adjusted, various pressures are applied.
Modern innovations create braces that are much more comfortable, using fewer brackets that are smaller. Although metal is the preferred and most effective medium for braces, tooth-colored or clear plastic brackets are also now available. Less sturdy than metal brackets, they tend to break more easily, and may damage the enamel slightly as they are stronger than their metal counterparts. A combination can also be used, with tooth-colored brackets on top teeth and metal on bottom ones.
Plastic brackets are also an option, but may stain over time. With ceramic and plastic brackets, teeth may not shift as quickly, lengthening treatment time.
In some cases, your orthodontist can install what is known as a lingual appliance to the back of the teeth. This prevents the brackets and wires from showing, but can feel awkward in the mouth and cause speech impediments and irritation.
One of the most popular non-braces treatment options is Invisalign®, a series of tooth colored trays or aligners fitted to the teeth that are worn between 20 and 22 hours a day. Almost unnoticeable, they can easily be removed for eating, brushing and flossing. Using 3D digital imaging, simple treatment plans can be established by dental practices such as EverSmile Dentistry. Invisalign is designed to be used by adults and older adolescents.
Braces for Adults
According to a 2014 survey by the American Association of Orthodontists, adults comprised nearly 1.5 million orthodontics patients in the United States and Canada. This is up nearly 40% since the mid-1990s.
Reasons you should consider getting braces as an adult include:
• Preventing teeth shifting. Injuries, tooth loss and health conditions can lead to a misshapen smile. Even those who had braces as a child may need to undergo a second treatment as an adult to maintain healthy teeth.
• Correcting misalignment. When tooth surfaces don’t connect correctly, the result can be chipped or broken teeth, TMJ or facial discomfort, irregular wear, or increased accumulation of plaque and bacteria in spaces between teeth that can lead to gum disease and bone loss.
• Fixing a bite. When a bite is misaligned, chronic pain in the jaw, headaches and earaches may occur, along with the inability to properly chew and digest foods.
• Cosmetic corrections. If you’ve disliked your smile, you can cosmetically enhance your appearance. Celebrities and those in the public eye often get braces to improve their confidence, but anyone can look and feel better with a straighter smile.
As present-day adults live longer than generations before us, it is imperative to ensure that the ability to eat and enjoy food remains with us throughout our lifetimes. Braces offer one way to do that.
Consider braces as an investment for your future dental health—at any age. Not inexpensive, they can run up to about $6,500, depending upon your case, but are well worth their cost. Many dentists offer convenient payment plans and insurance may cover a portion of the costs.
Thinking of Getting Braces?
We’ll be glad to talk to you about braces, no matter what age you are. Contact us today to schedule your appointment with EverSmile Dentistry. We’re your family dentist in Sterling, Virginia.