Braces for All Ages: Orthodontic Appliances For Adults

Many people think braces and other orthodontic appliances are meant only for children and teenagers. The truth is more adults than ever are choosing to improve their smile through realignment. And although orthodontics is similar for adults as for children, they've gotten better for everyone. There are numerous options for braces that are less noticeable and easier to maintain.

Can Adults Benefit From Orthodontic Treatment?

The American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site explains that orthodontics, which correct bite issues, can also prevent tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, impaired speech, chewing and certain jaw problems. This is true for adults of any age and who have otherwise healthy teeth. However, because adults' bones are no longer growing, according to an American Dental Association, adult jaws are more challenging, and your own treatment time may be longer than that of a child or teenager. Therefore, adults may want to discuss orthodontic treatment options with their dentist or orthodontist.

Permanent Orthodontics

The types of permanent orthodontics available for adults are similar to those for children. And due to advances in orthodontics treatment, braces have become more comfortable and far less noticeable than in years past. Braces consist of brackets that are applied to your teeth, and come in either metal or ceramic. Ceramic braces are colored similarly to the teeth, which makes them less visible. There is also a type of lingual braces applied to the back of the teeth, which makes them invisible to see.

Removable Orthodontic Appliances

Another type of orthodontic tool is known as an aligner, a clear plastic appliance you can remove as needed. These devices are only available for adults and adolescents; they're not meant for children. Aligners are advantageous for adults because they're generally less visible and teeth are easier to clean and maintain – a unique benefit for those with busy work and family schedules.

Oral Care With Orthodontics

Although there are health benefits to correcting teeth, oral care is more difficult with braces. Food can get stuck in your brackets, putting you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Therefore, proper oral hygiene is important: Brushing after meals with a fluoride toothpaste like Colgate Total® Advanced Deep Clean helps to maintain a clean feeling in the mouth, while fighting germs for up to 12 hours.

Age need not be a limiting factor for those who want to correct problems in their mouth. Adults ultimately have more options for braces; that includes both permanent and removable appliances. However, there are drawbacks in cost and length of treatment you should consider. The choice to receive orthodontic treatment is one to make in consultation with a dentist or an orthodontist.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Top Oral Care Tips Related to ADULT ORTHODONTICS

  • Flossing – creating a flossing routine is important during orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists and hygienists may recommend interdental brushes or floss threaders to make getting in between teeth easier.

  • Brushing routine – using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush are ideal for cleaning teeth with braces. Begin brushing at a 45-degree angle at the gum line using small circular motions. Then place the toothbrush on top of the brackets, angling down to brush on top of each bracket. Finally, reposition the brush to brush the bottom of the bracket as well as the wire, angling the toothbrush up.

  • Fluoride mouthwash – after brushing and flossing, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to help prevent cavities and white spots.

  • Mouthguards – wear a mouthguard if you play sports. Mouthguards can protect your cheeks and lips from serious cuts and can prevent damage to your braces or orthodontic appliance if you fall down or are hit in the face.