Many people think braces and other orthodontic appliances are meant only for children and teenagers. In reality, however, more adults than ever are choosing to improve their smile through realignment. And although orthodontics is similar for adults and children alike, braces have improved for everyone. There are numerous options that are less noticeable and easier to maintain.
The American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site explains that orthodontics, which corrects bite issues, can also prevent tooth cavities, gum problems, 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, adult jaws are more challenging, according to the American Dental Association. As such, treatment time for adults may be longer than for children and teenagers. Adults may want to discuss orthodontic treatment options with their dentist or orthodontist.
The types of permanent orthodontics available for adults are similar to those for children. Due to advances in orthodontics treatment, braces have become more comfortable and far less noticeable than in past years. Braces consist of brackets that are applied to your teeth, and come in either metal or ceramic. Ceramic braces are coloured 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 keeps them out of sight.
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 are not meant for children. Aligners are advantageous for adults as they are generally less visible and teeth are easier to clean and maintain – a unique benefit for those with busy work and family schedules.
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 of cavities and gum problems. Therefore, proper oral hygiene is important: brushing after meals with a fluoride toothpaste helps to maintain a clean feeling in the mouth, while helping to fight germs.
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 terms of 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.