While it's not hard to figure out why, more and more adults are choosing orthodontic care. As the technology has advanced, appliances that are barely noticeable have given a more discreet choice when it comes to orthodontic treatments. Not only can orthodontic care at a later age have significant benefits, both socially and professionally, having a smile that is both straight and beautiful can be an important part of boosting self-confidence.
You are never too old for braces! Healthy teeth can be re-aligned at any age. The first major difference between adolescent care and adult care, is that the adult jaw has completed development. So a change in the actual jaw structure will not be accomplished with an orthodontic appliance as they can be in a growing child.
And secondly, periodontal or gum disease is much more prevalent in adults than in a child. A gentle force is used while you wear your orthodontic appliance to gently guide your teeth through their surrounding bone. If your gum tissue is not healthy during your orthodontic treatment, bone loss can result and weaken the long-term prognosis of your teeth. Before beginning your orthodontic treatment, it is imperative that any gum disease be brought under control. You will also need to have regular, professional cleanings during your care and maintain good oral hygiene at home.
A light, consistent force is used with almost all orthodontic appliances to move your teeth into proper alignment. As more and more options have become available over the years, how we apply these forces can vary. Less visible and newer orthodontic appliances have been designed that are barely noticeable, allowing them to blend more easily into an adults lifestyle, both professionally and personally. Types of orthodontic appliances available include:
Metal braces are probably what you are most familiar with. Unlike the ones of days past, today's metal braces are smaller and lighter than ever. You can even customize them now with colored elastic ties on the brackets!
Clear braces can be more aesthetically pleasing since they are made with ceramic or a composite material that blends in with the natural color or your tooth making them very hard to notice. Although they may cost a little more, they are suitable in most situations.
Clear aligners are highly recommended for adult patients! Clear aligners are worn for roughly 22 hours per day and are a series of removable, clear plastic trays that work to gradually straighten the teeth as they are worn. The best part, they are practically invisible!
A retainer after orthodontic treatment is crucial, no matter which type of appliance you have, or how old you are. A retainer will hold your teeth in place long enough for new supporting bone to develop around them before they can drift back to their original positions, which you do not want to see happen! Once you receive your retainer, you will be instructed on how to retain your new, beautiful smile for years to come!
Be sure to check out our hygiene & post-orthodontic care page for more information on caring for your braces.