The short answer is: Yes. Adults do wear braces. Times have really changed. Where once we could imagine only teenagers and young adults in braces, now you meet many adults in their thirties sporting braces to get the smile of their dreams. These days people of all age groups want to straighten their teeth or want to get the smile of their dreams to reach their goals. Back in nineteens and twenties, only one percent of the patients were adults who opted for braces to correct the look of their smiles. Today it is estimated that forty to fifty percent of patients going for orthodontics treatment could be adults.
So, what has changed? Many things in dentistry have changed now from just 20 years back. Adults now opt for healthier teeth, better oral health and smarter looking smiles because people have realized the importance of good smiles and its effect on the life of the person concerned. Also, now there are multiple options and the longevity of teeth and people themselves have changed the outlook of people towards orthodontic treatment to give them their desired smiles. Previously people only worried about their teeth’s survival but now, they not only want their teeth to survive, but also their teeth to look beautiful so that they can get social acceptance.
What are braces?
Braces are prosthetics used to align the misaligned teeth. correct malocclusion and straighten crooked teeth.
Procedure and the steps followed for straightening and correcting the look of your teeth may include the following.
The first visit to your dentist
When you realize that you can get your teeth corrected, you talk to your dentist. The dentist will weigh pros and cons of the treatment and discuss them with you. He will take into consideration the state your teeth are in, your age, your oral health, your general health, any disease and medication you may be taking for the same. After discussing these at length with you he will present you with the options you have and how long you will have to wear the braces. Today you have more options other than metal braces and he will discuss those with you. Depending on what you choose, he will start the treatment with taking x rays and digital images of your teeth and order braces from the lab.
Once you decide to go in for orthodontic treatment, it is important to keep your schedules in priority.
The options available for getting a beautiful smile even for adults are many, including: traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, clear aligners, Invisalign.
Traditional metal braces are old fashioned braces which gives you good results in a year half to three years. It is worth giving a try because 2 years is a small time period compared to the satisfaction of many more years you will have to show them off. These braces put a little pressure on the teeth with the help of brackets glued on the front of your teeth and connecting them with a thin wire. The wire is tightened every 4 to 6 weeks to increase the pressure to move the teeth in the desired direction. This method is fool proof and is least expensive among all other methods.
Other braces: Many adults feel self-conscious wearing metallic braces on their teeth. They can opt for ceramic braces which are the colour of your teeth, which blend with your teeth and less noticeable. They can be little more expensive than metallic braces though.
Clear aligners: These are see-through plastic aligners which come in the shape of a tray that can fit on your teeth like a mouth guard. These trays are removable and you have to take them out for eating and cleaning your teeth. They are supposed to be on your teeth at least for 20 hours a day to have a desired effect on your teeth movement.
Can all adults avail of orthodontic treatment like braces?
Certain conditions will have to be taken into consideration before you can choose a treatment to straighten your teeth with braces.
Conditions to be considered before the orthodontic treatment like braces are the following.
If you have gums which are infected, your braces cannot work because the bacteria in the gums will make it difficult to let the teeth move in the correct direction and also make it painful. To get the braces on, you will have to get the gum disease treated and then go ahead with braces.
Today there is no need to consider the age of the patient for wearing braces. It is never too late. But age as a factor is counted when age related wear and tear has taken a toll on your teeth. You have to get the teeth repaired before you can move them. Also, with age, certain conditions like bone loss needs to be considered and steps will have to be taken to make your jawbone fortified before you can move the teeth. As far as the orthodontic treatment is concerned, you need to have healthy gums and healthy bones.
It is very important for you to be generally healthy, and without any serious ailment. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, or hypertension, the dentist will suggest to ask your general physician whether you can withstand the rigours of braces. Also, if you have any kind of cancer, the medicine for the same may interfere with the orthodontic treatment. It is very important to have a meeting with your physician and specialist before your start the orthodontic treatment in such a condition.
No adult is too old to get his/her teeth corrected as long has he/she is enjoying good health, has good oral health and has healthy gums and bones.
After going through the orthodontic treatment, the patient has to take proper care of their teeth. Braces will need to be continued for another few months to keep the teeth in place so that they do not move back to their original condition.