Orthodontic braces were historically associated with teenagers. Today, an increasing number of adults are choosing to wear braces to straighten their teeth and correct malocclusions (bad bites). In fact, it is now estimated that almost one third of all current orthodontic patients are adults.
Orthodontic braces are predictable, versatile and incredibly successful at realigning the teeth. Braces work in the same way regardless of the age of the patient, but the treatment time is greatly reduced in patients who are still experiencing jaw growth and have not been affected by gum disease. In short, an adult can experience the same beautiful end results as a teenager, but treatment often takes longer.
Can adults benefit from orthodontic braces?
are an excellent way to correct a bite or misaligned teeth that one has been living with their entire life. This can help with both dental health and function as well as with simple appearance. Properly spaced teeth are easier to care for than teeth that are crooked, and a good bite can help reduce the damage that can be caused by teeth who impact each other from awkward angles.
Clear Braces have become a popular option for adult braces. Clear braces actually describe a wide variety of braces options that are available to treat most types of misalignments and even bite problems. The simplest and fastest method that is available is known as Invisalign braces. This system is a computer generated system that uses a smooth plastic form that fits over the teeth and gently shifts misaligned teeth month by month into the desired location. This system is easy to care for, and is removable, which makes it a great option for people who need to be able to remove it for professional appearances, sports, and activities like playing a musical instrument. It is, however, not suitable for very difficult or severe misalignments and bite problems, as these take more force over more time to shift, and must be left in place 22+ hours per day. However, depending on the severity, Invisilign can be used to achieve the desired effect in as little as 6 months.
Most difficult problems still require brackets in adult braces. Brackets are anchors that are used to stabilize the dental hardware that is in place in order to pull the teeth where they should go. These brackets can be made from clear plastic, or even tooth colored material, in order to minimize the appearance of braces hardware. The other option is to mount the brackets on the back side of the teeth, concealing their presence entirely. This can take a little getting used to, but modern orthodontic hardware is smaller and more streamlined, which makes this less of a problem. In addition, titanium memory wire is used to gently shift the teeth into place, much like the basic idea used for Invisalign, but more able to generate the force necessary to work for bigger problems.
The bottom line is that each patient has a different mouth, a different treatment situation, and different needs. Getting an idea of just exactly what should be done is a relatively complex problem, which should be solved by actually seeing an orthodontic professional for an examination and a consultation. Dr. Potepalov is happy to consult with new or prospective patients regarding adult braces, and any other questions about dentistry.