Seeking a perfect smile? Ideally, we’d all have teeth that line up like piano keys. But no matter how much we take care of our pearly whites, some issues cannot be fixed with an electric toothbrush. Crooked teeth and maligned bites are all too common among people today – young and old alike. They’re not just a cosmetic concern, either.
Crowded teeth increase the likelihood of disease and decay by making it difficult to clean between the gaps, while malocclusion and related bite problems can make chewing a challenge. People with poor alignment struggle with pronunciation when speaking and many have to deal with chronic pain.
While childhood might be the ideal time to address these issues, it’s not a luxury that everyone is afforded. Fortunately, growing up doesn’t have to mean forgoing the opportunity to receive the dental treatment you need. The American Association of Orthodontists recently reported that 20% of patients with braces are over 18 years old.
So, why are more and more adults suddenly getting braces?
As a growing amount of research is performed and published, the general public is becoming increasingly aware of dental irregularities and the oral health problems they might cause. Thanks to the internet, we can now better understand the issues with our teeth and their appropriate solutions which, more often than not, are a set of braces.
Braces have come a long way from the rickety wires that embarrassed so many teenagers in the past. Today’s options are far less visible and obtrusive thanks to innovations in materials. The wires are not only slimmer and less noticeable, but they’re also more affordable – as are the stainless steel brackets.
This is largely due to the introduction of invisible braces with clear plastic (some are ceramic) brackets. While usually more expensive, invisible braces live up to their name by being almost impossible to see at first glance. There are no colorful components or metal wires in the way of your smile. This list of the best invisible braces has more information.
For most adults who are looking to get braces today, their parents likely couldn’t afford them when they were younger. Now there are a number of accessible financing options and insurance packages available to offset the cost of the procedure. As we touched on above, certain types of braces have also become more affordable.
That said, there are some important considerations that you should make.
- Since your bones have stopped growing, making structural changes can be more difficult than in childhood. That’s why some dental problems cannot be solved with braces and will require surgery.
- The full process can take longer as well. While the time will vary from person to person, you can expect a treatment course of around two years.
- Bone loss that comes from gum disease can cause complications here, which is why it’s recommended that you see a relevant healthcare professional before going through with the procedure. A general dentist or periodontist can help identify any potential roadblocks. Fortunately, it’s a rare issue.
There are several main types of braces that you can get as an adult.
Types of Braces
There are namely four main types of braces. The ones that most people are familiar with are the metal or traditional braces, which use stainless steel brackets and wires that run along the front of your teeth. Metal braces are the most affordable at the cost of being the most noticeable. The other three types are more discreet:
- Ceramic braces are roughly the same size as metal braces, but much less noticeable thanks to their color. The brackets (and sometimes the wires) are either clear or painted to match your teeth. However, they can break easily without care.
- Lingual braces look similar to metal braces, except that they’re positioned on the opposite side of your teeth. This makes them nearly invisible from the outside. Some of your friends might wonder how your pearly whites straightened themselves.
- Invisalign is the official name of the invisible braces we mentioned above. They resemble clear gum guards and are made of a series of plastic aligners that can be removed. It’s the most expensive option, but unlike other braces, you can eat and drink whatever you like.
Considering your budget and needs can help you determine what kind of braces will work best for you. It’s always a good idea to seek professional advice before going through with any procedure.
Getting braces as an adult is more than just a matter of vanity. It can lead to major improvements in your oral health and overall well-being. You’ll feel more confident and attain peace of mind knowing that your risk of developing issues like tooth decay and gum disease has been significantly reduced. Now is a better time than ever to consider braces.