Braces are a stage most children go through between the elementary and high school years. Sometimes, for those who began the dental treatment process later, they may last until college. Rarely, however, will you find an adult bearing the brightly colored rubber bands that adolescent braces are well-known for. Adults can have crooked teeth too, however, and if left uncorrected child may require or want tooth straightening treatments later in life.
Adult braces are used to treat the dental problems of crooked teeth, overcrowded teeth, bite abnormalities (such as an overbite or underbite), and jaw pain associated with the joints and positioning. Without treatment these conditions can advance and potentially cause gum disease, speech impairments, and chronic pain. So what are the options for adult braces?
Metal braces (conventional). Conventional metal braces are the most well-known, and can be applied to adults even though most adults would prefer to keep their mouth clean of metal for professional and social purposes. Metal brackets and wires are applied to the teeth, with rubber bands and wires being adjusted occasionally to force the teeth into a desired position.
Clear ceramic braces. These braces are very similar to traditional braces in how they work, but the brackets are made of a tooth-colored porcelain so that only the wire is visible. This option is better for those who wish to keep their teeth straightening endeavors a secret, but the wire is still prominent, especially at close distances where the entire braces set can be seen.
Lingual braces. Lingual braces are the alternative to the above two options while still relying on brackets and metal. Lingual braces are essentially traditional braces applied to the backs of teeth so that they are not visible to anyone else unless the look inside your mouth. However, lingual braces are said to be annoying to the tongue at first, and can take a while to get accustomed to. It may also be more difficult for your orthodontist to adjust your braces this way.
Clear acrylic aligners. You’ve probably heard of these through Invisalign and other clear braces options. These are custom-fitted appliances that fit over your teeth, and are essentially like wearing a retainer. They are easy to clean and can be removed during eating, and each pair you receive will change every two weeks or so. These aligners may take longer to work than traditional brace,s and sometimes in severe cases are not even an option without traditional braces first or after. This is the best for those who wish to have a straighter smile but do not have any extremely crooked teeth.
If you have a smile you want to improve, braces may be a good option. Most braces will cost about $5,000 and last for two years, but it depends on how your current teeth are aligned and which option you choose. For recommendations on orthodontists and learning more about whether braces are a good option for you, call our office today. A straighter smile could be the key to unlocking the confidence you’ve always wanted.