Orthodontics: Are Braces Only for Kids

Though many people get braces during adolescence, it is becoming more common for adults to get braces. Over half of those who receive braces are over the age of 21. No longer just for children, braces can help adults get the smile that they have always dreamed about.

Benefits of Getting Braces

Having crooked teeth or a bad bite can contribute to tooth decay, abnormal wear of teeth and the loss of gum, teeth and bones in the mouth. Getting braces has a variety of benefits, which include:

  • improving health of gums and teeth
  • correcting an underbite or overbite
  • improving appearance
  • increasing self-esteem

Different Options for Braces

When people think of braces, often the image that comes to mind is of metal braces with colored bands. New and improved technology and advancements in orthodontic care over the past 15 years have made braces more cosmetic and less painful. There are a variety of different options available for correcting teeth.

Clear Aligners

These are orthodontic devices that are sold under the brand names of Invisalign or Clear Correct. They use transparent aligners in incremental steps to straighten teeth. They are most effective for those who need minor adjustments. A mold is taken of the teeth at the beginning of treatment and is used to make a digital model of the mouth. The computerized model makes an incremental treatment plan of stages between the initial mold and the desired placement of the teeth. Each aligner is worn for 20 hours a day for two weeks before moving to the next stage of aligner. They can be removed when eating and drinking, a benefit that many people enjoy.

Clear Braces

These types of braces don’t use ties or elastics to help straighten the teeth. Smaller brackets are used that are clear with smooth edges. Only a metal wire shows on the teeth, which can make braces less noticeable to others.

Accelerated Braces

Often it can take years for teeth to be completely corrected. Accelerated braces use different techniques to lessen the time that braces are needed. Crowded teeth are slimmed at the beginning of the treatment, which can make more room in the mouth and eliminate the need for extractions. Approximately a week before the braces are put on, periodontal surgery takes place that alters the jaw and gum slightly to allow for the faster correction of the teeth.

When considering getting braces, it is always recommended to talk with an orthodontist about the best options, the estimated treatment plan and what the cost will be for treatment. Though there are several companies that claim that braces can be done without a professional, this can lead to potential problems. Orthodontic specialists are trained in how to fix teeth and gum problems and are the safest option for getting braces.