Despite the common assumption that braces are for kids, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontic treatment to correct their smiles. With longer life expectancies than previous generations and a greater awareness of the benefits of a healthy smile, today’s adults are taking better care of their teeth, as evidenced in a survey by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. This study showed that the number of people ages 55-64 with missing teeth has dropped by 60 percent since 1960.
Orthodontics can improve the overall health of teeth and their supporting structures leading to a properly aligned and functioning bite. By aligning your teeth, orthodontic treatment makes it easier to remove plaque - a colorless sticky film of bacteria, food particles, and saliva that constantly forms in the mouth. Plaque feeds on sugars and starches to form an acid that endangers teeth and gums. With proper alignment, the likelihood that your teeth will last for a lifetime is greatly increased.
What Are My Options?
Orthodontic technology has come a long way in the past few decades. The major advances in orthodontic tools and techniques mean that the options for adult patients are far greater than ever before. And adults – just like teen and pre-teens – can benefit dramatically from the enhanced self-esteem that comes with a confident smile.
Traditional Metal Braces
The basic option is traditional metal braces. These are best for individuals who have severely crowded teeth or a significant bite problem requiring major orthodontic changes. Metal braces are typically the least expensive option. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is aesthetics.
Clear Ceramic Braces
If you are a professional who is worried about your personal appearance, clear ceramic braces may be a better choice. Clear braces are capable of handling very crooked teeth or bite issues, but they are much less visible than traditional metal braces. If you choose this option, you’ll have to be careful about smoking or drinking red wine, soda and other dark beverages since these items may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth.
Invisalign® Clear Aligners
Another popular option for adults who need orthodontic treatment is Invisalign, a nearly-invisible alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign consists of a series of custom-made clear aligners that are created specifically for you. In general, the Invisalign process takes anywhere from six to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating certain bite problems or severely overcrowded teeth; however, many adults are candidates for this nearly-invisible treatment option.
The best way to find out which orthodontic treatment option is right for you is to visit our office for a complimentary initial consultation. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Godwin will recommend the best course of treatment for you. No matter what your personal situation, adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and create a smile you’ve always dreamed of.