As a Sunshine Coast Dentist, one of the questions we get asked frequently is ‘can you get braces as an adult?’ The answer is YES. Dental braces are generally used to straighten crowded or misaligned teeth and line up the jaw for an even bite. They have a high success rate and provide many oral health benefits that go beyond having a perfect smile.
There are many adult braces options available today other than traditional metal braces. The modern designed braces for adults also don’t cause any physical and social inconvenience. Thus, if you are planning to correct your dental misalignments with braces, then here is everything you need to know about braces for adults.
A] Signs You Need Braces
Today, it is an increasingly common sight to see many adults with braces. It could be either for cosmetic or health reasons. However, if you are confused about whether you need braces or not, then here are a few signs that can help you determine.
- Crooked or crowded teeth: The issue of visibly crooked or crowded teeth can be corrected with adult braces. For many adults, a perfect smile helps boost confidence. Likewise, it also helps them to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Gap and space: Adult Orthodontics are also used to treat tooth gap or space between your teeth. The issue of space is caused by missing teeth while some adults with a large jaw can have a tooth gap.
- Jaw Pain: Crowded or misalignment of teeth can cause jaw pain. So, if this is the reason, then your dentist might suggest braces for correcting the problem.
- Difficulty in Eating or Speaking: Another sign that you need braces is if you are facing difficulty in eating or speaking. It can be due to misalignment of teeth and cause issues such as openbite, overbite, crossbite or underbite.
B] Things Adults Should Know Before Getting Braces
- Strong Teeth and Jaws: Getting braces as an adult require you to have a set of strong teeth and healthy jaw bone, which helps prevent issues like tooth decay, gum disease, among others.
- Oral Hygiene: With braces, you need to be much more attentive of your oral hygiene to keep your teeth and gums free from plaque.
- Severe misalignment of teeth: Compared to a child or an adolescent, correcting severe misalignment of teeth using adult braces can be complicated and may require oral surgery. This, however, depends on the person’s age and overall dental health.
- Other dental treatments: If you are not practising good oral hygiene, you might need other dental treatments before you could get braces. It could be as simple as a tooth filling, or it could be a root canal.
- Be mindful of the foods you eat: To prevent braces from breaking or coming loose, avoid food items such as hard/sticky candy, chewy foods, ice-cubes, popcorn, soft drinks, etc.
Further reading: Best and worst foods for your teeth
C] Adult Orthodontics: Types of Braces For Adults
- Traditional braces: These are silver brackets with wires ideal for vertical realignment. They allow continuous tooth movement even during eating and cleaning the teeth. Also, since traditional braces are cemented, you won’t lose it or forget to wear it.
- Lingual braces: These are placed behind your teeth which makes it well-suited for image-conscious working professionals. They are similar to traditional braces. However, they are almost invisible. Plus, any discolouration from wearing braces will be on the inside of the teeth.
- Self-ligating braces: While traditional braces use elastic to keep the archwire on the bracket, self-ligating braces have a door mechanism to hold the archwire. This reduces discomfort and minimizes the risk of food particles getting trapped. Also, the treatment time is shorter compared to traditional braces.
- Clear braces: This too is similar to traditional braces. But, since ceramic is used instead of metal, it blends in with the natural colour of your teeth making it look less noticeable.
- Invisalign (Clear aligners): These are a popular choice for adult braces as they are nearly invisible. You can remove them while eating, drinking or cleaning the teeth. However, clear aligners are suitable only for adults who have a stable bite and have minor teeth crowding.
Do you need adult orthodontic treatment? Click here to learn more or schedule an appointment.
D] Adult Orthodontics: Short-term and Long-term Risks
- Short-term Risks
- Braces can interfere with the way you masticate food.
- It can promote the growth of bacteria and plaque as the small spaces created by braces around the teeth can trap food particles. This can cause tooth decay, gum disease and damage your enamel.
- It can lead to discolouration, leaving white marks on your teeth known as de-calcification.
- There might be some soft tissue injuries and you may feel some sensitivity when the braces (metal or wire) come in close contact with your inner gums, cheeks, and lips.
- In rare cases, due to the materials used in dental braces, some patients may experience an allergic reaction.
- Long-term Risks
- Shorter root lengths: During the dental braces treatment procedure as the teeth move, some of the bone in the path may dissolve and be replaces with new bone. It can cause permanent loss of root lengths, leading to less stable teeth. This, however, doesn’t cause any issues.
- Loss of correction: After the braces are removed, your dentist will give you a retainer device which will help maintain the position of the teeth. If you don’t wear this or follow any of the other instructions give by the dentist, chances are you might lose some of the correction.
The newly aligned teeth will take time to adjust to the bone and tissue. For at least a year after the braces are removed, using retainers are important to maintain the position of the teeth. There are two types of retainers available: fixed retainers and removable retainers. These are customised for you and made from the mould of your mouth & teeth. And, the material used to make it can be metal or plastic or both.
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FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Are braces painful?
When braces are applied to the teeth, it doesn’t hurt. But you might feel mild soreness, throbbing or discomfort after the placement and during & after the adjustments. If the pain persists, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
How long do you have to wear braces?
The reason why individual wear braces differ, so there is no exact duration for the treatment. Typically, it can take anywhere from 12 months to up to three years to complete the treatment.
How do you know if you need braces?
Some of the signs that indicate you need braces are crooked and crowded teeth, jaw pain, eating & chewing problem, impaired speech, tooth gap and space issue.
Is it weird for adults to have braces?
Since more and more adults are wearing braces today, it is not weird at all. Plus, the different braces options for adults make it inconspicuous.
Does braces make your teeth weak?
No, they don’t. After the braces are fitted, your teeth might feel loose as they begin to shift, and there might be a few spaces where none existed before, but this is quite normal.