Having braces is often considered a normal part of adolescence, but it’s not just teens and tweens who have this orthodontic treatment to straighten or move teeth. Adult braces are a popular option for people who never had the opportunity for braces as children or whose teeth have changed as adults. Braces are appropriate for people of any age who are interested in changing the appearance of their smiles or teeth. At Nasser Orthodontics in Shreveport, LA, we can help you discover if braces are the right choice for you.
Adult Braces FAQs: Can I Still Get Braces as an Adult?
Adults can definitely get braces. The process is the same as it is for younger patients, but we will take the needs of your adult teeth into consideration as we work.
Are Adult Braces Right For Me?
We hope you will visit us at our office for a discussion about whether you are a good candidate for braces and what kind of braces would most effectively address your needs. Whether or not braces are the right choice for you depends on a number of factors that include your dental history and the problems you are currently experiencing. We will ask you questions about your medical history, whether you smoke, and what your goals and expectations are for treatment.
We will need to assess your areas of concern before we can give you the best options in your situation. You are most likely a good candidate for braces if you are experiencing discomfort or insecurity related to the placement of your teeth. You may want straighter, more even teeth simply for cosmetic reasons, or you might be trying to address a problem with the way you bite, chew, or even speak. Whatever your concern, we are ready to help you in any way we can.
What Are the Differences Between Child and Adult Braces?
The major difference between orthodontics for adults and children is that children have jawbones that are still growing and developing while adult jawbones are fully grown and set. This means that an adult’s jawbone may not be as pliable as a child’s and extra work may be required to make changes in the structure of the jawbone.
Adults are also more likely than children to have developed issues like gum disease and deterioration of the tooth enamel. If you already have some gum recession or even bone loss, your orthodontist will have to take this into account when determining a plan for braces. You may also be missing teeth, previous dental treatments, or other dental issues that will have to be addressed throughout the process of your treatment with braces.
Why Do Adults Choose Braces?
Adults may choose to get braces for a number of different reasons. Sometimes adults find that their teeth are not fitting together properly, causing an uneven bite that is uncomfortable or is leading to rapid tooth decay. Other times an adult will choose braces because teeth have become irregularly spaced due to gum deterioration. They may also find that irregularly placed teeth are causing jaw pain. All of these problems can potentially be solved with adult braces.
Some adults may have had orthodontic treatments done as children that were never completed for one reason or another. As adults, they will sometimes choose to complete that work. Additionally, adults often choose braces because they want to change their appearance. Straighter teeth bring confidence that can lead to greater success in work and in private life.
What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry. First recognized as a separate discipline from dentistry in 1901, orthodontics focuses on diagnosing and treating dental irregularities. This includes missing teeth, tooth spacing, crowded teeth, and extra teeth. It also includes issues with the growth and development of the jawbone and problems with baby teeth not falling out appropriately. An overbite or underbite may also be treated by an orthodontist.
What Are Braces?
Braces are special devices that are designed to put pressure on the teeth, causing them to move. When a small amount of constant pressure forces the teeth to shift, the jawbone changes so that the teeth can be stabilized in a new location. Devices like braces have been used for centuries to change the appearance and location of teeth, but today’s braces are highly effective and represent modern technology as well as years of research.
Braces are helpful in changing the appearance of teeth and the structure of the lower part of the face, but there are also useful for more practical reasons. Many people have problems with their teeth that cause discomfort when biting and chewing, or they might have issues that lead to more rapid deterioration or decay of teeth than would usually be seen. Adult braces can effectively treat and solve these problems.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces work by putting intentional pressure on the teeth that encourages them to move in a particular direction. At the same time, the braces also put pressure on the periodontal membrane. This is an area beneath the gums that surrounds the teeth. As this membrane stretches, the braces push from the other direction. This simultaneous creates space for teeth to move into and shifts the teeth into that space.
Interestingly, braces also change the makeup of your teeth. Since teeth are bone, the pressure braces put on your teeth causes them to become stronger, and greater bone density is the result. So braces are not only changing the way your teeth look but also the way your teeth work. When your treatment with braces is complete, your mouth and bones will be stronger than they were before.
Are There Different Types of Braces?
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional braces consist of brackets that are applied to your teeth with an adhesive. A metal wire called an archwire runs through the brackets and can be tightened or loosened as needed. Back teeth may also have metal bands surrounding them that the wire can fit into. Rubber bands are sometimes stretched between brackets on the top and bottom rows of teeth to provide additional pressure.
Other parts of metal braces are ligatures, which are small wires that attach the bracket to the wire. These can be replaced as the braces are tightened. Coil springs can be used to push teeth apart that are too close together, and a power chain can be used to close gaps or keep new spaces from opening between the teeth.
Braces with parts made of ceramic may include brackets that are clear or a similar color to teeth. This makes them less noticeable and is one reason why they are often chosen by adults. Ceramic braces can also come in a variety of fun colors if you are more interested in showing personality than in hiding your braces.
These braces are exactly like metal braces, but they are 30% smaller. They are a popular choice because they are less noticeable than standard-sized braces and can be more comfortable. They are also easier to clean.
This is another version of traditional metal braces. The difference is that they are attached to the backs of the teeth, so they are almost invisible. This is not a good option for treating all types of orthodontic issues but it may be the right choice for some people. Lingual braces can be harder to clean than regular braces and may have an effect on chewing and speech.
What Are the Benefits of Braces?
Comfortable Chewing and Biting
Sometimes dental patients experience what is known as a malocclusion. This means that the teeth don’t align properly when the mouth is closed. This can be uncomfortable, especially when chewing or biting. It can also cause difficulty removing plaque from around the teeth that are misaligned, and it can lead to gum disease and inflammation.
It may also make tooth decay more likely. Braces are often used to solve this problem. When your teeth are properly aligned, you will be able to chew normally again without discomfort.
When your teeth are straight and evenly spaced, it is much easier to get them clean. Floss easily reaches between the teeth, and you are able to effectively clean all tooth surfaces. Better cleaning leads to less decay and gum irritation.
Many people keep their mouths closed as much as possible because they are embarrassed by their teeth. Having your teeth straightened with braces will raise your self-confidence levels and encourage you to show your smile.
Overall Dental Health
Straight teeth lead to better dental health. That’s because it’s easier to take care of straighter teeth that are properly spaced, and gum disease and bone deterioration are less likely when teeth are correctly aligned.
How Long Do I Wear Braces?
The length of time you will need to wear your braces depends a lot on the results you are expecting and the specific changes that are being made. When we discuss your plan for braces, we will talk about how long you will need to wear them. A typical amount of time to wear braces is 2 to 3 years, but some people wear them for shorter or longer periods of time.
After your treatment is completed, you will need to wear a retainer for some time to keep your teeth in place. You may need to wear this retainer for several years to keep teeth from moving back when your braces are gone.
How Do I Care for My Braces?
Cleaning teeth with braces takes more care and time than cleaning your teeth did before the braces. You will need to be sure to clean all around the wires and pins of the braces. Spend a few seconds cleaning around the bracket on each tooth to be sure that any plaque is completely removed.
When you’ve cleaned the brackets, brush your teeth again as you normally would. Cover every surface of your tooth, front and back as well as the tops of molars. Then rinse your mouth completely with water, and use mouth wash if you choose.
Your dental hygenist will show you how to effectively floss your teeth with braces. There are some products specifically designed for this purpose that we can recommend. These are typically threaders that you push through the holes in your braces, bringing the floss along behind.
You will come into our office for a regular schedule of adjustments to your braces. This is where braces are tightened and secured, and we can adjust the appliance for better comfort.
Learn More Today
Braces can definitely be an excellent choice for adults who want to change their smiles. Contact us today at Nasser Orthodontics in Shreveport, LA, to talk about your orthodontics needs and to find out if braces are the right choice for you.