Getting Braces as an Adult

Your smile may be one of your best assets and it is never too late to embrace braces for straight and well-aligned teeth. If you have good periodontal health, adults of any age can seek orthodontic treatment to improve their smiles or correct their bites. Braces are no longer just for children or teens, as backed up by the numbers- over a million Americans over the age of 18 wear braces, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Additionally, straight teeth are less likely to develop cavities and or periodontal problems because the mouths self cleaning abilities function as they are intended when teeth are straight.

Why do adults choose to get braces?

Adult braces are on the rise, as more people want to maintain a healthier and younger appearance, which includes straightening their smile. Over twenty percent of people wearing braces are adults and this number will keep growing because of the advances in technology. There are now more discreet alternatives to having a mouth full of metal and less visible options like ceramic braces and Invisalign.

Ceramic braces work just like metal braces but are much less visible, with clear or tooth-colored brackets that are barely noticeable. Another less visible alternative to metal braces are lingual braces that function just like the brackets and wires, on the back of teeth instead of the front. Finally, Invisalign is a new technology that is nearly invisible because it uses clear plastic aligners and they are easily removable.

There is no age limitation to getting orthodontic work done, as long as your teeth and gums are healthy. When you are younger, the jaw is still growing and it is easier to correct bite and alignment issues. With adults, it can take longer to get the same results. And additionally, many insurance plans do cover a portion of the treatment costs for adults. Most dental offices do offer financing options to help make payments for orthodontic treatment very comfortable.

Correctly aligned teeth that fit together properly can help improve your dental health and your smile. Crooked teeth and bite problems often lead to accelerated wear and tear, gum inflammation, bone degeneration, and cracked/broken teeth. It may also cause facial muscle pain, if the problem is not dealt with. And the older one gets, the more difficult and expensive it is to get corrective treatment.

Oral health is often an indicator of overall health. Well-aligned teeth help improve gum health and can help prevent complications from chronic diseases such as heart problems and diabetes. Aligned teeth can help with biting and chewing food, improving digestion and proper nourishment for the body.

Teeth can move with age, as you get older. In some people teeth can shift more than others. Sometimes injury or a condition called tongue thrust, or natural growth can cause adults with previously straight teeth to find that their teeth have become overcrowded or excessive spacing. This may lead to consequent jaw pain and cleaning teeth properly may prove difficult. It can also make adults conscious about their smile and lead to loss of confidence.

Even if you had braces as a kid, your teeth may shift with age, especially if you have not worn your retainer as much as the orthodontist recommended, or if your jaw’s natural growth forces your teeth to return to its original position. Recent studies have shown that retainers should be worn much longer than they were recommended by orthodontists in previous decades, to prevent tooth movement. Unfortunately, this may mean you need braces again as an adult.

Often adults get braces because they have lived most of their life with crooked teeth, as maybe their parents couldn’t afford to pay for braces while growing up. In other cases, some people opt for straighter teeth to suit a new career path or just because they can make time for it finally.

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