Think braces are just for kids and teens? Think again. More than four million Americans wear orthodontic braces, and that includes about one million adults.
In fact, braces are designed to work for patients of all ages who have all or most of their adult teeth. As long as your jawbones and teeth are strong enough to withstand the shifting needed to move your teeth into alignment, you can have — and benefit from — orthodontic treatment.
As a leading orthodontist in Cedar Park, Texas, Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, helps adult patients at Freedom Orthodontics get the most from their braces, customizing every treatment plan for beautiful results. If you’re wondering what to expect during your treatment, here’s what he wants you to know about adult braces.
What to know about adult braces
If you’re considering braces, the first thing you’ll want to know is whether or not orthodontic treatment can help your smile. The good news is, braces can be used to correct an array of bite and alignment problems, including:
- Open bite
- Crooked teeth
- Gapped teeth
- Teeth that are out of line
- Crowded teeth
What’s more, orthodontic appliances are designed to treat multiple issues, making them ideal for anyone with simple or complex problems.
Treatment as an adult follows the same general steps as treatment during the teen years. Once your braces are applied (or you receive your clear aligners), you come to the office every few weeks for a checkup. If you have metal, ceramic, or lingual braces, Dr. Smith adjusts them to keep your teeth moving in the right directions.
With regular braces, you’ll need to change your diet a bit to avoid hard or sticky foods that could bend or break your wires or brackets. You’ll also need to learn a few techniques to brush and floss around your wires and brackets. (Good news: There are special tools that can help.)
Lots of options
As an adult, you may not relish the idea of wearing metal braces, mainly because they’re pretty visible. But you have options.
Today’s braces feature tooth-colored ceramics and clear wires that make them a lot less noticeable. Lingual braces are applied to the backs of your teeth, so they’re pretty much hidden from view.
Depending on how your teeth need to be aligned, clear aligners could also be an option. These appliances are removable and made of clear plastic, making them virtually invisible while you’re wearing them.
Adult braces can be a great solution for men and women looking to improve their smiles and oral health. But there are a couple of special circumstances that need to be considered before your treatment begins.
As you get older, you can lose some of your natural bone density. Gum disease and infection can also lead to bone loss.
Your jawbones need to be strong enough to support the stresses placed on them as your teeth shift positions. Prior to treatment, Dr. Smith examines your jaws and uses diagnostic images to make sure your jaw structure is strong and sound.
Roughly 120 million American women and men are missing at least one tooth — that’s about half of the adults in the United States. Missing teeth leave spaces, and those spaces can complicate your treatment.
The same is true if you have bridges, root canals, or implants. It doesn’t mean you can’t have braces — but your treatment can become a little more complex.
Having treatment as a teen has one important advantage: Your jawbones are still developing, which means it’s easier (and faster) to move the tooth roots into their new locations.
As an adult, your jaws have finished growing and developing. It might take a little longer to move your teeth into their proper positions, but the results will be just as beautiful.
It’s never too late for a beautiful smile
Orthodontic treatment is a great choice for adults who want to enjoy a more beautiful smile and better oral health as you get older. To learn more about all the options we offer at Freedom Orthodontics, call our office or book an appointment online today.