Many adults who might benefit from braces are either afraid of the discomfort and embarrassment of wearing them at their age, or have convinced themselves that they are too old for them to be of any use. However, advancements in orthodontic treatments have resulted in braces becoming both more comfortable and more aesthetically pleasing than they used to be.
Teeth movements slow with age. This means that orthodontic treatments may take longer if undergone later in life. However, in most cases adults who start treatments for problems that haven’t been treated when they were younger can still enjoy good results.
How Do Braces Work?
Orthodontics involves changing teeth’s positions. This is accomplished by attaching mechanical appliances to the teeth to gently push them in the desired direction. When a tooth is put under pressure from one side this results in its root pressing against the alveolar bone. Constant pressure causes a part of the bone near the tooth to dissolve. This lets the tooth move in the direction it is pushed. As the tooth shifts, the space that is left behind is filled with new bone. This stops the tooth from reverting back to its original position.
Braces are used for the above purpose because they are very versatile in the ways that they can move the teeth. They can move individual teeth in more than one direction at a time as well as treating many different teeth simultaneously.
Fixing braces onto teeth usually takes around one or two hours. It is common to experience some slight soreness for a couple of days after getting braces. However, the discomfort doesn’t last long. If the soreness reaches unacceptable levels, over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can help with the pain.
Types of Braces
There are several different types of braces available today. Adults can choose from traditional fixed metal braces, fixed ceramic braces, invisible removable braces (Invisalign), and invisible lingual braces (fixed).
- Traditional Metal Braces – These braces are made of stainless steel. Brackets are glued or fixed to the external surface of the teeth, and a wire running through the brackets is held in place by plastic bands. The pressure exerted by the wire results in the teeth gradually shifting into new positions. Metal braces are the cheapest type of braces, but the most durable as well. They are also the most effective when it comes to treating teeth that are severely misaligned.
- Ceramic braces – Ceramic braces are normally recommended for upper teeth and are usually fixed to the teeth’s outer surface. Many people opt for ceramic braces as they offer a natural look.
- Lingual braces – Lingual braces are custom-fit to the back surfaces of teeth instead of the front, which results in them being invisible.
- Invisalign – Invisalign is widely thought of as the most aesthetically pleasing alternative, as the braces are clear and nearly invisible. They are also the easiest of all braces to clean, as they may be removed while eating or brushing.
The braces of today are much more comfortable and less obtrusive than previous versions. They’re also much smaller and employ the usage of fewer brackets, and the wires are better and less noticeable than the ones used in the past. The wires and elastics can also be customized for fashion-conscious people. Many ask for colored wires and elastics to enjoy a bolder look.
Some individuals opt for tooth-colored ceramic or clear plastic brackets, as they are less noticeable than their traditional counterparts. These tooth-colored ceramic or clear plastic brackets do have a couple of drawbacks, however. For instance, they cost more than their metal counterparts and are more breakable. They’re also not as comfortable on lower teeth as metal brackets.
Different people will have different requirements and should choose accordingly. Braces have come a long way since their inception. They are cheaper, much less visible and cause far less discomfort than their predecessors did.
The difference between a crooked smile and a straight smile can be like that of night and day. Schedule an appointment with a dentist today and find out what getting braces could do for you. Whether you’re 20, 40, or even 60, you’re never too old for braces!